|Cho Jun-Ki, operater of 'Travel Holic'|
Most of Korea’s youth enter university through tough entrance examinations in the hope of creating better opportunities for their futures, but they still often find it difficult to find a job after graduation. Daily life can seem desolate, and sometimes I question why I try so hard. Sometimes, I really just want to go travelling somewhere. There are many people who have life-changing experiences through travel. Cho Jun-Ki, who operates ‘Travel Holic’, ‘found’ his life through travel. ‘Travel Holic’ has 1.8 million users, and provides various travel information and funny travel stories through SNS platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. Through it we can learn not only vital travel information, but the meaning of travel through other people’s personal travel stories.
The Inha Times (IT): What inspired you to start ‘Travel Holic’?
Cho Jun-Ki: At first, I simply liked travel. While I was in school I was really fascinated by travel, so I decided to go on a working holiday and travel around the world. I like to communicate with other people about travel, exchanging information and stories. I saw a lot of various life around the world, which changed much of my thinking. I wanted to do what I enjoy, so I decided to study about travel and set up a related Facebook page.
|The Meeting with Creaters of travel contents|
IT: Travel Holic has now become a much bigger company than when you initially started it. What is the key to this development?
Cho Jun-Ki: I focused on the key question: ‘How can I share value of travel with more people?’ I don’t provide simple information about travel routes, restaurants, or tourist spots. I focus more on what travel can ‘give’ us. People can learn valuable life lessons from travel and feel much empathy with the people they come into contact with. At first, when I start operating my Facebook page, I just summed up travel magazine or internet information. But one day, I introduced one traveller’s story—a 21-years-old female who travelled around the world only with 3.5 million won. 3 million people viewed that content, and others then send us their travel stories. Also, we provide good information using SNS, which is one of the key reasons for our successful development.
IT: Is there any individual contributor whose travel story is particularly memorable?
Cho Jun-Ki: I was moved by all of the stories that I’ve read, but the most memorable story was the world travel story of Lee Seung-Ah. She traveled from Europe to South America over 249 days. She took time off from school for travel, and worked 3 part-time jobs each day for 9 months before beginning her incredible journey. She rode the Trans-Siberian Express, visited the Sahara Desert, learnt Spanish, and even sky-dived. She visited 18 countries and 62 cities over 8 months. She said, “I don’t assess my value merely based on licenses or tests, but by my travel experiences as well.” I feel that she is very similar to me because she left Korea to find her own value and to be free from what our society is trying to dictate.
IT: What does travel mean to you personally?
Cho Jun-Ki: Travel is everyday life for me. Actually, travel is nothing, it’s not a big deal! Many people say that life is journey, which I agree with. Oh, but life is not nothing! Many Koreans think that travel is not easy; it may be exciting, but is hard. So I want to change people’s perceptions about travel and make them think it is as easy and enjoyable as going out for a nice meal!
IT: What is the meaning of‘Travel Holic’?
Cho Jun-Ki: ‘Travel Holic’ is almost like our catchphrase, expressing that one should live everyday as a journey. I hope that more people can feel the romance, excitement and value of travel through our page ‘Travel Holic’. I also want to emphasise that it’s most important to me to create and express my own identity rather than pursue financial gain. When ‘Travel Holic’ became bigger, a lot of people and companies asked me to cooperate with them or advised me to start a new business. At first, I felt some conflict in my mind. However, I thought that if I became caught up in investment from sponsors or partners, I may no longer be able to do what I initially set out to do. So, I resolved to focus on the company’s identity and to what we wanted to do as the main priority.
IT: Do you have anything to say about travel to Inha’s students?
Cho Jun-Ki: Many things change with travel, which you can’t even imagine before you set out on your own adventure. It’s very important to see various cultures and meet many people. I swear, you will grow up through such a fabulous challenge. “The world is one book. If a person does not travel, that is same as reading only one page of the book.” It’s my favorite phrase about travel. So, I’ll ask: until now, how many pages have you read of this book?
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