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Retro Kolkata Exclusive : Interview with the Travel Vlogger Gian Luca Sgaggero from Italy

Image © Gian Luca Sgaggero

I'm totally in love with Thailand, especially the northern regions where you can find authentic cities, pristine forests and amazing people. Mexico stole my heart, I had one of my best adventures traveling through Yucatan, Chiapas and Quitana Roo. In Europe I love to explore Greece, Portugal and Spain. Africa is an unbelievable land, but many countries are not friendly with LGBTQI+ people, so we stopped to visit it and miss it a lot.

Retro Kolkata : First of all, thanks a lot for accepting our invitation for an interview. it’s a great pleasure to have you as our Guest. Let’s start from the first question… Let's jump into the past. How did you get started with traveling? What inspired you to start travelling?

Gian : I've always travelled a lot since I was a really young; my parents are from Sardinia, but we live in Piedmont (North Italy), where we still live, so Sardinia was our best destination for vacation and also to find relatives and grandparents. My first trips around the world started when I was 18 years old; I was eager to discover new places (Egypt, Cabo Verde, Canary Islands). I got married when I was 27th, my marriage lasted only 3 years, but we had travel addiction in common, so we started to travel in Asia, Central America and more Africa destinations. After we divorced I continued to travel by myself, every time without plans, I just buy the flight ticket and then the adventure starts. After some months I knew Lele and my life changed, we are living together since 13 years now and we travel every time we can. Our gaylife is so amazing.

Image © Gian Luca Sgaggero

Retro Kolkata : How did you decide to become a travel blogger? Was it a thoughtful choice behind setting-up ‘viaggiaescopri’?

Gian : I really didn't plan to become a travel blogger. After I divorced, in 2009, I felt the need to fix my travel memories, one chapter of my life was ending and I wanted to save our travel memories together. In the beginning of 2010, I opened my first website to collect my travel pictures, after that, some people started to ask me information about those places, so I decided to write a little bit about them. I began to publish articles and people started to call me travel blogger, some months later I opened our Facebook page and Twitter profile, a couple of years later Instagram started to have success and Lele joined me with his videos feeding our YouTube account.

Retro Kolkata : How do you keep yourself updated on the latest trends about travel blogging?

Gian : Honestly, I don't keep myself updated, since I am one of the first Italian travel bloggers, I know more or less every one of my 'colleagues', me and Lele use to attend to travel fairs, conferences and expositions, we were also invited as speakers in some of them.


Retro Kolkata : What are some of your favourite places you’ve visited?

Gian : It's very difficult to decide, each place has something special that I miss. However ,some places are unique for me and I miss them more. I'm totally in love with Thailand, especially the northern regions where you can find authentic cities, pristine forests and amazing people. Mexico stole my heart, I had one of my best adventures traveling through Yucatan, Chiapas and Quitana Roo. In Europe I love to explore Greece, Portugal and Spain. Africa is an unbelievable land, but many countries are not friendly with LGBTQI+ people, so we stopped to visit it and miss it a lot.

Retro Kolkata : How do you fund your travel (savings/work whilst travelling/other)?

Gian : At the moment traveling is my job, we often travel because of promotional projects and all the costs are covered by the customer (tourism boards, hotel chains, companies, etc...) that provide also a fee for the contents we produce. This allow us to travel also when we are not working and sometimes we find new customers along the road.

Tel Aviv

Retro Kolkata : Have you been anywhere which turned out to be totally different to how you imagined? If so, how?

Gian : Sure, it always happens when you expect little from a destination. One of the best examples is Romania. When we travelled to Romania for the first time we were in doubt because of a lot of prejudices that Italian have around that country. It was suddenly total love, we really loved Transilvania and Romanian people, our trip was unexpectedly wonderful. We came back to Romania many times and each time is unforgettable.

Retro Kolkata : Have you had any bad experiences whilst travelling?

Gian : Sure, bad experiences can happen but they are not enough to ruin my travel dreams. In Andalusia a man tried to stole our bag but we caught him. When we visited Tangeri from Tarifa they put us on a bus and 'kidnapped' us without possibility to leave the group and visit the city by our self, it was a horrible experience. Fortunately, our trips are mostly positive, but this things are useful to collect experience and be smarter in the future.

Sardinia inside - South Sardinia

Retro Kolkata : Tell us about one of your most memorable adventures, and the impact it had on you.

Gian : One of my best travel memories is linked to Macedonia. I travelled to Skopje because I found a really cheap flight, so I decided to spend some day discovering this city. I was amazed by their story, by their feeling to be European but also strong linked to their Octoman traditions. I really loved the experience, more than the city itself. Sometimes I felt not totally safe, but I realized I had nothing to be scared about, it was all in my mind. This taught me not to judge people or places without knowing them first.

Retro Kolkata : How has travel changed who you are? What has travel taught you?

Gian : Travel allowed me to feel who I am, I think I didn't really know myself before to travel alone and sometimes I understood that you are less alone when you travel alone than when you travel with someone. Being alone encourages you to know more people and put you totally in touch with local culture and behaviours.

Oropa Sanctuary, Italy

Retro Kolkata : Where is your favourite place in the world? Do you have a bucket list? If so, what is on it?

Gian : My favourite place in the world is Porto Pino, in South Sardinia, where my grandparents belong from. My travel dreams are to visit India (Lele is not too much on it) and Australia (but it's really expensive for Italian travellers).

Retro Kolkata : Blogging is increasingly becoming competitive. Do you think it will be a good choice for newbies to opt for travel blogging in 2022 and further?

Gian : I think we need new blogger for sure. Since 2010 my travel habits changed and I have different needs when I travel. While my generation becomes older we need new generations to replace us (not immediately) and to communicate with the language of young people. And after all the world is full of places that need to be discovered, the more we are the best we can reach the goal.

Alghero Cliffs, Sardinia, Italy

Retro Kolkata : If you were to list top 5 reasons for your success as a travel blogger, what would those be?

Gian : First of all the authenticity, I always write about places I really visited and this is a must for a good travel blogger.

Then you should be patient, you have to find your audience and let it grow before to be considered also an influencer.

For sure we have been advantaged because we were among the first travel bloggers in Italy, nowadays many young people read our blog and try to follow our steps.

Take care of your content, to have passion for travels and for writing is not enough, you have to learn how to build and manage your website, SEO rules to optimize your articles and create a space for you outside the social medias channels. Remember that your blog is yours and only you could close it.

Stay updated, traveling is in continuous evolution, also technology and devices do the same. I started traveling using my reflex, now my iPhone works perfectly and is lighter. The same is with social media, once was Twitter, then Instagram, Snapchat arrived but Instagram evolved and now TikTok seems to be a new frontier. A travel blogger needs to adapt to new communication channels.

Montessu Necropolis, Sardinia, Italy

Retro Kolkata : Do you have any advice or tips for aspiring travellers?

Gian : Never lose the desire to discover, be like a child, curious and without prejudice, be able to wonder yourself. This is my secret.


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