Welcome to GreatDistances! This site exists and grows for two reasons: a strong desire to share useful travel information and related storytelling with other independent travelers, and as a framework in which to exhibit the original travel/street photography of Matt Wicks.
Reason #1: Sharing Useful Travel Information For Independent Travelers
Independent travel is still one of life’s great adventures and joys, and nothing helps a traveler along their way more than reliable, complete, comparative information. On GreatDistances, you’ll find a combination of storytelling and procedurals that will help you shape your travel preparations, travel budget, destinations and expectations. If I can help you pack your bag, safely cross a border, earn unexpected airline miles, save you from a known travel hassle or scam, or steer you toward a great experience, I’ve done my job.
Reason #2: A Love of Photography
My interest in photography grew directly from traveling, and has since become one the primary reasons for my travels. Here, you’ll find a healthy mix of street photography in busy markets, landscapes shot from mountaintops, interesting faces, and other elements of documentary-style photography and “pretty pictures” captures. I am also a fan of photographic techniques and equipment, and will share news, reviews and tips.
How Did This Site Come To Be?
Content generation as a result of travel has been a slow-burning thing for me. In 2012, I started a travel blog like many travelers do: I picked up a free site from a blogging platform, bought a netbook and picked up my camera, and started putting words and pictures up for no particular reason. It was just something to do that so many others were doing, and a seeming way to relate travel stories to family and friends. A digital postcard of sorts.
But as the digital postcard grew, it demanded more content, more balance, more of a mission statement, more of a reason-to-be. The existence of the site itself made me think: why do I feel compelled to travel? What am I really trying to share from my travels? Am I actually a skilled photographer or am I just a guy with a camera getting lucky shots? Do I even like looking at my own website? I find these sorts of questions very motivating, and have been working on my writing, photography, design and the way I think about travel itself, accordingly.
In 2015, I migrated existing content on my old blog to WordPress open source, purchased a proper domain name (this one) and web hosting plan, and redesigned everything with readability/viewability/connectivity in mind, and rethought and rewrote many of my prior posts. What you see here is the result.
List of Countries Visited
Austria, Bahamas, Belize, Canada, Costa Rica, El Salvador, England, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, Germany, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Italy, Kenya, Laos, Latvia, Lithuania, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Myanmar, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, USA.
Check out my TripAdvisor Travel Map for greater detail.
The GreatDistances Travel Style
PACK: everything I need for a given trip into one internal frame backpack and a day pack.
MOVE: default to use of public transport whenever cost/time effective. Fly for free with miles/points whenever possible.
EAT: On the street or in restaurants where locals eat – and cook a bit along the way to save money.
SLEEP: For under $10-15/night whenever possible, with the occasional splurge as appropriate.
SEEK: Meaningful experiences and self-education over simply ticking “seen that” boxes and/or accumulating passport stamps.
BUILD: Friendships and relationships with as many locals, local business owners and fellow travelers as I can along the way.
SHARE: Travel experiences, information and imagery with you!
I look forward to speaking with any/all of you through the site, and to sharing experiences with you on the road.