(CNN) — He set off on a spherical-the-world excursion in December 2012 and, approximately a decade later, traveler Tom Grond is even now globetrotting.
The Dutch blogger, who beforehand worked for the Netherlands authorities, now describes himself as a nomad and claims he has no designs to return to his previous life.
Grond has traveled to all over 130 distinctive nations, which include Syria, Jordan, Colombia and Burkina Faso, and as soon as took 58 flights in a year.
Just before environment off on his ongoing excursion, he’d saved adequate cash to maintain a lifestyle of travel constantly for all around a few a long time, and established himself a $30 a working day finances.
Like many backpackers, Grond, recognized as “Traveltomtom,” stayed in hostels and lived as frugally as he quite possibly could to retain expenditures down.
“People today believe you should have arrive from a rich spouse and children,” he says. “Certainly, I am extremely privileged. I am from the Netherlands, so I have a actually great passport.
“And I saved a lot of cash to go traveling. But I limited myself to dwelling on a budget. That is what really held me on the highway for so many a long time.”
Nomad way of living
Tom Grond has been traveling the earth for virtually 10 decades, but he states it was his 2019 vacation to Syria that experienced the most significant effects.
As social media commenced to evolve in the 2010s, and platforms like Instagram acquired traction, Grond recognized that he could get paid revenue by writing and putting up about his adventures around the entire world.
“I was already traveling and submitting shots of cool areas in any case,” he notes.
Grond launched an Instagram account in 2014 and quickly constructed up a sizeable following, getting close to 30,000 followers in a somewhat brief house of time.
Back again then, despite the fact that vacation blogging was surely not a new phenomenon, “journey influencers” who make a dwelling by sharing their globetrotting encounters on social media and private weblogs or vlogs were being climbing in prominence.
As a end result, Grond located himself currently being approached by hotels and organizations offering free of charge stays and ordeals in exchange for advertising.
“I could not believe that my luck,” he admits. “In the commencing I beloved it. Individuals would understand me, which is really neat.”
But Grond began to battle with the force of getting to continually generate material for social media and identified this unique way of living was not sustainable for him.
“The blog is the solution of getting a entire-time nomad [for me] truly,” he admits. “I’m tremendous satisfied.”
This eventually suggests he’s advanced from a backpacker to what he describes as a “mid-vary traveler,” and his days of staying in packed dorms are powering him.
“I did it for three or 4 a long time, in all probability, and I loved it,” he claims. “You fulfill so several appealing people, you get encouraged by other vacationers.
“It’s a good way of exploring countries. You have the most amazing adventures. I form of miss those times. But I will not want to sleep in a dorm space any longer.”
Grond has frequented almost 130 countries, which include Myanmar.
His lodgings may perhaps be fancier now, but Grond says his strategy to travel has not definitely modified.
“I even now want to explore and satisfy area individuals and see what their lifetime is like,” he claims. “With out this passion, I would have stopped doing this a extensive time back.”
Of program, it really is not just the social media landscape that has modified even though Grond has been on the street. The worldwide pandemic led to the globe getting really substantially introduced to a standstill in 2020, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has introduced nevertheless extra uncertainty above global journey.
But though limitations meant he was last but not least pressured to continue to be in one put for a lot more than a handful of months, Grond hopped on a aircraft as quickly as he was able to, traveling to locations like Mexico and Turkey, exactly where Covid-19 limits had been less stringent.
Whilst he’s dedicated to the nomad life-style, Grond factors out that one particular of the downsides to continually currently being on the move is that interactions can be a wrestle, admitting he is turn out to be much more aware of this as he is gotten older.
“It is not possible to keep a marriage,” he says. “Positive, every person is within reach with WhatsApp and social media currently, but I’m going to a new position each few of months, in some cases just about every pair of days.
“It can be hard if you meet another person that you like to cling out with. You happen to be fundamentally often indicating goodbye. Just about every few times, I’m saying goodbye to men and women. It has been a struggle.”
And when he’s experienced generally positive ordeals throughout his travels, there have been a several setbacks together the way.
Grond states he was not long ago detained by immigration police in Gabon, a country situated on the west coastline of Africa, because of to a misunderstanding, and the ordeal built him all of the extra knowledgeable of just how significantly away he is from his loved kinds.
On the other hand, he stresses that the positives significantly outweigh any negatives, and he is continually in touch with his household and friends again dwelling, as properly as the pals he’s made on his travels.
“I do not have time to pass up persons,” he suggests.
Grond claims he has no ideas to return to his previous lifer, and considers himself a “nomad”.
Of the quite a few areas he is been to, Grond states it was Syria that had the greatest impact on him.
“It was a seriously costly excursion,” he clarifies. “I had to pay back for security and all varieties of issues, but it was all really worth it. Some of the metropolitan areas ended up wholly destroyed.
“There was almost nothing still left but a pair structures. Every thing was just fully in ruins. But seeing the resolve and the self esteem that the locals we satisfied continue to experienced was just insane.
“They experienced nothing at all still left, but they ended up determined to construct up their lives again, and confident that everything could go again to usual. That was a journey that definitely formed me in many methods.”
Right after his stop by to Syria, Grond traveled to Pakistan and Iraq, and was struck by the reaction his on the internet posts gained from people with preconceptions about these certain locations.
Even though he’d by now been touring for seven several years, it was at this place that he made a decision he desired to visit every single place in the world.
“It is actually great to go to these sites and change perceptions,” he explains. “So that got me inspired a good deal. I desired to go everywhere you go to exhibit individuals what it is really really like in these locations.”
But Grond is in no hurry to total this distinct challenge. In reality, he designs to just take his time, and is disheartened when he comes across other tourists who seem to be racing their way all around the world in get to tick international locations off their bucket listing.
“I remaining that rat race of everyday living in phrases of finding a diploma, getting a occupation, getting a job and a loved ones,” he says.
Grond visited his 100th region, Jordan, in 2019.
“But when I see all people people online hoping to pay a visit to each individual country in the world, it feels like it gets to be about the quantity [to them]. Each and every particular person is asking ‘how a lot of nations around the world have you been to?’ I never want to be component of a rat race once again.”
He states he is been to at least 71 of the nearly 130 nations he’s traveled to more than as soon as and will generally return to destinations he is notably fond of.
“I have been to Pakistan 4 instances,” he states. “I went to Thailand 17 moments and I go to Turkey a few occasions a calendar year. I love Istanbul.”
Grond tries not to plan far too considerably in advance and normally has no strategy in which he’ll be staying, or the place he’ll be in a 7 days or so. He’s presently in Panama, but will be flying to Bogota in the coming days and then transferring on to Paraguay.
“The rough plan is to shell out a pair of months in South The us, and a minor bit of time in Central The united states. Then I’ll essentially go to see my spouse and children [in the Netherlands].”
He’ll also be heading to West Africa in the coming months, and plans to commit 8 weeks traveling to sites like Senegal, Gambia, Sierra Leone, Ghana, as perfectly as Equatorial Guinea.
“I’m seriously psyched to go back again to Africa,” he says. “It has been a really, actually interesting element of my travels in the final two yrs.
“Men and women always talk to me when I’ll go property. But I do not have a home, and I really don’t know when I’ll halt traveling.”
Grond will formally rejoice a decade on the highway in December, so will he be marking that day in any unique way?
“I have not really imagined about it,” he claims. “I do not even know exactly where I am staying in the upcoming couple of days. Soon I will have handed 3,333 days of continuous travel. In simple fact, it may have now handed. I am not truly positive. But it’s a neat range in any case.”
Top rated impression: Grond in Burkina Faso. Credit history: Tom Grond