The traveler who’s been globetrotting for just about 10 decades

(CNN) — He established off on a spherical-the-globe vacation in December 2012 and, virtually a 10 years later, traveler Tom Grond is however globetrotting.

The Dutch blogger, who previously worked for the Netherlands federal government, 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 distinct international locations, including Syria, Jordan, Colombia and Burkina Faso, and when took 58 flights in a calendar year.

Prior to placing off on his ongoing vacation, he’d saved sufficient income to maintain a everyday living of travel repeatedly for all over a few many years, and established himself a $30 a day spending budget.

Like several backpackers, Grond, recognized as “Traveltomtom,” stayed in hostels and lived as frugally as he perhaps could to maintain costs down.

“Persons suppose you should have arrive from a loaded loved ones,” he claims. “Yes, I’m quite privileged. I’m from the Netherlands, so I have a genuinely very good passport.

“And I saved a whole lot of funds to go touring. But I restricted myself to residing on a spending budget. That is what actually kept me on the road for so lots of many years.”

Nomad life-style

Tom Grond has been traveling the world for nearly 10 years, but he says it was his 2019 trip to Syria that had the biggest impact.

Tom Grond has been traveling the entire world for almost 10 decades, but he suggests it was his 2019 vacation to Syria that had the major effect.

Tom Grond

As social media started to evolve in the 2010s, and platforms like Instagram attained traction, Grond understood that he could earn cash by creating and posting about his adventures all-around the world.

“I was currently touring and posting pictures of cool locations in any case,” he notes.

Grond released an Instagram account in 2014 and speedily built up a significant subsequent, attaining close to 30,000 followers in a comparatively brief house of time.

Back again then, although travel blogging was certainly not a new phenomenon, “vacation influencers” who make a living by sharing their globetrotting encounters on social media and private blogs or vlogs had been mounting in prominence.

As a outcome, Grond discovered himself becoming approached by accommodations and corporations giving cost-free stays and ordeals in exchange for marketing.

“I could not think my luck,” he admits. “In the commencing I beloved it. People would understand me, which is seriously awesome.”

But Grond commenced to struggle with the strain of acquiring to continuously deliver material for social media and identified this distinct life-style was not sustainable for him.

He released his web site Traveltomtom, wherever he shares updates on his adventures close to the planet, in 2016, and is now in a position to fund substantially of his travels as a result of the earnings it generates.

“The blog site is the magic formula of being a whole-time nomad [for me] truly,” he admits. “I am super delighted.”

Nonetheless, he however takes advantage of Instagram, as nicely as TikTok, to put up about his travels, and has about 300,000 followers merged across the platforms.

This eventually usually means he is evolved from a backpacker to what he describes as a “mid-variety traveler,” and his days of remaining in packed dorms are at the rear of him.

“I did it for a few or four several years, in all probability, and I loved it,” he suggests. “You meet so numerous appealing individuals, you get influenced by other tourists.

“It can be a terrific way of discovering countries. You have the most astounding adventures. I type of miss those people times. But I never want to rest in a dorm space anymore.”

Non-quit goodbyes

Grond has visited nearly 130 countries, including Myanmar.

Grond has frequented virtually 130 countries, which includes Myanmar.

Tom Grond

His lodgings may possibly be fancier now, but Grond states his technique to travel hasn’t really adjusted.

“I still want to examine and satisfy neighborhood people and see what their existence is like,” he suggests. “Without having this enthusiasm, I would have stopped undertaking this a long time ago.”

Of course, it truly is not just the social media landscape that has transformed when Grond has been on the road. The world-wide pandemic led to the planet being quite significantly brought to a standstill in 2020, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has introduced nevertheless much more uncertainty around international vacation.

But even though restrictions intended he was last but not least forced to stay in one location for much more than a couple of weeks, Grond hopped on a airplane as quickly as he was in a position to, traveling to places like Mexico and Turkey, exactly where Covid-19 constraints have been considerably less stringent.

While he’s dedicated to the nomad life style, Grond points out that one of the downsides to regularly getting on the transfer is that relationships can be a battle, admitting he is become much more mindful of this as he is gotten more mature.

