We recently joined forces with Columbus Travel Magazine. After having had a subscription to the magazine for 7 years, we decided to travel Fulltime. Of course Columbus readers had enough questions about that. It was a pleasure to answer those. The article below can also be found on: https://www.columbusmagazine.nl/artikel/10395/alles-wat-je-wilt-weten-over-travelmonster-het-koppel-dat-non-stop-de-wereld-rondreist
If you have any questions yourself? Please be so kind and leave your question in a comment. Then we will process your question in our article with an answer.
How do you finance your travels?
Our love of traveling made us think: What are we really good at? What is unique about us? And how can we continue to do that online while traveling the world? The answer is why we started our own Online Marketing Agency. We have extensive experience in Sales and Marketing management in our previous careers. Now we help companies to set up and grow their Social Media. We support Hotels and Villas to work with Influencers and create content in the Travel industry. And the best part? We have customers worldwide (NL, Indonesia, South America) and can work with WIFI from anywhere in the world.
Are you never tired of always striving for perfection for the likes?
Not really. Because that is not at all what we do. We don’t do it for the likes. It is actually more of a ‘real life’ version of the TV program ‘The Perfect Picture’ so that perfection part is actually correct. We love photography and video. And we really do look for perfection in that. Which can be challenging sometimes for sure. You have to take so many things into account. Just a few being, the position of the sun, the golden hour, your angles. And of course we often have to get up earlier than others. But we just love taking a great photo. And our best photos don’t always get the most likes! Likes are still a way of appreciation though, so it’s nice to get them. We just don’t go batshit crazy for them.
Still, the photos are a beautiful part of our memories for us and it makes us more happy when looking back at all the beautiful things we have already experienced.
We do think though that it is a little bit of a misconception that we could get tired of it because people think we need more time for our photos. While the funny thing is that wherever we are, the ‘normal’ tourists (read: the non-photographers) take much longer – sometimes 2 to 3 times longer – on all their photos than we do. There are selfie sticks and GoPro’s involved with videos and all that stuff.
The average tourist nowadays takes more time #forthegram than we do actually haha.
We know what we want to create and we are done in no time. It often happens that then others take our places because they thought our positions & angles were a good idea.
One question that is quite similar and that also has a somewhat negative way of looking at things is the following:
Why are Insta photos often so styled and posed so much?
One of the reasons why we travel is to make memories together. It is simply a fact that if you want to have a photo on your trip from the both of you as a couple, you need either a Tripod or Drone, or a tourist who can press a button. So in that sense it can never be completely spontaneous. No one gives their camera to someone to follow them all day and have them take spontaneous photos. So before you take a photo you will always have to have an idea of what you want to photograph and where you want to stand or sit. We do not consider it a crime to do that in the most creative way possible.
On top of that we post every day. That means that if you don’t want your photos to be boring – or more in the category – vacation snapshots- you also have to be creative. Unless you want in each photo to stand side by side with an arm around eachother. We call that ‘The Classic’. Things like that are perfect for a family day;) but 20 times in a row?
So sometimes we want to have a photo from our backsides taking in the scenery, sometimes running away, then chilling again in a swimming pool. It makes it all a little bit more playful. Because we are actually very bad at posing and you see us more often in photos while are laughing our butts of while trying. We don’t feel ashamed to explain in our captions how things really went. For example, take a look at one of our recent photos in the flowerbath to get an idea of what we mean. Judith still thinks there were frogs in that bath and that is also how she looks in the photo. This question (in a more positive way, by the way) is also one of the most frequently asked questions to us. How do I get better Instagram photos? And we have some tips for that.
Do you work while traveling?
Yes, part of traveling is working for us too. We did, however, quit the 9 to 5 in the Netherlands for a reason. We wanted to be much more flexible. That means that we no longer know what Mondays are. Or that we don’t care if we work on mornings or evenings. This is of course partly due to the different time zones that we are working with. Some of our income doesn’t feel like working of course. Flying around with a drone to take photo’s or video in the most beautiful places of the world is a dream really. And now we receive so many requests that we will soon be looking for a marketer and videographer to support us further.
