Please, Nomadic Matt, Help A Poor College Student and a Traveling Ukulele Visit Europe

Dear Nomadic Matt,

My name is Kay and I am a sophomore at Rice University. I’m studying cognitive sciences, which is kind of like psychology except a little more neuroscience-y. Other than that, I really don’t know what I’m doing with my life. All I know about myself is that I constantly have an itch to travel and I’m not very good at staying in one place.

(at the Chocolate Hills of Bohol, Philippines)

I’m an avid ukulele player and photographer. My ukulele, named Snapdragon, and my camera travel everywhere with me. I also love to write and I bring a trusty Moleskine notebook with me wherever I go.

(Snapdragon on a flight to Hong Kong)

I also have a deep desire to learn how to speak other languages. Last year, I made over 100 Icelandic flashcards merely because I thought it sounded cool.

(Me and my Icelandic flashcards)

Snapdragon and I also like to write songs when we’re home alone (but I guess that’s not too important right now).

I am always up for any excuse to come in contact with other cultures, traditions, languages, and (most importantly) food!

So why should you ship me off to Europe for 12 days?

As a college student, I usually live like this:

and like this:

but I want to live like this:

which is where you, Nomadic Matt, come in.

I love traveling, especially traveling alone, and I’d do it all the time if I could. I have a “Travel Fund” box sitting on my desk for every cent of spare change that I come by. I even had my mom sell my car to fund my trip to Asia last summer. I love the feeling of landing in a foreign country, learning its language, meeting people and hearing their stories. I believe in taking responsible (and safe) risks when I travel, going out on a limb to talk to strangers, and learning as much about a place as I can.

(Hanging out with some local children in Guatemala)

But let’s face it. I’m a typical poor college student. I’m taking out a lot of loans to be here right now and a lot of the money I make at my part-time office job is going to pay for my education here. International travel often seems like a distant dream from my crowded dorm room here in Houston.

I promise that if I’m given the chance to go to Budapest, Prague, and Vienna, I’ll talk to friendly strangers, eat the delicious food, and go out of my comfort zone. I’ll try to learn the languages, lose my way, and then find my way around again.

I’ll explore the ancient buildings of Prague, getting lost in the fairytale-esque spires of the city.


While in Vienna, I’ll indulge in beautiful music performances and delicious food, being sure to soak in every second of the very artistic culture there.

(Credit: Renewable Energy World — Europe)

And of course, in Budapest, I’ll immerse myself (quite literally) in the world-famous baths, while also taking in the vibrant Hungarian traditions and culture in the process.

(Credit: Best of Budapest)

Most importantly, I hope to learn about an area of the world I’m totally unfamiliar with. I’ve been hearing about these cities in world history, music, and literature classes for my entire life, yet I’ve never set foot in any of them. I promise you that the most important takeaway from my time in Europe will be the lessons I learn about life in Eastern Europe, which is much more valuable than any one experience alone. (Plus, I promise to come back with some beautiful photographs and stories as well!)

So, to put all of this into perspective, Snapdragon and I will write a song about each destination we go to and we’ll post it on our blog. So, in addition to the surprise at the end of this entry, we’ll record a musical video and include it in our blog posts about each place we go. We won’t let you down 🙂

To “rap” things up, in order to adequately describe to you how much I want this trip, I’ll let this short video do the talking.

I am so honored to have had the opportunity to go out on a limb and enter your contest. Danke, děkuji, and köszönöm, Matt, from one of the many young (and young at heart) travelers that you’ve inspired with your stories and advice.

Keep It Real,


**This post is an entry to Nomadic Matt’s 12-Day Trip to Europe Contest!


***All images are linked to their original web sites.



  1. Great post – good luck!

  2. Carmen V Rodriguez · · Reply

    YOLO. Travelling frees the mind and nurtures the spirit.

  3. Good luck! This is a great blog post and I hope you win!

  4. · · Reply

    Great video, Kay!

    Sent from my iPhone

  5. Great vid! Hope you get there 🙂

  6. The perfect score to your post would be

    Good luck!

  7. Hope you win this!!

  8. Good luck from Cebu, Kay!

  9. Haha great post, I love your openness and your photo’s really speak about who you are. Keep up the good work and best of luck!

    1. Thanks so much Adam. I’m really crossing my fingers and hoping I win!


  10. Great creativity & post! Good luck in the contest, I hope you win!!

    1. Thanks Michelle! I’ll be posting an announcement with an update about the contest sometime very soon, so stay on the lookout! Thank you so much for your kind words 🙂 You made my day!


  11. emofalltrades · · Reply

    I hope you win! This made my day. 🙂

  12. Congratulations, Kay! I see that you did indeed win the contest. After reading your post and seeing your video, it was well deserved, and it couldn’t have gone to a better person. Have a wonderful time.

    1. Thank you Globe Trottin Granny. I actually saw your video and you seem like a very endearing and lovely person. I appreciate your kind words and your visit to my blog, and good luck in all of your travels!


  13. Have a great trip 🙂 I can see why you won too! Hah, it was a good post and definitely well deserved. Shall take notes for next time 😛

    1. Thanks, Rachel! 🙂 And thanks for stopping by my blog.


  14. Tell The Truth · · Reply

    Amazing photos!!!

    1. Thank you!


  15. You will win and you will LOVE Budapest and Prague… two of my favorite places in the entire world!!!

    1. I actually did win! So I’ll be headed over there in December and I’m super excited. Any suggestions for my time there? 🙂

  16. Hope you win and thanks for stopping and checking out my Russian Adventure.

  17. A well-deserved win! ~ Kat

    1. Kat,

      Thank you very much! I appreciate you stopping by my blog and for your continued support 🙂 I love your blog as well!


  18. Great post and keep blogging!!

    1. Thank you so much for stopping by and for your compliment! 🙂


  19. Wow! Congratulations! I am delighted to read that you won the trip, and I look forward to reading all about it.

    1. Thanks Dara! You are so kind. Thanks for stopping by and for your kind words 🙂


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