Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Ten Years a Nomad - Nonfiction Review

Goodreads:  Ten Years a Nomad: A Traveler's Journey Home by Matthew Kepnes

Rating: Just Okay
Source: Publisher

Description:  New York Times bestselling author of How to Travel the World on $50 a Day, Matthew Kepnes knows what it feels like to get the travel bug. After meeting some travelers on a trip to Thailand in 2005, he realized that living life meant more than simply meeting society's traditional milestones, such as buying a car, paying a mortgage, and moving up the career ladder. Inspired by them, he set off for a year-long trip around the world before he started his career. He finally came home after ten years. Over 500,000 miles, 1,000 hostels, and 90 different countries later, Matt has compiled his favorite stories, experiences, and insights into this travel manifesto. Filled with the color and perspective that only hindsight and self-reflection can offer, these stories get to the real questions at the heart of wanderlust. Travel questions that transcend the basic "how-to," and plumb the depths of what drives us to travel — and what extended travel around the world can teach us about life, ourselves, and our place in the world.
Ten Years a Nomad is for travel junkies, the travel-curious, and anyone interested in what you can learn about the world when you don’t have a cable bill for a decade or spend a month not wearing shoes living on the beach in Thailand.

Genre: Nonfiction - Memoir

Why I Picked This Book:  I'm fascinated by lives that are completely different from my own and that I really don't have a desire to replicate.  No part of me wants to stay in hostels and wander around the world for ten years (especially the whole month of no shoes part) but I'm fascinated by those that do live like that.

My Impression:  I don't think I read the blurb closely enough because I was expecting stories about what it was like to travel the world for 10 years and how the author tackled practical challenges of traveling without really a plan or budget.  I wasn't expecting quite so much insight and self-reflection.  And there is a lot of self-reflection and a whole bunch of talking about the psychology behind travel and our desire to travel or not travel.  It started feeling a bit repetitive early on and that didn't get better.  I ended up feeling like the author was just trying to justify his own choices and I wanted to reach through the book and tell him to relax and just live his life which he kept talking about doing exactly that. 

The travel stories were interesting when we eventually got around to them.   While no part of me will be staying in a hostel in a room with six other strangers I did find reading about the experience interesting.  I also liked just the snapshots of all the different areas all over the world.  It was definitely intriguing to get a glimpse of the road less traveled.  Unfortunately, the balance seemed to skew far more towards the author explaining his choices which had the book falling a bit flat for me.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  I'd probably be interested in an article or blog post from him but I doubt I'll be picking up a book again.

Would I Recommend this Book?  Probably not and definitely not without checking out his blog (Nomadic Matt) first.

* I received this book in exchange for an honest review.  As always my opinions and impressions are completely my own. *


  1. What a pity it didn't turn out to be quite what you thought it would be. I'm not a fan of non fiction authors going all deep and philosophical etc!

  2. I'm not interested in travelling the world with a backpack and no shoes either. However, like you, I enjoy reading about lifestyles and especially places that I'm unlikely to visit - ever. Probably why I like books about Antarctica so much. I'll keep this one in mind.

  3. I would have been expecting the same from the book as you were, sorry it wasn't that. I was all excited to read this because I love "wandering around" books, but I think I'll pass.

  4. Aw, what a bummer. The summary certainly caught my attention but too bad it wasn't what you expected. Thanks for the warning.

  5. Too bad this one didn't just focus on his travel adventures. I probably would have had the same reaction that you did to this book.

  6. Yeah, I would have been more interested in the traveling stories than the introspection, too. 📚