Ever wanted a life where your job was to travel the world with a ton of cool people? Matt Wilson went from digging ditches to launching a travel company that takes people on some pretty sick trips to Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Brazil, and Ireland. Check out my interview with him!
In the last week, I had a chance to interview the founder of Under30CEO.com and Under30Experiences.com. Matt started Under30CEO to show people how to have a more fun and fulfilling life. After a life changing trip to Iceland, he started a company called Under30Experiences that takes young people on trips all around the world. His full time job is traveling and giving people the best experiences of their life. He's been featured on Entrepreneur's website, and you can about his story here: From Digging Ditches to Advising Young Entrepreneurs.
One cool note, Matt did this whole interview while on an island in Belize that doesn't have cars!
What inspired you to do start Under30CEO.com, and what was one of the major obstacles you had to overcome in order for you to truly make it successful?
Jared O'Toole and I were two recent college graduates who wanted to start a business but we had no idea how. In college we were surrounded by smart, young, innovative people, but once we graduated we didn't have a community of motivated people to interact with so we started one online at Under30CEO.
The biggest challenge was trying to overcome financial hardship during the recession. We needed to put food on the table and pay rent while trying to make money online. We had no idea how to do it. After several years of trial and error, and never giving up, we finally made the dream into reality.
What is one habit someone can adopt today that over time will allow them a chance to have a more fulfilling life?
The one thing in life that has helped me the greatest is the practice of observing myself. Through yoga, meditation, and a lot of introspection, I've been able to watch myself like a character in a movie. When I go to make a decision, I can detach from the situation and look at it as if I was a third party. I can also see things from a 35,000 foot view, where I literally visualize what I look like from an airplane. What I see is just speck of the big picture and realize whatever stress I am feeling is nothing compared to the problems of the world. In business its extremely important to be able to put your emotions aside and look at the big picture with a clear mind.
What inspired you to live your life with adventure, did you have a life-altering experience or major adversity that made you see things in a different perspective that led you to traveling?
I've always been into adventure since I was a kid and my goal is to never lose that sense of adventure I was born with. When I was young I used to make forts, spend time in the outdoors, sleep in tents, and dream of traveling to foreign lands to travel through the jungle. I'm proud to say now, I actually do travel to the jungle on a regular basis. I'm writing to you from an island in Belize with no cars and I wake up and try to do the most exciting thing I possibly can everyday.
My life altering experience was sitting behind a computer too long and feeling chained to my desk. After one trip to the volcanoes and glaciers of Iceland I was back in my element and I decided to try to spread the excitement of travel to others.
What inspired Under30Experiences?
On my trip to Iceland mentioned above, I was standing on a glacier looking out at the volcanoes and wondered why don't Americans travel? We work so hard, that we spend our 10 vacation days per year going to all-inclusive resorts and drinking and eating our faces off. We come back with a hangover at least 10 lbs heavier wondering why we have to go through another year like this. We never leave the resorts designed to keep the rich people rich, and the poor people poor.
On Under30Experiences we do the opposite. We go places where we can integrate into the local culture. In Peru our trip to Machu Picchu includes visiting with locals who still live in Incan villages. In Bali our villas are within a traditional Balinese home compound where we are invited to the Hindu temple with the people who work at the villas. Everyone employed lives in the local village and we work to keep the money in the community. This is what really matters to us.
What is your greatest traveling story?
For the essence of time I'm going to have to skip this question and say wait for my book to come out :) I don't want to spoil it!
How do you promote yourself with professionalism to get people who are above you to give up some of their time and mentor you?
There is a very tactful way of self promotion that all comes back to being self aware, observing yourself, and seeing the bigger picture. I realize that all my friends are stuck at home in the cold, many of them working jobs they dislike, so I'm not going to be that guy bragging on Facebook all the time. My goal isn't to promote myself or Under30Experiences, but to bring positivity to the world and make it a better place. I truly believe that if our generation understands the world and takes a step back from whatever they are doing that they think is so important that the world will change for the better. If you have a solid mission that you are promoting then others will rally behind it and want to be part of it. Mentors are happy to help someone who has the greater good in mind rather than just themselves.
What does a typical day look like for you?
No day is typical and thats what I love about life. Its only February and I've already been to seven countries. I don't say this to brag, I say this because there is a lot to learn about developing habits that will keep you sane under diverse circumstances. I wrote an article on it here: http://under30ceo.com/stay-sane-world-crumbling-around/
Today, just to give a totally random example, I woke up in Belize just before sunrise. The first thing I do every morning is meditate so I can put my brain in its optimal state to focus for the rest of the day. After that I write and do anything creative. This piece counts as writing / creative time for me. Courtney, our Under30Experiences staff member, just ran to make our group breakfast reservations and check the conditions for our snorkeling trip today. Surrounding yourself with good people is key because I don't have to worry about that stuff, it happens like a well oiled machine.
At 9AM I'll have breakfast and then head out to Hol Chan Marine Reserve on the second largest barrier reef in the world. I'll get in the water with our Under30Experiences Belize group where we will snorkel with sea turtles, manta rays, and yes, we'll even get to pet nurse sharks.
Later today, I'll come back, get some stuff done on the computer, have dinner with the group, and someone convince me I'll even go to I+I the local reggae bar. Tomorrow will be a whole different adventure.
When are you going to write your first book?
I have two books that I'm in the middle of writing but at least one of them is coming out this year. One is a compilation of travel stories that is still writing itself, the other one helps our generation look at life completely differently. I hope to stay in touch with you all!
In conclusion, Matt lives one heck of a lifestyle. Here is a few of the major take aways from this blog post!
- Work on viewing yourself from an outside perspective and give yourself an aerial view of this situation. Not only will this let you see the bigger picture of the situation, but it will help you gain perspective that the stress you may be experience is little in comparison to the suffering of others.
- If you have an ideal for yourself, don't limit yourself from getting there. Work hard, and live your passion.
- Mentors and supporters really want to rally behind someone who is on a mission to do something greater than themselves.
- Surround yourself with people as the same passion as you, who will help elevate your mission.
If you'd like to keep track of all of Matt's adventures, be sure to check out his blog!
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