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

(CNN) — He set off on a round-the-planet trip in December 2012 and, practically a decade afterwards, traveler Tom Grond is continue to globetrotting.

The Dutch blogger, who previously worked for the Netherlands governing administration, now describes himself as a nomad and says he has no designs to return to his former life.

Grond has traveled to around 130 distinctive countries, together with Syria, Jordan, Colombia and Burkina Faso, and as soon as took 58 flights in a yr.

Ahead of location off on his ongoing excursion, he’d saved ample income to sustain a daily life of vacation consistently for all-around a few decades, and set himself a $30 a day budget.

Like numerous backpackers, Grond, recognized as “Traveltomtom,” stayed in hostels and lived as frugally as he potentially could to keep charges down.

“Men and women assume you have to have appear from a abundant family members,” he claims. “Sure, I’m really privileged. I’m from the Netherlands, so I have a truly fantastic passport.

“And I saved a whole lot of money to go touring. But I restricted myself to dwelling on a finances. That is what basically kept me on the highway for so a lot of yrs.”

Nomad way of living

Tom Grond has been traveling the earth for approximately 10 yrs, but he suggests it was his 2019 journey to Syria that experienced the most significant affect.

Tom Grond

As social media began to evolve in the 2010s, and platforms like Instagram received traction, Grond recognized that he could make funds by writing and putting up about his adventures close to the planet.

“I was currently traveling and publishing pictures of neat sites anyway,” he notes.

Grond introduced an Instagram account in 2014 and quickly crafted up a substantial subsequent, getting close to 30,000 followers in a comparatively short place of time.

Again then, while travel running a blog was unquestionably not a new phenomenon, “vacation influencers” who make a residing by sharing their globetrotting activities on social media and own blogs or vlogs were being rising in prominence.

As a end result, Grond located himself becoming approached by accommodations and organizations supplying no cost stays and ordeals in exchange for marketing.

“I could not believe my luck,” he admits. “In the starting I loved it. People would realize me, which is actually neat.”

But Grond commenced to struggle with the stress of obtaining to consistently develop material for social media and uncovered this individual way of life was not sustainable for him.

He launched his web site Traveltomtom, where by he shares updates on his adventures all over the entire world, in 2016, and is now equipped to fund significantly of his travels through the earnings it generates.

“The website is the key of getting a entire-time nomad [for me] actually,” he admits. “I’m tremendous happy.”

Nonetheless, he nevertheless uses Instagram, as effectively as TikTok, to publish about his travels, and has around 300,000 followers combined across the platforms.

This eventually usually means he is evolved from a backpacker to what he describes as a “mid-array traveler,” and his days of being in packed dorms are guiding him.

“I did it for a few or 4 several years, in all probability, and I cherished it,” he states. “You satisfy so a lot of fascinating people today, you get influenced by other tourists.

“It truly is a wonderful way of checking out countries. You have the most astounding adventures. I sort of skip individuals days. But I will not want to sleep in a dorm place any more.”

Non-halt goodbyes

Grond has visited nearly 130 countries, including Myanmar.

Grond has visited practically 130 international locations, like Myanmar.

Tom Grond

His lodgings may perhaps be fancier now, but Grond says his tactic to journey has not seriously modified.

“I even now want to discover and fulfill regional people and see what their lifetime is like,” he says. “Without the need of this enthusiasm, I would have stopped performing this a extended time in the past.”

Of training course, it can be not just the social media landscape that has changed though Grond has been on the road. The worldwide pandemic led to the entire world staying quite a lot brought to a standstill in 2020, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has brought but much more uncertainty about international vacation.

But when restrictions intended he was eventually compelled to stay in just one location for extra than a couple of months, Grond hopped on a plane as quickly as he was ready to, touring to locations like Mexico and Turkey, wherever Covid-19 limitations ended up a lot less stringent.

Though he is fully commited to the nomad way of living, Grond factors out that a single of the downsides to continuously getting on the transfer is that associations can be a battle, admitting he is turn into far more conscious of this as he is gotten more mature.

