This TikToker Aims To Visit Every Country In The World & Here's How Travel Became His 'Lifestyle'
He's been to over 140 countries!
Many of us love to travel, but could you see yourself doing it non-stop for over 10 years?
Tom Grond left his home and government job in the Netherlands in 2012 to go travel for a year and hasn't stopped since.
The blogger says his love of travel clicked when he lived in the Caribbean for several months and became inspired by the people he met. He went home after that trip, saved up for two years and took off for what's become a wild and fulfilling adventure.
"I wasn't planning on doing a 10-year trip, obviously, but it evolved in so many different ways. And I always say, my passion for travelling turned into a lifestyle," he told Narcity.
Fast forward to 2023 and Grond has travelled to more than 100 countries and says he won't stop before he visits them all.
For anyone wanting to follow along on his adventures, the travel blogger posts videos of his trips on TikTok and Instagram, showing viewers interesting and stunning places he's visiting and what people can expect when it comes to accommodations and even cuisine.
He also has a whole host of travel tips on his blog Traveltomtom.
We spoke to Grond while he sat in an airport terminal waiting for his next flight to Qatar. He told us about his most memorable trips over the past 10 years, the challenges he's encountered along the way and his advice to fellow travellers.
Grond has travelled to 148 countries (so far)
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From Singapore to Saudi Arabia and even the remote island of Vanuatu, Grond has travelled to 148 countries thus far and says he has 49 more to go until he's visited every country in the world.
The travel blogger is constantly hopping from one plane to another and when we spoke he said he had been on 44 flights in the past two months.
"I've never stayed in one place longer than 10 weeks in those 10 years, so yeah, it has been a crazy trip," he told Narcity.
As for planning his next destination, Grond says the trip depends on what he feels like doing.
"That's the funny thing, I never plan anything. It's all last minute."
Grond travels solo, but he's never alone
While he does travel solo, Grond says he never actually feels alone.
That's because when he posts he's going to a certain country and city on his social media, other travel bloggers who are also there at the same time will message him to meet up.
"In between, I also get offered media trips. So that's like big tour agencies or ministries of tourism, they invite a whole bunch of creators on trips," he explained.
Grond says travelling makes you a better person
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With all the different cultures and experiences Grond has had over the years, the blogger said travelling made him a better person because of all the different situations he gets put in every day.
"I travel every day. I need to deal with cultures. I need to deal with languages, like crisis occurrences, people obviously, things go horribly wrong. You need to constantly adapt to situations and it's the fastest way to personal growth."
You don't get that same growth from staying in a bubble and doing the same thing all the time, he added.
"You learn how to how to deal with people that are not nice to you. But you learn also that the world is a very kind place."
He added that many people have misconceptions about certain parts of the world and assume they are dangerous because of what they see on the news. He hopes to change those views through his videos.
"Iran is a very good example. Iran is not a country where you walk on the street with terrorists around, you know, it's the opposite," he says. "People are so happy that you come to visit their country and they're the most hospitable people in the world."
"I think one of the most amazing things about what I do is to change perceptions of people," he says.
"I love to show people the reality of the world, not only what they see in the news."
One of his most memorable trips was to a remote island in the South Pacific
It's hard for Grond to choose his favourite destination as there have been many.
"I think in general it is nature that blows me away the most."
He highlights Vanuatu, a remote island in the South Pacific, as one of his most memorable experiences.
"I walked up to the rim of a volcano that is literally exploding right in front of my eyes, erupting every five, six minutes," he said.
"I never get blown away so easily. But when I stood on that crater rim, when I saw massive eruption in front of my eyes I was stunned. I couldn't believe it. I was blown away literally."
On top of that he says the island has exceptional tribes, amazing energy, a jungle and beaches.
Other highlights include the Himalayas in Nepal and sailing around Raja Ampat in West Papua.
"Seeing people that live there on these tiny islands, with just has three or four families," he says. "It was amazing."
