Wednesday newsletters always feature a hotel or flight review. But this week, I wanted to do something different. As I’ve already mentioned in my newsletter last Monday, I reached a new milestone on my YouTube channel: ONE MILLION followers. This is in addition to almost 150,000 email subscribers for this blog and more than 130,000 followers on my Instagram account. These are crazy numbers and I want to thank each & every one of you! As you might imagine, I get a lot of questions via my social media, and it’s impossible to answer them all, but for the occasion, I’ve listed the 10 questions I am asked most frequently, and I’ve tried to answer them as adequately as possible (each answer accompanied by one of my most popular travel videos).
- Who are you?
- Why did you start a travel blog?
- How do you become a successful travel blogger?
- How comes you can you travel so much?
- How do you afford this lifestyle?
- What is your favorite hotel in the world?
- What is your favorite airline?
- Where do you get the music for your videos?
- What camera do you use?
- What are your plans for the future?
1. Who are you?
That’s the single most frequently asked question on my social media. Some followers want to know more details about my personal life, other followers want me to do a ‘face reveal’. Well, everything that I feel comfortable sharing is on my blog: I am a doctor, in my mid-forties, with a passion for my work and travel. Since I started blogging as a hobby, I’ve always put the travel experience itself at the forefront of my content (since I want my social media to be about travel and not about myself). I’ve always preferred to remain under the radar as I value my privacy, now more than ever because of my large worldwide audience (something I never intended nor anticipated to get). I do realize it’s very strange and unusual in the world of travel bloggers and “influencers” to remain anonymous and it’s even more unique to have gathered one million followers without showing myself once (except for that one time when I got covid). It makes me feel even more thankful for all your follows and makes me realize how blessed I am that I can share my travel passion with so many travelers from around the world.
2. Why did you start a travel blog?
I started this travel blog as a hobby a few years ago and it still is. I had been following a lot of travel blogs myself (such as The Points Guy and One Mile at A Time) and wanted to do something similar, albeit on a much smaller scale and on a less professional level (since I cannot afford to blog as frequently as these world-famous bloggers). The aim was to record my own travels as a memory for later and to share my own travel perspectives and views with other travelers. Initially, I wanted to blog about miles and points, but since there are so many blogs out there that are already doing that, I shifted my focus to luxury travel to find my own niche. I decided to publish 3 articles per week on my travel blog (since that’s maximum of time I can and want to afford on this hobby since I don’t have that much free time given my busy day time job). A few months after I launched the blog, I also decided to start uploading YouTube videos, as a visual reference and context for my blog articles (since English is not my native language, so I wanted to focus more on photo- and videography). Some of my first videos immediately got millions of views, quickly growing my base of followers, and I guess the rest is history.
3. How do you become a successful travel blogger?
First of all, I don’t consider myself to be very successful (although I do realize that one million followers is above average for most travel blogs). And I certainly did not aim to become a successful travel blogger (nor do I know how to become one). First, I believe that consistency in my uploads, my genuine passion for travel, and the increasing quality of my content (I definitely improved my skills as a photographer and video maker over the past years) is what most of my followers appreciate, and which explains why I got from one follower to over one million followers. Second, over the past years, the blog and YouTube channel was picked up by some international news networks and quoted by A-list celebrities on their social media, which I guess further increased the number of my followers. Finally, I’m convinced that my choice to not show myself in my vlogs, and to make my content about the travel experience and not about myself, has also contributed to my large YouTube audience (since my videos offer the viewer the perspective of being at the travel destination itself). Fyi, I never bought one follower for my social media (and I am glad I never did).
4. How comes you can travel so much?
Actually, I don’t travel that much. I have 7 weeks of holiday per year. But during these holidays, I travel intensively, often changing hotels every second night and taking in as much sights as possible. I also try to travel a lot in the weekend (mostly within Europe). In addition, I also try to record multiple experiences during my travels, in order to generate a lot of content (not because I feel have to do so, but because I like doing it). For example, I recently traveled to the Maldives for only 2 weeks, yet I was able to generate content that spans 3 months of videos and blog reviews (with one video per week).
5. How comes you can afford this lifestyle?
I have published several blogpost on this topic, which you can find on my blog under the header “travel tips.” Most of my travel is self-funded, but I am always on the lookout for promotions or tips & tricks to cut my travel costs. For example, when I fly Business or First Class, I will only rarely pay a full flexible rate; I always prefer to book a heavily discounted seat during an airline’s sale or to spend miles on an award seat. And the same is true for hotels: I am always looking for the cheapest room or hotel package (using website aggregators), and whenever possible, I will convert hotel points into free hotel stays. But there’s still a considerable budget that I spent on travel each year (it is an expensive hobby indeed). I am convinced though that ‘travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer’.
6. What is your favorite hotel in the world?
I have previously published an article about my favorite hotels in the world. It’s no secret that I feel a lot of genuine love and passion for the resort & hotels managed by Soneva and by Aman. I am also a huge fan of properties managed by Four Seasons and Rosewood. I also (still) value Six Senses hotels a lot, despite some recent negative experiences at Six Senses Singapore (a property which has now left the brand) and Six Senses Ibiza (which is not worth the Six Senses name). Above all, I prefer desolated hotels located in pristine wilderness settings, offering a serene ambiance from where to disconnect from the rat-race of daily life (think Alaska, Patagonia, New Zealand, the Canadian Rockies, and Southern Africa).
7. What is your favorite airline?
I prefer airlines that offer direct flights to my end destination. The older I get, the more I appreciate direct flights (even if that involves an airlines with an unimpressive onboard product). Emirates, Qatar Airways, and Etihad Airways offers a superb Business and First Class experience, but I am not a fan of theirs stopovers in the Middle East (which often take place in the middle of the night). Since I am based in central Europe, my preference goes out to Air France, KLM and Lufthansa, since they offer the easiest and fastest connections for me.
8. Where do you get the music for your videos?
My videos are accompanied by some lovely, cinematic music (ranging from powerful and epic to relaxing and peaceful). It involves copyright protected soundtracks offered by the following three online music libraries:
- Artlist (my favorite audio library)
- Music Bed
- Epidemic Sound
I pay a yearly fee to use the songs of the these providers, which enables me to monetize my videos.
9. What camera do you use?
My older videos were recorded with a Canon G7X Mark II, while I record all my current videos (such as the one below) with an iPhone 13. I don’t use any gimbal.
10. What are your plans for the future?
I would like to keep blogging and vlogging as long as I a like it and as long as I find the time to do so. That said, I’ve always had the idea to launch two other YouTube channels in addition to my current channel: one channel with a focus on the world’s best restaurants & fine dining experiences, and one channel with a focus on travel destinations and the world’s best sightseeing spots (which would probably appeal to a larger audience). Who knows what the future brings …