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‘How Travel Can Help You Grow’ With Nomadic Matt

Did you know? Only 42% of Americans have a passport. Travel writer, blogger and founder of non-profit organization FLYTE, Matt Kepnes, is trying to change that.

“Travel changes us, shifts our perspectives, and causes us to grow in ways we’d never expect,” says Matt.

Wanting to get as many people traveling as possible to have the same experiences he has had, Matt founded FLYTE in 2015. A non-profit organization giving students from underprivileged communities the opportunity to travel overseas. Here at C&E, we were so inspired by Matt’s mission, we teamed up with FLYTE last year as our official give-back partner.

Scroll to read our chat with Nomadic Matt about travel for growth, FLYTE and where it all began.

C&E: How has travel helped you to grow as a person?

NM: “For me personally, traveling solo over the past 15 years has allowed me to grow from a shy introvert to someone able to plop down in any city, find my way, and turn strangers into friends.”

C&E: Where was your very first trip?

NM: “I didn’t take my first trip overseas until I was 23. I went to Costa Rica, and the experience changed my life. I fell in love with travel, the freedom that came along with owning your own day. The following year, I went to Thailand. My plan was to travel for a year, but I came home eighteen months later, decided the ‘real world’ wasn’t right for me, and left again. I ended up spending over a decade on the road.”

C&E: Tell us about FLYTE

NM: “At FLYTE, we empower youth living in underserved communities through transformative travel experiences. We provide teachers and students with the planning and funding they need to take what they learn in the classroom and put it to use in the real world.”

C&E: What inspired you to set up FLYTE?

NM: “I know the value of education and understand how privileged I am to be able to travel the world. Even with the best budget tips and travel hacks, not everyone has that same opportunity. This is especially true for students in underserved communities, who don’t have an opportunity to expand their world view, meet people from other cultures, and bring what they learn in the classroom to life. I wanted to create an organization which was open to everyone around the country.”

Did you know?

 

Last year, we donated $35,000 to FLYTE, funding an entire class trip to Puerto Rico.

After waiting until it is safe to travel again, the students are finally jetting off this November.

NM: “When I started FLYTE, I had an idea of how much of an impact these trips would have, since I’ve experienced that change in my own life from traveling. After running five trips abroad, with 70 students that have collectively travelled over 300,000 miles, my expectations have been blown away.”

Wanna get involved with FLYTE, too? Follow them on Instagram to see live updates, or head to their website to donate.

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