Rulebreakers Series: Matthew Vandeputte

15 questions with the YouTube star, influencer and globally recognised hyper-lapse photographer.

Here at The Travel Bootcamp, we define a ‘Rulebreaker’ as an original thinker who walks their own path. In the rulebreakers series, we sit down with some of the industry’s most prolific creators to chat about everything from successes to failures to productivity hacks to faved social media platforms (naturally).

15 questions on success

With Matthew Vandeputte

AKA @Matjoez


1. What’s the one rule you always break?

“That rule about not giving too much of your time away – I don’t listen to that rule.

“People need to understand the importance of actually giving your time generously to others – it goes a long way, especially in this industry.”


2. What was the one defining moment in your career where you realised that you were on your way to success?

 “The day I got an email from an agency who were wanting to pay $10,000 for a 2-minute video.

“Not too long before that I was working in a desk job getting paid 1,700 euros a month.

“For me to be getting paid $10,000 for one video was a big deal – I thought, this must be a once-off but after that it happened again and again and it’s still happening today.”


3. What defines you as different to the thousands of others trying to break into your field?

“I’m constantly pushing myself. In this industry especially, I think it’s important to always keep learning and innovating, otherwise, you’ll get left behind.

“I’m also really generous with helping people, I don’t try to keep all of my knowledge to myself. I try to help others and support others in this industry and there aren’t many people I know that do that so I think that sets me apart.”

“I got paid $10,000 for a 2 minute video.”



Considered attending The Travel Bootcamp?

4. What’s the biggest mistake you see others make trying to get to where you are?

“I think people just copying other people, if you’re going to copy some other thing or person how are you going to have longevity in what you do?

“You can’t fake it for that long. You’ve got to find your own style because otherwise, you’re just a copy and no one is interested in that.”


5. What do you foresee as the next big trend?

“I think social media-wise, Tik Tok is going to take off. People think it’s big right now, but it’s about to get so much bigger.

“Timelapse-wise, people are always coming up with new things – I think drone work and aerial timelapse will continue to pick up speed. 

“Cameras are getting better, resolutions are improving and people are applying hyperlapse photography to new styles and that’s what inspires me to constantly come up with new things as well, like my bus video in London (see here).


6. Can you tell us about your most painful failure and what you learnt from it?

“I look back on a trip I took to Vanuatu – I went there to shoot a documentary with a friend about climate change and the impact the changing climate has on the South Pacific Island nation. But I never finished the project. It was a really important project for me, and I put so much pressure on it to be perfect that in the end I never got it done.

“It’s not a failure yet, because I still have time to complete it but what I’ve learnt is that sometimes you just need to ask for help on things, to work with other people and just get projects done rather than waiting until they’re perfect.


7. How do you deal with people in your life who don’t support your vision?

“I truly believe having passion and drive is really important and if people don’t recognize that, then I don’t have time for those people.

“I choose the people I spend most of my time with very carefully.”

“To stay focussed, shut off your wifi.”



Q8. Success often requires sacrifice. What have you had to sacrifice?

“I moved to Australia, which is on the other side of the world to my entire family.

“I know my career wouldn’t have been the same had I have stayed in Belgium, but by moving to Australia I lost a lot of time with people who are obviously very, very dear to me. And that’s always on my mind.”


9. What’s your ultimate goal?

“I want to be happy, I don’t have to be rich, I just want to have enough money to live comfortably, have fun with friends and family and be able to travel.

“It’s not too complicated.”


10. What do you long for?

“Meaningful connections with people; real friendships, none of the shallow stuff.

“Another thing that’s important to me is having an impact; I want to leave the world a better place.

“I want to be known for doing good things, not just cool things.

“That’s why I try to use my voice and my platform to raise awareness for important issues – I understand the privilege it is to have this platform and influence. I think it’s really important for anyone who has a following, or wants to have a following to understand the responsibility that comes with that.”

“It’s better to get projects completed, rather than waiting for them to be perfect.”



11. What practices have you incorporated into your routine to ensure you stay mentally and physically fit?

“Being physically fit is so important for my mental health. So going to the gym, exercising, eating healthily and not drinking too many beers (even though I’m from Belgium) is really crucial.

“Just a few months ago I started exercising for the first time since doing a lot of travel and right away my mental state, mood, energy, drive, motivation all just shot up. It just proves that physical exercise is massively linked to my mental health.

“Getting into nature regularly also helps.

“And I think that doing things for other people, like cooking dinner for my girlfriend, is also really rewarding – I find it almost therapeutic, it’s something I really enjoy and I love making her happy.


12. How do you set your day up for success?

“Using lists, prioritizing tasks and blocking off time.

“Efficiency is key. So, I don’t have my emails open all day, sometimes I’ll even shut off my wifi to stay really focussed. I have a tendency to get super distracted by Facebook.

“I also batch time, so for instance, Monday is my admin day –  I figure people with regular jobs usually hate Monday’s so I decided to do my least favourite tasks that day, too. I get admin out of the way at the start of the week so then I can get stuck into the fun stuff.


13. What’s the most life-changing purchase you’ve made in the last year?

“Buying a one-way ticket to London to be with my girlfriend there. Our relationship is so much better now and I’ve met so many people and been able to see my family more since I moved.

“Making that call and really getting out of my comfort zone and moving away from everything I know again was a huge step for me.

14. What’s the one destination you’ve visited that deeply changed you?

“Vanuatu. The stories that I heard and the people that I met there gave me a new perspective on the planet and how people live and how you don’t need anything extravagant to be happy –  to experience that first-hand was life-changing.

“I want to be known for doing good things, not just cool things.”



15. What’s the one piece of advice you’d give 5-year-old Matt?

“You’re stronger than you think.”


All images in this post are courtesy of @Matjoez.

Thinking about attending The Travel Bootcamp?