The life of a travel blogger is something a lot of people aspire to. Jackson Groves is one of the hottest travel bloggers/Instagrammers online right now. His adventurous spirit, straight-talking posts and incredible photographs have earned him a cult fan base that is now edging over a quarter-of-a-million followers.We caught up with Jackson recently to get some insight into the life of travel a blogger. He travels the globe, seeking out unique experiences and soaking up different cultures. Here is the interview for your reading (and viewing) pleasure.
Jackson, You’re an Aussie, but spend a lot of time in Kauai and generally traveling. Where do you actually call home right now?
I’m born and raised in Adelaide, Australia. I left when I was 20 to play college soccer and study journalism in the U.S.A. I spent 2 years in Oregon and 2 years in Hawaii. Since I graduated in 2016, I’ve been a nomad. I live out of a backpack and in fact, I don’t own anything that doesn’t fit in my backpack.
Do you have a ‘favorite’ place to visit when traveling?
My favorite country in the world is The Philippines!
Any heavy experiences when traveling on the road?
India was, of course, tough emotionally. You are confronted with some pretty full-on scenarios and have to manage your thoughts and emotions as you are met with beggars of all ages on a daily basis. India had some amazing moments too and it’s in my top 5 countries I have traveled too. However, there were many moments I felt pretty down about the world in general while traveling through India. How can we let others struggle as long as we are thriving ourselves?
As a photographer, what gear do you use?
I shoot with a Sony a7ii, GoPro 6 and Dji Mavic Pro. It’s all chosen as it is small, lightweight but still pretty high quality compared to its bulkier competitors.
Do you have a favorite image you captured in the last year?
My favorite image is a shot at Tiu Kelep Falls in Lombok. Its an epic amphitheater and has a magical atmosphere, almost like a secret garden.
What’s the most extreme lengths you’ve gone to, to get a shot?
I once hung out of a moving train holding on with just one hand and with just my toes on the doorstep to get this shot.
Was there a key moment when you decided ‘this is what I want to do for a living?’ What did that journey look like?
There wasn’t a key moment per say. I just saved up $5,000 and when I left in June, I knew that if it didn’t work out I would go and get a regular job. My aim was only ever to make $800 per month so I could survive as a backpacker without degrading my bank balance.
Any advice for people wanting to break into travel blogging, or Instagramming? What would be your top 3 tips?
Don’t do sponsored hotels or at least do them rarely. Visit places bloggers don’t flock to already. Provide us with something unique, give us a reason to want you and not the next blogger, because believe me there is always a next blogger.
What are you ‘go-to’ Pacsafe bags when traveling or at home?
I travel with the Venturesafe EXP65 anti-theft backpack.
Where are you off to next? And, what are you most excited about for that trip?
I’m heading to Israel next and am stoked for my first visit to this country and to check out the coastline!
By Tim Hawken