His most challenging trip was to West Africa
Amazing #localmarket experience in #Accra #ghana🇬🇭 #ghanatiktokers🇬🇭🇬🇭🇬🇭 #tiktokghana #tiktokghana🇬🇭 #ghanatiktok #ghanatiktok🇬🇭 #accraghana #makola
When it comes to his most challenging trip, Grond said that would be the time he spent in West Africa.
"West Africa really is challenging. It's a very rough part of the world."
His social media videos led to him getting arrested for spying in Gabon. He says several of his videos went viral and he was arrested by the government, although they were "really nice" and eventually let him go.
"I was just put on a sofa and asked the most dumb questions."
He says that's all part of the travel experience.
"It makes a good story. I got arrested. The first thing I thought was like wow, they treat me very nice, nothing happened," he told Narcity.
His least favourite country for now is Senegal
Sorry #Senegal also my 2nd visit was a fail! ❌ Again did NOT feel welcome! 😓 @kristijanilicic #senegaltiktok #senegal🇸🇳 #🇸🇳 #tiktoksenegal #tiktoksenegal221 #tiktoksenegal🇸🇳 #senegalplus #senegal_tiktok221
While Grond tries to make the best of every situation, Senegal was definitely his roughest trip and he explained why in a past Instagram post.
"Pictures don't show the pain, the hustle and the struggle of the stories behind it! And this time they weren't that nice!"
It wasn't his first visit to Senegal either, and notes he did not feel welcome either time.
He says French speaking Africa is a challenging place for people who speak little French.
"Communication problems we have everywhere around the world and even when you don't understand each other you can make it work with a smile," he writes in the post.
"Unfortunately the majority of our experiences in Senegal weren't like that. I am 100% sure the vast majority of the Senegalese people are lovely and amazing, but you gotta understand that it was awkwardly disappointing how we were treated, hustled, scammed and even approached aggressively for being foreigners in Senegal."
He turned his love for travel into a lifestyle and career
When it comes to income, his blog is his biggest source with over half a million people reading it every month.
"It's all about travel tips. It's all things to know when you travel to a country," he says. "That's my biggest income source is my blog and then my second is my social media and it's completely separated from each other. So it's like two different sources of income."
Grond explains how he makes a living as a traveller in this blog post.
Becoming a successful travel blogger won't happen overnight
Find me here! 😍 #paradise #alula #beautifuldestinations #beautifulplaces #travel #traveltiktoker #travelbucketlist #bucketlist #hotellife #hotels #beautifulhotels
When asked to share tips with wannabe travel bloggers, Grond says the most important thing is being unique and that can be very difficult.
"The problem is a lot of social media people, they pretend to be so successful. Well, they are not really that successful, they are struggling a lot. That makes young kids believe and everyone believes that it's so easy. And my message is it's not easy."
He says it takes time to become successful on social media, in blogging or on YouTube.
"You have to invest a lot, a lot, a lot of time and that success doesn't come overnight. Success comes with years."
"You need to invest so much to become that one person that everyone wants to follow because you have the unique thing or you have an amazing skill."
Grond has tips for people looking to travel more
The vibe is everything in the #Colombian #countryside #thisiscolombia #colombianos #colombiatiktok #antioquia #tiktokcolombia🇨🇴 #colombia
Grond says a lot of people assume travel is super expensive but he says it all depends on where you go.
If you go to Singapore, expect to spend a lot.
"I went to Singapore, I think for three nights in a hotel I paid US $1,200. I went for breakfast [and] it was US $65," he says. "Is it worth it? If you want to see Singapore yes, because it's doesn't get any cheaper."
However, he says you can also go to Thailand or Indonesia and get much more for that money.
The travel blogger also recommends going to a country where the currency isn't doing well. Currently he says that would be Turkey, Argentina and Colombia.
"These countries are amazing to travel. I could easily be travelling around for two months without any problem."
Before you get going, check out our Responsible Travel Guide so you can be informed, be safe, be smart, and most of all, be respectful on your adventure.
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