In our Tastemakers series, we talk to Australia's movers and shakers to learn what importance travel has to them.
In this day and age, it's common to dream about leaving it all behind to live a life of travel. For Dan Moore, it wasn't just a dream; it was a choice that he made without any regret, and we are so happy that he did! After quitting his 9-to-5 job to travel, he quickly learned how to keep travelling by turning his passion into a job. Today, Moore has honed his skills as a travel blogger, storyteller, photographer, and videographer. His journey more than just the pursuit of the perfect shot - it's the pursuit of happiness and spreading the gospel of world travel.
Had you travelled often before you took on this massive adventure?
I was four years old when I took my first trip without my parents. They had just had my sister, and I'm assuming we were a handful. So they sent my brother (6 years at the time) and me to New Zealand by ourselves to hang with our grandparents. My brother and I saw it as an epic adventure. So you could say I got the travel bug at 4 years old. From my late teens onwards, I was travelling with mates through Asia and Europe a couple of times a year.
What were you doing when you decided to uproot and travel the world?
Before I decided to take the leap and travel the world full time, I was a graphic designer. I worked for a gaming company and it wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy it, but my heart wasn’t truly there. As many Australians do, I quit my job, sold my car, and since I was a single man, I just went for it. I worked out a rough travel route, booked my tickets and one night’s accommodation, and began my first solo backpacking adventure moving through Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. To this day, it’s still the best trip of my life.
How does it feel to travel solo?
I couldn’t rave enough about solo travel. It totally changed my life. I think everyone should try it once. Everything rests on your shoulders, which can be daunting, but it shapes and molds you in the most amazing way. Pushing yourself in so many areas such as getting from A to B, meeting strangers, making friends to being comfortable with yourself no matter what the day bring. Some days you meet people some days your having dinner by yourself and that’s totally fine.
My tips for solo travellers are to just go with the flow and push yourself more than you usually would. Also, don’t book out every second of every day. It’s not for everyone but this way if you meet people going to a location you never knew existed, then you have the freedom of joining them. I’ve seen so many cool places by booking next to nothing for a trip.
What motivated you to document your travel so closely?
I never intended on documenting my travels when I started. I would make videos for fun to share with friends and I’ve always documented my life in some shape or form.
Following a trip, I won a photo competition and was hired by a travel insurance company as their Content Marketing Manager. My job was to travel the world and create shareable content for their social pages. I spent the next 3 years travelling, honing my skills, and understanding the power of social media.
After three years, I built my own brand of dan&moore (@DANandMOORE) and begun working with global brands like Lenovo. I capture the beauty of every country I visit on a range of devices from DSLRs, Go Pros and most recently, the virtual reality Mirage Solo Camera. I couldn’t do my job without my laptop, which I use to edit photos and videos and operate my business remotely.
Do you feel any responsibility as a travel blogger?
I want to be as honest and as real as I can with my travels. With what I capture, whom I work with and what I promote. I’m a bit of a perfectionist so I’m always experimenting with new technology to capture the best of the best to showcase a location, journey, or adventure.
Even when I’m taking a selfie, I want to make sure that I’m showcasing the location and trying to make the shot look interesting, unique, and fun. That’s why I use such a range of tech. Even oversaturated locations can be captured in a fresh way if you think outside the box.
What have been some unexpected discoveries you’ve made along the way?
I’d have to say India was never on my top 10 list of places to explore, but I ended up travelling to India to film the ‘Holi festival’ and I fell in love with it. Once I pushed past the lack of personal space, I could move around like a local. It’s all about reading the country and how it works so you can see it in a much better light. You can’t expect every county to function like home - but that’s the beauty of travel, having your eyes and life opened to something different.
I no longer have a top 10 bucket list, I just want to see as much of this world as I can and every country is worth visiting. At first I just wanted to run with the bulls, see America and surf Bali. The more I’ve travelled, the more each country fascinates me. Their history, food, and people. I feel like travel has taught me so much. I feel like I’m a wiser, more confident version of myself from travelling.
I feel very blessed to do what I do, I definitely don’t take it for granted. It’s opened up a lot of doors – for example, working with Lenovo who are all about doing thing differently, and better. I never thought when I started out that I’d be travelling with brands like this.
What are your top 10 things that you can’t travel without?
1. Inflatable padded/material neck pillow. Nice and small to travel with, maximum comfort for sleep. A lot of people travel with the big foam pillows but I find a padded inflatable version more convenient for space and weight.
2. Eye mask. An eye mask creates continual darkness and forces your eyes to be closed when you toss and turn in your seat, helping you to go back to sleep.
3. Earplugs. Some people use noise cancelling headphones, but I find them uncomfortable for an extended piece of time. Earplugs are small and compact and block out the hum of the plane engine and any crying babies.
4. Twin headphone jack. Most planes now use a twin jack for the headphones and if you just plug in your standard single jack you only hear out of one side. I couldn’t tell you how many jacks I’ve lost in the past but they are a must have if you’re planning to watch some movies on the flight. Easy to pick up from the airport and reasonably cheap.
5. Wind jacket shell (waterproof). For those unforeseen rainy days. They’re light and take up minimal space. In fact, I always throw one in my camera bag. A nice bright one is a good option for those photographic moments to stand out, great if your bike riding also great to sit on if you’re in a dirty city or damp grass.
6. Small combination padlock. Combination padlocks are a must when you stay in hostels to lock your bags up. Even if you’re not staying in hostels, it’s great to lock your bag to a chair, lock your zippers together in crowded location as well as bus or train trips where your bag may not be right next to you.
7. Small tote bag. I like the window seat on a plane, and I don’t get up much so I can bunker down and sleep without being woken up. So I always carry one in my carry on bag and fill it with my inflight necessities while waiting to board so when I board the plane I can just put my carry on in the overhead compartment and jump into my seat.
8. My cameras. Documenting and sharing my experiences with my friends, family and audiences is so important to me and I use a range of different tech for this. From my DSLR to my pocket-sized Lenovo Mirage Camera, which allows me to capture virtual reality content.
9. Lightweight running shoes. When travelling, you will walk a lot further than normal and comfortable shoes will be your best friend! Pack some lightweight running shoes that are easy to pack and carry and will dry fast if they get wet.
10. Packing squares. I use these to separate my gear so it’s easier to find. I don’t use it for everything, but I typically do 1x bag for all my socks and underwear, 1x bag for all my cables and small parts. There is nothing worse than rummaging through your bag to find something as small as a headphone jack. Separating your easily lost bits and pieces just makes sense!
All photos credited to Dan Moore.