Bon Vivant Interview Series with Johan Lolos

Continuing with the interview series we meet global traveller Johan Lolos, originally from Belgium Johan has been working his way around the globe and documenting his travels as a photographer. He is interested in interacting with local cultures as well as documenting the natural beauty he sees. He also goes by his pseudonym LeBackpacker. You can see some of his beautiful work on Instagram  Facebook and his website .

What drives you both professionally and personally?
Since I started photography 5 years ago, I always wanted to explore the world and take photos of the wonderful scenery's and the people of the world. Then I started my big journey a year ago and became a professional landscape photographer. My goal is now to see as much as I can of the world, meet different cultures and learn from the people of
each continent. I have the chance to have a job that is directly related to my personal goal. I’m also a travel blogger and work with different tourism boards and tour operators. Professionally and personally, I’d like to inspire people, make them discover new places to visit and make them realize there’s more than their own place. World is wild and it’s worth visiting it.

Do you have a personal motto that guides you?
My only motto is no motto. I don’t plan anything, I just go where the wind blows. My journey is planned with the people I meet and with the stories I heard about some places.

What do you consider to be the key elements to a Bon Vivant? 
I guess it starts with being happy with your own life. If at any point you think you missed something or you’re not totally happy with what you’re currently living, then you probably have to make some changes in your life. A Bon Vivant can be a wine lover in the south of France, opening a new bottle of his favorite wine every day for dinner, but it also can be a traveler who meet dozens of new people every day, have hundreds of stories around the world to share. It all starts with being happy, that’s the main key.

What one item do you have take with you wherever you go?
Easy, my camera of course :) Always on my shoulder !

Carry on or checked luggage?
Checked luggage ! My camping gear takes too much space to carry it with me. Tripod and photo gear doesn't help neither to have a small and light luggage. 

What other mode of transport other than air do you most enjoy?
The one I enjoy the most definitely is hitchhiking. I explored Tasmania for 3 weeks only by hitchhiking, and this is some of my best memories of my year in Aussie. I really really like road trips too, as for me it’s the absolute freedom.

Who inspires you and how?
Ludovic Hubler is a French guy who traveled the world from 2003 to 2008 only by hitchhiking. He wrote a book about his journey, and that’s pretty much what decided me to leave Belgium and explore the world. He only spent 10,000€ in 5 years, that’s living proof we don’t need to be rich to travel far and for a long time.

How do you go about creating your ideal life? Who is working behind the scenes?
Traveling alone (meaning no one but be behind the scenes) allows me to be completely free. No need to plan anything, I just wake up in the morning and decide what I’m going to do today. This freedom associated to my job as a photographer and travel blogger is kind of ideal life for me right now. But of course there’s always something missing. For me right now, it’s my friends and family.

What are some of the thorny issues you find yourself dealing with whether ethical, emotional, practical?
Emotionally speaking, it’s being too far away from my family and friends. But in a general way I’m a solitary man and I can easily live without having any news from the people I love for a few months. Although I had the chance to have a few good friends travelling in Australia while I was there too, and I’ve just arrived in Wellington NZ where my best friend lives for 7 months. Ethically speaking, I’ve been quite shocked being a witness of the sad situation Aboriginal people have to deal with every day. There’s a huge problem here and the Australian government doesn't really seem to worry about, nor the white Australian. I don’t want to open a debate here, but that’s definitely something that shocked me !

What advice would you give to people out there thinking of starting their own business/pursuit of dreams?
The best advice I can give is just follow your dreams. Nothing more. It always can be a bit tricky at the beginning, and even there are a few risks (at least that’s what you think), in the end you’ll be glad you did it or at least tried it ! Leaving Belgium to travel the world is the best thing that happened to me. I arrived in Aussie as a traditional backpacker and I left the country as a professional photographer and travel blogger allowing me to travel the world at cheaper cost. Follow your instinct and your dreams, no matter what!

What gets you excited about waking up in the morning?
Sunrise, haha ! I’m crazy about sunrise and sunset, so I usually wake up very early to shoot the sun rising. The show isn’t good every day, but what a beautiful reward when the sky turns pink and violet. The early rise definitely worth it !

When was the last time you laughed until you cried?
I laughed this morning when my best friend woke me up. Last time I cried was more than a year ago, at my good bye party with all my friends in Brussels.

What's happening for Johan Lolos on this day in 2019?
I have no clue. I’ll probably be somewhere in the world married to an Italian girl, writting a book about my last 5 years traveling the 7 continents.