Last week I put out a post on Instagram giving you guys the chance to ask me whatever you want for a Q&A. I’ve been overwhelmed by the huge response, so thank you all for taking the time out to ask me so many questions! I can’t possibly answer them all but I’ve done my best to answer a lot of the most popular and interesting questions – hope you enjoy!
How old are you? / where are you from?
I’m 26 years old – born in a small village just outside of Manchester, England.
How do you make money?
Brands/ tourism boards etc pay me to promote their product or their location on Instagram. I only promote or post about things I truly like or believe in, which is very important to me and why my posts resonate with so many of you.
Did you go to college?
Nope. Growing up I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. I finished school when I was 17 and and went straight to work.
Do you have a house or do you literally live out of a backpack?
Between 2012 – 2016 I lived out of a backpack. I moved into my house in Bali with Lauren in October 2016 which is an exciting new chapter to my life!
How did you and Lauren meet?
We met in March 2016 whilst on a job together in Fiji. We got on so well from day one and were inseparable throughout the whole trip. On our last night in Fiji I asked her to come to Bali with me, she said yes and we’ve been together ever since!
Worst city you’ve traveled to?
I gotta say I had a love hate relationship with Marrakesh. The city is so unique and interesting with a million opportunities for photographs. Unfortunately most of the locals were extremely rude and aggressive. I don’t think I’ve ever been told to fuck off so many times in my life haha. I was yelled at for stupid things like declining an offer to eat at someones restaurant, sometimes followed and harassed for as long as 15 minutes straight. I wasn’t just unlucky, everyone I spoke to had the same experience. By week 3 we were so tired of the continuous hassle and left. We said we’d never return which is a shame because its such a beautiful country.
How do you avoid getting sick when travelling?
I have a pretty strong stomach and don’t get sick much. I think the more you travel the more your body gets used to all the shit and your immune system gets stronger. My only advice is to be careful but not too careful. By that I mean take precaution if your chicken comes out looking like a salmon haha, but don’t use hand sanitiser every 10 minutes and always brush your teeth with local tap water. It’ll get your immune system used to the bacteria and if something bad does get into your body you’ll have an easier time fighting it off.
How long have you been travelling around the world?
What would you recommend to someone travelling for the first time?
Don’t plan too much. If you’re gonna go backpacking book a one-way-flight and a room for your first night. Be sociable and meet new people. These people might become some of your best friends. Interact with local people, don’t shelter yourself or play it safe. Be prepared for things to go wrong and be prepared to be spontaneous. Say yes more!
What was your dream job before you started travelling?
I grew up obsessed with skateboarding and did it for 9 years. I picked up a few sponsors and was featured in some magazines. Skateboarding was my only passion as a teen and all I could ever see myself doing. I didn’t go to college because I wanted to focus on skateboarding but as I got older my interests started to change and I found myself skating less and less. In 2008 I fractured my knee and broke my nose which put me out for a while. Thats not the reason I stopped skating as much but its one of the factors that contributed to me finding new passions to focus on.
What did you do for work before you travelled?
I was a carpet cleaner for 5 years haha.
Would you ever settle down? If so, which country?
Of course, but I’m still not sure where. A year ago I was cruisin’ solo, living out a bag not even knowing where I’ll be the following day. Now I live in Bali with the love of my life – I guess anything unexpected can happen so I don’t try to plan too much into the future. I love living in the moment and take each day as it comes.
Why did you move to Bali, do you like it?
As much as I loved the continuous travel lifestyle, after living out a bag for over 4 years I was more than ready to slow down a bit and have a place to keep my stuff. I still travel every month but its so nice to have a home to go back to after each trip. One of the best parts of now having a base is being able to carry only the things I really need on each trip. We picked Bali for loads of reasons. We love the slow care free tropical vibe here. We live in a quiet local area surrounded by rice fields but just a 5 minutes drive from loads of healthy cafes, a gym, and the beach. Even though its a third world country, it has many comforts of the western world which is important for me when living somewhere.
What has been your favourite and least favourite thing about living on the road?
Favourite thing – The complete freedom of doing whatever I want.
Least favourite thing – Not being able to see my family so often. My family all live in England so I only really see them when I pass through Europe or at Christmas time. 2016 was the first year in my life that I didn’t spend Christmas at home but instead mine and Lauren’s family came over to our new home in Bali which was really nice.
Now that you stay in luxury hotels do you ever miss the backpacker community and staying in fun hostels?
I spent years staying in hostels, meeting new people on the daily, getting drunk with new friends and spontaneously waking up in new locations. These were some of the best days of my life. This was over 2 years ago and since then my interests and passions have changed. I don’t stay in Luxury hotels that much, when I do its normally for work. The rest of the time I stay in quirky looking Air Bnb’s or small boutique hotels. I haven’t stayed in a hostel for years, its not something I have much interest in anymore especially now I travel full time with Lauren. Hostels are fun when you’re a solo traveller looking to meet new people, but when travelling with a partner I much prefer having our own private space to hang around naked, watch movies in bed, and just spend quality private time together.
How do you ensure all of your images match on Instagram
I edit all my photos in the same kind of style with my own Lightroom presets so I guess they all look some what similar because of that. I also look at the grid and try to plan the next image to make sure it works well with the rest of my recent feed.
How do you take photos in busy locations with no one else in the shot?
Most of the time we like to shoot around 1 hour after sunrise. Busy locations don’t tend to be as busy at this time of day.
Social media can often only portray the happy side of a persons life or travels. From your experience what has been the hardest part of continuous travelling and Is it hard to always look like you’re having a good time on social media?
What people need to remember is that my life on Instagram is less than 5% of my life outside Instagram. I would never try to portray something I’m not, but of course I don’t post content from every aspect of my life. Like most people I only portray the happy side of my life. I would never create something fake and I try to always show real aspects of my best experiences.
How many countries have you been to?
How do you find these amazing places that no one knows about?
Word of mouth, Instagram, and research on pinterest.
Pros and cons to being an influencer?
Pros: Freedom, being paid for my passion, being given the chance to experience things I never thought would be possible, meeting other like minded people, the power to share my voice with a huge amount of people.
Cons: The only bad thing that springs to mind is the pressure that comes with it all. Sometimes I find myself questioning my work or feeling like I need to go out and create extra content just because I haven’t posted in a few days.
How bad is your tan line from the bandana?
Haha, I don’t have a tan line there. I don’t wear the bandana everyday and a lot of the time I just wear it in photos, its kind of a signature although recently I’ve not been wearing it as much.
Which countries have you been to with Lauren?
We met in Fiji in March 2016. From there we travelled to Indonesia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Maldives, England, Greece, Italy, France, Turkey, Croatia, Spain, Morocco, New Zealand, USA, Hawaii, Mauritius, China, India, a few of the Caribbean islands, Dubai, and Cambodia.
How do you decide where to go to next?
We try to balance our life between being at home in Bali, travel jobs, and travelling for fun. We aim to visit at least one new country each month non work related which most of the time is decided on by a last minute decision.
Will you marry Lauren?
If she says yes :p
What is your advice for someone wanting to start a similar project to yours?
The main thing is to have fun and follow your passion. If you’re enjoying what you do it doesn’t become a chore and you’ll more likely succeed.
How did your journey start?
I was almost 22 and been working a boring 9 – 5 since I left high school. I was so fed up and knew I had to mix it up when the highlight of my week consisted of getting drunk in the same local bars every weekend. I had around £3000 saved up and impulsively booked a one way flight out to Bangkok. Besides pre booking my first night in a hostel the rest was unknown, which is exactly what I needed. I was shit scared but so excited! Anyway, I did the normal backpacker thing and started running low on money a few months in. Conveniently I started making money on Instagram around at this time (only a small amount and I was pretty much breaking even for the first few months) which suited me cause all I wanted to do was stay out travelling.
Where did you get your tattoo and what does it mean?
It’s a Sak Yant tattoo. I had it done in Thailand the traditional way by a Monk using a bamboo stick. It is a blessing and supposed to bring protection and good luck.
Who takes your photos?
Me and Lauren take all of our own photos. She takes the photos of me, and I take the photos of her. When we’re both in the shot we mostly use a tripod with a timer remote.
How did you find your photography style?
Hmm, I guess a style just comes with time and trying out new things. I’ve been taking photos for years and I’m still tweaking my style on a monthly basis. I often look back at photos from as recent as a couple of months ago and think ugh that edit is shit what was I thinking haha.
What are three things needed to become a successful influencer?
First 3 things that spring to mind – passion, originality, perseverance.
How did you first get sponsors?
I was contacted by brands way before I started accepting offers. I didn’t care about making money with @doyoutravel, it was always just a project I did for fun. Eventually as I grew bigger some of the offers were too good to turn down so I started to accept. A lot of the time working with brands or tourism boards are actually loads of fun as they put on experiences that I wouldn’t normally get the chance to do.
Do you sell your lightroom presets?
Not at the moment and I’m not sure if I ever will. I like to try and be somewhat unique with my editing style and wouldn’t really wanna see everyone else having similar edits. I think everyone should form their own style rather than just pasting someone else’s preset over their photo.
What are your favourite gelato flavours?
Peanut butter, Rum and Raisin, Vanilla.
How do you keep your camera equipment safe when travelling?
