One look at Meghan and Dominic’s Instagram feed and it’s pretty easy to see that these guys really are Citizens of the World. The duo is responsible for the Instagram and blog Citizens of the World and when they’re not travelling the globe, they’re spending their days planning their next adventure. We sat down with this wanderlusting duo to find out what it takes to be a full time globe trotter (hint: it’s not as easy as it looks).
Citizens of the World is a beautiful depiction of your lives journeying around the globe. How did it all start?
Dominic is a professional photographer (which helps) and I used to work in magazines at a major publishing house (I’m a writer by trade) so in terms of allocation of jobs we have that part sorted.
However, to be honest Dominic had to do a LOT of convincing me to start because he could see that we’d work well together. I really struggled with the aspects of putting ourselves so ‘out there’ (and I still do a little bit). However, it reaches a point where you just get used to it and zen out of the whole thing.
It looks as though you’ve been to some pretty amazing places and experienced more than most of us could ever dream of. What has been the highlight so far?
We’ve been to some incredible ‘bucket list’ kind of places (gone on safari in Chobe, Botswana, bungee jumping in South Africa) but funnily enough the destinations that stick with us the most are the ones we had low expectations of that ended up blowing our minds. Cities like Macau in China, which we knew would be garish from all the casinos but actually has this underlayer of rich Portuguese history and architecture. It can be surprisingly romantic there.
So you could say we get a kick out of finding the beauty in unexpected places.
On the surface it looks like you’ve both been incredibly lucky getting to travel so much, but as we all know, success doesn’t always come easily. Can you tell me a little bit about any challenges you’ve had to face?
This is SUCH a good question – THANK YOU for asking it – because we joke that it’s half our jobs to make it all look effortless and like we’re just swanning about ‘living the dream’. Which is actually why we’ve started releasing this little behind the scenes videos from our travels so people can see that we do a lot of it on our own backs and often we make mistakes and get stuck in the middle of nowhere arguing over directions like everyone does or sleeping in a Walmart car park because we forgot to book a place to park our RV for the night.
We have had some great experiences but like anything with social media it’s all a small percentage of our lives.
For us it’s very much a job (albeit one we enjoy). We have an office and keep work ours just so we can try to keep that separation between work/life. Because COTW is so much part of our lives it can become very all-encompassing. A little compartmentalisation helps sometimes.
In some ways, social media can allow all of us to create specific online personas. What’s one thing most people don’t know about you (but you maybe wish they did)?
Totally agree about social media offering people the chance to create personas. It can be a good thing but you have to try and keep it very true to you. We’re professionals and shoot and share professionally shot content but we LOVE Instagram Stories to be able to connect with our followers and audience in a more relaxed way.
It’s become more and more important to us to showcase the not-so-glam side to everything.
We also really like movies. Talk to us about sci-fi and we’ll love you forever.
One look at your Instagram feed and it’s hard not to feel a tiny bit envious. Make us feel less jealous by telling us some of the things that can go wrong behind the scenes?
Envy and jealousy is the worst and is completely fuelled by social media. We’d be lying if we didn’t scroll through the newsfeed feed and have moments of ‘I wish I was doing that!’ or ‘that person must have a perfect life, ugh!’. It’s not a good feeling and we hate to inspire that emotion in others. Again, that’s why we try to show the real-side more and more.
We want to have that balance because social media, especially Instagram is driven by escapism, but there’s a price for everything.
Sometimes in order to afford to shoot our content we’ll be living on spaghetti bolognese for a month so we can spend more time shooting beautiful content. For us there’s no greater feeling. Of course we don’t show that side normally, so all people see are us standing by a waterfall in Canada. We know what it took to get ourselves there but other people don’t. There’s where the issues start.
In terms of things that can go wrong. Oh god. Everything. We’ve had gastro while trying to shoot a job in Hawaii, so all the images you see are of me swanning around fabulously on the balcony whereas while we were shooting Dom had to stop shooting all the time doubled over with cramps. But you can’t change a shoot date while you’re locked in so you just have to work through.
We’ve bogged our RV in mud in Oregon in the middle of nowhere and had to walk to the closest house to ask for a shovel. Let me tell you, we did not speak for a while that afternoon.
Travel can be grueling. We used to joke that when we were at home in Sydney, that was our ‘holiday’ time but we also work when we’re here as well. So our challenge is finding balance.
Meghan you’re a writer and Dominic is a photographer. Do you think that’s key to your success and what advice would you give to people wanting to trade places with you?
We’ve had to learn that success is very much what you make it. Cliché, we know.
There are people we look up to and respect, whose career we’d like to emulate and then there’s people who look up to us and think we’ve got it sorted. It’s about remembering where you came from and appreciating how far you’ve come (we’re not always the best at doing this).
In terms of making what we’ve done happen; never have a Plan B. Don’t give yourself room to give up but definitely don’t be afraid to tweak things to make them work. Make your passion project part of who you are and as you evolve let it evolve with you. You have to be malleable because you’re not the same person you were 5 years ago and neither should your blog/instagram/project.
Look at Tavi Gevinson. She was a child-blogger who mused about fashion trends from the suburbs of Illinois. Now she’s an actress, writer and editor who has entirely shifted her focus from fashion to pop culture and feminism because that’s more closely aligned with who she is now.
Or on the other side of the coin… imagine if Kim Kardashian never stopped being Paris Hilton’s closet organiser? Ha.
We’ve been enjoying watching your journey so far. What’s next (or where to next) for Citizens of the World?
We are adding a little COTW team member to the mix in September. Our little boy. We seriously have NO idea how we’re going to make it work. We’ll probably need to tweak the style a little bit… Fewer bungee jumps and more farm-stays perhaps… We’ll keep you posted.