When you have children, the last thing on your mind may be to travel.
Yet, this brilliant mind behind the top food and travel blog in Philippines – Our Awesome Planet, has a different story to tell.
Anton Diaz, who is one of the most influential and prominent bloggers in Asean strated blogging to spend more time with his family and to document precious moments of his children growing up.
In our interview with the globe-trotting father of four children, Anton let us in on his humbling experience where he left his job as the CIO of P&G to pursue blogging full-time. He faced derision from naysayers for entering into an uncharted territory – blogging was nascent then.
Needless to say, his risky – and at that time, absurd – endeavours paid off because he hasn’t looked back ever since.
What’s a regular day for you like?
I’m a morning person so most of the creative work I do is in the early morning.
I would go to our roof deck under the alfresco sky and do my best work at around 6-8am.
We would block off three days for blogging and the rest of the days are spent trying out new restaurants, meeting other people, or managing our Mercato market.
We would play with our kids when they are at home and watch home movies together before sleeping.
We enjoy comforting home cooked Filipino food and always look forward to eating at home.
How do you cope with a hectic travelling lifestyle and spending quality time with your family?
We envision to travel together as a family to local spots like Boracay, Bohol, El Nido and international destinations like Tokyo.
It’s hard if I travel alone and I can’t go on the road for more than two weeks.
We are starting a YouTube video series together on a coming-of-age travel series of my boys aged 12 (Aidan), 9 (Joshua), 7 (Raphael) and 2 (Yugi).
Are there some tips you could share with us on striking a balance between pursuing passion and spending time with our loved ones?
I started blogging so that I have the free time to spend with my family and not miss out on the important moments of their childhood. I always keep this motivation in mind and never lose sight of it.
Sometimes, there are weeks where to blog very often but I remind myself to spend time with the little one.
What inspired you to pursue travel blogging full-time and why?
I always envisioned to travel together with the family to explore new food cultures together and provide a platform which they can inherit and leverage on in the digital age.
The new rich is not anymore about financial freedom but about the freedom in the sense of time and mobility.
I’m inspired to go after a lifestyle where I can travel to anywhere anytime I want and with whoever I want, especially with my family.
It’s interesting to know that you left a comfortable and stable job as Chief Information Officer at P&G to pursue your passion in travel blogging. What was the trigger back then?
It was a painful and humbling experience.
In 2005, there was no blogging industry and it boomed in 2009 with advertising money shifting to online. I had to hustle and I remember that people mocked me for the decision because there was no money in blogging at that time.
As the CIO of P&G then, I already saw the coming of the digital age and how blogging would be central to this era. There would be rewards for the first movers as well as to establish online presence early on.
Strategically, it made sense and since we were starting a family at that time, it was the perfect time to establish Our Awesome Planet.
As a blogging pioneer, what’s your take on the current blogging sphere and why?
Timeless Evergreen Content is still the king in the digital age, regardless of it being in blog or video format.
The blog is really targeted to Gen X where social media – Instagram and Facebook – is targeted towards the millennials, and Youtube video platform caters to Gen Z.
In your opinion, has the blogging sphere become saturated or is there still potential to grow and why?
We are still at the start of the digital age. Eventually, everybody will know how to publish a blog, take pictures or create a video.
However, there will only be a few who are multimedia story tellers and we are looking for more people to join our Team OAP, but it is very hard to find one.
So my answer is no – it’s not saturated, especially for quality storytellers.
Since 2005, how has this journey that you have embarked on been for you?
I went full time in 2008, which was also the year where I quit my job in P&G. The journey has been awesome and we will be writing a book our 10 year professional hobbyists’ journey.
Are there any key learning moments for you and could you elaborate more on them?
There are three skills you need to learn to be successful in the digital age:
- Storytelling – telling a story that matters in a multi-generational manner especially via video.
- Spotting Trends – knowing it and be part of pushing the trend until its tipping point
- Collaboration – creating synergistic content with different communities.
What word of advice would you give travel enthusiasts who are also keen to pursue travel blogging full time?
Envision your origin story and treat travel blogging as both as a passion and a business.
If this whets your appetite in knowing more about the top bloggers, keep an eye out for more interviews to come in our Top Blog series. Next up, we cast the spotlight on Nicola Easterby, a globetrotter armed with an undying zeal for travelling despite having set foot in countless countries and cities.
You might also want to check out the interview we had with top blogger and influencer Rachel Wong where we learn that there’s more to her than her stunning good looks.