mattBuild Abroad chats with Matt Long
Matt Long adventures with thousands of readers every day through his award winning site As someone who has a bad case of the travel bug, Matt travels the world in order to share tips on where to go, what to see and how to experience the best the world has to offer. Based in Washington, DC, Matt has been to more than 65 countries and all 7 continents.

Q: How many countries have you been to?
A: More than 65 countries and all 7 continents

Q: How has your life changed since you’ve started doing what you are currently?
A: I left my old 9-5 job three years ago to pursue my dreams and life has never been better. It’s amazing how what we do can impact every other aspect of our lives, but since pursuing what is my dream job I’m healthier, my relationship with my partner has never been better and in general life is good.

Q: How can more people be exposed to the benefits of international travel?
A: I think a lot of folks don’t realize how accessible international travel really is. By making a few changes in our daily spending habits, we can quickly save more than enough for a trip overseas, which most times isn’t any more expensive than a long domestic trip. Once people get over the fear hurdle once, they understand the benefits to international travel and quickly become converts.

Q: How do you see the newest generation affecting travel?
A: Well if the Millennials have shown us anything, it’s that they love to travel and they really value experiences over things. Though younger, they spend more on travel than Gen X, which to me is a shocking statistic. But they’re willing to forgo certain luxuries in their daily lives if it means they can travel more and enjoy enriching experiences. This has and will continue to define what tourism offers in forms of products and services.

Q: How can someone be the best prepared for a trip into a new culture?
A: It sounds corny, but the good tourist will be one who leaves home with an open mind. Political leaders do not define their people, and so we need to forget whatever prejudices we may have about a country and instead be willing to learn about a new culture from the people themselves. Basic education is also key. Read up on new places you visit, learn about their history and be prepared to chat with folks about their lives from a position of education instead of ignorance.