Matthew Hranek is a NYC-based photographer and the guy behind The William Brown Project–a blog dedicated to all his outdoorsy, meat-curing, bird-hunting, bourbon-swilling pursuits. When he’s not in the city or upstate New York tapping trees for sap or raising pigs for his homegrown charcuterie label of the same name, Matthew is likely traveling the world with his wife Yolanda and daughter for magazines like Travel + Leisure, Town & Country, and Garden & Gun. His approach to travel, not surprisingly, is authentic, food-focused and fiercely local.
Last trip? Kentucky—I went down to an antique show in Louisville, stuck around for the food, thrift store finds and bourbon.
Most meaningful travel experience? The open-air market in Hoi An. At 5am, it was 100 degrees. The sight, smells, and product were completely overwhelming—like nothing I’d ever seen before. Magical.
Why is travel important to you? I love the exploration. It doesn’t matter if it’s exotic or mundane, international or in my own backyard. I love collecting the experience.
What’s one thing you always try to do in a new place? It’s important to me to find whatever food is specific to the place. What’s local, what’s the take-away–that’s what I’m on the hunt for, In Louisville it was the small batch bourbons, and thrifting for Kentucky Derby glasses.
What do you look for in a trip? The excitement of the exposure to new things. Discovering the secret of the place.
Most interesting place you’ve ever stayed? I like old-school service, people who are committed to their jobs as hoteliers–I’ve found these places all over, but some of my favorites are The Sunset Tower in LA, the Aman in Phuket, the Baur au Lac in Zurich.
Favorite travel purchase? The list is endless, but: there was a grappa still brought back from Montepulciano, safari table and chairs from Kenya, the most perfect grooming implements from Milan, and many cured meats and cheeses that I managed to sneak past customs.
Next trip? I love Florida–maybe another trip to the Everglades.