Tomislav Perko on the challenges, embarassments and inspirations of travel

According to Tomislav Perko, one of the most inspiring travelers we have come across, he is just a "regular everyday normal guy". But before you accept this claim, there are a few important pieces of information to consider.

  1. He quit his job as a stockbroker after the financial crisis in 2008.
  2. He began to travel with almost no money. Therefore, he hitchhiked, couchsurfed, busked and, ultimately, lived on $10 a day.
  3. Tomislav traveled the world and, as of 2018, has written two books about his adventures.
  4. His TEDxTUHH talk on how to travel with next to no money has reached more than 5 million people.
  5. Tomislav's blog offers one of the most complete guides on how to travel on a low budget as well how to overcome everything that may hold us back from traveling.

So while he is happy to introduce himself as a pretty normal guy, Tomislav has surely experienced a lot. He agreed to share some of his thoughts with us.

Thanks, Tom!


Tomislav Perko hitchhiking


Who is Tomislav Perko? 

He’s just a regular everyday normal guy, that one day decided to do something irregular, extraordinary and crazy - to travel around the world with almost no money. Today he has few years of traveling behind him, over 300 given talks and two books. He also loves to play badminton, make smoothies and cocktails, and calls Zagreb his home.


What is lost and what is gained when you travel on $10/day?

I guess lost is security of a normal travel, when you know where you’re going to sleep, that you will have something to eat, what is your next destination, etc. And what is gained is pretty much the same, you just have to look at it from a different perspective. Traveling in an insecure way, whatever that means, is a big adventure, and having no idea what’s coming up is a great thing sometimes.

Tom Perko hitchhiking in Bulgaria

"Maybe I was a traveler trapped in a body of a stockbroker, not the other way around"


Where is the safest place to keep your money when travelling (e.g. I keep mine inside a pair of socks I never wear)?

Safest is not having money at all, haha! I never carry much on me, most of it I keep on my debit card, and the rest is always in my bag that I carry around my waist. That’s also where I keep my cellphone and my passport - never lost it.


People wouldn’t always associate a stockbroker with a tireless adventurer. Did you have to reinvent yourself in some way or was it there all along?

I guess it was there all along - maybe I was a traveler trapped in a body of a stockbroker, not the other way around. The only thing that changed was the fact that I didn’t chase the money any more, I was chasing the things money can’t buy. 


Read more about Tom Perko's adventures

"Traveling brings a hundred different rewards to a hundred different people"



What would you do if you knew you could not fail? (I hope you don’t mind that I borrowed this question from your Facebook page :))

I would be doing the things that I am currently doing, as always. I am trying to be a good boyfriend, share my travel stories with the rest of the world, and educate myself into being a great bartender!


You were almost constantly on the road for nearly 6 years. What was your biggest challenge?

To start. That was always the biggest challenge. Everything after that was pretty much easy. Also, getting the chance to send a message to my mum every day, that was a challenge too!


People often take to the road because of regrets that they have missed on something in life. Do you think that travelling can really help them?

I have no idea, to be honest. I think traveling brings a hundred different rewards to a hundred different people. But looking at it logically, you will probably experience a lot when traveling, and those will be the things you wouldn’t experience if staying at home. Not necessarily because you are somewhere else, but because your mindset changes. People are not behaving the same way while traveling and while staying home. 


Tom Perko talks about the inspirations of travel


But at the end, there is always only one way to find out about these things - go and try them out.


Would you mind telling us about one of your more embarrassing moments?

To be honest, I am trying to think of one for the past couple of minutes, but nothing is coming up. Which doesn’t mean I was never embarrassed - it actually means that I was okay with myself being wrong and not knowing some things that people usually know, and that my embarrassment was never really embarrassing, I just accepted the fact that I’m not perfect, and that nobody else is.


To start. That was always the biggest challenge.

"To start. That was always the biggest challenge."


What about one of your more inspiring ones?

Every day something inspirational happened - every ride I got, every host that said yes, every meal I managed to get, every person that I met, etc. But I recall the moment I found out that I will be hitchhiking a yacht across the Indian ocean - that was probably the moment I realised that there is nothing that is impossible to do.


What’s the most important thing you carry with you on the road?

A smile and a common sense. But I believe a mobile phone is also very useful.


Where to next?

Thailand, for a month. No hitchhiking, will be flying there. And not too much traveling while I’ll be there - I will try to improve my cocktail making skills.


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