Parting Shots: Matt Stabile’s Amsterdam

2 09 2014

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Matt Stabile is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of TheExpeditioner.com. You can read his writings, watch his travel videos, purchase the book he co-edited or contact him via email at any time at  The Expeditioner Travel Site

1.   Why do you love travel?

I love to travel for probably the reason most travelers do: meeting new people, discovering new cultures, learning about other destinations, trying new food and getting out of my comfort zone. I also love to travel when it involves me leaving cold North American and heading somewhere warm.

2. How far in advance do you plan your trips?

Probably far less in advance than is advisable. I sometimes jump on really good flight prices, which means I could be traveling weeks in advance, and many of my trips are related to the web site, which sometimes means I’m being asked to travel somewhere in less than two weeks time. Otherwise, I think three months is a good target advance date.

3. Who do you travel with?

For the last few years, I’ve been travel solo, which means I pick up a plethora of travel friends along the way. If I’m traveling for the site, it’s usually with other journalists. No offense journalists, but I prefer the random backpacker.

4. What has surprised you about travel?

I can’t say that I went into traveling with any particular pre-conceived notions that it would be difficult, or transformative, or expensive — I just kept an open mind and expected to have a great time, which has happened 99% of the time while I’m traveling. I guess I’m somewhat surprised by how you can basically wander into any hostel or cafe around the world and you’re likely to run into an Israeli backpacker — man, the Israelis love to travel.

5. What do you know now that you wish you knew before your first big trip? / change this one to something like What’s one suggestion you have for travelers?

Early on, as is natural for newbie travelers, I tended to overplan and overpack. Nowadays, I significantly scale back the number of places I’m planning to visit while traveling, and I tend to skip making definitive lodging plans ahead of time. This way I can be mobile and free to stay as long, or as little, wherever I happen to be. I also try to basically lay out everything I want to pack, then try to scale it back 50%. I still end up using far less than I bring, but it’s better than how I used to pack.

6. Favorite moment was…

I can’t even begin to try to rank them. I loved the time I took a motorbike from the border crossing between Cambodia and Vietnam during dusk, experiencing the nightlife in Stockholm the week of Midsummer when the sun wouldn’t go down until 2 a.m., discovering the undeveloped beach in Tofo in Mozambique, seeing my first lion while on safari in Africa . . . The list goes on, but each memory has a special place in my head.

7. Best time to go…

It’s always great to go away during the holidays here in the U.S. Why put up with the hassle and the fuss of Thanksgiving when you can head somewhere warm and take advantage of the days off from work. Visit your family the week before, then book a great getaway the week of Thanksgiving.

8. Gay factor

Well, I like girls, so I don’t have much to contribute here, but I don’t think travel varies much whether you’re straight, gay, male, female, Chinese, left-handed or color-blind: the essence of travel should be the same for everyone — which is to say, head out into the world and meet as many new people and learn as much as you can about the world around you as you can during those few, precious years you have here on earth, and you’re more than likely to come out the other end a better person.

MORE AMSTERDAM IMAGES

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As you walk further away from the center of town, you will begin to notice the canals are filled more and more with houseboats. In fact, Houseboats in the Amsterdam Canals there are an estimated 2,500 houseboats that locals call home within the city limits — a unique solution for a city with a dearth of land-based housing but lots and lots of water.

I found myself having visions of moving here and finally fulfilling my dream of being Crockett from Miami Vice (although, this being Amsterdam, I doubt very much there would be much to do as a police officer working the vice beat).

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The above and below image were taken from the same canal bridge, the first of a great travel quote I’d never come across before, the second a shot of the flowers adoring the bridge — a good chance for me to play around with the camera’s depth of field (and to get my art on).

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And should there be any doubt as to the influence (and money) the dance music scene has had in The Netherlands, the above office tower located across the river from the center of Amsterdam — once home to Royal Dutch Shell — is being developed by a group co-led by Groet after winning a bid among over 20 other development proposals. (Dutch Music Scene Revenue http://adamtoren.nl/creative-hub According to the A’DAM web site, the Dutch dance industry contributes more than 500 million euros to the Dutch economy each year and employs about 7,000 full-time employees.)

The newly developed tower will be home to a new hotel, several floors of office space dedicated solely to the music industry, a club in the basement named Hell, and a rooftop club called Heaven, complete with 360-degree views of the city and Swingset A’DAM, a swingset installation that will allow partiers to swing from the roof out into the open sky (yes, really). Look for its scheduled opening in late 2015.

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