The first time I saw him was in a meetup even for a British blogger. I remember people making a big deal out of meeting him, saying that they were a fan. I didn’t know him then so I remember wondering, who the hell is this guy. They say that he is a famous travel blogger and one of the best there is. To be fair I wasn’t being a snob, it’s just that during that time most of the bloggers I knew were either food or personal bloggers. I didn’t think I’d ever get to know this guy, let alone become one of his friends, but that’s what happened. Obviously, my standard for friends is leveling up hahaha… So without further ado, let me present to you our 7th Travel Bug feature and the first for 2016, Jonathan Espiña of Jon to the World.
Tell us some things about you
I am Jonathan Espiña but you can call me Jon. I am a travel blogger from the Philippines and my blog is Jon to the World.
I am also a corporate worker. But just like most of us, I felt that my life is more than going to the office daily and do the same routine things. I mean I respect being a corporate worker. I am grateful for it, it’s my bread and butter as of the moment but there will come a point wherein you’ll search for meaning and you just instantly knew that the meaning and purpose that you’re looking for couldn’t be found inside your cubicle. Let’s all be honest here.
So it’s important to have a well-balanced life. Love your day job. Do your best. But man, follow your passion in life. For me, it’s writing and travel! I hope my blog will inspire other corporate workers to also follow their passion, that it is possible to travel even though you have a demanding day job. There is a way. Don’t you ever tell me that you don’t have time. If you really need to create your own life outside of your cubicle, you gotta do this. You can do it.
Why do you travel?
I travel because I need to travel. When you feel that your life is turning to be a routine, travel. If you need some time alone and have some clarity, travel.
“I hope my blog will inspire other corporate workers to also follow their passion, that it is possible to travel even though you have a demanding day job.”
Travel gives meaning to my life. It makes me feel that there are a lot to explore, that I can do more. That I am more. Despite having a day job, I will definitely travel as much as possible.
When did you discover the joys of traveling?
I had some chance to travel within the Philippines when I was working as a producer and writer for GMA Network. But it was all work, definitely not the real essence of travel.
It all started a few years ago when I travel to Bangkok, when I encountered a lot of travelers, solo backpackers from all over the world. I remember something echoing in my mind at that time,
“Look at those people, they are not afraid to go beyond the norm and follow their dreams.”
I literally went back to the Philippines a different person. It was a life-changing moment for me.
Tell us a story about Jon to the World, when and what inspired you to put up a travel blog?
I’ve put up some blogs before but mostly personal blog niche. But I didn’t enjoy it. I enjoyed writing eversince so the next move would be, what topic am I going to write that will keep me inspired and willing to do long term. I tried some until I’ve decided to write about travel inspiration and it just clicked.
“Travel gives meaning to my life. It makes me feel that there are a lot to explore, that I can do more.”
My blog Jon to the World is the result of my passions in life — writing and travel.
What are the challenges that you met along the way when it comes to blogging and how did you deal with them?
Of course, deciding to blog and being serious about it is not the “norm” here. You know what I mean. So you’ll encounter a lot of “naysayers”, but you just have to continue believing and never give up.
Also, I’ve never realized that the blogging world has so much drama. Haha! After some time, I’ve learned to stay away from negativity.
You have already made a name for yourself in the blogosphere, how do you stay humble despite everything?
Huwat??! Me? I didn’t know that. Haha! I think that’s the way to stay humble, not really thinking that you are someone in the blogosphere. Just kidding.
I think knowing that you still have a lot to learn and you still have a very long way to go keeps you humble and grounded. Stay true to your why whatever happens. We’ve seen bloggers who started as big dreamers who changed when they’ve become popular. So it is important to be aware to never go that path in case we’ve achieved something.
Out of the places you’ve been to, which one is most memorable and why?
Batad, Ifugao is very personal for me because that was the time when I badly needed to have some clarity in my life. Haha!It’s just amazing how traveling can give you reflections and life learnings.
Do you like to travel solo or with a group?
Of course, I would want to travel with friends. But my friends are not as crazy as me. (abnormal ako haha!) Lot of people are saying if you’re gonna wait for your friends to be ready you won’t be able to see and discover places that you want to visit.
So I always end up traveling either solo or with other groups, eventually meeting new friends.
How do you prepare for a trip?
Since I have a day job, it takes a lot of preparation from planning my leaves and making sure I have the money. Haha!
The key, is plan your trips in advance to take advantage of the seat sale and also make sure you won’t have any problems with your schedule as well as your day job.
What are your travel must-haves?
Very basic for me. Simple camera, money, myself and small notebook with pen. I always write something when I travel haha! But now, I am using the Evernote app to write and save anything on my phone. It’s very effective.What is the best thing that you learned about traveling?
What is the best thing that you learned about traveling?
Humanity and compassion. Naks! But it’s true. When you travel you meet and encounter different people and it just widens your perspective as a human.
I’ve never been so emotional and so connected with other people just because of traveling. Every person you meet from fellow traveler to the locals with very basic and simple lives can give you so much inspiration and life lessons.Out of the places you’ve been to, which one is most memorable and why? Same question as number 7 J
What is your ultimate dream destination?
South America. You know Colombia, Brazil, Paraguay, Ecuador, Uruguay, Chile, Venezuela and a whole lot more!
What is your non-negotiable term when traveling?
Nothing much. Tried camping, guesthouse, hostel, homestay, hotel. Hmmm. I think as long as I can find some food to eat, that’s not going to be a problem with me. Haha!
What are the tips that you can share with travelers who want to follow in your footsteps and dream about starting a travel blog of their own?
Being a blogger is not for everyone, so If you feel that you want to be a blogger, be grateful because destiny only chose a few and you are a lucky one. Haha!
My advice is to start NOW. Don’t overthink about the technical stuff of how to do it and all, because the truth is all you need is start NOW and you’ll learn along the way.
Also, please understand that blogging takes a lot of hard work and patience. It will take time. Do not expect some huge results after blogging for 6 months. Again, it will take time. Work hard and never give up.
This or That
Beach or Mountain?
Right now, I’ve learned to enjoy the mountain more…
On means of transport, by air or by land?
I like long travel. So land!
Exotic food, yay or nay?
Yay! Let’s get it on. 😉
See the world through Jon’s eyes in his blog, Jon to the World.