We are happy to introduce a new travel column from next month from Mathieu Cadart, a Mapleton local and Mobile Travel Agent. Mathieu walks the walk, having stayed in over 63 countries, and can arrange the best places to stay, eat, and visit for an amazing holiday. Isn’t that what we need and deserve after three years of being cooped up?
by Victoria McGuin
“I have recently returned to one of my greatest jobs and passions – travel!” Mathieu shared with his big, warm smile.
“I was in the travel industry for over 10 years helping craft holidays for people, providing experience and inspiration for travellers over every continent.
“I left to care for my father who passed in 2020, and then COVID really hit, so I moved from travel back to uni to attain a master’s degree in counselling, focussing on drama therapy.
“As the world begins to recover from the pandemic, and our need to explore has awoken, I have decided to head back into the role with MTA (Mobile Travel Agents) as my own boss, whilst having all the systems and support in place from MTA.”
From his early 20s travel was in Mathieu’s blood. “I have lived in Tasmania, Sydney, South Korea, England and Canada. I came to the Sunny Coast in 2014 after a long stint overseas and have found home.
“My father owned an amazing property in Mapleton, and as his leukemia moved into the final stages my partner and I moved in with him to provide round-the-clock care. Within two short months, he passed away and I inherited his home. We absolutely love it here, and love being so close to him still.”
Being a food lover, I wondered what Mathieu’s favourite dish was from his travels.
“I honestly do not have a favourite food. When I lived in Korea, I loved eating kimchi and Korean BBQ, in Canada I loved the poutine, in Vietnam I adore Pho, and Mexican food is simply incredible! So fresh, tasty and spicy!
“I try to experience and enjoy what the locals enjoy (minus the deep-fried tarantulas in Cambodia – yuck!).”
Mathieu adores many of the places he has visited. “I love the countryside of Ireland, the dunes in Abu Dhabi, the Fjords of Norway, the rivers in Europe, and the bustling markets of Hong Kong.
“Each destination has so much to offer, and I am always finding things to fall in love with at each one!
“Travel is for the soul what nutrients are for the body. When we travel, and remain open to new cultures, ways of living and experiences we can really find ourselves. We can learn to appreciate who we are in our own culture, what we have, and evolve as humans.
“We can connect with parts of ourselves undiscovered and grow as individuals and as part of a community. We collect stories, which become part of our tapestry to share, and we can reflect on and learn to celebrate the differences we all have that make us who we are.”
Mathieu has had plenty of memorable experiences across the world, but Zambia is one that sticks in his mind.
“I was in a luxury camp in Zambia. I had not been to Africa before, and on the first night a group of us were sitting in an open, outside dining space breaking bread and enjoying dinner. In the distance, near a river I saw a hippo and was stunned. As it was night, I couldn’t see that well, but I knew it was a hippo (at a nice safe distance).
“As the meal went on, and it became pitch black I forgot about the hippo. That is until candles were lit on the table, and there was our hippo friend not even five feet from our table staring at us!
“I screamed, making the hippo jump, making the entire table shake, and thought ‘That’s it, we are all done for. We are hippo dinner,” and I tried to bolt.
“One of the camp workers grabbed me, introduced me to Bella, the hippo, and let me know she comes up every night to say hello and eat scraps!”
Mathieu still has many places he’s keen to visit, but he always loves coming home to the hinterland, being with his family, walking his dog and appreciating every day.
“I am excited to share more travel stories with the HT readers in my upcoming columns,” said Mathieu, as we parted company. So are we, Mathieu!