THE Q&A: YOU ASKED AND I ANSWERED

jackson groves

You guys asked the questions and I answered them. Thanks to everyone who commented or sent me inboxes on Instagram. I tried to answer every single question as honestly and best as I could. Appreciate you all taking the time to reach out and hope my answers shed some life or help you one way or another.

Question from @jessicaabennett_

Where are you from? What is your favorite place you have traveled?

I am from Adelaide, which is a city in South Australia with over 1 million people. We have awesome beaches, sweet vibes and tons of cool people. My favorite travel destination of 2016 was the Philippines. Although I loved many of the locations I was lucky enough to visit the Phils was 30 days of non-stop adventures in the most amazing scenery. Also Jorden and I had only amazing experiences with local people and the other travelers we met, which made the destination that much better!

Question from @svalente55

How old are you?

I turned 25 in October last year!

Question from my good mate @joshlynott

Dinner with any three people – who would they be and why?

Just Andreas, Josh Lynott, Bjorn Sandberg and Ole Sandnes (I know it’s four). Four favorite mates I have met on my travels and unfortunately haven’t seen them for a too long. I meet a ton of cool people traveling but it also means I don’t get to see many of my mates from home and abroad very often.

Question from @travelinfocus

How much gear are you carrying?

I bought an 80L Gregory Backpack but soon threw out a lot of unnecessary things after a couple of months. I fill it about halfway now and even had enough room to bring home 4 pairs of sneakers for my family from a market. I could quite easily fit everything into a 45L I think. However, I also carry a daypack/backpack on my chest with my camera, two lenses, gopro, 13inch macbook, 2 hard drives, chargers, batteries etc. Lucky I don’t drone or have a ronin I guess!

Question from @adventureabides

Will you ever cut your hair?

I have been growing it for over 1.5 years now and while I like having long hair I will probably cut it one day.

Question from @chineselaundry &
@melaniedolly @everyothernametaken @samherschbach @svalente55 @allsmiles_a @avinicolo @the_fabio_aiello

What kind of job do you have that allows you to travel so much?

I get this question a lot and the answer is I don’t really have a job. I do a mix of things to make enough money to survive. I do content creation for brands which involves taking photos of their products and sometimes but rarely posting to my feed. I also write some guest blog posts for other websites. Another way I earn money is by doing some social media consulting for other people looking to grow their social media presence. I try and only spend $800 USD per month and aim to earn $1000 USD per month but sometimes I spend more and earn less and vice versa. Survive and thrive!

Question from @rossiniib

Favorite place for someone to stay in the Philippines?

It definitely depends on what time you are looking to have. For example party at night and chill in the day on Boracay or island hop by day and chill out to reggae on the beach by night on El Nido. Or you can get totally off the beaten path on Bohol. You really can’t go wrong in the Philippines, although I have been told that Manila might not be the holiday destination for everyone!

Question from @itsmejoeyc

What was the most expensive travel and the cheapest travel you have done?

Most expensive travel from backpacking last year was in Singapore. Our hostel cost three times as much as those in the Philippines or Cambodia and it was the cheapest one available at $13 a night. That was the most expensive room I paid for in all of 2016!

Cheapest travel of 2016 was when I couchsurfed on Koh Samui, Thailand for a week with my lovely host. Couchsurfing is entirely free if you didn’t know and it involves a host open their home up to you with a free stay in a private room, couch, floor or one side of a bed. Not for everyone but that was one hell of a cheap week!

Question from @gil_estelle

Do you meet with your followers at destinations?

I am not opposed to it but I don’t promote meetups or such. However, in Luang Prabang a guy came up to me as he recognized me from insta story and we ended up adventuring in Luang Prabang and Vang Vieng in Laos together with his friend aswell. They were both from Germany and we had a blast. Instagram has been an awesome tool for an introvert for me to connect with like-minded people and I’ve made some awesome mates after connecting on the app. If anyone ever wants to meet up and it seems we are in the same place just hit me up. If you look like you aren’t trying to kill me there’s a fair chance I will be down for a catch-up.

jackson groves

Question from @rebelindu

I’ve never been on a big adventure or an international trip, I am a Walter Mitty kind of guy. Were you afraid in your first solo travel?

I have always had a pretty big sense of adventure. I left Adelaide to play soccer in Oregon for Oregon State University when I was 20. It was a place where I knew no-one. I then moved to Hawaii Pacific where I also knew no-one. However, my first real solo travel was to Bali, Indonesia and I wasn’t too worried at all having traveled a lot with family and friends over the years. But maybe I should have been as on day two of my trip I knocked out two teeth and had over 20 stitches after crashing a moped. I flew back to Australia for dental work after only 2 days! It can’t get much worse but it didn’t halt my desire for travel and adventures.

Question from @darlingoftheorient

How was it traveling with Jorden Tually (@jordentually)?

