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The boy who traveled around the world for 10 years

Tom Grond, a Dutch travel blogger, has been traveling around the world since December 2012. To date, he has not stopped after a decade of traveling.

Grond used to work for the Dutch government. To date, he has visited about 130 different countries, including Syria, Jordan, Colombia and Burkina Faso. There was a time when he made 58 flights in just one year, according to CNN.

Before starting his journey, he saved enough money to keep traveling continuously for about 3 years and set a budget of just 30 USD/day.

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Grond started its journey in December 2012.

Like many other backpackers, Grond often stays in cheap motels (hostels) and lives as frugal as possible to save money.

“People assume that I must come from a wealthy family. Yes, I enjoy many privileges. First, I’m from the Netherlands so I have a really powerful passport. Next, I save a lot of money for travel. That’s why I was able to maintain my journey all the time,” he shared.

Always have to say goodbye

As social media took off in the 2010s, Grond realized he could make money writing and posting about his adventures around the world.

“Anyway, I’m traveling and posting photos regularly of great places.”

In 2014, he created a personal account and quickly gained a significant number of followers. Many hotels and organizations approach Grond, offering free accommodations and experiences in exchange for promotional articles.

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Grond was under pressure when he repeatedly accepted the invitation to write travel ads.

At first, everything went very smoothly. But gradually, he felt pressured to constantly produce content for social networks, and soon realized this lifestyle was not sustainable.

Instead, he launched his own blog in 2016 where he updates on his adventures around the world. The income from this channel can currently fund the majority of Grond’s trips.

After 3-4 years as a backpacker, he became a “mid-range tourist” and left his days at a budget motel behind.

While the accommodation could be nicer, Grond says his approach to travel hasn’t really changed.

“I still want to explore, meet the local people and see what their life is like. Without this passion, I would have stopped traveling the world a long time ago.”

But when the pandemic hit, and Grond had to stay in one place for more than a few weeks, he immediately boarded a plane to places where Covid-19 prevention regulations are less strict, such as Mexico or the United States.

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Grond feels happy to meet and make friends with the locals in every place he visits.

Despite his commitment to a nomadic lifestyle, Grond admits it’s been difficult to maintain a relationship. This made him more and more mindful over time.

“Maintaining a relationship is unthinkable. Every few weeks, even days, I move to a new location. I always have to say goodbye.”

In addition to the positive experiences, he also encountered several challenges along the way.

Recently, he was arrested by immigration police in Gabon, a country located on the west coast of Africa, due to a misunderstanding. The incident made him more aware of how far away he was from loved ones.

However, Grond is optimistic that unfortunate incidents and experiences account for only a very small part. In addition, he is still in regular contact with family and friends back home, as well as people he has made acquaintances during his travels.

Enjoy each country

After about 7 years of traveling, he decided he wanted to visit every country in the world.

“It’s great to go to different places and change your perception. That gives me a lot of inspiration. I want to go around showing people what countries really are like.”

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Instead of rushing around to get numbers, Grond wanted to learn and enjoy the culture of each country.

However, he was in no hurry to complete this particular challenge. He also felt frustrated when he saw so many people racing around the world just to get the numbers.

“I gave up the race to get a degree, get a job, build a career and start a family. I don’t want to enter another race.”

Out of 130 countries he has visited, he has returned to 71 countries more than once. He has been to Pakistan 4 times, Thailand 17 times and several times in Turkey.

Grond doesn’t plan too far and often doesn’t know where he’ll be the next week. He is currently in Panama, planning to fly to Bogota in the next few days, and then to Paraguay. After that, he will visit his family in the Netherlands.

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The young man has no plans to celebrate his 10th anniversary of traveling around the world.

He plans to visit West Africa in the near future and plans to spend eight weeks in places like Senegal, Gambia, Sierra Leone, Ghana, as well as Equatorial Guinea.

“People always ask when I’ll be back home. But I don’t have a home of my own, and I don’t know when I’ll stop traveling.”

Next December, Grond will officially celebrate its 10th year circumnavigation. However, he has no plans to celebrate yet.

“I don’t even know where I will be in the next few days. I’m about to pass 3,333 days of continuous movement. But I’m not sure, maybe it’s already over.”

According to Zing

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