Say hello to @danthelion_15. Our Dubai-based-turned-Singapore-based creator of the month has shared his photo editing tips, advice on growing an engaged audience, his three must-see travel destinations, and loads more.
Congratulations Dan! We’re thrilled to award you as our May creator of the month. What originally inspired you to become a travel creator?
It all started when I went on my first overseas trip. When I traveled away from home and my comfort zone for the first time, it made me want more. It became like an addiction and a sense of longingness to travel somewhere and learn something new.
Adventures, exploring new places, and trying new things make me feel alive. Hence, the name ‘Danthelion’ – living wild and free like a lion and the dandelion that dances with the wind and grows wherever it wanders off.
This passion for travel then sparked my career, and I haven’t looked back since.
Your Instagram feed is magnificent! What does your editing process look like?
If necessary, I’ll use Snapseed to do some more selective editing. The extend tool in Snapseed is quite useful, especially when I want myself to be in the center of the background.
We love seeing you use Instagram’s ‘Guides’ feature. Tell us more about why you use this feature?
I actually use the ‘Guides’ feature to categorize my work. It serves as a summary of the campaigns I’ve done for a particular category. It also makes it easier for my audience to see all my related work about a specific topic.
What tips do you have for other content creators looking to grow an engaged social following?
As I always say when someone asks me this, consistency is key. Be consistent with your content, keep posting what you love to share, and also be consistent in engaging with your audience.
As a travel creator, I get messages from my audience asking where something is or how much a place costs. Sometimes I think of replying, “Just google it!” But NO, don’t do that! It’s nice to answer their questions and personally engage with them. Show them you’re a real person who can actually be their friend.
Tell us about @dan.explores. Why did you create this secondary account?
When I started my page @danthelion_15, my content was purely about travel. I just shared my experiences about the places I travelled to and the interesting things I saw. I never even thought of becoming a content creator – I didn’t even know what that was back then!
But as my page started to grow and brands started to notice me, my page shifted from mainly travel, to travel AND lifestyle. This is why I created my secondary account, @dan.explores which focuses just on travel content.
I often joke on my main page, “If you’re tired of seeing my face, follow @dan.explores instead.”
I also use the tagline, “No brands, just my back” on @dan.explores.
What are your top three favourite countries to travel to and why?
#1 Vietnam holds a special place in my heart. Back in 2018 before moving from Singapore, Vietnam was my go-to place, exploring its different areas from north to south. Fun fact: My first-ever collaboration with an airline was a tour to Sapa, Vietnam.
#2 Being a fan of Doctor Strange, I loved traveling to Nepal. This country makes me feel like I’m in an old world. And for a person who loves history, Nepal has really captivated me. Plus, I can go on adventures all day just eating momos!
#3 Coming from a tropical country (the Philippines) we don’t experience snow. So when I visited Armenia during the winter, it was a really magical moment when the snow started to fall. Old churches and ruins also make it one of my favourites to travel to.
Hopefully this year, when everything finally returns back to normal, I can start to properly travel again and share all my amazing experiences on my page.
You’ve mastered the Reels algorithm. Do you have any tips for other creators looking to increase their reach on Reels?
Experiment with what works best with your audience. For example, a short 10-second Reel works best for me. My followers also love the use of quick and captivating transitions.
I also recommend using trending songs, but make sure it actually works well with your video. And finally (and again), be consistent!
Quickfire round. Right now I am…
Listening to: Peter Pan Was Right by Anson Seabra
Eating: Salted egg chicken
Wearing: Shirt and shorts
Binging: Doctor Strange
Finally, after working on Vamp campaigns for The Ritz Carlton, Fitbit, Marks & Spencer, and more, what makes you keep coming back to Vamp?
Vamp gives me the opportunity to work with well-known brands that I love. Back in Dubai, where there are so many amazing creators, it’s an honour to be chosen for numerous big campaigns.
The app is also easy to use and the briefs are clear. I also like that I can set my own rate for a particular campaign and deliverable. I’ve never had an issue with payments when working with Vamp.