“It can be extremely hard to preserve a marriage,” he claims. “Absolutely sure, everyone is in access with WhatsApp and social media currently, but I’m relocating to a new spot every couple of months, occasionally each individual few of days.

“It can be complicated if you meet up with anyone that you like to dangle out with. You happen to be essentially generally expressing goodbye. Just about every couple of days, I’m indicating goodbye to men and women. It has been a struggle.”

And while he is had largely good encounters during his travels, there have been a couple of setbacks along the way.

Grond claims he was just lately detained by immigration law enforcement in Gabon, a place found on the west coastline of Africa, thanks to a misunderstanding, and the ordeal built him all of the additional informed of just how significantly absent he is from his liked kinds.

However, he stresses that the positives significantly outweigh any negatives, and he is continuously in contact with his relatives and mates back again property, as properly as the pals he’s designed on his travels.

“I really don’t have time to pass up folks,” he says.

Altering perceptions

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

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

Tom Grond

Of the quite a few areas he is been to, Grond says it was Syria that experienced the major influence on him.

When all journey to the country is at the moment advised in opposition to due to the ongoing conflict, he was in a position to pay a visit to in 2019 soon after finding a tour company who ended up willing to prepare a visa and take him all around.

“It was a really expensive journey,” he points out. “I experienced to pay for protection and all types of factors, but it was all truly worth it. Some of the towns were wholly wrecked.

“There was very little remaining but a few structures. Everything was just absolutely in ruins. But observing the determination and the self-assurance that the locals we met nevertheless experienced was just crazy.

“They experienced absolutely nothing remaining, but they had been determined to develop up their life again, and self-confident that everything could go again to regular. That was a journey that absolutely formed me in a lot of means.”

After his take a look at to Syria, Grond traveled to Pakistan and Iraq, and was struck by the reaction his on-line posts acquired from these with preconceptions about these unique destinations.

Even though he’d previously been traveling for seven years, it was at this place that he decided he needed to check out each and every nation in the earth.

“It truly is really awesome to go to these spots and transform perceptions,” he points out. “So that obtained me encouraged a whole lot. I wished to go everywhere you go to demonstrate people what it can be genuinely like in these destinations.”

But Grond is in no hurry to total this unique problem. In fact, he options to just take his time, and is disheartened when he arrives throughout other travelers who appear to be racing their way all-around the globe in order to tick nations around the world off their bucket listing.

“I still left that rat race of lifestyle in terms of having a degree, having a work, having a profession and a household,” he claims.

Steady adventures

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

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

Tom Grond

“But when I see all people people on the internet striving to go to just about every place in the earth, it feels like it turns into about the amount [to them]. Every man or woman is asking ‘how lots of international locations have you been to?’ I don’t want to be portion of a rat race once more.”

He claims he is been to at the very least 71 of the approximately 130 countries he is traveled to extra than when and will normally return to places he is specially fond of.

“I have been to Pakistan four instances,” he suggests. “I went to Thailand 17 occasions and I go to Turkey a pair moments a 12 months. I really like Istanbul.”

Grond attempts not to plan much too significantly in progress and often has no idea the place he’ll be keeping, or wherever he’ll be in a 7 days or so. He is at present in Panama, but will be traveling to Bogota in the coming days and then transferring on to Paraguay.

“The tough approach is to invest a couple of months in South The united states, and a very little bit of time in Central America. Then I am going to actually go to see my family members [in the Netherlands].”

He’ll also be heading to West Africa in the coming months, and ideas to spend eight months touring to sites like Senegal, Gambia, Sierra Leone, Ghana, as well as Equatorial Guinea.

“I’m seriously thrilled to go again to Africa,” he suggests. “It has been a seriously, genuinely fascinating element of my travels in the final two yrs.

“Individuals constantly ask me when I am going to go property. But I never have a dwelling, and I do not know when I am going to stop touring.”

Grond will officially rejoice a decade on the road in December, so will he be marking that day in any unique way?

“I have not seriously thought about it,” he suggests. “I do not even know in which I’m staying in the future couple of times. Soon I will have handed 3,333 days of continuous travel. In actuality, it could have by now passed. I’m not really certain. But it’s a interesting number anyway.”

Prime impression: Grond in Burkina Faso. Credit rating: Tom Grond