Behind the Scenes: Interview with our Columnist, Matthew Barby

Posted May 6, 2013 by Elica Sue in Blog


So good to have you join WildJunket team! Tell us a bit more about yourself.

I’m 23, i love taking on new adventures and I’m really a geek at heart. I love technology and am a dedicated blogger; even when I’m travelling around I make sure that I’m writing as I go.

Outside of travelling I manage online marketing for a UK digital marketing agency and this is another of my big passions. I’m looking forward to becoming one of the WildJunket team and to talk about everything that I love in one place! Alongside this I run, along with a group of friends, a travel blog (Melted Stories) where we all write about our travelling experiences, funny stories and tips for travelers.

What has been your best travel experience?

By far the best travel experience that I’ve had was when I spent the day with elephants in Chaing Mai. The elephant camp was set up to look after ex-work elephants and those that had been abused in the past so it was quite an emotional experience. I was able to ride bareback on the elephants through the jungle and then swim in the river with a whole family of them whilst giving them a well deserved wash in the process! It will take something really special to beat that day.

What are some of the places you want to go before you die?

Without doubt I would love to go and visit Machu Picchu. South America is big on my to-do list so taking a trip around the likes of Peru, Chile, Brazil and Argentina will be something that I will look to do over the next few years.

What’s the most daring thing you’ve done?

Getting into a cage with a fully grown tiger in Thailand was probably the most daring, and daunting, thing that I have done so far. Considering the teeth on these beautiful animals are bigger than my hand, you can understand my apprehension towards getting into a cage with one!

I actually wrote about my experience with the tigers here.


What’s been the strangest meal of your travels so far?

I have had a few strange meals on my travels, including the deep-fried bugs from the street vendors in East-Asia as well as some of the most exotic looking fish that I have ever came across. Having said all this, one of the funniest and strangest meals I have had was when I ordered a ‘Vegetable Burger’ in Koh Tao, which I assumed would be your standard mix of vegetables and beans deep-fried into a burger. What I was actually presented with was a bun filled with lettuce and salad cream. Not exactly what I had in mind!

Where are some of the most disappointing and surprising places you’ve been?

The most disappointing place for me that I have visited has to be Bangkok. When I first took a trip to Thailand I was really looking forward to seeing Bangkok and the amazing way of living there. What I actually found was that it was uncomfortably polluted, very claustrophobic and the food was nowhere near what I expected it to be like. But that’s just my opinion!

One of the most surprising places that I have visited has to be Palermo, Sicily. My partner and I travelled over here around a year ago on a quite impromptu trip and I have to say that it was a really unique experience. There is a plethora of things to see there and the architecture is out of this world, not to mention a wide variety of crystal clear waters to snorkel in. The culture was the main thing that pleased me. Barely anyone spoke a word of English, which was surprisingly refreshing, and this forced you to truly embrace their culture and way of living. The food was delightful and the wine even better so if I had to recommend somewhere to visit then it would have to be this wonderful Italian island.

Which of your photos is your absolute favorite? Share it with us!


This snap of me and my partner, Laura, has to be my favourite to date.

Describe your dream trip!

I think my dream trip would involve a tour around South America. I would love to see the Rio Carnival in Rio de Janeiro and spend some time Sao Paulo as well. Then I’d like to travel over to Peru and trek up to the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu and also witness the beauty of Angel falls in Venezuela. Something along these lines would be pretty damn good!

What is one item you can never travel without?

Being a huge tech geek, the one thing that I could never travel without would be my iPhone. I use it to book myself into accommodation, take my travel photos and videos, blog about my adventures on the move and provide a perfect soundtrack whilst on the move. It’s my electronic swiss-army knife and I would be lost without it. Plus, I can even open beer bottles with it so what more could I ask for!

Who is/are the best (or worst) person/people you’ve had to sit next to while traveling?

I think that the worst person I have sat next to was when I was on a 3 hour boat journey. I was sat next to a girl dressed like, and acting like, Lindsey Lohan. We were on a little boat that felt like the inside of an oven and she persisted on playing her music on her phone (without headphones) incredibly loud and decided that she was going to sing along to the music through the whole journey. I nearly tore my ears off!


Would you rather live without the internet for a year or without travel?

What a tough question! I’m really struggling on this one but I think it would have to be travel. I would then have to stalk travel blogs the world over to live my travels through them!

Do you prefer the mountain, beach, or city?

I’m more of a beach type man. My ideal situation is to be able to venture around, enjoy a nice swim, relax with a beer and see some beautiful scenery all within a wonderfully isolated beach-front.

Thanks for the interview, you’ve been granted one wish. What will it be?

Naturally, I’d love you to return the favour and let me find out a bit more about you. It would be great to get you interviewed on my Melted Stories blog and hear what amazing things you have experienced along your travels!

About the Author

Elica Sue

Elica Sue is WildJunket's web editor and writer specializing in languages and student travel. Based in California, she grew up with an exposure to a menagerie of culture, language, and art, and is a student pursuing what she is most passionate about: writing, traveling, and learning languages. She blogs at Travelengua.

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