Wow where do I start. Jorden is one of the most out there, vibrant characters I have ever met. I met Jorden when I was on Oahu. He traveled from Newcastle in Australia and hit me up on Instagram to see if I wanted to go hiking. I decided he looked harmless and we went hiking and ended up hanging out all over the island for the next week. We linked up again doing an insane month of adventuring in the Philippines and despite a few interesting moments our different persona’s actually worked quite well together. I tend to do be a bit quieter and Jorden is definitely not someone I would describe as discrete or calm. Pretty much Jorden was an awesome ice-breaker. He seemed to meet half the hostel before I had put my luggage down and before we knew it we had made ten new friends. That’s just how Jorden is. There were a few times I would’ve definitely liked a remote control for Jorden to utilize the mute button but we spent almost every second together so for the most part we both had a great time.

Question from @luca_dierks & @thecultivateblog

How do you eat right and work out on the road?

I wouldn’t profess to being a healthy eater but I only eat what I need. I rarely buy ice-creams, chips or candy. I eat local street food mostly. So I’m talking about chicken and salad baguettes in Laos, vegetable noodles in Cambodia, Pho in Vietnam, Nasi Goreng in Indonesia. These might not be the most perfectly healthy meal but they have the basics: protein, vegetables and some carbs. I also drink a ton of smoothies, which if you follow my insta-story you would definitely know. For $1 or less you can get any fresh fruit in a cup and that gives you lots of the vitamins and good stuff to keep you healthy. I aim for $10 or less on food and drinks per day.

Firstly I am no qualified trainer but I did spend quite a big part of my life working out in a professional environment. I am pretty active on most days whether it be walking around a city, riding a bike, looking around temples or on a short hike. However, being an athlete for 20 years it is a part of my lifestyle to work out. I use outdoor gyms whenever I can find them or a playground usually has the necessary equipment. My go to exercises are nothing revolutionary. I will do a few sets of chin-ups, push ups, dips, rows of some sort and then a decent amount of core work. If I can’t find an outdoor gym I will do core work on the ground, pushups and find a pole or a tree somewhere to do pull-ups. It might all sound a bit inconvenient but I really only work out for 45 minutes every two days on average. If I settle in a location for more than a few days I might source a gym and get in a few sessions to mix it up. The two biggest mistakes you can make if you want to stay in shape while backpacking is:

Drink every night because everyone else is. When you drink and have a big night you sleep in and then eat an unhealthy breakfast and it invades your whole day. I drink every once in awhile, enjoy it but don’t rely on it every day for my entertainment.
Put off working out because you aren’t in the right clothes, don’t have the right equipment, had a big one last night, can’t find a gym or outdoor gym, it’s hot. If you wait for the perfect air-conditioned gym at the perfect time, the perfect distance from your accommodation you may as well forget it. Make the most of what you have and if you have nothing do core work, push ups and planks til you are dripping with sweat.

Question from @alex12_db

What is your biggest fear?

My biggest fear would be giving in to living a lifestyle that doesn’t fit with my values. I have seen a lot of people choose careers, money, locations and people because it was safe, easy, comfortable and seemed like the responsible or smart choice. I try and go with the flow to wherever seems right and doing what challenges me without compromising my values. I am not traveling, blogging or taking photos to get rich. I am happy doing what I am doing without fancy cars, hotels or expensive meals and tours. I know lifestyle preferences change but for now I will do my best to stay true to my way of life.

Question from @codwilso

Do you realize how much you influence others?

All I can know is from what I receive in my inbox. I do get a lot of messages from people thanking me for inspiring them to travel. It was never my intention to inspire people to travel in fact for many people they have no desire to travel, which is totally fine. If I were to influence people I hope it would be in a way that shows them that if you put everything you have into your dreams you are capable of much more than most of us think, myself included. I think so many of us have these little dreams that we never act on, we never give them the time of day and give our blood, sweat and tears to our farfetched ideas. I think acting on these ideas are exactly what life is about. If people see what I am doing and act on their dream even though all their friends laugh at their first painting, their first blog post sucks or they don’t feel like they are good enough then that’s something I would be proud of.

Question from @jung__max & @akshaybabykutty @trae.christian

What camera do you use?

I use a Sony A7ii mirrorless camera, a 55mm f1.8 lens and a 16-35mm f4 lens.

Question from @whitney_wolfe

What is your inspiration/story in a nutshell?

I am just a kid who shunned the 9-5 life in search of something more. I don’t know much more than that. I try and learn something new each day and just go with the flow, challenging myself to evolve through new projects and ideas. I am inspired by anyone I come across who is truly doing something they enjoy despite how bad it pays, how hard it makes other aspects of their life or what everyone thinks of them for it.

Question from @sloth.man

When you travel do you pay for a tour or do you go to the places on your own?

95% of the time everything I eat, every place I visit, every flight I take and every accommodation I stay in is chosen by me and paid for by me. From time to time I will accept an offer to experience an accommodation or a tour in exchange for an honest blog review. For example I received a two-night stay at Desa Seni Yoga Resort in Bali, which included all meals. However the other nights that I stayed in Bali I ate street food from the markets and my accommodation was less than $6 a night. I try and do most of my own adventures independently because that way my articles, photos and content is more relatable and accessible to anyone who wants a similar experience. Traveling independently also gives me a lot more freedom to go at my own speed and visit places of interest to me.

