Name: Sarah Mathieu
Occupation: Entertainment Marketing
Thank you for your time Sarah, lets get started by giving us a quick introduction about yourself?
French, born in Singapore with an American accent.
That’s the quick and easy summary for the lazy.
If you know me well, you will without a doubt say I don’t do simple. Never have, never will. Before I could even develop a memory, my father inspired me to travel. At the age of two, I was in New Zealand. At the age of five, I was riding on a motorcycle driven by a local in Thailand. At the age of ten, I was carrying two oxygen tanks on my back for my first diving experience in the Maldives.
Then came my time to craft a journey of my own. It started with Spain as I had an itch to learn the language and immerse myself into a new culture. So I did. It continued with Europe as a whole, drifting away from reality and entering a fantasy amongst some of the worlds most iconic artistic wonders of the world. And now, my curiosity feeds itself by what I refer to as “the quest of the unknown.” I will often travel with friends and family but when I am on my own, the turns I take are where I get my stories. It’s not an answer I am seeking, it’s a unique story that has yet to be discovered. Bring it to life. After all, a story is all that remains of us.
Where are you in the world currently.
Los Angeles. Mainly for my job, and I intend to make it one of my home bases as I continue to work in the entertainment industry. I assume we can say that I need a few home bases in order to balance both of my professions. Travel and entertainment. They don’t necessarily go hand in hand, but I believe you can make everything you put your mind to, work. I also get to venture to beautiful places such as Big Sur, Yosemite, Death Valley and more.
Where do you plan to get to this year?
This year is a bit of a break for me. I am taking small trips as I develop a creative project that is under the radar for now. I will be traveling most weekends, and a big chunk of the summer. This is only a preparation of what is to come next, which will be the prime time of my travel journey.
There is a hint- the end goal or incentive of my next journey is dedicated to the journey for another. Many others. We live in a world where everyone has a story, yet we focus the majority of our time on ourselves. We forget that someone else, whether they are a door or a continent away, also carry an inspiring, jaw-dropping life experience. To me, that is what I value most in life so I have made it my goal to do everything in my power and let these individuals have a voice to be heard. How? That’s the part I haven’t shared with anyone yet, but it’s not an easy process! Hence, the break.
What has been your all time favorite place?
My heart belongs to Australia. It is a country that brought me back on my feet, literally. I was running around in circles after a very challenging period in my life. I used to childishly tell my dad “I want to go to Australia.” Very quickly, that joke became a reality so I packed my bags, bought a ticket and left. The moment I landed, I felt free. It sounds cliché but if you travel enough, you will have that feeling in at least one place and mine was Australia.
I will never find the words to describe the energy Australia carried that helped me so much but it lifted me up in ways I could not see before. When people ask me how was Australia. I simply say, it’s everything you will ever imagine it to be. I would not be who I am or where I am without my passage through Australia. Let’s just put it this way, I will be living a good chunk of my life in Australia.
Could you share us your all time favorite photo you have taken travelling?
Gold in the air. This photo was taken on my way out from Angkor Wat in Cambodia. It depicts everything to me. Everyone at the temple was visiting because that’s what you do. After four hours of wandering, I decided to explore what was around this temple because that’s what I do. I drift, all the time. I walked through a few ins and outs, ultimately leading towards the smoke I smelled and saw. I kept walking and this was my stop. Right here. Just as it is in the photo. Simple yet undeniably powerful. Beautiful, emotive, and expressive. A boy who is wise, righteous, strong, and young. Everyone around me was so vain, and still is daily, but in this photo you feel him, his curiosity, his devotion, his passion. It is raw. It is everything.
What is your top backpacking tip?
Keep going. There are so many strenuous moments that make you want to scream, question or simply give up. We’ve all been there, so just get on with it. You embarked on this journey with a focus and purpose. What was your initial drive to do it? You may feel lonely, but remember what it felt like when you weren’t traveling. I can assure you I was alone when traveling but not lonely. When I don’t travel, I am surrounded by so many people yet feel so lonely. Remember not to confuse the two together. But also remember to not run away from home. Take the time to stay put occasionally because friends and family matter. Downtime matters. Balance is key.
Which thing should every backpacker carry with them?
Something to scribble on and with. What I have written on the back of a bus, or outside of a tent after a downpour, or on a tuk tuk have been some of my best write-ups. Your emotions at the time, the stories you live and hear will only be told a certain way once. If you write them while fresh, you will be doing justice to them. It is about representing others in the best way possible and honoring them. If you pride yourself to be a true traveler, then do your duty and write a story.
Do you have any words of advice or inspiration for anyone undecided about traveling?
I may be a bit harsh here, so apologies in advance. To travel is to just go. Not contemplate, not wonder if it’s going to be difficult. The reality is that you are going to get lost, you are going to get tired, you will run out of money, and you will fall in and out of love with people that you may never see again. That is what you get but also, you gain a lifetime of experiences that build you.
Every memory I have from my adventures, good or bad, have been life changing and frankly, the best days of my life to this point. Not a day goes by without me thinking of my traveling. The people I have met are the ones I trust the most today and ironically enough, they are the most creative minds I have had the honor of spending time with. Everyday you will be introduced to a new scenery, person, story, taste, smell, and the list goes on. So what is holding you back? If you’re in a relationship, take them with you. If you have a job you are afraid of losing, know that when you come back you will be better at that job. If you like comfort, well prepare to find out that discomfort breeds comfort.
So my advice? Go, go, go and stop asking your friends and family if they think it’s a good idea. Many people think I am a little crazy to book a weekend getaway every week, but through that, I live new experiences. Cheesy line here but when you’re 40, you will regret more the things you didn’t do vs did do. So be a doer and not a talker. Walk the talk or you will never be a true traveler.
What has been your favorite food whilst away?
Tough one! I do love the occasional authentic delicacy such as crickets or tarantulas but I must say nothing will beat my favorite Moroccan Tagine. A slow cooking stew with a blend of aromatic spices such as turmeric, cumin, ginger, cardamom, paprika and more. In the middle of the desert, you cook this dish, let it simmer for a few hours and then enjoy it with some couscous. It’s simple but delicious. This delicacy doesn’t even require a fork, just your good old hands!
What has been your favorite activity whilst away?
Sharing stories. It doesn’t matter in what language, or what age the person is, I love hearing the stories and telling my own. There is something very special about yourself when you travel that you discover. You are filled with great stories, you just never have found the people to tell them to.
When you’re on a journey, you loosen up and all judgment fades on both spectrums. So when you listen to a story, you soak it in, you are amazed and want to do nothing but keep listening. The same happens when you share your own story. You want to keep going, and tell the next one. The evening then turns into a 6 hour session of storytelling and every emotion has been shared. You get angry, sad, happy, delirious but you feel alive.
The latest story that truly changed me was in Cambodia. The Sambath family for whom I am now starting a fund for. A family with nothing, yet the most smiles I had seen in a span of 24 hours. I realized that being kind and good hearted is what matters the most because through that, springs genuine happiness. You don’t need any materialistic coating to fuel your happiness, just simple company and generosity. This family changed me for the better, and I owe them everything. Which is why, I am now starting a fund to get the girls to school.
Thank you for your time Sarah, that was a truly inspirational interview, you have a brilliant outlook on travelling and life as a whole.
We will certainly stay in touch and keep track of your travels.
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