MCM: Matt Oliveira
“I think experiences are twenty times better than material things,” says Matt Oliveira, flight attendant and ultimate thrill seeker.
For some, not knowing what city you’ll wake up in the next day might be distressing, but Matt thrives on spontaneity. “I definitely just go with the flow,” he says. As someone who wants to take advantage of every opportunity the world has to offer, Matt found his dream job with flight attending even though he didn’t always know it would be his future career. “I was in college and my mom actually suggested it to me. She was like, ‘Why don’t you try being a flight attendant?’ and once I did it I was like, ‘This is amazing, I wish I had done this sooner.’”
Matt documents his adventures on YouTube, including 24-hour overnight challenges and mystery flights, a vlog series where his Instagram followers choose his next destination. Mystery flights have taken Matt around the world to places like Australia and Ireland. Before becoming a world traveler, Matt was a college student. “Some people do like that [type of life],” he says. “Like, I have friends who have kids and are settled down and they love it. Some people like routines, but I’m the complete opposite.”
Tell me about your favorite place you’ve been to or adventure that you’ve had.
“That’s tough. There’s been a lot, but I’d say swimming with sharks in Dubai. [Dubai] was one of the mystery destinations and they had this big aquarium with sharks, and if you had a scuba certification you could go. So I was like, ‘Alright, let’s do it.’ And I didn’t tell my mom until afterwards so she’d know I was safe. It was one of the scariest things I’ve done, I’d definitely do it again.”
I’m going to guess that the best part about being a flight attendant is traveling, right?
“Oh, yeah, definitely. And I like getting to interact with the passengers. My airline lets me kind of show my personality, so I’m always telling jokes and making them laugh.”
Do you ever get homesick?
“Definitely at first. I have a lot of respect for people who have to pack up and leave. Like, you miss birthday parties and holidays. Last Christmas we celebrated a couple of days late, so sometimes [holidays] are just when everybody’s there. But I have really supportive parents and I know not everybody has that so I’m definitely blessed.”
Do you ever have people tell you that you’re living their dream life and that they wish they could do what you’re doing?
“All the time.”
What’s your typical response?
“‘You can be doing it, too. Like, I’m not special.’ I’ll send mass texts to everyone who’s said they want to be a flight attendant and tell them when the airline is hiring and say, ‘There you go.’ People try to make excuses like, ‘I don’t want to be on a plane all the time,’ or something like that. But, like, you have to really want it.”
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned from traveling?
“I guess to just be yourself and do what you love. There’s a certain amount of authenticity – you know, people can tell when you’re being yourself and when you’re not.
“I have, like, this note section in my phone, it’s like inspirational things that I always write down. Just a few things like, ‘Be unapologetically yourself.’ That’s kind of encompassing be yourself and do what you love. And also, ‘Whatever you do, do it 100 percent.’ Like, my first job, I was flipping burgers at Burger King, which actually we don’t flip the burgers, but if you’re working at Mickey D's you better flip those burgers as fast as you can, you know? Just never slack.”
If you don’t mind talking about it, earlier I learned that you have cystic fibrosis. Does that affect your traveling? Is that the reason why you decided to try and travel as much as you can?
“That was definitely part of it. But sometimes I don’t even feel like I have [cystic fibrosis]. Like, I had a doctor’s appointment the other day and my lung function was at 108 percent, so better than most people’s. But I do know that with cystic fibrosis, lung function does deteriorate overtime, so yeah, I’m just out here trying to live my best life.”
Do you have any advice for someone who wants to live their dream?
“Do whatever gets you hyped up and engaged with it and excited. I try to tell people, when they don’t know what to do, whatever makes you smile every day, try to somehow figure out how to make money from it. Do that a lot. Just do that all the time, whatever it is. I don’t care what it is, but if it makes you happy, just do it.
“And I don’t think money is real, personally. Like, I’m doing all these adventures that are self-funded, but that’s what I do with my money. You could get hit by a bus tomorrow so you’re not going to worry about, like, how cool your shoes were, you’re going to remember that time you swam with sharks in Dubai. I’ll remember that. And that’s what everybody else will remember too.”
What do you see in your future? Or do you just want to leave that an open book?
“I’m not a big future guy. I just want to continue to see the world, have fun, put smiles on other people’s faces, and just adventure. I don’t know, I just want to do the most fun things that the world has to offer.”