We recently sat down to have a chat with the founder of WHEREISALBY. No stranger to traveling, this seasoned globe trotter, has traveled every corner of the world and stayed in the most exclusive hotels, and visited the most desirable destinations the world has to offer. Moreover, he provides photography and video services for businesses, brands, destinations, hotels, and restaurants, creating beautiful images of luxury hotels and destinations while documenting his travels.
Have you always had a passion for travelling or was it something that grew with time?
My passion for traveling started when I was a child. Since then I was able to travel and discover new places even if it was just for the summer holidays with my parents exploring Sicily.
How did your career as a luxury traveller start?
Everything started as a joke. Since I was a child I loved to travel, and growing up I became aware that I also had a strong passion for photography.
In 2010 I realized my all life dream: travelling across the USA! I spent 3 months in America, visiting as much as I could. The real dream started when I rented a vintage muscle car and I drove from NY to LA, a 15 days journey through the States and their amazing landscapes taking thousands of pictures.
When I came back home I started posting those pictures on Facebook getting moderate success. After that, Instagram entered into our lives so I also started to post on this social. But it was only in 2017 that I decided to dedicate myself to a real study of Instagram and also decided to create a new professional Instagram profile posting the pictures of my latest trips. From that moment on, many important pages liked and started to share my shots. The climb to success began from that point.
What has been your most memorable trip to date?
Most of the trips I have made have been memorable for one reason or another. The whole duration of the USA trip was memorable. Bali was memorable for the locals that I met. Casablanca because I did not expect it to be such a gem. The Amalfi – The coast is a dream. So it is difficult to choose just one memorable trip. I can definitely say that every trip is memorable because at least you will learn something from it!
Is there any place you have not been yet that is a dream destination?
I have many, but the first on my list will have to be the Maldives which I was supposed to go to this year, but because of the Pandemic, it has been difficult to arrange. After that, I can easily say Japan, Iceland, Siberia, Egypt, Vietnam, and Australia are also on my bucket list. It is much easier to say which destination is not on the list.
When you go on a trip, do you plan your schedule ahead or do you explore and wing your excursions?
I would say that I do both of those: I mean I have to schedule sometimes, I have to organize the entire trip briefly, like choosing the destination and the hotels.
Then once I get to the place I like to explore, perhaps without planning, perhaps getting into the car and driving for hours, stopping and shooting only when I find a place that particularly inspires me.
Do you prefer staying at large hotels and resorts or the smaller private hotels, and why?
I usually prefer to stay in small private boutique hotels: the atmosphere in those is like staying at home with your family. You never feel like you are a customer but you feel like you are a member of the family. In large hotel chains, they may call you by name every time they see you, and the service can also be perfect but the atmosphere is different. You may have to try it to understand.
If it was your last week on earth and you only had one place to go back to, where would it be and what would you do?
If it was my last week on earth I would go back to Santorini, immerse myself in a pool and watch my last sunsets! Otherwise, Maldives will do the same.
You do a lot of long period trips and travel from city to city. How do you pack and plan for this?
Generally, when I travel for long periods, I start planning a long time in advance. Once I decide the places I want to visit I look for hotels that would love to collaborate along the way.
Then when it comes to packing it definitely depends on the means of transport used for the trip … During my last trip through Italy, by car, I had 3 suitcases in addition to the equipment. I was sure to find different weather conditions from south to north of Italy, so I had to be prepared, by taking from swimshorts to sweaters.
This has been an extreme situation, generally, when I fly on the other side of the planet, I carry a light suitcase putting a bit of everything inside, and then I try to do laundry while I’m out for weeks.
What advice would you give someone who has just started out in your line of work?
This career can be a bit difficult to start. There are many good photographers and video makers out there but they are struggling to go viral. So you must have skills mainly in photography, video, editing, marketing, socials, and many other things. My advice is to study photography, marketing, and socials. Start travelling and never give up because when you think about giving up, that could be an hour before success knocks on the door!
How has COVID affected your work?
Covid has blocked all travel bloggers, it has now become almost impossible to take a flight and leave, especially in Italy where we have been in alternate lockdown for a year now, it has become really difficult to plan trips and collaborations with hotels that mainly have been closed. If we add that every day we hear of new covid variants that are more and more contagious and dangerous, I think it is not yet the right time to return to traveling.
Do you think that COVID has changed the way in which we will travel for the foreseeable future?
Absolutely yes! Masks, vaccination passports, swabs, quarantines, thermometers, vaccine, social distancing, all these things has certainly already influenced and will subsequently influence the way of travelling which obviously will never be the same again.
Trivially, for example, we know how 9/11 affected our way of travelling and what it brought about restrictions, which we still carry with us today (such as the electronic passport and the bottles of water on the plane). I think we should expect a change in this case too. However, I think that with the right precautions it will be possible to travel again even if I am still stuck in Italy at the moment!