“It is really impossible to sustain a romance,” he states. “Sure, every person is within just attain with WhatsApp and social media these days, but I am transferring to a new area each and every few of months, occasionally each individual pair of days.

“It can be hard if you meet up with somebody that you like to hang out with. You happen to be mainly often declaring goodbye. Each couple of days, I am expressing goodbye to men and women. It has been a battle.”

And even though he is had generally good encounters for the duration of his travels, there have been a number of setbacks along the way.

Grond states he was recently detained by immigration law enforcement in Gabon, a place situated on the west coast of Africa, due to a misunderstanding, and the ordeal created him all of the far more knowledgeable of just how significantly away he is from his liked kinds.

Even so, he stresses that the positives significantly outweigh any negatives, and he’s frequently in contact with his loved ones and good friends back property, as perfectly as the friends he is produced on his travels.

“I you should not have time to overlook men and women,” he states.

Switching perceptions

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

Grond says he has no ideas to return to his previous lifer, and considers himself a “nomad”.

Tom Grond

Of the quite a few locations he’s been to, Grond states it was Syria that experienced the most important affect on him.

Although all travel to the country is at the moment encouraged towards thanks to the ongoing conflict, he was ready to check out in 2019 following acquiring a tour company who were ready to set up a visa and just take him all-around.

“It was a seriously highly-priced excursion,” he clarifies. “I experienced to pay out for safety and all varieties of issues, but it was all worth it. Some of the metropolitan areas were being completely wrecked.

“There was nothing still left but a few structures. All the things was just absolutely in ruins. But looking at the resolve and the confidence that the locals we met still had was just crazy.

“They had absolutely nothing left, but they were being identified to build up their life again, and self-confident that every thing could go again to standard. That was a trip that surely formed me in lots of approaches.”

Following his take a look at to Syria, Grond traveled to Pakistan and Iraq, and was struck by the response his on-line posts gained from those with preconceptions about these distinct destinations.

While he’d currently been traveling for seven several years, it was at this place that he determined he wanted to check out just about every region in the earth.

“It’s essentially great to go to these places and transform perceptions,” he describes. “So that received me impressed a large amount. I required to go in all places to show folks what it is seriously like in these sites.”

But Grond is in no hurry to full this particular problem. In simple fact, he designs to get his time, and is disheartened when he will come across other travelers who show up to be racing their way all-around the world in order to tick nations off their bucket listing.

“I still left that rat race of lifestyle in phrases of acquiring a degree, acquiring a position, obtaining a job and a household,” he suggests.

Continuous adventures

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

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

Tom Grond

“But when I see all individuals individuals on the internet attempting to stop by each and every region in the globe, it feels like it will become about the quantity [to them]. Each individual particular person is inquiring ‘how quite a few international locations have you been to?’ I don’t want to be component of a rat race once again.”

He says he is been to at the very least 71 of the just about 130 countries he is traveled to additional than at the time and will frequently return to places he is specifically fond of.

“I have been to Pakistan four times,” he claims. “I went to Thailand 17 times and I go to Turkey a couple moments a yr. I love Istanbul.”

Grond attempts not to system too far in progress and typically has no thought where by he’ll be being, or in which he’ll be in a 7 days or so. He is presently in Panama, but will be flying to Bogota in the coming times and then transferring on to Paraguay.

“The rough program is to expend a couple of weeks in South The united states, and a very little little bit of time in Central The us. Then I’ll truly go to see my family [in the Netherlands].”

He’ll also be heading to West Africa in the coming months, and programs to devote eight months traveling to locations like Senegal, Gambia, Sierra Leone, Ghana, as effectively as Equatorial Guinea.

“I am really excited to go again to Africa,” he claims. “It has been a actually, seriously fascinating section of my travels in the past two years.

“Persons always request me when I am going to go dwelling. But I you should not have a home, and I really don’t know when I am going to end touring.”

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

“I have not truly considered about it,” he claims. “I you should not even know wherever I am being in the next couple of days. Shortly I will have passed 3,333 days of continuous travel. In actuality, it might have currently passed. I am not really sure. But it is a awesome number anyway.”

Top picture: Grond in Burkina Faso. Credit rating: Tom Grond