Jo Matyas: A Profile of a Travel Writer

by Gabrielle D’Aoust, grade 7, Kingston Christian School 

The world is a big place, too big to be seen all by one person. But Jo Matyas has a different opinion. When she first started, her idea was to travel the world for a few years of her life, doing what she loved most, writing, with this new ambition, Matyas was able to pursue her dream. Now, Matyas travels everywhere from Japan to Ontario, writing about all that she sees, eats and all the people that she meets.

Jo Matyas father owned a construction company and her mother was a stay at home   mom but had a degree in languages. As a young girl Matyas traveled to Europe with her family which started her love of travel. Matyas decided to create her own newspaper. For one week she spied on her family and recorded everything they did. She then wrote up a paper and sold it on the street for a nickel a copy. By the end of the day, she had made fifteen cents, selling three copies, one to her mother one to her father and one to her brother.

After she finished high school, Matyas decided that she wanted to do one of two things, study marine biology or environmental studies. Although she desperately wanted to become a marine biologist, her marks were just too low. After university , she decided to work for the government but quickly found out that this was not something that she enjoyed. She did this for quite a few years but eventually realised that it was not what she was meant to do. Next she decided to work at a bakery and did this for a few years until the bakery closed. But, at the age of forty,Matyas had her best idea yet.

She decided to travel the world, while writing, the two things she loved most. She also decided that she would work for herself instead of a magazine or newspaper. Although this will sometimes prove inconvenient, because it is harder to find a publisher, Matyas dislikes being told what to do. Matyas has been nearly everywhere including Ireland, Europe, Japan, China, the rainforests of Peru and Ontario. One of her most memorable trips was to an expensive hotel called Viceroy Anguilla, where one night stay costs $7000. Matyas even had a butler all to herself. She remembers, “I had no use for it! It made me feel awful!” Matyas also says, “Japan was the hardest place to be in. Why? Everything was just too different.”

Although Matyas sometimes feels like she is traveling too much and would like to take a break, she just loves it too much. For now, Matyas is at home writing and has no idea where the journalism world will take her next.

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