It’s pretty well known that travel bloggers are considered “celebrities” in the travel industry with the skills to amass a great number of fans with their charisma. These influencers can spark people’s sense of wanderlust, or act as brand ambassadors for many destinations, hotels and businesses,… This line of work has also gathered great interest from aspiring youths.

Just from impression alone, it’s easy to think that travel blogging is a great dream to pursue, what’s with the temptation of travel sponsorship, good income, and fame to go with it. And yet, to gain these benefits – knowing how to spread your influence, maintain a flow of steady traveling and non-stop creativity becomes essential to the job. Walking on this path, travel bloggers will face many onslaughts of harsh criticism if the content they deliver was deemed flawed or inaccurate.

To the well-known Quy Coc Tu, travel blogging is not a job, but a fated path found through passion. “I have a properly-built plan and passion, building up my image and value and got the chance to do something that not anyone can do well. For example, I get to go to a lot of places, yet it doesn’t matter if my pictures or writings are good, if the things I made can’t influence others, can’t be loved then I can’t be a travel blogger. A job helps you make a living no matter how much people like you or not, so to me, travel blogging isn’t a profession.”

Vinh Gau, another popular travel blogger, said that traveling allows him to balance his office life. Currently, Vinh Gau is a full-time employee working in a media company located in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City. Traveling and creating content to share is only a “part-time” hobby, but nonetheless, something that he holds dear to his heart because it satisfies the blogger’s childhood dream of being an explorer.

Journey with Destination Review and read the stories behind these two famous travel bloggers from the 8X generation!

In his 20 years of life wandering here and there, Quy Coc Tu (Real name is Ngo Tran Hai An) has become one of the most renowned travel bloggers in Vietnam. Right from his school life, Quy Coc Tu was already a well-received blogger on Yahoo! 360°. “After that, my journeys continued, I shared my stories on Facebook and slowly got more popular. A big turn in my life was when I became a reporter for Zing and thus got more professional, with more opportunities and better social connections,” Quy Coc Tu told.

With a friendly attitude and a kind face – something that you may find on the boy next door, Quy Coc Tu has worked on multiple projects with different Tourism Administrations, Embassies, airlines,… in and out of the country. The popular blogger shared: “Every opportunity feels like a stepping stone for me to go even higher”

Ever since he was young, Vinh Gau (Full name is Le Viet Vinh) had always liked to explore. Seeing this development, Vinh’s parents only told him he’s free to go anywhere when he’s matured and got a job, something that he patiently waited until his adulthood. “At first, my parents only see that I travel all the time, it feels costly, time-consuming, yet I hadn’t even bothered with settling down yet, so they weren’t so approving. After some time, they now understand my dream and even interact with some of my articles online.”

Vinh Gau’s journey to travel blogging began somewhere around 2017 when he shared his first post on Facebook, gathering a sizable group of followers and some support for his work. The man joked: “Literature has always been a weak subject for me through all my school life, but the moment I write about my travels, and especially when I get to write what I want, then it becomes a different story. I’m really glad when people said they liked my writing style, so I try to write and travel as much as I can. Because if I don’t go anywhere then I have nothing to share about.” And from there, the saying “Travel broadens the mind” has always been Vinh Gau’s modus operandi in life.

When he first worked with the travel e-commerce platform KKday, the name Vinh Gau’s started to go hand in hand with the title “travel blogger”. After a few more handshakes with Klook and various other businesses and organizations, Vinh Gau’s reputation grows to become more popular.

According to Quy Coc Tu, to be successful as a travel blogger, one needs to have a certain kind of inner strength when making content, videos, or taking pictures. Besides passion and skills, travel bloggers need to keep their knowledge up-to-date. “The world is now intrinsically connected, and everyone everywhere can fact-check you easily. So you have to be transparent, unbiased in your information, mixed in with a dose of humor.”

Of course, being well known also means you’ll get hateful messages, criticisms, or controversial opinions. Vinh Gau shared: “If it’s the good kind of criticism, then you listen and fix it. If it’s not good, then you explain your view just once for the sake of clarity, then you stop bothering with it. Never let those negative things affect you personally.”

