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The traveler who’s been globetrotting for nearly 10 years

8 min read
The traveler who’s been globetrotting for nearly 10 years

(CNN) — He established off on a spherical-the-world vacation in December 2012 and, practically a 10 years afterwards, traveler Tom Grond is even now globetrotting.

The Dutch blogger, who formerly labored for the Netherlands federal government, now describes himself as a nomad and says he has no options to return to his former lifestyle.

Grond has traveled to all around 130 distinctive nations around the world, like Syria, Jordan, Colombia and Burkina Faso, and at the time took 58 flights in a calendar year.

Prior to placing off on his ongoing journey, he’d saved ample income to sustain a lifestyle of journey consistently for around a few yrs, and established himself a $30 a day price range.

Like a lot of backpackers, Grond, recognised as “Traveltomtom,” stayed in hostels and lived as frugally as he perhaps could to preserve charges down.

“Individuals believe you have to have come from a abundant relatives,” he says. “Certainly, I am extremely privileged. I’m from the Netherlands, so I have a truly good passport.

“And I saved a good deal of income to go traveling. But I limited myself to dwelling on a price range. That is what really stored me on the street for so lots of decades.”

Nomad way of life

The traveler who’s been globetrotting for nearly 10 years

Tom Grond has been touring the earth for approximately 10 yrs, but he says it was his 2019 journey to Syria that experienced the largest effect.

Tom Grond

As social media commenced to evolve in the 2010s, and platforms like Instagram received traction, Grond recognized that he could earn funds by creating and putting up about his adventures around the world.

“I was by now touring and submitting photos of great spots in any case,” he notes.

Grond introduced an Instagram account in 2014 and speedily created up a considerable adhering to, getting all around 30,000 followers in a comparatively short place of time.

Again then, though travel running a blog was unquestionably not a new phenomenon, “journey influencers” who make a living by sharing their globetrotting activities on social media and personalized weblogs or vlogs ended up climbing in prominence.

As a outcome, Grond found himself getting approached by resorts and companies supplying cost-free stays and ordeals in exchange for promotion.

“I could not consider my luck,” he admits. “In the commencing I liked it. Men and women would acknowledge me, which is definitely awesome.”

But Grond commenced to battle with the strain of getting to frequently generate content material for social media and discovered this unique lifestyle was not sustainable for him.

He introduced his blog site Traveltomtom, wherever he shares updates on his adventures all over the environment, in 2016, and is now capable to fund a lot of his travels through the profits it generates.

“The web site is the secret of currently being a comprehensive-time nomad [for me] seriously,” he admits. “I’m super happy.”

However, he still takes advantage of Instagram, as nicely as TikTok, to post about his travels, and has all-around 300,000 followers put together throughout the platforms.

This finally indicates he’s developed from a backpacker to what he describes as a “mid-vary traveler,” and his days of remaining in packed dorms are at the rear of him.

“I did it for a few or 4 many years, possibly, and I loved it,” he says. “You meet up with so several fascinating individuals, you get encouraged by other travelers.

“It can be a great way of exploring international locations. You have the most wonderful adventures. I sort of skip these times. But I really don’t want to sleep in a dorm space any more.”

Non-stop goodbyes

Grond has visited nearly 130 countries, including Myanmar.

Grond has visited just about 130 nations, including Myanmar.

Tom Grond

His lodgings may be fancier now, but Grond claims his tactic to vacation has not truly adjusted.

“I still want to investigate and satisfy area people and see what their everyday living is like,” he suggests. “Devoid of this passion, I would have stopped performing this a extensive time ago.”

Of course, it is not just the social media landscape that has altered even though Grond has been on the highway. The world wide pandemic led to the world staying rather considerably brought to a standstill in 2020, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has introduced nonetheless far more uncertainty around intercontinental vacation.

But though limitations intended he was at last pressured to stay in a single position for extra than a couple weeks, Grond hopped on a plane as shortly as he was equipped to, touring to places like Mexico and Turkey, the place Covid-19 limits had been less stringent.

Although he’s committed to the nomad life-style, Grond points out that just one of the downsides to regularly currently being on the transfer is that interactions can be a wrestle, admitting he’s turn out to be a lot more mindful of this as he is gotten older.

“It is extremely hard to retain a romance,” he states. “Confident, anyone is inside of arrive at with WhatsApp and social media today, but I am shifting to a new put each few of months, from time to time each individual couple of days.