Do you get many accommodations and excursions offered through your Instagram account?
Yes definitely a lot. That is why we must choose well which one we are visiting and which we are not. We are not commercial products or walking marketing signs that jump on everything for accommodation or money. We sometimes see people who sell cat food or neck pillows. That is absolutely not us. We do our own research and know well in advance whether a brand suits us. We focus on Sustainable Travel and therefore often end up at the more luxurious resorts because they have a budget and are really working on it. You can’t expect a hostel to have a diving team every day that replants coral, of course, but we think that’s really great and we’ve already seen this in action in Seychelles and Mauritius with WiseOceans!
We focus on Sustainable Travel and therefore often end up at the more luxurious resorts because they have a budget and are really working on it.
In Indonesia we worked closely with Greenvillage Bali. Everything they build there is built in a sustainable way with bamboo. Bamboo grows to a mature and usable state within 3 years and is also completely biodegradable. They are also home to the world-famous Greenschool. This is a elementary school where children are taught in the middle of the nature. They don’t only learn the basics but also a lot about the world and how we leave our mark on it. After school, children from all over Bali, who are not taught on Greenschool, can take English lessons there for free. To do this, they must supply 5 kg of plastic waste per year in return. These are initiatives that make our heart beat faster and those are the type of accommodation and excursions that we like to work with.
After school, children from all over Bali, who are not taught on Greenschool, can take English lessons there for free. To do this, they must supply 5 kg of plastic waste per year in return.
GreenSchool Bali, allows children from all over Bali, who are not taught on Greenschool, to take English lessons there for free. To do this, they must supply 5 kg of plastic waste per year in return.
Are you never tired of traveling?
To be honest? We were just tired of a 9 to 5 job. Do the same thing every day. Being in a trafficjam to go to work. Vacuuming, Washing, Ironing. Living in an environment and society that is mainly concerned with after having bought a house to get an even bigger house. Always looking for the newer car or gadget and checking what the neighbours are doing. And so many people are just working for their kids and retirement later but they are not really taking advantage of the ‘now’. We don’t judge that, but we believe there are other ways. On top of that we want to be able to eat and live outside, something that is really limited in the Netherlands.
During our trip we are in control ourselves. So that means that if we don’t feel like it, we don’t travel. We always create a home base where we can leave most things and keep them for a few months. From there we travel to neighboring countries, if we feel like it and at our own pace. We don’t travel like most who go on a world trip with their hard-earned savings. Because we then understand that you might have the feeling that you always have to keep on going because money is leaking out. We don’t have any of that at all, we go whenever we feel like it. We are bon vivants first and content creators second.
If we don’t feel like it, we look shamelessly to Love Island or something on Netflix. And we never miss the Formula 1. An VPN connection is really a must when you are traveling and race fans of the first hour like us.
How do you prepare for a trip around the world? What do you take with you or not?
There are a number of things that you have to consider.
- Of course it starts with your budget. It’s just great if you have some savings.
- Vaccinations are very important too. We’ve taken all of them except for yellow fever. We will take this before we go to Africa or South America. Vaccinations are super expensive and you can’t really see it so it’s the most painful investment you can make. But investing in your health is the best investment anyway.
- Insurance & gear. So obviously we travel with a huge amount of camera gear. A summary: Fuji XT3 system camera, Fuji XT20 system camera, DJI Osmo Pocket, Sony RX100 + underwater housing, GoPro hero 7 Black, DJI Mavic Air, DJI Mavic Pro 2, 3 film lenses and 3 photography lenses and a Zhiyun Weebil Lab gimbal. That is not just a lot of carrying, it is also a big risk of breaking, falling into the water, being stolen etc. We have taken an insurance that even reimburses drones and our equipment to almost maximum. Peace of mind is also worth something to us.
What is the most unforgettable experience you have ever had while traveling?
