Meet Mike Clegg.
Travel photographer and blogger at Travel and Destinations
Facebooker at @travelanddestinationsblog
Instagrammer at @mikecleggphoto
Bringing the Insta-travel community together at @travelanddestinations
This is his story…
I’m originally from a small village called Padbury which is about an hour north of London, UK. After graduating from Kent University with a Multimedia degree, I then worked in London for a few years in a TV services role and then later a programming role at an office.
Following on from this, I met a girl from Canada who was working in London. She was on a visa for a few years. Once her visa expired we decided to move to Toronto, Canada, where I worked for just over one year on a working visa. I then tried to extend my visa, but due to the demand and the lottery system to obtain them I didn’t have any luck. Our next move involved going to Vienna in Austria where my girlfriend works for an international school. Being a photographer and blogger, I spend my time travelling a lot and then when I’m at home I will be processing pictures and working on other freelance work.
The battles I currently face are that I’m still establishing myself and currently have to take on lots of different work to try and make ends meet, and also budget heavily based on my cash flow. I’m always looking at new ways to progress in my blogging and photography and to try and make it provide more sustainable income.
Over time and as my social media presence has improved I have managed to build contacts with hotel chains and tourism boards, as well as other photographers. This has been helping me progress and provided some amazing opportunities, such as seeing parts of the Czech Republic I’d probably never have seen, and snowboarding at ski reports that I’d may never have visited otherwise.
One dream that has come and gone involves working for the Beautiful Destinations team. They had an awesome travel photographer job come up, but as they had tens of thousands of applications, I unfortunately didn’t make it.
I guess my life has been very different to what I imagined. When I was working in my office job in London, I never expected to travel the world, and also didn’t really think outside the box. My holidays would often be typical English package holidays where everything was pretty much organised for you. Now I organise everything myself, flights, accommodation, transport, excursions and often complex trips involving three or more countries within a short space of time.
My current love is definitely blogging. I used to only take photographs for Instagram, and my trips used to be more focused on that. Now when I travel, I try and do a lot more of the touristy things and learn more about the destination, so as to produce detailed blog posts, which I hope will help others when they travel.
On the other end of the scale my fears are that I will not make it as a blogger and travel photographer despite all the effort I have put into it over the last 3-4 years. However, I will continue pushing along and hopefully will get there. For me, I strive to be successful, and this involves me being able to do what I love, have my services in high demand and to making a good living!
I have fairly good skills as a photographer and also in engaging with my audience on social media. I am also a quick learner and very adept at technology! This has definitely helped me progress quickly in the direction I want to go. What I’m not overly strong at though is writing! I find I need to improve this, and by reading lots of articles and other content I think that will definitely get better over time.
I’ve been lucky to have lived in three countries (UK, Canada and Austria), and have also travelled to the US, many countries in Europe, as well as various countries in South East Asia. A few of my favourite destinations include Hanoi in Vietnam, Prague in Czech Republic and Tallinn in Estonia. In the future I’d like to go to Ecuador, Chile and Argentina as well as explore much more of Italy.
I connect mainly with people through my Instagram and travel blog. The objectives of these platforms is for me to share my experiences with people, hopefully give them travel ideas and also just be part of a nice community of likeminded people. I often get influenced by artists on Instagram, by the photographs they post, and the destinations or techniques they use. This provides me with inspiration.
I saw a lot of poverty whilst travelling India, and one scene that sticks in my mind was when I saw two young children and an old lady, maybe their gran, fight over a small amount of cash that I gave them. The gran had a walking stick, but when I gave them the money she then held one of the kids by the neck. It made me sad that she felt she had to do that and it really opened my eyes to just how poor some people are.
I feel like social media and technology is changing at a crazy level. When I was a child around 15 years ago phones were just being introduced as were social networks, so I do feel like everything has changed and will probably keep changing once I am an older man and I have kids.
I hope that the work I have produced in terms of photography and my travel blog/website will hopefully live on when I pass, and that maybe someone else such as my kids would take over for me.