Question from @lorenasendic

The moon or the sun?

I love some rays and laying out in the hot Aussie summer so I will go with the sun.

Question from @oliowens

What do you do with all your camera gear and laptop when you are traveling, snorkeling and on and off boats?

I have a bag I carry with me every single day that is super heavy. It has my camera, lenses, macbook, batteries, hard drives etc. I try and keep it on me at all times unless I am going on a kayak or a sketchy boat. In that case I lock it in a locker or my room. I try and only do this in places I trust but at time you just have to lock it up and cross your fingers. I was fortunate to have no theft or attempted thefts in 2016!

Question from @travel_for_days

Solo travel blogger? Who takes all your photos?

As you can see most of the photos on my feed photos are not of me and are taken by me. I do post a few photos of myself, which are taken by friends who joined me traveling or people I met while traveling. Sometimes I do use a tripod and a timelapse but that is a whole lot of effort! This was a timelapse photo I set up and took by myself:

jackson groves

Question from @shane.coollins

How does your beard look so soft and shiny?

This would be a great place to promote a beard oil company or something but not to be. Just salty water and sun!

Question from @vhon_drew

How did you start your first blog?

I didn’t really know a lot about blogging when I decided to launch one but I had a bit of help from friends setting it up on WordPress. Nothing has changed since my first blog posts. I am still just photographing and writing about the real adventures I get up to whether it be hiking on Oahu or visiting villages in Cambodia. There are so many things to think about and to learn when beginning to blog but the most important part is to just get started and learn as you go. I still learn something new each week. Luckily google has almost all of the answers you could ever need.

Question from @indigochildek

Why did you start blogging?

I graduated from university with a degree in Journalism. I did a couple of internships with magazines and in-flight publications but I didn’t love the content I was being asked to produce. I decided to start writing my own stories and documenting my own adventures. I didn’t necessarily think it would become what my blog is now but I was just enjoying the challenge to begin with and I still do.

Question from @j.r.oakman

Do you ever have interns?

I have thought about organizing a trip where 4-5 people join me and maybe another blogger on a one month backpacking trip through a country. Along the way we would travel on the cheap, create some awesome content and hopefully you would learn a wealth of knowledge about how to do adventure travel while backpacking, blogging and instagramming at the same time. If anyone would be interested in that just message me on Instagram.

Question from @waylon.johnson & @asianboyastray

How did you get started in photography?

One of my mates was shooting in the waves of Oahu all summer of 2015 and I would sit on the shore shooting surfers and bodyboarders with my tiny lens. I began shooting landscapes and on my adventures as well. I grabbed a bigger lens and shot Pipeline and any surf I could. Practicing every day and watching youtube tutorials I kept progressing and every month when I looked back at the photos from the month previous I could see improvements. I am still learning every day and love finding out little tips and tricks to improve my techniques.

Question from @justaddjetfuel

Where have you traveled that has inspired the most humanity or brought out feelings of empathy and compassion?

The answer you are probably expecting is a village in Cambodia but to be honest I have the most empathy for people when I visit my home town in Australia. While people in third world villages have less possessions and wealth they often have incredibly strong communities and great unified strength. However in my home-town of Adelaide I see neighbors building fences higher and higher to hide from each other, some people working jobs they don’t love for more than 75% of the time they are awake and spending the majority of their money on things to impress their peers. I am so lucky to have had a fortunate and relatively easy upbringing but the western world faces many challenges of it’s own. Having said that I visited a number of poverty stricken areas, saw many sick children and had to shake my head to amputee beggars on countless occasions. Empathy and compassion are feelings that strike daily in Southeast Asia but so are happiness, gratitude and excitement.

Question from @kerickson16

What do you use to edit your photos?

I do all of my editing on my computer using the program Adobe Lightroom.

Question from @shifu_amygdala

How long will you grow your beard?

Not sure to be honest, I cut it last year on a whim so only time will tell.

Question from @steviemark_

Where do you recommend as a destination for a first time traveler?

It really depends what you are looking for but places that are good to ease you into traveling are Bali in Indonesia, Oahu in Hawaii or El Nido in the Philippines.

Question from @jaredneiman

How did you go from the routine of eat,sleep,work,repeat to the adventurous life you have now?

I have worked since I was 13 years old stacking shelves in grocery stores and making sandwiches at Subway but I never had a ‘real’ office job per say. I left Australia at 20 years old to study and play soccer at Oregon State University and then Hawaii Pacific University. As soon as I graduated I kept the traveling going by backpacking for 6 months in Southeast Asia. As I answered above I make enough to survive now and do the things I love but I have to work hard for those opportunities.

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travel blog, travel blogger, jackson groves

8 Discussion to this post

  1. Ray says:

    What is one thing in your life or travels that you will do differently in 2017 than what you did in 2016?

  2. Kim says:

    How is the sexlife of a solo traveler around the world?

  3. Kacy says:

    Love this! I live vicariously through your posts… can’t believe you’re only 25!

Comments are closed.