Both Quy Coc Tu and Vinh Gau shared the same idea that the only loss when becoming a travel blogger is the sacrifice of time and effort, but thanks to that, you gain a lot more from it. Quy Coc Tu listed the benefits: “I feel like I’ve gained a lot more than what I’ve lost. I get to travel, learn, experience, develop my skills and spirit through different challenges, meet new people, become more open-minded, and look at the world more kindly, which somewhat helps me become a better person, personality-wise. The few lonely moments on the road help me treasure my family and the time I have with them.”

On the other hand, Vinh Gau hasn’t been in the scene for long, yet one immediate benefit he found is the chance to meet and know, sit and chat, even journey with travel bloggers that he had always looked up to.

“I don’t have anything when it comes to personal sadness in this line of work, but I’ve seen and heard some sad things on the many paths I walked. Back when I went to Diep Son Island, I met a girl with a very strange name – Tron, [meaning run away]. After asking around, I found out that her mother has mental health issues. The mother was raped by a man in the village, then promptly abandoned. Tron’s grandfather abused her and named her like that. I met a lot of unfortunate souls, who never had the chance to change their life, and I felt bad for not being able to help them.

Quy Coc Tu continued: “The more I travel, the more I see how fragmented the world is, a kaleidoscope of tragedies and joy. Many things moved me, especially when I’m gone to far-off lands, away from civilization.”

Speaking of joy, Quy Coc Tu talked about the myriad of things that made him happy on his trip, seemingly without end, from the trips to the border markers accompanied by border patrols, like border marker number 79 – the highest in Indochina, number 42 – the second-highest,… “I slept and camp in the wild, by the river. I felt ecstatic because I never thought I would set foot there. A sense of pride emerged as I saw the people who sacrificed their youth to protect their nation. Those little bouts of happiness can be found here and there – no need for something grand or surprising, but it’s a sustainable kind of happiness,” Quy Coc Tu happily shared.

Vinh Gau told us about his many tales – the ones that even the blogger isn’t sure if it’s supposed to be melancholy or not. But they certainly made some long lasting impression for him. One lead example was the time Vinh Gau went to Cuba for a 10-day trip without WiFi or even 3G, and he can’t use English there because most of the locals speak Spanish, so Vinh Gau had no chance to communicate or learn more about the place.

In another story from 2017, Vinh Gau flew to France in the middle of Christmas. Why? To meet an old flame of his. He visited Strasbourg, also known as “The Capital of Christmas,” and met with his old lover for some walks and talks. In an ironic twist, Vinh Gau had no one else to be with but himself on Christmas Eve. “All the stores had closed down early that day (thiết kế thay “that day” bằng “for Christmas”). Because I couldn’t find any place to have dinner, I resorted to eating my rations, which I kept in my bag for situations like these.”

On another trip, Vinh Gau took the non-reserved seat on the Shinkansen train in Japan, and managed to forget his bag – packed with crucial equipment like his laptop, camera, camera drone,… Panicked and anxious, the blogger decided to ask the station’s lost and found. After detailing everything that he can remember about the ride, in just a matter of 15 to 20 minutes, Vinh Gau immediately got back all of his belongings, an incident that made him respect the culture there even more.

As travel bloggers, Quy Coc Tu and Vinh Gau will continue many of their journeys in the future, especially when the world is reopening itself after the pandemic. During the height of COVID-19, Quy Coc Tu decided to slow his progress, taking his time to map his plan and renew himself amid a global disaster. As for Vinh Gau, when COVID-19 came, the blogger became inspired to show off his cooking to fans online and share his recipes with viewers.

Putting the past aside, Quy Coc Tu is planning to collaborate with different Tourism Administrations to promote traveling in provinces like Ho Chi Minh City, Quang Binh, Tay Ninh, Da Nang, Quang Nam, Thua Thien Hue,… and even other countries like Thailand, Japan, US,… Vinh Gau is thinking of expanding his social media to Youtube, which he currently doesn’t have. At the moment, Vinh Gau already has his website, fan pages on Facebook and Instagram, as well as a TikTok account bearing his brand.

With a “the more you go, the more you know” mentality, travel bloggers help in bringing information to people around, inspiring them to pack their bags and explore. Their experience and personal opinion may stir up debates, but as long as the products are truthful, then these travel bloggers will keep on walking. As long as the flame of passions is still there, travel bloggers will continue charting their courses on new locales. Meanwhile, their fans and supporters will continue sharing their traveling experiences.

Travel bloggers: “Celebrities” of the tourism industry

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