Jack Morris is the world traveler and professional photographer behind doyoutravel, his travel-focused Instagram account with over two million followers. He’s known for his dreamy photographs of the most scenic places on Earth and is admired for his incredible lifestyle as a travel Instagrammer and a top Instagram influencer.
Using Bali as his home base, Morris and his girlfriend, Lauren Bullen, traverse the globe in search of one-of-a-kind experiences, adventures, and the perfect shot. Check out Jack Morris’s exclusive interview with Mediakix as he highlights the behind-the-scenes perspective on his journey, his photos, and how he keeps up the nomadic lifestyle.
Can you tell us a little bit about your decision to start traveling permanently? What made you want to take up the nomadic lifestyle?
It was about 6 years ago and I was working a dead-end job carpet cleaning. I saved up a tiny bit of money and wanted to do something different, and at the time, none of my friends had been traveling. I didn’t have any advice from anybody, I just booked my trip on a whim. It was a one-way trip to Bangkok. That was supposed to be a two month trip, then I’d come back home and continue my dead-end job.
But Instagram was just coming out at the time and I built a tiny following on there. I was kind of running out of money, I was about to come home and Instagram started working for me and I started making a little bit of money, so I managed to stay on the road for a little while longer. I’ve just carried on since.
What have been some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced while traveling?
My whole career is online work and social media now, and that was something that no one had really done before prior to when Instagram first came out. So it was a big risk in itself, just quitting my job and doing the whole traveling lifestyle, not knowing if it could end any moment.
The biggest fear, probably for the first two years, was just ‘When am I going to have to go home?’
When did you begin sharing your travels on Instagram and how did you start using it professionally?
I was posting pictures from day one, but not on a professional level. I wouldn’t say I posted on Instagram on a professional level until just the last two years.
Before that, I developed an online advertising business on Instagram using different niche accounts. I made different feature accounts with different themes, such as an animal account, a fashion account, cars, that kind of thing.
If an animal brand came to me and said “We have this pet product we’d like you to promote,” I would tell them, “Okay, I’ve got an account that focuses on animal lovers and people who have pets, you can post it on here.” That’s how I made my living over the first few years.
The traveling on Instagram was purely for fun. It was never a business, it was just something I did while I was making money on the road. It was about two years ago that I made the travel account I’m using now. I didn’t make money on it until a year and a half ago. It was never really a planned thing. Eventually, it turned into a full-time career.
How has your content or style changed since you first started?
Quite a lot. When I first started posting, I was still learning my own style. I’m still learning now. I could look at a photo from two months ago and I’ll hate it. I’ll think “What was I thinking with that edit?”
It’s continuously changing and the people you meet who also take photos in the creative industry will have an impact on how you edit. You learn from everybody you meet and do trips with. It changes every single month and hopefully improves every single month.
From the start to now, the most dramatic change is that I was doing more pop-y photos back then and now I’m trying to go to more of a vintage, classic, timeless look.
How do you choose which brands to work with?
I only work with brands that have an authentic fit to my style. I’m quite picky with who I do work with. I tend to just work with brands I find inline with what I do, which is mainly travel stuff. I work with a few different brands, like watch companies, insurance companies, apps and things like that. It’s mainly just the travel industry.
What do you think is unique about your audience and the way that you engage with them?
I think that the way we do our photos has quite a real approach to it. It’s a dreamy kind of life but at the same time real and organic. I feel like a lot of people can relate to it, or at least aspire to do what we do.
I think that’s why it’s quite a tight audience because it’s something that a lot of people aspire to. I’m traveling with my girlfriend full time now. A lot of people, I think, prefer to see a couple. The dream, I guess, is to travel with your partner and not so much on your own.
If you could go back in time and visit any city or country in another time period, when and where would you go?
I would go somewhere that has undergone a drastic change.
I live in Bali now, so that would be a quite interesting one. I’d love to have seen Bali twenty years ago in comparison to now. We currently live in Canggu, and there are a few rice fields still around but with a lot of roads. But back then, let’s say ten years ago, nothing was here. Just rice fields and dirt. It’s crazy how much Bali has grown.
What’s the most extreme thing you’ve ever done to get a photo?
There’s a place in Bangkok, and it’s called the Ghost Tower, and it’s this abandoned building. I think it was meant to be a hotel complex maybe thirty years ago. They started to build it, they nearly finished, and I don’t know if they ran out of budget or what happened, but it’s been abandoned ever since and no one ever went up there until a few years ago.
There are spiral stairs made of concrete inside the building and it’s pitch black because there’s no electricity in there, it’s pure concrete. We used an iPhone torch to go up there, and it’s like forty-seven floors, and you get to the top and it’s this really rugged, damaged building, falling apart pretty much.
There’s this little lip that hangs off of the building, maybe about a foot sticking out, not even that, and you can walk around the edge and it’s quite crumbly so it’s pretty scary. I did that a few times, I got a few photos I posted on Instagram from there. That’s probably one of the sketchiest, most extreme photos I’ve done.
Lightning Round: Favorite song to wake up to?
There’s this artist called Mome right now, a French producer. I just love all of his songs. I have his whole album on repeat at the moment.
Sunrise or Sunset?
Mountains or beach?
By train or by boat?
I don’t know. If it’s a calm ocean, boat. If it’s a really scenic route on a train, then train. I’ve done both, and I like going on the train, definitely.
Coffee or tea?
Favorite motorbike experience?
I did a road trip across to Vietnam and I used an old Honda bike, I think it was like thirty years old, falling apart, but it was just really cool and classic. I like that kind of stuff. I don’t like the modern, really fast ones.
What advice would you give someone who’s considering traveling for extended periods of time?
Just take the risk and do it. Try not to worry too much about if you’re going to run out of money. If you run out of money, in the end, you can go back to the life that you’re living at the moment.
While I’ve been traveling, the best thing for me has been meeting new people because I was traveling on my own. Just be sociable, take risks, and travel for the right reasons. Don’t go and travel to try and make money, don’t go and travel to be a famous Instagrammer or anything like that, just go and travel to have fun. If you go and have fun and you’re enjoying what you do, chances are you’ll be successful at doing so.
This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.