Traveling is the healthiest addiction which gives you a sense of freedom, experience and definitely tons of memories. How many of you would leave your plush jobs, comfortable lives, homeland to explore the world? Can we hear you say – Are you crazy? While many of us only dream of traveling to our favorite destinations, we have some inspiring souls like Jackson Groves, who teach us that we have only one life, so explore it to the fullest!
We at Livingit connected with Jackson Groves for the #ImLivingit series which is all about people living their dreams and passionately following it.
“Freedom lies in being bold”– Robert Frost
Jackson Groves is a well-known travel backpacker, busy exploring the wonderful cities of America, Europe, Asia and his homeland Australia. Hailing from Adelaide, Jackson decided to move to the States for his education. After graduating with Bachelor of Journalism from Hawaii Pacific University, Jackson followed his passion- traveling and photography.
Well, Jackson had an added bonus- impeccable writing skills that made him a storyteller and he started his own blog- Journey Era. His blog speaks all about his backpacking experiences around the world. We want you to hear his incredible backpacking journey, his insane trip to Mt Everest, why he enjoys solo travel and much more!
Scroll down and get hooked to Jackson’s passionate story and mesmerizing photographs.
Livingit: You have been on an adventure filled ride, exploring Hawai, Europe, Asia for a couple of years. Tell us something about yourself.
Jackson Groves: I’m the backpacker that carries more camera gear than clothes, lives below my means, never says no to a challenge and comes home with more cash than when I left.
Livingit: What motivated you to start Travel Backpacking?
Jackson Groves: I moved to U.S.A in 2012 to study abroad on a soccer scholarship and that freedom and independence fueled my desire to continue exploring the world after I graduated. So, in 2016 I finished my degree in Journalism and began backpacking. I had already been blogging about my adventures on Oahu, Hawaii for three months but now the fun really began.
Livingit: We all have inspiration, who inspires you?
Jackson Groves: I had no mentor but the internet is a crazy place and I drew inspiration from other creatives forging a career through content creation. People like Jack Morris (@doyoutravel) is one of the people who made me believe it was possible.
Livingit: What’s your pick- solo or group travel? How different are the two types of experiences?
Jackson Groves: I am often traveling solo and it’s awesome. I find I go a lot slower and sometimes sit down in a busy place for an hour just watching crazy scenes in India or beautiful views in Guatemala. When my friends join me the energy level seems to lift and we don’t stop to relax as much, adventuring hard from sunrise to sunset.
Livingit: When you travel, the world becomes your family, so are you a member of any travel group?
Jackson Groves: I joined several Facebook groups, which have an active community of bloggers who share advice and tips about all things travel blogging. However, in terms of travel groups, the only groups I have joined are cool people at a hostel for a few days to explore together.
Livingit: Your photographs are incredible. Could you share your gear and proud collections?
Jackson Groves: I have a Gregory Backpacking bag but there are all more or less the same and get thrown about in buses, tuk-tuks and trucks. However, camera gear is my thing. I carry with me a Sony a7ii with a wide angle landscape lens, telephoto zoom lens, and a prime portrait lens. The GoPro Hero 5 is the next item to make the cut in my backpack. I also recently added a Dji Mavic drone to the lineup so my day pack is getting quite heavy as you can imagine.
Livingit: Staying fit while traveling can be challenging. How do you manage to stay fit?
Jackson Groves: I worked out a minimum of every second day with no excuses. I laugh when people say it’s too hard to stay fit while traveling. All you need is nothing. If I can find a local gym that is great and it’s usually only a couple of dollars for a session throughout Asia. If there is no gym the next option is for a park or playground with some bars and grass for a bodyweight workout. It’s a great way to meet locals and get a feel for the area without your tourist glasses on. The last option kind of sucks but that’s the grind. It’s the hotel room floor. If you are in a city or its too tough to find a good space outside I just pump out a body-weight workout on the floor. If you want to stay in shape you will find a way. The same goes with your travel diet.
Livingit: Backpacking can sometimes give you out of the world experiences. Do you have any craziest experience? We would love to know all about it.
Jackson Groves: Trekking to Everest Base Camp was absolutely unreal. I battled through altitude sickness for several of the first days and it seemed as though I wasn’t going to be able to continue but luck was on my side throughout the 10-day expedition and I managed to pull through.
By the 8th day I was feeling great, standing almost 6000 meters above sea-level for a sunrise looking out over Mt. Everest.
The paradise on earth!
Livingit: Share with us one of your best trips that have etched into your memories.
Jackson Groves: One of my best backpacking memories was hanging out at an incredibly dodgy hostel in El Nido, Philippines. The place had a few resident rats but god the crew we met there were insane. Each night after a day of island hopping and ocean adventures, everyone in the hostel would gather around before heading to the reggae bars along the beach.
Livingit: With the good comes the bad! So, did you have any unpleasant experiences while on a backpacking trip?
Jackson Groves: I just recently spent 20 hours getting a bamboo tattoo on my chest and it was excruciatingly painful and far too long! Worth it but I’ve never wished I was somewhere else more than those last five hours. I haven’t had any bad luck during my travels. No camera was stolen, nothing broken, no missed flights, good health. I hope the streak continues.
Livingit: Weather is one thing that can hamper a backpacker’s travel plan. How do you go about it?Jackson Groves: I’ve learned to go with the flow. If it’s raining that might be a good day to rest and get some blogging done inside. If it’s sunny maybe pack the computer away and head out on a big adventure. If you are too set in your plans the weather, transport and other people will get you flustered pretty easily because believe it or not your travels aren’t the most important thing going on. Once you just let go and roll with it, you become far less stressed. Different countries organize things differently but for the most part, the systems in place usually get the job done even if it may seem like chaos compared to what you are used to.
Livingit: A good plan is a key to a good trip. Share with us how you manage the routes, finances, overnight stay and other crucial factors during your travel?
Jackson Groves: I book things as I go usually a couple of days in advance. I often have campaigns with brands or tourism boards come up quite late so I try and leave my plans open til the last minute so I don’t miss out on any amazing opportunities. Big flights are the only thing I try and book early but never anything more than a month in advance.
Livingit: Any words of wisdom to fellow aspiring backpacker?
Jackson Groves: Pack your bag full, leave your expectations at home, come with an open mind, some extreme patience and a hunger for adventure.
Livingit: What are your 5 must haves for backpacking?
Jackson Groves: Camera, Universal travel adaptor, a folder to organize important documents and store passports, waterproof cover for your bag, a sense of adventure.
Livingit: We all have a drool worthy bucket list. Could you share your dream destinations in your bucket list?
Jackson Groves: Raja Ampat in Indonesia, Ios in Greece, Bagan in Myanmar, Lombok in Indonesia.
It is important to follow your dreams, you have to come out of your comfort zone and explore the beautiful world outside. Because you get to know yourself when you travel. We hope Jackson’s incredible story motivates you to book a ticket to your dream destination. Go explore, go wild! Because we believe in STOP existing, START Livingit!
Want more motivation? Then read Unplanned Adventures – Sebastiaan Rijntjes and Alex Reynolds