I don’t really take any extra precaution other than keeping my room locked or using a safe. I’ve never had anything stolen in all my years of travel and I’ve had my fair share of careless moments. I once left my camera bag by the side of a busy roadside cafe in Hanoi. After realising and sprinting back it was luckily still there!
Why don’t you geotag all of your Instagram pictures?
A lot of the time when I don’t geotag its because the location might be fairly unknown or in a local area. I understand that with my following I have the power to make a place become popular very fast and that isn’t always a good thing. If someone sees one of my images without a geotag and really wants to visit I’m sure with a little bit of research it won’t be hard to find!
How do you find balance between creating content in amazing locations and just enjoying the moment?
This is a really good question. I definitely sometimes travel to places for the sole purpose of a ‘gram worthy’ shot. Sometimes its really hard to find the balance of enjoying the moment whilst creating content especially if the photo or video doesn’t turn out the way I originally planned. When this happens it really takes away from the moment which is why this year I really want to spend a lot more time trying to focus on enjoying the moment and trying to remember the reason I traveled to these amazing places in the first place.
What are the top 3 locations you want to visit in 2017?
Tahiti, South America, Finland.
What Instagram filters and mobile apps do you use to edit?
I don’t use any mobile apps or filters, I edit using Lightroom on my MacBook Pro. If a photo looks a little dark or contrasty etc I sometimes tweak the edit just on the pre post Instagram editor.
When did you buy your first camera?
I’ve been using a camera ever since my skateboarding days. It was probably around 2004 that I had my first.
How do you upload high res images to Instagram?
All my images are exported in the highest quality possible. Once exported from Lightroom I airdrop to my phone then post. Instagram compresses the photos once you upload them anyway so I don’t think it makes much difference uploading in high res or compressing, thats just the way I do it because it saves me exporting it twice.
How do you stay motivated?
Seeing the continuous support from each of my followers is honestly the biggest motivation I could ask for. It’s an amazing feeling to know I inspire people in one way or another and that so many people appreciate my work and lifestyle.
Do you prefer travelling alone or with someone?
I started alone and wouldn’t have had it any other way. It gave me the chance to learn a lot about myself and forced me to become a much more confident person. 4 years later I was lucky enough to meet my soul mate and couldn’t be happier being able to travel continuously with someone who shares the same passion as I do.
Are you a self taught photographer?
I don’t consider myself a ‘photographer’ but yeah I’m completely self taught in everything I do!
Will you ever make videos?
Yeah! I’m currently in the process of editing up a few clips I filmed during our recent trip to Cambodia. I’m still learning filming and editing techniques so hopefully as I progress I’ll be able to upload more and better videos. I’m hoping to start posting one video from each trip.
How long are you planning on travelling for?
I guess as long as I can! I’ll probably carry on until I’m ready to start a family.
How many bandanas do you have?
3 but I have one favourite that I wear most of the time.
What does an average week in Bali look like for you?
If I’m at home in Bali my time is split between the beach, the gym, buying plants for my house, or eating at new cafes! We don’t create much content in Bali unless we really need to, its our little oasis where we like to escape from our work life and just wind down.
What made you wake up one day and think ‘fuck it, I’m quitting my job and going travelling’? Did you have much money saved up?
I dunno really I guess I was just sick of the everyday routine and not really doing much with my life. I booked my Bangkok flight pretty spontaneously with very little knowledge of Thailand! I had around £3000 before booking the flight and started to run out within the first few months.
How do you deal with jet lag?
I’m not normally too bad with jet lag but I always try to plan my sleeping hours on the flight to correspond with my landing time. For example if I’m taking a 16 hour flight where the landing time is 8am I’ll try to make sure I go to sleep at least 6 hours before I land so that I wake up in the correct time zone.
How did you get into taking photos?
I loved creating since my early teenage years. Me and my friends made skateboarding videos every week with old school tape cameras. I guess ever since then I’ve always had a creative eye and found myself creating content one way or another.
What is your favourite Instagram picture?
Probably this one!
What camera do you use?
I recently did a blog post with a full equipment breakdown list. You can view it here
How do you pack for trips?
I try to pack as lightly as possible. Now that we’re starting to experiment with video we carry 2 camera bags, a box for the stabiliser, and one main check in bag that we share. The main check in bag is split between a few of my t shirts and about 50 dresses for Lauren 😛
What kind of visa do you have for Indonesia now that you live there?
I’m not sure what the rules are for different passport holders but for me (being a British citizen) I get a 30 day on arrival visa for free. Since I travel on a monthly basis this is the only visa I need.
Thanks for reading everyone, if you can think of any questions that I haven’t covered here feel free to comment and ask below and I’ll add them to the list!