The creation, growth and success of a YouTube sensation and internationally acclaimed Travel Blog
Adventurous. Entertaining. Young. Exuberant. Funny. Informative.
This impressive slogan belongs to the travel addicted couple Kristen and Siya, the brilliant masterminds behind one of the hottest Travel Blogs and YouTube Channels on the internet right now. With more than 270,000 subscribers and hundreds of published articles, Hopscotch the Globe is a true force to be reckoned with among the online travel industry.
Her, a genuine travel junkie and award-winning videomaker who fell in love with the beauty of the world at sixteen, devoting her life to the thrill of discovery ever since. Him, business partner, co-host and husband, sharing the same wanderlust for global exploration which drives him to embark on crazy adventures in foreign countries.
But why does this one-of-a-kind couple stand out from the mass content creators today? We had the pleasure of interviewing them to discover the secrets behind their success… read on to find out more!
Both of them Canadian college graduates, Kristen and Siya have been joined at the hip not only during their travels, but ever since that drama class where they first laid eyes on each other. Hopscotch the Globe was created in Toronto when Kristen was getting ready to embark upon a 10-month journey around the world. She started off travelling India alone (shout out to all our brave solo female travellers!) but was soon to be joined by Siya. They couldn’t have known it at the time, but that journey marked the start of their entire online career... what started as a small independent travel diary was soon about to grow into a pioneering travel blog, read by millions of people from all over the world.
- Let’s go back to the very start. What was it that first convinced you to put yourselves out there on the internet? Was there a specific moment in your journey that made you realise you could turn a hobby into a career?
We started our YouTube channel and Blog back when nobody was making money off them. We did it back in 2007 for fun and to share stories and videos with family and friends. We've always been into creating businesses since we were kids, and making home movies on our parents VHS recorders. This career happened very organically for us, the one thing we didn't expect was such a big audience.
Fifteen years on and they are still sharing their travel experiences with a huge and ever-growing audience, not missing out even the slightest detail. The numbers of Hopscotch the Globe speak for themselves: more than 66k followers on Instagram and a total of 15,000 followers on their Facebook page, with thousands of videos and vlogs being uploaded twice a week and an online community that shares, comments and follows every single minute of it.
- What are the main ideas and concepts you want to convey through your YouTube Channel?
Our audience wants to be inspired and educated, that's what we portray in our videos. We have thousands of scenarios we've experienced around the world, both bad and good, to entertain our audience with. We stick with what works and what our audience is interested in, meaning inspiration and travel tips.
Inspiration seems to play a major role in every piece of content they share. As they have explained in many of their videos, the ultimate goal is not only to show how to travel the world no matter the budget or the lifestyle, but to build a brand that could somehow motivate and inspire people to believe in their dreams, and to live a life they believe will make them truly happy.
From destination guides and travel tips to crazy culinary experiences and travel-related fashion and lifestyle, there is a story for everyone on Kristen and Siya's virtual home.
- After almost a decade in the business, you still come up with fresh ideas every week: where do you get your inspiration for your videos/photos even after all this time?
The ideas we have are never ending. Mostly they come from our own beliefs and questions about the world and travel. Our audience also asks us hundreds of questions in the comments and we often turn those into videos.
Whatever your plan is, from travelling with a loved one to embarking on your first solo adventure, or even if you are just in need of some useful information for a pet-friendly holiday, at Hopscotch the Globe you’ll find plenty of things to feed your wanderlust... and now that they’ve become parents to a beautiful baby girl their blog is even more family-orientated than ever!
- What does your travel schedule look like?
We travel about 5 months per year, although this year we've taken a few months off to settle into our roles as new parents.
You just need to check out the “destinations” section of their blog to realise that Kristen and Siya really know what they’re talking about. They have visited more than 50 countries, and they have created thoughtful, in-depth and highly entertaining content for each of them that will truly upgrade your travel game.
- Have you ever been to a place that turned out to be completely different to what you expected?
We were recently on a project in Japan and we were shocked at how such an overpopulated country could be so clean and so organized. There was no garbage on the streets, yet no garbage cans in sight. The subways were packed with people but nobody bumped into each other and traffic flowed as smooth as a river. It was a spectacular country!
You can tell by their words that Kristen and Siya are not your stereotypical travel influencers looking for some cute backdrop for their daily selfie... if you’re into clichéd captions and pre-planned food shots, then you should move on to the next social media star!
- What would you say is the most common mistake made by travel influencers today?
Too many travel influencers focus only on the beauty of a place... the waterfalls, the best food, the fancy hotels. This isn't the reality of travel for most people so it comes across as highly unrealistic.
You better believe that if you decide to follow this lovely couple across the globe, you’ll be in for a 360-degree journey through both the ups and downs of their travels. They have filmed, hosted, produced and edited every video they are featured in, created the visual concept behind every pictures, typed up every article... and the final result? 100% original content that speaks to the heart and captures the curiosity of their fans. The perfect balance of fun and education, awkward moments and bumps in the road, all wrapped up in a mixture of creativity and authenticity. A concept that promotes unfiltered, unique discovery which is usually also reflected in their choice of accommodation.
- Here at Hostelsclub we are all about living the hostel culture; can you tell us what your favourite thing about staying in hostels is?
Hostels are our PREFERRED places to stay. We love to be around other travellers, although we generally always get a private room with a bathroom for all our creature comforts and midnight pees. The common areas are where you make friends from all over the world and share your experiences. Travellers explore because they are interested in people and places, thus people in hostels are generally friendly and like-minded. Hostels are also way cheaper than hotels so that means we can spend more of our budget on food and experiences.
Hard-working, dedicated, passionate, talented and now madly in love with their new baby: it seems like Kristen and Siya have it all figured out! However, with a business like theirs, there is also the danger of oversharing and losing sight of the meaning of privacy.
- Working with social media surely blurs the line between work and personal life, especially when your home and relationship becomes a part of your business. How do you decide which aspects of yourselves and your travel experiences to share with your followers?
We are open books with our followers. Recently we had a baby and posted some pretty graphic, yet fascinating pictures on our Instagram. The reactions were stunned and grateful, thanking us for being so honest and real about the experience. We've shared bathroom stories, relationship hardships, our love story... We share any experience which will teach our audience about an experience that they may apply to their own life, or will put them at ease to know they aren't the only one going through a similar situation.
- Do you think twenty years from now you’ll be working in the same business?
This will be our profession forever, although it will evolve into more platforms. Nothing ever stays the same and we don't foresee this industry as being any different.
Well, we can’t really argue with that: Hopscotch the Globe is on a roll and many new things are surely coming their way in the near future! If you haven't had the chance to virtually meet this lovely couple yet, here’s a taste of their ordinary life in extraordinary circumstances.
“Do you want to change your life? Travel Now. Don't wait. If you want to travel the world, make it happen. It will be the best thing you ever do for yourself. It will motivate and inspire you in ways you could have never imagined. Travel is transformational. Travel is life.”
Follow @siyazarrabi and @hopscotchtheglobe for more amazing pictures!