thinkCHUA is the wonderful, caring, husband of LOCAVORista. He was born and raised in Minnesota and graduated from the University of Minnesota majoring in Economics with a Spanish minor. Upon graduation he intended to work for international development agencies, but found himself working for a venture capital firm. Following the advice of his mother he spent his 20’s gaining as much diversified business experience as possible while learning what he is good and bad at. He intends to return to school at some point and proceed with his goal of taking over the world making the world a better place.
Growing up thinkCHUA traveled often. By the time he graduated college he had traveled extensively in over 20 countries in Europe, Asia and Latin America. He spent months traveling on $10 a day in South America, celebrated the new millennium in Amsterdam while backpacking solo at 17, completed a foreign service project in Honduras following Hurricane Mitch, swam with fresh water dolphins in the Amazon, climbed to over 20,000 feet in the Andes and pet a fully grown Rhinoceros.
Where does thinkCHUA come from?
I am best known as Chua. There are many people named Matt, but growing up there was only one Chua family. I am pretty sure I graduated high school with people that didn’t know my first name. I chose “thinkCHUA” because I want my name constantly associated with the action of thinking. It also provides me a good reminder to think…
What lead you to taking this adventure?
Both LOCAVORista and I are curious people by nature and as curious people, the world provides many things we want to see, do and learn. The more we have traveled, the more we have wanted to see. We realized that there was a limited window in life for taking a trip such as this. We didn’t have any debt, kids, and were mentally prepared to leave our jobs for school or the Peace Corp in the immediate future. With the money saved, we knew: “this is it, it’s never going to a better time than now”. We realized we couldn’t be 70, look back and say, “I had the chance to do this, but didn’t”, we had to live our ifs.
How did you make the decision to do this?
A key decision point was when we dedicated the trip to the hard and time intensive travel. The hard travel is the 3rd world, the 30-hour bus rides on unpaved roads, the stomach illnesses, and the arduous high altitude hikes. This is the travel that wears on your body, but teaches you the most. This is the travel that is increasingly difficult as your age increases and where you learn the most. It isn’t without leaving the safe confines of the first world that you push your limits, learn your adaptability, and see how the “other 90%” live. We gain compassion and understanding from seeing how the majority of people live, it makes our day-to-day drama and self-pity seem pretty trivial.
Do you think this trip will help you professionally?
I realize a lot of the economic growth of our generation will come from the 3rd world. There are only so many new features people in the Western world need in their TVs, the big markets are the developing nations. In this I believe I will find opportunities that could shape my life.
What will you miss most while traveling?
Safe and healthy food. In the US the LOCAVORista and I know where much of our food comes from, we know the farmers. We fill in the rest with Whole Foods and other generally organic foods. In much of the world we won’t be able to choose our food sources or know what chemicals, bacteria, or ingredients are.
What are you looking forward to most?
No schedules, hopefully no alarm clocks. Everyday is a Saturday and we can stay in places we like, move at our own pace, and have control over our lives like rarely before.
What is your biggest fear about this trip?
Other people’s expectations. I don’t know how this will affect me personally and LOCAVORista and I. Everyone has their own ideas about how this will end, what we should/shouldn’t do, we will surely disappoint and not necessarily have more answers after than we do prior.
Fast forward, how will this adventure end?
Pregnancy. Just kidding, that’s really not funny at all. I have no idea how it will end, but I sincerely hope it will not be pregnancy. Ideally we find a place that we realize is where we want to build our future together.