Some worth mentioning:
- Swimming in between wild dolphins in Mauritius. More than 40 swam around us and they found us quite interesting actually. They sometimes even ask for attention by doing some tricks. Incredible experience. But we do want to stress that you should not go into a basin or small part of enclosed sea or Seaworld or something similar. They are beautiful animals that have to live freely.
- Jordan is definitely a magical place. The hikes around Petra are breathtaking and since we always get up early for photos, that moment we first walked through the canyon towards the Monastery with only the sound of our own echoing footsteps was a moment to remember.
- Angels Landing in Zion National Park on the West Coast of America. That hike is so spectacular. No other hike has been able to match that.
- Iceland Road 939. This is a shortcut through a valley that will give you the best view ever if you tour Iceland clockwise. We have never heard anyone else about it so I think most of those who do the tour in Iceland follow the normal road. Spectacular. Our GoPro battery died when we arrived so we don’t have the video of driving down which is still the biggest photographic fail ever.
How do you arrange all visas for different countries?
That is really different per country. Everything is online nowadays so it is really easy. We plan in advance where we want to go and then arrange it on our telephone.
We do not plan anything well in advance. We do have ideas, but we can also adjust them at any time. If we are invited for a super trip to South Africa, we want to be able to say “Yes.” Yet we do plan about a month ahead in terms of location. For example, in the coming months we want to see Sumba in Indonesia and climb the Bromo and Iljen volcanoes. Then you have to plan something of course.
What destination can you recommend to everyone?
For the experienced traveler we think the Philippines is truly paradise. But you have to be pretty handy when traveling and don’t panic when your boat or plane is canceled. That’s just how it goes there. And make sure you get a SIM card. Having no Internet is stressful.
For people who go on holiday outside of the US or Europe for the first time. Then we actually recommend Bali. We read every so often that Bali has become too touristy and if you are not willing to read something, talk to locals and do some research, it is quite possible that you will end up on the well-known tourist traps. However, we have discovered so many incredibly cool and unknown places in recent years. And we don’t reveal that on our Instagram either.
Which brings us to the next question.
How can you experience Bali away from the crowd?
It is now temporarily our home base and we sometimes think about sharing the spots away from the masses by doing tours for interested people. With confidentiality obligation of course. We know of waterfalls without a name, the undiscovered East, deserted beaches (while people say that Bali does not have them). Ohh Bali, we just keep coming back, also because the food there is so fantastic. Western options everywhere and super affordable. We eat daily for around 3 euros pp. The hotels compete fiercely, which means that every new hotel tries to outdo the other.
And the people are super sweet! They are mainly Hindu and believe in reincarnation. They believe that if they do something good in this life, they will get a better life in the next. We think that is a beautiful way of believing.
Do you spend the night mainly in hotels or do you sometimes sleep in hostels or in a tent?
We prefer to sleep in hotels with a private double bedroom. Yet we have also been in open huts on the beach and we regularly sleep in a Guesthouse if we will be away for a tour for the whole day. If you are going to do a big tracking or hike and you have to be in a tent, we will of course do that too. However, we usually choose the most comfortable way of traveling and overnight staying. We are in quite luxurious places regularly though. Then we keep the less comfortable ways for when we really have to. This also avoids the wrong answer to the question ‘Are you never tired of all that traveling?’. 😉
What is the secret behind your beautiful photos?
First of all you really have to like to photograph. We also recommend a good interchangeable lenscamera. There is really no phone that can match that. We are very passionate about photography and find reading about it or watching YouTube not a waste of time.
Learning to fly with a drone and finding positioning in a much larger 3D terrain than when you hold a camera yourself is also a matter of practice makes perfect. What is very nice is that every now and then we meet other content creators while traveling. You send each other a message on Instagram and sometimes do a collab together.
Instagram is really the nicest social platform and differs enormously from the sour Twitter and jealous Facebook population. Even when we had 500 followers, people with 100,000 followers always sent us a nice message when we had a question on Instagram. In the Netherlands everyone still has to get used to that.