“It can be challenging if you meet another person that you like to hold out with. You happen to be fundamentally often indicating goodbye. Each and every number of times, I’m declaring goodbye to people today. It has been a struggle.”

And when he’s had predominantly positive ordeals in the course of his travels, there have been a number of setbacks together the way.

Grond says he was just lately detained by immigration police in Gabon, a place found on the west coast of Africa, thanks to a misunderstanding, and the ordeal made him all of the extra mindful of just how far absent he is from his liked kinds.

However, he stresses that the positives significantly outweigh any negatives, and he is frequently in touch with his household and good friends again dwelling, as effectively as the friends he’s made on his travels.

“I never have time to pass up men and women,” he says.

Switching perceptions

Grond says he has no plans to return to his former lifer, and considers himself a "nomad".

Grond claims he has no options to return to his former lifer, and considers himself a “nomad”.

Tom Grond

Of the numerous spots he is been to, Grond suggests it was Syria that experienced the most significant impression on him.

Though all travel to the country is at the moment advised against because of to the ongoing conflict, he was able to take a look at in 2019 right after obtaining a tour company who have been prepared to organize a visa and choose him all-around.

“It was a seriously high-priced vacation,” he explains. “I had to spend for stability and all varieties of points, but it was all well worth it. Some of the cities had been wholly ruined.

“There was nothing still left but a pair structures. Everything was just absolutely in ruins. But seeing the resolve and the self-confidence that the locals we achieved even now experienced was just crazy.

“They had nothing remaining, but they ended up established to establish up their lives once more, and self-confident that anything could go again to usual. That was a excursion that definitely shaped me in a lot of methods.”

Right after his take a look at to Syria, Grond traveled to Pakistan and Iraq, and was struck by the reaction his on the net posts acquired from all those with preconceptions about these distinct locations.

Whilst he’d currently been traveling for seven several years, it was at this point that he resolved he wanted to go to each individual state in the environment.

“It really is actually interesting to go to these places and modify perceptions,” he points out. “So that bought me encouraged a ton. I required to go just about everywhere to clearly show individuals what it can be definitely like in these places.”

But Grond is in no hurry to comprehensive this individual problem. In reality, he plans to just take his time, and is disheartened when he will come across other travelers who show up to be racing their way all over the world in get to tick international locations off their bucket list.

“I remaining that rat race of lifestyle in terms of obtaining a diploma, obtaining a occupation, having a occupation and a family,” he suggests.

Ongoing adventures

Grond visited his 100th country, Jordan, in 2019.

Grond visited his 100th country, Jordan, in 2019.

Tom Grond

“But when I see all individuals individuals on-line hoping to go to just about every region in the globe, it feels like it turns into about the amount [to them]. Every single man or woman is asking ‘how lots of international locations have you been to?’ I really don’t want to be component of a rat race yet again.”

He suggests he’s been to at the very least 71 of the practically 130 nations around the world he’s traveled to much more than when and will often return to places he’s particularly fond of.

“I have been to Pakistan 4 moments,” he suggests. “I went to Thailand 17 occasions and I go to Turkey a couple moments a yr. I like Istanbul.”

Grond attempts not to approach far too significantly in advance and usually has no notion where he’ll be being, or in which he’ll be in a 7 days or so. He’s presently in Panama, but will be traveling to Bogota in the coming times and then moving on to Paraguay.

“The rough system is to expend a couple of months in South The usa, and a little bit of time in Central The us. Then I am going to essentially go to see my household [in the Netherlands].”

He’ll also be heading to West Africa in the coming months, and programs to invest 8 weeks traveling to sites like Senegal, Gambia, Sierra Leone, Ghana, as nicely as Equatorial Guinea.

“I’m really thrilled to go again to Africa,” he states. “It has been a actually, definitely exciting part of my travels in the final two decades.

“Individuals usually talk to me when I am going to go residence. But I you should not have a house, and I you should not know when I’ll stop traveling.”

Grond will formally rejoice a 10 years on the street in December, so will he be marking that working day in any distinctive way?

“I have not really believed about it,” he states. “I will not even know exactly where I’m keeping in the subsequent few of days. Quickly I will have handed 3,333 days of ongoing journey. In simple fact, it could have presently passed. I am not actually absolutely sure. But it is a great variety anyway.”

Prime graphic: Grond in Burkina Faso. Credit score: Tom Grond