Dan Flying Solo

The Journey of Dan from being a Restaurant Manager to Professional Travel Blogger

Let's welcome Dan – a professional travel blogger and storyteller. Dan was never into photography or traveling, but always had a knack of sharing his travel experiences with the world. Later on, this paved his path for a successful career in travel blogging.

Dan is now into full-time travel blogging for more than four years. He takes pride in having visited 67 countries (not counting quick stopovers or passing through airports). Ljubljana in Slovenia was his first blogging destination. He cherishes his stay at the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore. Though he believes that the hotel was grand, the rooms weren't much different from any other plush hotel.

When asked to describe his thought process when he first sets foot in a new destination, he frankly replied: "Literally, step outside with little idea and explore". He further added that he always looks for a story, as he believes a lot of people don't just want to see a place as an imagery but, want to know how it feels to be there. Antarctica is his dream destination, and he aspires to turn his dream into a reality someday.

A quick intro about yourself?

I’m Dan, originally from the UK, currently living in Portugal, and I’ve been lucky enough to call five countries home and explore over sixty. I wasn’t always a traveller or a photographer, but actually trained in drama before becoming a restaurant manager. This travelling life and new career were an exciting surprise development, but I have a huge passion for storytelling.

How many countries have you travelled to & how long have you been a travel blogger for?

I’ve visited 67 countries, not counting really quick stopovers or passing through airports. I’ve been travel blogging for 7 years now, and 4 full-time.

What is a little cheeky/naughty/funny/ travel secret you have not openly told before!?

If you watch my Instagram Stories, you’ll know most of them, and how clumsy I am!

When you land in a new destination for the first time, what’s your thought process, what do you want to achieve while you are there?

Just go. Literally, step outside with little idea and explore. Go into bars and restaurant s and try to get chatting to people, let the server decide on my meal - the first moments in a new destination are both exciting and sometimes nerve racking, so going as random as possible allows you to try new things and get an idea for the place.

What is the most luxurious place you have stayed at? What was it like/where?

I usually prefer middle of the road accommodation, but there are a few hotels that really stand out. Marina Bay Sands is one, in Singapore, and although the hotel is grand, the rooms aren’t much different from any other nice hotel, but it’s the rooftop swimming pools looking out on the whole city that makes it amazing; and you have to be a guest with a room to access it.

If they were to ever make a movie about one or all of your adventures, what would the title and plot summary be?

‘Dan gets lost again’ and it would have no plot to story, it would be just someone wandering aimlessly around the world and every now and then stumbling on cool things. There would be a lot of boring moments in that film haha.

What was your very first travel blogger destination that you produced some content for?

It was Ljubljana in Slovenia, and the mayor of Slovenia shared it on Facebook which nearly crashed my website. It was crazy as it was one of my first articles, and I assumed all blogs which bring that much traffic so easily - how wrong I was. A random story connected to that is I met someone in a smoking room in a Myanmar airport who was Slovenian, and then after he say the Mayor sharing the article we reconnected, a good reminder of how small the world can be.

What do you look for in a travel photo or video for your own content?

I look for a story. I think a lot of people don’t just want to see a place in imagery, but want to know how it feels to be there. So, while not always possible, it’s something I’m always keeping in mind. What imagery for a video do I need to make people realise how fresh the fruit is, how welcoming the locals are, or how relaxing is this beach. When you are travelling in a rush sometimes it’s hard to capture that.

Any common travel/travel blogger wisdom that you disagree with?

That anyone can travel full time, I find it quite frustrating as there are countless reasons people can’t, and in some cases shouldn’t travel full time. A lot of the time it’s a clickbait kind of post but I find it quite elitist and ignores many of the real life situations people have. Also, we are lucky. A lot of travel bloggers say we aren’t, as we have worked had to do what we do, and while yes we have, we are seriously lucky; with our passport, with our finances, with our opportunities to travel and be paid to do so; I hope I never forget how truly lucky I am to live this life.

What is a common travel budget mistake most rookie travelers make? As a result, what’s one of your top budget hacks to remember while travelling?

So many! Flights, firstly, if you are flexible and search on sites like Skyscanner you can nearly always save a chunk. Also, book refundable hotels in advance, and then just before that cancellation period ends re-search the destination, you may find something better, and cheaper, closer to the trip.

Another thing to keep in mind is your daily costs can be super low when abroad. For example, some days when I’m travelling I’ll spend less than $10 (other than accommodation), street food, walking, and just soaking up the atmosphere means some days can be dirt cheap, and then save the rest of your daily allowance for awesome experiences. Don’t skip out on the things that are amazing when you have travelled all that way.

If you had the pick of any place in the world for just 24 hours only, where would you go and what would you do?

Antartica. It’s so expensive to get to, and it would be a dream to see and experience it, especially the wildlife from a kayak and the glaciers!

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