Australian solar power scientist travels the world for 15 years, takes photos, writes stuff, has toothpaste confiscated.

I'm Matt, a scientist and writer travelling the world for the past 15 years. Sign up to my newsletter and get access to special content, travel tips and the latest news as it happens. You'll also receive a free ebook of photos of my favourite places from around the world. Join 545 other subscribers. It's FREE and you can unsubscribe anytime. No spam EVER.

About Confiscated Toothpaste

I’m Dr. Matt Edwards, a solar power scientist from Australia, and this is a website about chemistry.

One of the most incredible sunsets remembered because of the friends I was with. Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina.

I don’t mean chemistry as in acids and alkalis and salts and solutions. I’m talking about something a little more abstract, something more akin to romance or fire.

How can one define those terms? They are related to love and sexuality, but that’s not quite the full picture either. There are many components that fire the soul, and give a person the chemistry that powers their existence. For me they are science, art, love, history, technology and travel.

This is a website about the fascination of being on Planet Earth in the 21st century, a remarkable time on a really, really, remarkable rock orbiting an unremarkable star in the Milky Way.

Anyway, bit of a wanky intro, sheesh. Here’s some of the things you’ll find here:

Solar Power

Matt with Solar Cell

Everywhere I go, I see solar panels popping up everywhere, and wind turbines too. I love it. It reminds me of how far humankind has progressed since the early days of the industrial revolution. Where we previously had coal-fired smokestacks and open-cut holes in the ground, the future is clean, green, beautiful energy producing machines.

When I’m not on this website, my dayjob is making solar photovoltaics cheaper and easier to produce. Have you heard somewhere that solar is too expensive, that it’ll never happen? Don’t believe the hype. They said the same thing about TV, the automobile, online shopping and K-pop. The truth is solar now is only 30% the cost it was in 2009! And it keeps dropping. It’s already cheaper than fossil fuels in many locations.

There is nothing more important than being good custodians of this world that we are all a product of and which we all inherit.


Lightning Storm Over Sydney, Australia

I like to take photos, make music, paint and write. The writing and music I’ve been into a long time, the photography and painting are more recent things. I also like to look at the art of others, whether its photography, theatre, architechture, and especially the mathematical patterns and colours present in nature.

I want to put more of my art on here, and highlight things that I’ve seen of others that I found amazing or interesting in the hope that you will too!



When I went on my first backpacking trip, at 21, I saved up for ages, bought a round-the-world ticket, and spent 3 months travelling the US, Europe, and Asia staying in hostels and seeing hundreds of places. It was a life-defining experience, and there were many incredible moments. There were also quite a few crappy moments. And it was super tiring.

On my second big trip, I borrowed $6000 from the bank, so desperate was I to travel again and travel better. I spent less time in hostels and more time hanging out with local people I met on my first trip or travellers that I met in my hometown of Sydney. I only had a vague plan of where I wanted to go and I spent a lot more time hanging out and getting to know a fewer number of places. If I was having fun, why leave? I also spent a lot of time in places I didn’t expect, like Finland. While the first trip was pretty fun, the second trip was an absolute blast 95% of the time.

Since then I’ve travelled mostly for work, visiting over 40 countries, and I’m a big believer that you shouldn’t quit your job to travel. As much as possible I like to find adventure locally, whether its surfing or snowboarding or flying drones.

Further afield, I’ve seen the northern lights, fallen in love in strange places, won a jackpot right after having my shoes stolen, visited former eastern bloc torture prisons, cruised to Alaska, roadtripped everywhere, and got caught up in the 9.0 Japanese earthquake. I’ve also lived in Sydney, Portland Oregon, Delaware (where?) and Finland, and got married in Brazil!

Matt at Grand Zayed Mosque, Abu Dhabi


Have you ever thought, “man I’d love to go and spend a few days in a log cabin in the mountains, no work, no distractions, just me and the serenity”?

No? Me neither! Well ok, I’ll admit the log cabin in the mountains has its appeal, and a fireplace maybe… but apart from my lil family, I’d also like to be there with my Phantom 4 drone, my Canon 6D, and the entire sum knowledge of humanity on a networked little device in my pocket. Not to mention a whole lot of music on vinyl or streamed from Spotify.

All of it solar powered and off-the-grid, of course!


You don’t have to be a punk rocker, progger or metalhead to enjoy this website, but it helps!
(Some of my current favourites are Mastodon, Kvelertak, Ne Obliviscaris, Yes, Faith No More, Misfits and especially Queen, but I like everything from jazz to old Christmas carols.)


Standing in front of the Berlin Wall in Friedrichshein, Berlin. Where I am standing in this picture was actually in the death strip between the two walls- in the area where shoot to kill was authorised. Now it's a pleasant place to go for a stroll.
Standing in front of the Berlin Wall in Friedrichshein, Berlin. Where I am standing in this picture was actually in the death strip between the two walls- in the area where shoot to kill was authorised. Now it’s a pleasant place to go for a stroll.

Did you know that in 0 AD, there was only 170 million people on Earth? By the year 1000 we had 260 million; by 1800 we had 900 million. Now we’ve got 7 billion!! If there’s something that I find as incredible as Earth itself it’s the history of the people on it.

It is astonishing to think that everything we have today- our technology, our inventions, our borders, our buildings, our political structures, our philosophies, our standards of living and increased life expectancies- all stem from the endeavours of those people in ancient times who in between dodging disease and destruction were doing amazing things!

I find unbelieveable stories everywhere I go and I can’t wait to retell them.


Alpsee Panorama, Bavaria, Germany

I mentioned before that I love tinkering with technology but nothing quite floats my boat in recent times as flying my quadcopter. I love my Phantom 4. Not only is it an adrenaline rush and inspiring, but the things you can see from a drone is just out of this world. (Almost literally..)

The world is stunning from above!

Right now is the golden age for drones. That sweet spot where the technology is far enough advanced to be mindblowing, but not everyone has one yet and they are not yet over-regulated.

Now I have a new travel companion. My plastic four-propellered friend.

Even a scientist has a spiritual side…

Smoking a Breadstick in Milan, Italy
Trying to fit in with the cool cats in Milan.. I just hope they don’t notice this cigar is actually a breadstick

If you have any suggestions for places for me to visit, comment me below, or if you want to meet up somewhere for beer/coffee/building a little fort  … contact me!

In the meantime,

Cover Art: Fragments of the Earth

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