Daniel James is a full-time travel photographer and blogger who spends much of his life delving into new places to understand the culture.
Happiest meeting the locals, understanding more about what makes a country tick and eating the kind of snack food every guidebook warns you against, Daniel blogs about his adventures at danflyingsolo.com. You can also check out Dan's IQPlanner profile page to read more on his whereabouts.
Why did you start travel blogging? How long have you been doing it?
I started blogging in 2013. At the time, I was working as a restaurant manager in the UK and used to set myself the challenge of having 2 day trips with flights and accommodation all for under £100 and those were my first posts.
They were terrible so many of them have been deleted! I’d say it was early 2016 I really started to focus on blogging more consistently and turned it into more of a job than a hobby.
Name your top 3 most memorable places?
Indonesia for the sheer variety and natural beauty, Oman because of its hospitality and rugged landscapes and Sydney, the city I dream of calling home one day.
What’s the best thing about being a travel blogger?
For me, it’s being able to spend extended periods of time in one place and really get to know more about the country and the culture.
Blogging and photography has changed the way I travel completely and made me ask a lot more questions and look at the world differently than when I was just backpacking around for a good time or taking quick trips between work. It’s a pretty incredible opportunity to have.
And the worst?! (if there is one)
Sometimes if the weather’s poor or things don’t go to plan, it can be pretty stressful if you have a deadline or need to get certain content.
Old me used to have a ‘whatever’ attitude about stuff like that, but now it can become quite stressful/expensive if you have to change plans to accommodate it. It’s a small price to pay though for the opportunities it grants.
Give your top tip to a blogger starting out
Don’t stress about what other people are doing and focus on you. It’s super easy to think you have to do exactly the same as other people, copy content or just stress about other people’s achievements.
Ultimately, it’s your blog about your travels and you can do it however you want.
Ask questions and learn from the big guys, but do it your own way.
Hotel freebies: take ‘em’ or leave ‘em’?
Very rarely, I think I’ve taken maybe 4 in the last 3 years and they were tied into larger projects. There’s no harm in having support as a blogger from accommodation and mentioning that in posts if you’re honest.
But I’m so over seeing people write about ‘The best hotel in Bangkok’ when in reality it’s the only hotel in Bangkok they stayed in because it was free.
Blogging has slowly become full of advertising and there’s a right and wrong way to approach that.
What’s at the top of your list for destinations this year?
At the time of writing, I just got back from Peru where I did the Lares Trek, which ended in a visit to Machu Picchu and that was a huge bucket list tick for me.
I’m also going back to Indonesia for 6 weeks, which I’m super excited about, even after having spent 6 months there previously. Bloggers can get caught up with chasing new countries for content, but going back to places and becoming an ‘expert’ on them is my preference.
Why should people subscribe to your page?
I try and post a mix of helpful travel tips and also focus on lesser known places, which will hopefully inspire you to add some new destinations to your list.
I also pay for most of my own travels through my web design work which means it’s always an impartial opinion. I value being honest and ethics above anything in the online world.
What’s the most unusual thing you’ve eaten on your travels?
I’m moving towards a more vegetarian lifestyle now for health and environment reasons, but guinea pig has got to be top of the list.
It’s very hard when travelling to accept what’s madness for us at home, is a staple diet in other countries. However, if a host offers me something, I’ll always accept out of politeness — unless it’s a crunchy spider!
Name a place, city, or country where you feel happiest?
Sydney. I can’t tell you why but within a day of arriving there I knew it was somewhere I wanted to call home, and I hope one day I can again.
Where’s your next adventure?
As I write this, I’m heading to Delhi, India for the 3rd time in 2 weeks to volunteer there. I’m part of the founding group behind the Empowerment Tourism concept which focuses on helping locals create new job opportunities and get further education so they can change their lives in a sustainable way.
I’m so privileged to be able to travel the world and this is one of the small ways I like to give back.
Get even more unique and valuable travel inspiration from Dan by following him on the links below: