Tactical Traveler: S1:E2 | From Financial Crisis to World Traveler with Gil Antolin

Watch Here

Gil Antolin, founder of Luxury World Traveler, shares his journey from real estate success to the 2008 financial crisis and his life-changing trip to Africa. He shares his journey on Instagram, which led to his passion for travel and the creation of Luxury World Traveler. Gil emphasizes the importance of acceptance and recognizing common humanity, regardless of cultural or geographical differences.

He offers a comprehensive course designed to help individuals turn their passion for travel into a sustainable business, covering social media marketing, brand building, and monetization strategies.

Highlights:

{01:30} Gil’s Background

{04:31} Discovering Instagram

{06:30} Building Luxury World Traveler

{13:00} Monetizing Instagram

{20:00} Overcoming Doubts

{25:30} The Rewards of Entrepreneurship

{30:00} Travel Accomplishments

Find us on your FAVORITE platform

Gil Antolin Bio:

Gil Antolin’s journey dramatically turned in 2008 when the mortgage crash devastated his life. As the owner of a mortgage and real estate company, he faced the loss of three houses, including his dream home, cars, and a broken engagement. Struggling to cope with the aftermath, Gil found himself at a crossroads, realizing that his previous success had left him feeling unfulfilled and disconnected from his true passions.

A turning point came when Gil embarked on a mission trip to Africa, an experience that profoundly changed his perspective on life. Witnessing the resilience and spirit of the people he encountered, Gil rediscovered his love for global travel and the importance of connecting with diverse cultures. Inspired by a transformative moment at an orphanage, he resolved to live a life of purpose, dedicated to helping others and positively impacting the world.

Over the following years, Gil worked tirelessly to rebuild his life as a single father, taking on various sales jobs to support himself and his son. However, it was his introduction to Instagram by his son that sparked a new passion within him. Creating an account to share his love for travel, Gil poured his energy into growing his presence on the platform, eventually turning it into one of the largest travel accounts worldwide.

Through dedication and perseverance, Gil transformed his Instagram account into his dream job, leaving behind his other jobs to pursue his passion full-time. Leveraging his newfound expertise in social media, he built a massive following and discovered the secrets to success in the industry. With over 5 million followers worldwide, Gil’s journey is a testament to the power of following one’s passion and making a positive difference in the lives of others. He encourages others to fearlessly pursue their dreams and strive to uplift those around them, knowing that anything is possible with dedication and a willingness to give back.

Links:

https://www.luxwt.com

Sponsored Links:

https://therootbrands.com/product/zero-in

https://newulife.com/hk/en 

https://trufinco.com 

Find us on your FAVORITE platform

John

Hey, everybody. Welcome to the tactical traveler. I’m so excited to be here today, and we have a very special guest from Ukraine right now. He was a real estate and financial expert turned world traveler and founder of luxury World Traveler. Welcome to the show. Gil Antolin and some people say it differently. Hopefully, I got it right this time, Gil.

Gil

You did get it right. Thank you. Yes, it’s Spanish, and it looks a little tricky for Americans.

John

Yeah, it can’t be right so. It’s great to have you on the show, and I think for me at least, and you know, I talked to you about this on the pre-show. I don’t care what people think because I do these for me. 

So I’m most interested in hearing how you go from a real estate agent in, you know, LA. You know, you make really good commissions out in LA to be a world traveler with a massive Instagram following and to have a course you’re teaching. And what happened to that? That you went from. That is where you’re at now in life.

Gil

Yeah, that’s a great question. Yeah. So I was, you know, someone that was very lucky at a young age. I did well in the US real estate and mortgage boom between 2001 and 2008/9. I was also heavily invested in real estate and had a big company. And when the. A financial crisis happened. All the ways I earned money disappeared within about a 30-day window. 

So it was very difficult; times were good and then got bad quickly. So yeah, you know, my story is that I lost everything. You know, I got it. I broke up with my fiancé; I lost my home. I had multiple houses in escrow. I lost all of that, and I had to short-sell my house. When that was a really big thing,

John

Right.

Gil

You know, I had to reinvent myself. And I’m so passionate about travel because in the midst of all that is happening, you know, I have a spiritual advisor who wanted me to help him organize a mission trip to Africa. And I was like, you know, I’m going through bankruptcy. I’m losing everything. It’s not the right time for me to help anybody.

I can’t even really help myself, you know? Does that make sense? Yeah, it was a very difficult time, so I ended up doing it, and I ended up, you know, losing everything going on in this that now seems so crazy—but going on a trip to Africa. And I went to, you know, long story short, as I went over there, and I had one of those, you know, life-changing moments, paradigm-shifting moments because. I was losing everything. In the US, or at least everything that I thought was important to me, and then when I went to Africa and got out of my, you know, my bubble, the veil was kind of lifted, and I saw people that, you know, really didn’t have anything. 

And I felt, you know, guilty about that. I was like, wow, here I am. Poor me. Poor me. Why? You know, why am I? Why is all this stuff happening to me? I am feeling sorry for myself. And then I got a glimpse of people that had nothing. And, you know, we were able to raise the funds to go. I helped build a couple of orphanages and supplies, uniforms, and school stuff. And I thought we were going over there to give them something. And I ended up … They’re the ones that gave me, you know, a whole outlook on life. And I realized then that there was no way I could have had that experience had I not left LA. 

You know, it took me traveling to the other side of the world. Have the veil lifted. You know, after that point, when I came back, I just said, OK, in the future, it’s not about the money for me, it’s like 1. And I want whatever I do to be based around travel because I couldn’t have that experience at home. It’s just there’s no way I could have. I had that experience.

John

Right.

Gil

Too, you know, I found so much joy in paying it forward and helping other people, you know, who couldn’t help themselves. It was such a new feeling for me to see how you could impact the lives of others. No matter what that is, like financial or expertise. I, you know, got back to LA, and you know, for 2-3 years, I was bouncing around to different companies. I hated it, and then, you know, Long story short, I have a 21-year-old son, and then he was just about 11. He showed me Instagram, and I, you know, saw a travel page. I became instantly addicted and started my own Instagram page as a hobby. And that sent me down this course over the last ten years to where I am now.

John

That’s amazing. So. So, your travel platform was started by your then-11-year-old.

Gil

Well, no. He introduced me to Instagram. Yeah.

John

Ohh, OK, so he just showed you Instagram, and then you took it and ran with it.

Gil

I didn’t know what Instagram was, you know? He showed it to me. I was like, oh, it’s like Facebook. I’ll never forget it. And this is probably what got me hooked. He’s like dad—Facebook’s for older adults. And I was, like, 32 at the time. I’m like, what? Facebook’s for what? What is Instagram? And yeah, I grabbed it. There was a travel page that was just producing pictures back then. It was only pictures of different exotic and amazing destinations worldwide. And like the picture I saw was of the Maldives. 

John

Ohh yeah.

Gil

I have no ego; I have no pride in this. That, like, I didn’t know where that was in 2012. I had no idea what was, you know, I’m. I mean, I was born and raised in LA. So where are the Maldives? And then next, I saw places like Zanzibar and places like Burma that I had never even heard of. Because again, if you go back ten years ago. Without Instagram, Facebook, or any social media, how did you discover exotic places on the other side? I mean, maybe an encyclopedia.

John

Right.

Gil

So I was hooked. And I said, wow, what a great platform where I don’t have to see people checking in. I don’t know if you remember the whole thing. Well, when people were checking in, what was on? Facebook, and I’m in the gym, you know. And I’m going to taxi. I’m like, I don’t care. I just want to think this was such a simple platform. 

So, I started the name Luxury World Traveler based on what I had done while doing good. Really. And it was just a hobby. And then the hobby turned into, like, a passion. And then, you know, I started to put a lot more effort into that than I was the day job that I had because I found it so interesting. And you know, as a traveler, once you have that travel bug and it doesn’t go away, your thirst for learning about new places doesn’t stop. Right. I mean, do you feel the same way?

John

Yeah, I feel the same way, and I have a very crazy story that gave me the travel bug, which was also a missions trip, you know, conveniently. Yeah. I went to Guatemala during the Revolutionary War, but it was before the Internet. So, I didn’t know there was a Revolutionary War. 

So, I showed up to a country with little kids carrying shotguns and security guards having Uzis. It was amazing, and from there forward, I was like Oh my God, I love this. 

Gil

Yeah, it doesn’t leave right. And like for me, I will never forget this. I was where I was still doing real estate and mortgage, although it wasn’t like it was before, and it wasn’t my company, and I had… Do you know that movie, “The Secret,” was big back then, and like everyone’s talking about, you know, thinking of growing rich and all these ways to manifest your desires? 

And so, I made a vision board and put it on my wall at my office, which you work with. Twelve adult men and you come to work with a, you know, a vision board and put on your office. You can only imagine, like, you know, 12 guys. What happened to me? I would, right? I would. I would walk in daily to ridicule. And you know, this is an arts and crafts. 

And you know what is this? And that stuff never works. But I still have a copy of my vision board. I took a picture of it and posted it on Facebook. I never deleted it. It was all really based around travel, you know. I remember I would stare at it every day, and then what ended up happening was Instagram became my vision board because I started to post pictures, and that’s all it was back then of places I wanted to go. 

So, I would sit apart every Sunday for about 3 1/2 years and spend 6 hours on Sunday nights, like Google Images, Bing Images, travel websites, professional photographer websites, and trying to find the best pictures of certain areas I wanted to highlight. Even though I hadn’t been there, I would just sit there and imagine myself in the Maldives or Fiji. Or being in places like Bora Bora that just seem like a dream and then, you know, every day. I was posting this on my Instagram, which turned into a vision board of the places I wanted to visit. Yeah.

So, I was very passionate about it, and I know it sounds wild now, but for the 1st 4 1/2 years, I posted six images daily and never missed a day. Not Christmas, not Easter. Because I was just so passionate about sharing different places and, back then, we would highlight destinations for a week and then what I would want to post on my page. We went back to doing this now too is like the best hotels to stay at and what are the best activities and what you know kind of historical monuments or museums are there and like where do you eat and where the best beaches and so I felt like I was learning so much about these places. Instagram proved to be a really good place, especially for the travel community, to connect with like-minded people with the same passion for traveling that I know I do. Having spoken with you, I know that you do.

John

Right. Well, you know, there are just so many parts of that that I want to grab onto. The first is that travel truly is transformational. Like when you get away from checking off the major, you know, bucket list items that everybody else in the world does. And you just take a step back to immerse yourself into the culture, and the people like you can’t help but come away a different person. 

Speaking of Africa, I was shocked that doctors make about $40 a month. 

You’re like, what? Like, how is that even possible? One of my goals is to help thousands of people travel the world more often for less money to experience that transformation. This is, you know, boring to me to just go somewhere, stick to yourself, and visit. You know, the Eiffel Tower or whatever. And then go home. That is not the purpose of travel, and I love that your first experience was also truly that transformational. 

And then it’s so powerful that what you said about your hobby became your way of life. It was this passion in you, and incidentally, everybody in sales now has vision boards, so you should reach out to those guys and ask to see them. I’m sure they have one now.

Gil

So, it’s funny because I knew those guys for a while, and I ended up supplementing my income for the first two years that I was doing this with the real estate; you know, their attitude started to change about two years in when I was starting to get invited to hotels in Santa Monica and Beverly Hills and La Jolla. And they said, wait, you went there for free this weekend? And I was like, yeah. Suddenly, ridicule turns into a desire to know more about what is happening, but maybe think about it like ten years ago: Instagram wasn’t the staple it is now. It was still a headed stepchild to Facebook. 

So, you know, for me, though. Many people asked me, like, why did you start it? And it wasn’t to become an influencer. I didn’t start it for free travel. I never thought I could make a living out of it. It’s, you know, and I think it’s one of the things. Many people miss when they want to take the first steps to be an entrepreneur or do something for themselves. It’s like, you know. Money shouldn’t be a focus, and it wasn’t for me. 

And you never really know your path, right? But the universe knows your path for you, and because I had, you know, I was so passionate about doing this, and I didn’t come to expect anything out of it when it started to bear fruits. 

And I started to be able to travel for free, and then hotels were. I was reaching out to you to pay me, too. Feature their hotel on my page. It was, you know, very eye-opening, but I bought into the process of like, you know, once you give yourself to something. You are passionate about it, and it doesn’t feel like a job; it’s pretty miraculous how the universe can work to make things happen in your favor. And like I’m perfect. 

An example is that in 2012, I had no marketing background and knew nothing about social media. I didn’t have a nice DSLR camera. I had no video equipment. I didn’t have a drone; I knew nothing. And you know about marketing, I knew nothing about how to take a good or bad photo. 

Fast forward ten years, and that’s what my life is like. But you know, Instagram is just really a great platform for me to be able to, to learn it hands-on and, you know, help me to find a job or a career; I should say I don’t feel like I have a job and something that I love, which is traveling. 

So, I feel very blessed about that.

John

Yeah. So, let’s talk about Instagram for a little bit. How many followers did you have when you started getting offers to go to hotels for free?

Gil

I think they started around 7,580 followers, which is what I had, maybe in 2000. Or it was in 2013 or early 2014 when I got my first invitation. And I remember because I’m, you know, 44 now. I wasn’t a kid. When I got my first invitation, I emailed the hotel and insisted on talking to the owner or general manager because I thought one of the guys in my office was playing a prank on me. Oh, like you’re going to do what you’ll have. Me. 

Yeah, I thought it was like a hoax, right? But. Again, back then, Instagram wasn’t what it is today. I mean, now I know people like you’re hosted offers, you know, if they have 5 or 6000, depending on their niche. But yeah, I would say it was about 7080 thousand, and it was definitely like a year, maybe a year and a half into my, you know, process that that that started to happen, although now.

John

Right.

Gil

Travels are a mainstay on Instagram, but you had 70,000 followers back then. You were like, I remember. You were like Starbucks or Coca-Cola or, you know, uh, Michael Jordan; barely anyone had that many followers back then. 

John

Sure, sure, sure.

Gil

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

John

  1. So, at what point, you know, now you’re starting to get invitations. You will take pictures and become a marketing guru for the travel niche. At what point did you go? I can teach people how to do this. And make money. 

Gil

That’s a great question. So. I would say it was about my third year. Around my third year, Facebook purchased Instagram, and everyone started to take it much more seriously. And that’s when a lot of and I again, I was in LA, so you know LA is very progressive when it comes to social.  Many hotels around that area started to see the advantage of having selected back then: there were no influencers, but having celebrities come and then put a picture upright and all these people were coming. 

That light bulb started to go off with them like, OK, we’ll just put them up for free and then make sure they do this. So, yeah, I would say about three years in. That was when the snowball started to get big, and I started to get a lot of invitations, more than I could reach and go to. They were not just from LA hotels but also started to be international. 

So, I realized that now I have a platform that is becoming popular, you know, I. I had probably 1/4 of a million followers, which was a lot in 2015 back. So, what I started to do was to reach out to a lot of the photographers whom I had featured in the past. 

So, let’s say, for example, as I remember, I had a partner based in Italy, and this hotel in Italy was like, hey, we’d love to have you come out here. And I’m like, there’s no way I’m getting to Italy. Right, like, back then, it was just like it didn’t. It still wasn’t possible. 

So, I remember the first time I was like, hey, but I have this really good photographer, and he’s there, and I’ve worked with him. Can I send them? He’s like a member of my team. Right? And the hotel was like, yeah. And I was like, oh, my God, I could do this on a much bigger scale. And some so many talented professionals were, you know, professional photographers or professional video people. I worked with them and featured their content on my page. 

So, I started to make these deals with them on a small scale, and then, you know, I started to get a lot of emails inbound emails like, how do you do what you do, and can you teach me? 

So, I ended up starting an ambassador-type program in 2015 where, you know, and I still run into this day where people are paying me a fee. Then I would just basically become like a business development partner for them and give them access to some of these hotels that were, you know, thousands of dollars a night to produce content that they won because they have to pay retail. I won because I got good content and owned the content with them. 

So, like, that’s kind of how it started. And I’ve been running that program ever since for the last seven years, you know, kind. It’s like I felt so blessed that I could visit many of these places. So, I felt like a way to pay it forward is to help others start their careers doing it. And it’s turned out to be probably the thing I’m the proudest of in the last seven years, having, you know, started that program and what I’ve been able to do with the company. So yeah, it’s been quite a journey—a lot of fun.

John

So, you’re at, what, ten years now? 

Gil

Yeah, it’s going to be. Yeah. It’s going to be ten years in December. That I that.

John

Wow

Gil

I started. Oh. Yeah, I know. It’s. I can’t even believe it’s been a decade. It seems like it’s blown by. But yeah, ten years that I’ve been running and managing the page, and you know, it’s afforded me many opportunities. And I’ve been able to, you know, create different businesses just from the Instagram following, which, you know, now seems a lot more realistic. 

But I had no idea what I was doing when I first started, which I think is, you know, the best part of the story, which is just the passion.

John

All right, I’m going to ask you a really hard question. Somebody is listening today. And they’re like, holy cow, that’s what I want to do with my life. What would you tell him is the downside?

Gil

The downside?

John

What’s been the most? The most difficult thing for you over this 10-year journey, I mean, it’s a little bit different, right? You went from nothing because of the crisis that you went through. 

So you could only go up from there. But somebody’s listening to us today, and they’re like, Oh my God, that’s my dream. What would you say is the downside? So that they can be prepared for the struggles that you went through.

Gil

Yeah, I mean. And that’s a great question. I think for anyone who wants to take a first step at chasing a dream, becoming an entrepreneur, or starting their own business, the most difficult part for me, I’ll be honest, was in the beginning. The number of people around you that you know have never fulfilled their dreams or done anything they wanted to do. 

So, having to listen to many people tell you it’s impossible. You know, I was crazy. I remember my mom started crying when I told her I would stop doing real estate to do it. I mean, imagine your mother crying. Like, what do you do when you have a son? You’re a single dad. Like, how are you going to pay for the electricity? She didn’t understand what Instagram was, but I think you know her; I was self-employed before that. And I have been for the last 20 years. 

John

Right.

Gil

The most difficult part for any entrepreneur starting will be the battle within their mind. Is this like, is this you? Yes. Everybody wants to become successful. Yes. Everybody wants to have nice things in life. Yes. Everyone wants to follow their dream and have a story to tell, but consciously. It is deciding to do it instead of what anyone else says. I think having the dedication to follow through on it is the most difficult part because you know the biggest battle is in your mind. Humans are capable of extraordinary things, but our fear of doubt often prevents us from elevating to the next level. And you know, failure. 

And you know what other people were thinking. And so, for me, that was very difficult because until it started to bear fruits, most of what I heard was negative, and it would have been very easy for me to say.

John

Right.

Gil

You know what? Yeah, everyone’s right. You know, how am I going to make money at this? Or is it a crazy idea? Having worked in real estate before, I knew I had done a job I was not passionate about. I had been in the place where I’d forced myself to go to exchange time for money and felt like I was just spinning my wheels. Yes, I had made great money but didn’t feel complete. You know, I didn’t feel fulfilled. Everyone’s smart enough to know, like when you’re doing something you don’t like as a job in exchange for money. We all have that feeling; maybe something else is out there for you. 

And so I would say that’s the most difficult part. And then secondarily, like now. I think what people find makes it easier is that you can find a community of people who will support you in doing this. Right. When I started, there was 0 community. Nobody was doing this now.

Well, most of my closest friends around the world do this, and we all support each other, and that’s part of why I started my ambassador program. So, you know, a journey is always easier when you have people around you who are on the same path and are doing the same thing.

One making the conscious decision, but then two having that support because, and you know, this, being an entrepreneur is not easy, and it’s not all been Peaches and cream and hasn’t all been, you know, puppy dogs and ice cream for the last ten years. So, you know, you have to be ready. You have to know that they’re going to be those days. But those are the days when you lean on your community and your friends who support you and are doing what you’re doing because they’ll help. You threw it.

John

Yeah. So, my story is a little similar to you in that regard in that, you know, I started this four years ago, and I’ve had lots of dream killers as well, and very negative people will need to pursue their dreams. And I and I’ve always been really curious about this. That’s why it is that as children, you know, you’ve got a son? I’ve got four children. I have got three boys and a girl. For most Americans, when they’re young, we teach them to dream. You can do anything you want to do. What do you want to do? Set your mind to it. 

But somewhere around the age of 14/15/16, it’s almost like the wisdom of dreaming for what you want to be. It becomes giving that stuff up, getting a job, getting an education, enslaving a person for somebody else for 40-50 years, retiring, and then going back. I’ve even started telling people. You don’t even get a degree in four years, so why do you think an entrepreneurial endeavor will make you millions in six months? 

You know, like, you can’t even get a degree in two, you know, two to four years is what it takes, depending on what you’re doing and. If people begin to look at their dreams from the vantage point of, I think. If this is going to take me 4-5 six years, or even if it takes me 20 years, it doesn’t matter because I’d rather do 20 years of doing what I want to do than four years of being somebody else’s slave.

Gil

Yeah, no, a hundred 100%. And like I can tell you from personal experience, there is a big difference. I think that’s what many people don’t understand, between having a job and a career, like a job is just a straight exchange of time for money. 

And when you have a job, you look at the clock throughout the day, and you’re like, Oh my God, it’s only 10:00. I have six more hours. Oh, my God. It’s 3:00. I have three more. Oh, my God. You know? And then the buzzer sounds, and you’re out of there. Whereas, when you have a career, you know, like, I have no sense of time when it comes to weekends. Working late nights the other night, we were on the phone, remember? I was. We were doing the pre-call at 11:30 at night. For me, like that, all goes away, and you don’t seem like you ever have enough time because you know you’re doing something that you’re consumed. 

John

You’re consumed.

Gil

I am lucky enough that I get to wake up every day, and I get to do things like this when I’m on a podcast with you. I’m training people on different things and travel. I’m setting up our trips and our projects. And everything I do focuses on travel, and because that’s my passion and because that’s the thing that I love, I never get sick of it, you know, like I could sit here and do your podcast and then record five other ones with other people talking about the same thing. 

But because I’m passionate about it, you know. You don’t never tire of it, and I just think. You know, one of the things that I don’t know if you’ve ever, uh, how much you listen to Gary Vee, and you know a lot of people have different opinions on him, but he just once said something that I that was like so impactful for me. He’s like, you know, if you are ever the saddest thing in life is regret because you can never go back and change things from the path, and he’s like, you know if you. Do you ever want to? You know, put that knowledge to the test. Volunteer time at a convalescent hospital or where you know there are older adults and befriend them. I asked them about the things they regret—so many of those stories and even those I did. 

So many people regret never having taken that chance, right? They allowed their parents, sisters, brothers, friends, inner circle, and the people around them to dictate what their life became. And then, as you come to the end of this experience, you look back through different. You realize that, like, none of what they said matters. The only thing that matters at the end of the day is if you can look back on your life and feel like you lived a fulfilled life and did pursue the things you truly desire. And yeah, like you said, it may not happen in six months. It may not happen in a year. It may not happen in three years.

But I can tell you what the last ten years of my life I would not exchange for anything and the same people, the same people, IE like my mom, who was crying when I made the decision, asking me how many amazing vacations I’ve been able to take her on. 

It’s so funny how opinions are very. Right, you. You know they are very fleeting and can be changed, and those same people might be the ones to try to tour you from chasing your dream.

Shortly, they become the same people asking to become a part of it. And so, like for me, seeing that, I said, wow, you know, don’t ever let someone else dictate your future because their opinion could do a 180 in a matter of years. And then you wouldn’t have cared what their opinion was—in the first place.

John

Right, right. That’s true since you. I brought that up. I’ll ask you a two-part question. So, how many vacations have you been on with your mom? And then, in general, how many countries have you been to?

Gil

Yeah, that’s a great question. So, I have sent my mom on cruises, too. She’s in Oregon. She loves the outdoors. She loves the woods. She loves mountains. I sent her on cruises up the Alaskan coast to see grizzly bears and Eagles. I’ve taken her to Hawaii and Maui and climbed volcanoes with her. We have gone to Cabo San Lucas. Part of Ayara stayed in Nice Villas and the Nice Resorts. We’ve done Tulum from Mexico, we’ve, you know, all over the United States, and she has firsthand seen exactly the fruits of what I did. 

Until the COVID news, she had planned to visit me in Europe, and 2021, I’m taking her to the Maldives. Again, that’s something that she saw me go and do several times, and then, you know now, because of what I do, I can make that happen for her, you know, I’ll take her to next year. The Maldives is something that I’m looking forward to because she’s seen it on my Instagram, she’s seen a lot of my ambassadors go there, and she’s just like. I want to go, and I’m like your mom. We will go, I promise. 

The second part of that question is that I have traveled to over 60 countries through my Instagram page and trips in the last ten years. 

And I’ve personally been able to stay at over 400 of some of the nicest luxury resorts around the world, which, when I say it, sounds insane. I have spent a great deal of time traveling, and like I said, I just. I told you in the pre-call I just got done doing 13 weeks throughout Europe and the Middle East, even amid COVID, and you know, it’s just it’s, you know, I think as you get older, you understand that life. Looking back, your life just becomes a collection of memories and moments, right? Memorable ones. Whether they’re good or bad, you never remember being in traffic on the way to work. You don’t ever remember going to, you know, Costco on a Saturday. You don’t remember, you know, being at the DMV. These are things like you kind of shut out. But often, the memories you had when traveling become your memory and a collection of your life. Right. 

Because they’re so, they’re so vivid. That, and I just, you know, I feel so blessed that over the last ten years, I’ve been able to experience so much, see so much of this beautiful world, and visit so many different cultures and places as travelers, we’re so blessed to live in this time. You know, like 100 years ago, if you, wherever you lived is where you lived. And that was all you barely see. Know and anyone before that, like there wasn’t—a lot of. You couldn’t just say, hey, today I want to go to the Maldives and swipe your credit card and go, or I want to go to Thailand, or you know, so yeah, it’s been a blessing, and you know, I cherish those memories. 

And again, just like you, that’s why I’m so passionate about what I do; I love to be able to train other people to do what I do. I see them being able to have those experiences not only for the awesome memories but also for two reasons: when you travel internationally and immerse yourself in those cultures, I feel like it’s the best real-life education anyone can get, and it teaches.

John

For sure.

Gil

You teach you important values, like acceptance, right, as you realize. As humans, we have way more in common than we do that are different, and even though media and countries have their agendas on why they want to keep us fractionalized and segregated. I’ve never been to a country where I was like, I’ll never go back there, or I’ve never been to a place where I’m like, you know, the people they’re all horrible. It’s quite the opposite, you know? And it’s helped me become. I feel like a better person. A much better person.

John

Yeah, yeah. This is a good segue, too. So, talk to me about your course. What does it look like? We talked a bit about it on the pre-call, and it is super intense.  Ninety-one videos: I think you told me a little about the course and how somebody can access it and. Just fill in the details for the listener who hasn’t had a chance to follow you on Instagram yet.

Gil

Yes, so. You know, one of the things that we get asked most about is how we can. Consistently travel. How are we able to turn it into income? How can we, you know, use social media to create a business in the travel space? 

As I mentioned earlier in the podcast, I’ve done, you know, I’ve had eighty students over seven years that I’ve done more of—the one-on-one training with. But there are only so many people I can work with. To teach this, you know, on a one-on-one basis, cause time is everything. And I just don’t have that much time. 

So yeah, about two years ago, before COVID, 2 of the ambassadors who had gone through my program were also good digital marketers. And they specialized in how to take a following on Instagram and monetize it. To create sustainable businesses, you know, and my whole Forte was really how to build and use social media to build a following, especially in the travel needs, and then utilize that to start working with brands. 

So, we came together and said, why don’t we create something? Where I can teach my expertise, they can teach their expertise. Still, when someone goes through the course, they can learn all the INS and outs of building a social media following, but then leveraging that to create an income, you know, so that they can make the transition, and that’s what we did if you follow us on luxury World Traveler, you can, you know, you can click the link in our bio. There’s a Linktree, and one of the options there will take you to a landing page where you can learn more about the course and the instructors. See many of our testimonials of past ambassadors, and you know I’m our ambassador. They have visited over 300 of the top hotels and resorts. 

And, like you know, we’re good at what we do. This space and many people are like, is it too late? I have no followers on Instagram, and they have already started talking themselves out of it, right? They always ask the negative. They don’t ever ask, like, what’s they never? I never get asked, like, how many places can I go? And, you know, can I go to the Maldives? Can I go to…

It’s always. How long and is it possible, and is it too late? You know me, my answer to everybody is like, you know, social media still, I mean worldwide social media only has a 50% penetration, which means there are 3.6 billion people on social in the world, and there are 7.2 million or billion people on the planet.

Half the people still aren’t on social media. You know, but the rise of the smartphone, the rise of popularity of social media, and the deterioration of the traditional markets and traditional marketing have created such a wealth of opportunity and need for content creators, bloggers, and people who want to do this. We always recycle and create new digital marketing. The hospitality industry needs it, and travel is the number two talked about subject on all social media combined. And because it’s so visual, it’s a perfect marriage. 

And so there’s plenty of time. There’s plenty of space; you know this as well as I do within the travel space. You have so many niches, right? There’s family travel. There’s group travel, health, and wellness. There’s solo, there’s backpackers.

John

Solo, yeah.

Gil

There are so many different types … luxury, you know, Vagabond. Well, it doesn’t matter and everyone now.

John

You literally could create any niche you wanted, like it doesn’t matter if you’re a parent with adopted children, you’re a solo, you know, single parent, you’re gay, lesbian, Tran, like literally anything that you do. It could become its niche and travel. Like literally anything.

Gil

Correct. And like, those are becoming the places that people turn for their information, and that’s why, you know, in the travel industry, the other thing a lot of people understand is that, like, I know the travel industry inside and out because not only have I did I create the social inside of it and have we done like the PR marketing side. But what’s interesting is that I also own owned and. And operated a luxury travel agency, or we’re booking people, right? 

And I was seeing all these different trends. And so, I have made many friends who own and operate hotels. I’m close to many large CMOs and people in the travel space. The rise of the niche micro-influencer is becoming more valuable to hotels and resorts than just the big blanketing pages like a pretty picture—page because people that are. I am interested in that niche, and there are 1,000,000 worldwide when whatever niche it is. That’s where they turn to their trusted resource. And that’s why you can monetize it. And that’s why there’s such a wealth and abundance of it. 

And everyone has a personality, and everyone will depict it differently. So that’s why I would say right now that anyone listening to your podcast if they have the desire to do this. And it’s something they want to take a, you know, a chance. Done. Whether they work with me or not, just know that you know the opportunity is there, and it’s only going to grow, and there’s never really been a better time for someone with a passion for travel to start their brand than there is today. Social media gives you the power to do that.

John

Well, and even from the vantage point. That COVID is decimated. The travel industry now is a perfect time to start because, as countries, you know, realize this is not going anywhere, vaccine or no vaccine, we just need to pull up our big boy and big girl pants and confront it and deal with it. And get back to some sense of normalcy in life. This is the perfect opportunity to launch into the travel niche because, by the time they realize, you could be a megastar.

Gil

Exactly. Exactly. And you, you really could. And you know, like we know this and people that are, I would say, 35 and older know better than the younger generations, but I mean. When I first wanted to become an entrepreneur in 2000, was it when I started my business in 2002 and 20001?

I had to make a very big capital investment into my office, the desk, the computers, the printers, and the, you know, like there was and have a big overhead. As it was, it was preventative 15/20 years ago for many people to start their own company because of the cash outlay you needed in the beginning and today. You know, our course right now is selling for $495. Still, just as an example, you can invest in yourself, learn everything you can from your own home, from the privacy of your laptop and your smartphone, and start and like, I think that’s just, you know, when people are looking at both sides of the coin, I’m like you as an entry. Anywhere I wished 15/20 years ago, I only had to spend 500 to start my own business.

John

I mean, it’s so true, man. Like, you could literally. So, I’ve had three brick-and-mortar businesses. I was a professional fighter and had my own mixed martial arts gem. I had 70 pro fights. That thing cost me over $45,000 to start. I mean, then I would have my coffee shop before Starbucks. I have my espresso machine. Those things are extraordinarily expensive. You know, 30 grand. 

Then, I had my own government contracting company again, which was a massive investment. Social media and what I do now online are the least expensive overheads to get started, and they have truly been the most profitable. Now, it has not made me as much money yet, but when you look at, you know, investment to return, it’s been far more profitable.

Gil

I completely agree with you. You know and like. I just think people fail to realize how special of a. Time we live. Right now, social media shows that the entire world is a blessing because, you know, my ambassadors are not. States I’ve had ambassadors and currently do from the Philippines, from Hong Kong, from Thailand, from India, from, you know, Indonesia, from all over Europe and South America and again, even if they’re not living in a country that’s as cash fish as parts of like Europe or the United States is, we’re all on the same playing field when it comes to social. Right. 

And I just think people need to take advantage of that, right? What just happened with COVID? Imagine having your brick-and-mortar business in COVID, and then the world economy shuts down like you’re so.

John

We are so screwed.

Gil

Exactly. With this, you can move with the punches and not stop paying $10,000 monthly rent. You know, you don’t have a $20,000 overhead. And in payroll, like it’s just, you know, it’s a very advantageous time to do it. And that’s why I’m so passionate about it. Because I know it’s possible, I probably did it in the hardest possible time when Instagram was in its infancy, and this whole thing was just starting. 

But people always ask me, could you do it again now? And I said it’s still, you know, easier to do now because Instagram and TikTok and all these things are their main mainstream. And that’s never going to go away now, so.

John

Yeah. No, it isn’t. And you know, just because we’re talking more about the social media portion, just out of curiosity, how do you get around?

Gil

I mean.

John

Algorithm and that kind of things for your own business, you know, because you always have that where you know, you’ve got you’re trying to build an online influence and you know you’re fighting against the program, you know, do you deal with that in your course?

Gil

Yeah, you know, the great thing about travel is. Now there are, you know, hundreds, if not thousands, of travel-themed repost pages on Instagram, and they’re all in need of content. All of them need content to publish, and when I first started again, even ten years ago, if you wanted to record a nice video, you had to have an expensive camera, right? Do you want to take a nice picture? You had to have a 2003 thousand dollar 5005 thousand back then was more. 

So DSLR is to do that, right? It’s like you couldn’t do it on an iPhone. Now, if you have an iPhone 10 or newer, right, or Samsung Galaxy or whatever or newer like this stuff that goes viral on Instagram now, it is not the perfect picture. 

Sure, it’s not the $10,000 video production that took four people to shoot an editor. If you go on Instagram right now and look at the most viral travel videos, they’re shot on iPhones and galaxies. And they’re like 15 seconds or less or pictures stitched together. I mean, it’s me. That’s why I get, like, so frustrated people. Like, it’s too late. I’m like. It’s not too late. I know people who like to create one viral video, and they grow 100,000 people in two weeks. Now they’re getting paid brand collaboration, like who’s telling them it’s too late and you know, I know a lot of people that are in this space, or they just blow up on TikTok and like, you know, now they got 400,000 followers, and they’re getting. There are ways around it, but the great thing about travel is that if you know how to create good content and then you know you, you build your brand and access some of these really good places. Creating content isn’t as difficult as it was before. And people love travel content because it’s so widespread and like it doesn’t matter if you’re.

John

Yeah, yeah.

Gil

American or, you know, Asian or European or Australian or whatever, like everyone loves to see a beautiful sunset and Thailand over a white sand beach, right? People can appreciate it. 

So, you don’t have to be a superstar. You don’t have to be a brand you can learn. What I think is even more important now than university degrees are trade degrees; I think they are becoming more important, and like learning how to do digital marketing and create digital media is now a trade skill that is becoming ever more important and is be and the jobs are paying more and more and more because we’re so visual. 

So, like, there are ways to do it still, and like within the travel niche, I know people that have done this and have started a year ago and six months ago and two years ago that are doing extremely well and have gone around the algorithm, and you don’t need millions and millions and millions of followers to replace the current income you have now. Well, I will come. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

John

That’s awesome. That’s awesome. Man, just so much here. It’s amazing to talk with you and just everything you share. So, let’s segue here to move away from the business side. And you’ve been traveling during COVID. COVID has not stopped you from traveling to share your experiences; you know my crowd is predominantly US, but I’m starting to get people worldwide listening. 

Talk to me about your experience traveling. Talk to me about what you’re seeing abroad in Europe and the Middle East, Russia, and Ukraine and what you know. What’s the world doing, saying, and seeing with COVID right now?

Gil

Yeah, so great question. I was living in Spain before I started traveling 14 weeks ago. And I can tell you where I was living in southern Spain. After March of 2020, they never even fully locked down again. It was pretty open for tourists. The number of people that you could have at tables and. Indoor dining fluctuated—a little bit. There was a curfew, and intermittent curfews were imposed, which I think is ridiculous. I don’t know how that stopped. COVID had a bedtime. Yeah, I didn’t know COVID had a bedtime.

John

At 11:00, it goes to bed. Right.

Gil

It was pretty wide open in Spain. I mean, you still have to wear masks in public. And stuff. But you know, from there, I traveled through the Middle East, Dubai, Egypt, Turkey, and all those places, none of which required a vaccine. All of them required PCR tests. I think what you need to be very aware of is that. Every country is different, so I was very tactical in the routes I chose and which country I was going to. Another Europe is starting to get more stringent. Certain places are requiring vaccines and not just a PCR test. But it’s not every country. 

So again, you need to be very, very aware of that. But I think a lot of people fail to recognize that. Every country will have a website listing different countries that are either. Green, yellow, or red or safe, mild, or dangerous. So, if you’re traveling from 1 country to the next, you need to research the country you’re going to and see their opinion on the country you visited before. And then that’s where the different restrictions come in. 

And that’s where they impose either, like. Some kind of quarantine or PCR test? Or proof of vaccination or, you know, a combination of all three. But I was just very selective on where I wanted to go because I, you know, again, hadn’t traveled in nine months and just needed to get out. And so that’s why I chose turkeys. It’s such a big country with so many diverse landscapes that I could do a lot there to buy, never shut down. Dubai has been one of the only places like Mexico that never. Shut down throughout. COVID, you just need a PCR test. If you come from one of those dangerous countries they consider, then you must do a PCR test at the airport. Which I had to do a couple of times, but I just think, you know, really doing your homework and being mindful about whatever country you’re traveling to is restrictions are making it easier. And I know many people were just like, oh, I’m going to go here, go here, and then they get there. 

And, you know, they’re at the airport, like you to do a 10. Day quarantine, or you’re on the next flight out. So, you don’t want to be caught up. In those situations, yeah, yeah.

John

Our media has been divisive in America, and we’re not seeing much of the information you and I discussed on the pre-call. All but Europe is starting to rebel against the mandatory vaccine. The mandatory vaccine guards and the idea that the countries have the authority to do this. Can you talk a little bit about that because you were just there? And you’ve seen some of that? I don’t want to make it super controversial, but I want my US listeners to know it is not what we’re being told.

Gil

Yeah. Yeah, no. Europeans are even a bit more progressive than most of the United States. I would compare them to more like California, you know, a state that’s very liberal and proactive regarding these types of restrictions. And yeah, I mean, there have been. Large-scale protests and most of the larger European. Cities or countries or the cities within the countries like Paris, like London, like Rome, where you know, the people that live there. They are just that. Upright, like they just implemented it in Italy, you can’t even take a train, which is one of the ways most foreigners. Traveling throughout the country without proving that you’ve been vaccinated caused a huge problem because you know those restrictions. Especially for the number one most visited country in the world, it provides barriers to entry for tourists, which means tourist money doesn’t come. Which then means, you know, people’s financial livelihoods are impacted. And I feel like so many people, especially in France, Spain, and Italy, some of the most visited countries, are so fed up with it. And you know it. We’re all human at the end of the day. 

And the more our pocketbook gets squeezed, the more we feel it right. The more stress we get, the more volatile we will become. I mean, because. They have to survive. Like so, there is a big undertone in Europe right now for them just basically being fed up with a lot of the restrictions that the countries have put up and the mandates that they put up, and people are, you know, holding wide-scale protests in large cities. And it’s being that it’s being met. Very violently by the government over here, it has not been pretty. I’ll just. I’ll leave it at that. If you don’t believe me, go on YouTube or Google it, and you know it’s there. Yeah, it’s there.

John

Just we’ll watch, yeah. Yeah, in Australia right now, they mandate if you leave your house without the proper. I don’t know if it’s documentation or if you know the reason. They’re arresting people for or not and locking them down. 

And what’s happening across the world is absurd to me. It’s, and I shared this with you. You know, it’s absurd to me that these countries, like France, are protesting before Americans are. Our country was founded on protest. Now, it’s just a very strange time when we look across the board of the world. We see what’s happening. And the misinformation that you and I talked about too, just the, the like, I just saw a New York Times article. I want to say it was yesterday after we discussed the protest of about 100 people in London. My buddy lives in London. He’s like, yeah, try, try more like 250,000 people.

Gil

Yeah. No, like wide scale. It’s wide, you know, and again, back to my other point, if you think about it. Tourism in the United States is very regional on an international scale. When people worldwide think about going to the United States, they’re not thinking about going to Topeka, KS, right? They’re not thinking about going to Toledo. OH, and they’re going to what, New York, Miami, Vegas, LA, like mostly the coasts. 

John

You are.

Gil

Chicago, Dallas, and some places scattered throughout the middle. So, I think, you know, most of the United States economy does not revolve around international tourism as a way to provide. But whereas in in Europe. You know.

John

Yeah, like Croatia. Italy. Greece. Yeah. I mean, even in the UK.

Gil

All those places. Most of their GDP is based on tourism and tourism dollars. So when that money stops, it impacts a greater percentage of their population. And that’s what you’re seeing in Europe; they depend on international tourists as part of their economy. That’s the same thing with the Bahamas, right? Like 90. Oh, you know, this is a fun fact. Cause I’ve worked with the tourism board in Mommas, 92% of the Bahamas GDP is tourism. So, like, if that shuts down. 92% of the people there have, you know, are not making money. And that’s kind of what’s happening in Europe. 

And I think, you know, I also. Think that people. They are now, and I know two friends in Europe. That this happened, to like they had COVID got the vaccine, got COVID again, and they’re about the second time around, even after they were vaccinated was. 1st, people are starting to hear these stories, and it’s becoming more and more popular, and everyone is starting to realize that, like, you know, what we’re being told does not seem like the truth. 

And instead of just really being a worldwide pandemic where it could create, you know, a wide scale number of deaths, maybe it’s more. Of something that’s being used to restrict basic human rights, and I think that’s why you’re seeing people start to, like, take to—the streets in Europe.

John

Well, it is starting to feel that way, right? I mean, even in America, which you know, I don’t know about other countries, but we have a real hard political divide that’s become. You know, quite simply, the most toxic thing I’ve ever seen, and verges on violence, which is unfortunate because that’s not what we’re supposed to be, but what you’re even seeing now is, like, more of the progressives saying what happened to my body, my choice. 

You know, like, yeah, there’s this undercurrent of people beginning to wait a minute. What happened to it? You know, local autonomy of my decisions, health care choices, and business choices. Like, you know, I have a business here locally that are great friends, and they refused to lock down. They refused to shut their business and said it was unconstitutional. We’re not doing it; they were demonized over it, right? And so, you know, now you imagine that globally. No wonder why people are ******. I mean, it’s wild.

Gil

Yeah. And it’s very unfortunate, especially for the travel community, because so many people’s livelihoods have been impacted. And you know, It’s been grossly exaggerated how very dangerous this fire this virus has become, you know, I mean, like for people under, I think the statistic I saw their day was like, for people under 65 years old, this has like, a .0004 mortality rate. So, it’s not like it’s not like Ebola. It’s not like. You know, that’s not a world killer.

John

When it broke out, they said it was the next Spanish flu, which killed 2 1/2 million people. I mean, we just hit 600 today. What’s the best way for somebody to reach out to you and get a hold of you?

Gil

Yeah, the best way is to find us on Instagram. Our handle is luxury world traveler all one word, and you know if they look at the link in our bio on our Instagram page, there’s a link tree there for Instagram users to get in touch with us. They can learn about our ambassador program, they can learn about our course, you know. We have other marketing services that we offer. If they’re in the hospitality industry, that’s probably the easiest way, or they can go to our website—the same thing, the luxt.com, and you know they can reach out to us there. We’re a virtual company now. We will no longer have a brick-and-mortar office as of 2020. So yeah, everyone at my company works independently all around the world. And we’re here to help if anyone wants to. You know, work with us or learn more about how to do this regularly. And you know, I just joined your travel group on Facebook, so I’ll probably be active there if they want to try to track me down there as well.

John

Awesome. Awesome man. Thanks so much for taking the time to talk with me today. We’ll see you.

Gil

All right, take care.

More from Titan Evolution Podcast

Check out all of our interviews: https://titanevolutionpodcast.com/blog/

Connect with Travis: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nonprofitarchitect/

Sponsored Links