Sombrero. Copán, Honduras.

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.

Bio:  Matt Wicks

Matt has been an independent international traveler since 2003, and maintains a commitment to travel internationally 2-6 months a year.  Matt was born and raised in St Louis, Missouri and splits his time between his hometown and the city of Atlanta, Georgia when not traveling abroad.  He has visited over 35 countries to date.

Matt has ten years experience in motion picture production and continues to work worldwide as a Producer and Production Manager of medium-to-large budget national & regional television commercials as well as web-based content.  Past clients include Anheuser-Busch, AT&T, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Nickelodeon, Reebok, and many others.  Production companies served include Park Pictures, Twist Films, Supply & Demand, Hello & Co, HSI, Limbo Films, Spots Films, among others.  Check Matt’s availability for your next project through the contact page.

Affinities:  chasing new music usually in the genres of hip hop, punk rock and electronica (let’s talk music!), skateboarding (though his knees do not share the same level of enthusiasm), steaming bowls of pho and authentic Mexican tacos.  Oh, and travel + photography, of course!

Assorted Heroes:  George Orwell, Albert Camus, Roger Deakins, Ming Thein, the GZA.

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.

BLOG, 2.0:

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.


  • gayatri says:

    went through your page while wanting to know more about andamans for designing a tour as a part of my job!! and m totally mesmerized by your narration skills and beauty of andamans…the detailed info by you will truly be helpful!!thanks!!

  • Amhran says:

    Stumbled upon your blog quite by accident. Thank you for a glimpse into the kind of life I want for myself.

  • Viv says:

    Hi Matt,
    Love your style of ‘story telling’ , we are off to follow in your footsteps next week in the Anderman Islands, thank you for all your helpful information, viv

  • Azad says:

    Hi, Thank you so much for your travel account and good feelings for Kolkata people. Thanks again, Iwant to read moe about your travel accunt!

  • Joanna says:

    Dear Matt,

    I was trying to find any way of contacting you on the website but this seems the only one. I am preparing a book on Palace of Culture in Warsaw with my colleagues from journalism studies. My part is writing an article about Palace of Culture and foreingers and I would like to know your opinion, stories etc. Would you like to be part of it?
    If so, please email me to the address attached to this message.

    Thank you and hope to hear soon from you

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