Before TikTok, YouTube, Vine, and other social platforms, there was blogging, a lost art, and a less glamorized version of the content creation we know today.
In this interview, we sit down with Travel Tomtom, an OG in the travel content creation game, to learn more about the endless travel journey he launched back in 2008, his shift into the world of video content, and what it’s like to make living your dreams a full-time job.
Who is Traveltomtom Off-camera?
A realist who prioritizes authenticity over anything else, Tom is the kind of creator who only makes unscripted videos, turning both the good and bad moments into exceptional viral videos.
He replied: “My brand and social image is simply me in the rawest, unedited form; I rarely edit my videos. It’s all born out of the passion for travel and not so much for content creation; therefore, nothing is scripted or staged.”
What Inspired You to Create Content and Travel In The First Place?
“I started traveling out of curiosity and fell in love with it. There was no objective but to see more of the world and learn. Meeting new people, experiencing new cultures, and seeing new places is a personality development process I couldn’t give up.”
Tom Adds, “Although I’ve been traveling for over 11 years non-stop, content creation wasn’t always part of my trips. There are so many epic moments that went undocumented.
I discovered the potential of content creation with the start of Instagram’s boom in 2014 when some friends recommended I start posting pictures, and one thing led to another.”
What Is Life Like As A Full-time Traveler?
“Spontaneous and full of surprises, I don’t know where I’ll be next week or what kind of new project will come about, and I love that about the nature of my job.
I believe I’ve broken the world record for the longest period of non-stop travel. Another traveler who did ten years was supposedly given the title, but I’ve been traveling for longer than that.”
Along with everything in my busy life of written and recorded content, I’m now back in a relationship after nine years of being single. I found someone with a similar lifestyle and interests, and we’re living it up together by reuniting whenever we have a chance..”
Do You Have A Standard Process For Choosing The Places You Want To Visit?
“I have no plan in mind and go wherever the wind takes me, or at least that’s how things started. Today, I’m more influenced by deals and collaborations. If a good deal presents itself, it’s hard to say no, and I end up in that country.”
Tom tells us about his first deal: “I still remember my very first collaboration. It was with a hotel that asked me to promote their business, so they sent me a private taxi, which was fascinating until I realized that I was allowed to stay there for three nights free.”
He adds, “I come from a generation where there wasn’t much internet stuff happening at the time, so the marketing value of having many followers was shocking at first.
I understand that I’m blessed to be doing what I hope to keep doing for a long time, but I had to pay the price to make it possible, not in a negative way, but my content only popped off because I went against the norms both from a lifestyle and travel aspect.”
What Is The Most Challenging Part Of Creating Travel Content?
“Life and work balance,” replies Tom immediately, adding, “Despite living the dream, I still have to block off some time and sit behind a laptop a few hours a day.
Along with content creation, I still do all my blog writing regularly. It’s one of my main gigs, along with creating videos.”
He says, “As I become more successful in the online space, it becomes more difficult to remember to work, and vice versa.
It became difficult to enjoy life when I was all in grinding and posting multiple times a day to reach where I was. So there’s a balance to the equation, but I still haven’t figured it out like many creators.”
What Are Your Favorite Travel Destinations?
“Of Course,” replies Tom. Southeast Asia will always be one of my favorite destinations, as I spent over two to three years there during the start of my travel journey. I also love Hawaii, It has a different vibe to Asia and is way more expensive but tops the list.”
Nepal is also on Tom’s list of favorite places. However, he clarifies that many of these places have become his favorite through emotional attachment from his early days of backpacking.”
Now, with the shift in traveling style, Tom grew fonder of other destinations he wouldn’t have liked as much as a “die-hard-backpacker.”
He wraps up his answer with, “Every country on earth is worth a visit, but not every country is worth going back to, sometimes because the country isn’t so great, and other times because you’ve developed memories and experiences in a certain destination that you don’t want to elaborate on, keeping the places associated with a specific time and its unique friend group.”
What tips and recommendations do you have for creators who look up to you and want to succeed in travel content creation?
1- Stick To What You’re Passionate About:
“It’s okay to not be good at something you have passion for, but it’s not okay to do a job or side hustle just because you’ve seen someone else make it through doing it. Stick to what you know you have skill for, or at least what developed a liking for over the years, instead of jumping onto every hot and trendy matter,” he tells us.
Tom explains, “I see so many photographers, videographers, and more do a phenomenal job with what they know best, but as soon as the camera flips, everything goes sideways and becomes awkward.
If you have, you know you’ll never get over the shyness and phobia. Don’t waste your precious time on something going nowhere. Instead of doing vlog-style videos, you could be doing nature and aesthetic content, for example.”
Tell Us More About Your Blog
“My blog aims to answer all the random questions and concerns any traveler would have, and I also utilize it to share some of my unique personal stories, from crossing borders to unexpected inconveniences. “
The target audience is never limited to just one demographic; readers can be content creators on the go like me or even a retiree looking where to spend his time off and needs more information to draw a conclusion.
Wrapping up the interview, Tom tells us, “With the Traveltomtom blog, I fill in a huge market gap by answering all the travel-related questions that other major blogs don’t have an answer to. When was the last time you couldn’t find any recommendations of places to eat or things to do, that’s exactly where I come in.”