In this edition of Celebrity Travel Addicts, we catch up with Jord Hammond, a freelance contemporary travel photographer and storyteller from the town of Dover in southeastern England. We chat with Jord about what inspires him to travel, the time he spent teaching in a foreign country, his work as a travel photographer, and much more. Check out his tips for aspiring travel photographers and find out where he’s headed next!
How did your passion for travel get started?
My passion for travel started whilst living and working as a teacher in China. I took every opportunity I could to travel throughout China during my days off, and soon fell in love with it. Travelling to such remote places in China was truly eye-opening and spurred my desire to travel more once I left the country.
How many days/weeks are you traveling in any given year? What are the types of places you like to visit?
I travel most of the year, and probably spend 1-2 months maximum at home. I like visiting off-the-beaten track places, and places that aren’t flooded with tourists. I’m also a big fan of city travelling, such as Tokyo, Hong Kong and Taipei.
You are from Dover, England. What makes Dover such a great travel destination? What should travelers see and do when they go there?
I guess I have never really thought of Dover as a travel destination as I grew up there, but now I have moved away, I appreciate its beauty more. The White Cliffs of Dover are an obvious attraction for many travellers, as is Dover Castle. And of course, try some great fish and chips.
You worked as a teacher in southwestern China. What did you teach and what was that experience like? What did you take away from it that you carry with you today?
I taught English at a foreign language school in Chongqing, China. The experience was one of the best of my life, and I am so glad I pursued it. It was really tough to begin with, as living in China as a foreigner isn’t easy, especially South West China where the majority of people really don’t speak English. However, after the first few months, I really settled into life out there and it was a really interesting year. I also began taking photos whilst living out there, so am hugely grateful for that. I took away from that year that there is so much to see in China and the world in general, and that fuelled my passion for travel and photography.
You are a self-taught photographer who has taken beautiful photos all over the world. What is the best piece of advice you can share with someone who is interested in becoming a travel photographer?
My number one piece of advice for anyone looking to become a travel photographer is practice and be patient. Travel photography is a hugely difficult industry to get into, and it took me years before I began making any money from it. You need to stand out from the crowd and be the best in your field to be noticed by potential clients, so I can’t stress the importance of practicing every day, learn new tricks with editing, and improving your skill as much as you can. Hard work pays off.
What do you want audiences to gain and learn from your work?
I want to convey that travelling to less travelled places isn’t as scary as it may seem, and hope to inspire people to step outside the box. There’s a huge world to see and explore out there, and so I hope people are encouraged to see more of it through my photography, whether that be a round-the-world trip or simply exploring more of your home country.
What are the top three destinations you’ve visited?
China, Japan and Jordan. All for very different reasons, but all are great for photography.
Give us your ‘Top 5’ list for one of your top 3 destinations. Like a mini-guide or a to-do list of sorts. It can be anything from your favorite hotel, best place to have lunch, best sightseeing, etc.
Tokyo is one of my favourite cities in the world, and there’s so much to see and do there, whether you’re into photography or not. I’d recommend visiting Ichiran for some infamous ramen, and taking a stroll down Memory Lane one evening. If you can catch sunset on a clear day at Bunkyo Civic, you may be able to see Mt Fuji in the distance from the observatory. Another great observatory is Roppongi Hills, but you have to pay to get up there. Finally, I’d highly recommend staying at a capsule hotel as it’s a great experience and something you may only get to do in Japan.
How many countries have you visited so far?
44 and counting!
What are your top 3 favorite cuisines?
I love Chinese food, but am very biased. I also love sushi, and Italian.
What is your favorite restaurant in the world? What dish do you recommend there?
Din Tai Fung! Try the xiao long bao, it’s delicious.
What is your favorite travel movie?
Probably Seven Years in Tibet. I have visited many Tibetan towns and villages in China, but never to Tibet, so it’s high on my list.
What is your favorite international airport?
Singapore Changi airport has it all.
Which city had the friendliest people?
Taiwan! I couldn’t believe how friendly the people were there, and how willing they were to help.
Who is your favorite travel companion?
I travel everywhere with my partner Sophia. It took us a long time to balance spending everyday together, and travelling together can really test you, but it was so worth it.
What is the best way to kill time while traveling?
Read a book or listen to a podcast. I download podcasts before long travel days, and editing photos is a great way to kill time too.
What is the most exotic place your career has taken you?
I travelled to Sumba in Indonesia which was my definition of exotic. It was one of the most remote islands I have ever visited, and it was great to be able to experience an island that not many others visit in Indonesia.
What is your best bit of travel advice for someone who wants to, or is about to, embark on a life of travel?
Get a good travel insurance! And be flexible with your plans.
What are 4 things you could never travel without?
My camera, my drone, my headphones and my portable charger.
What is your ultimate dream destination?
I’d love to visit Bhutan one day as it looks like such a beautiful country to photograph.
What is your favorite travel quote?
“Life is short but the world is wide”
Where are you headed next?
I’m now back in Bali for a few weeks whilst I work on some important projects and my parents are over to visit. Then heading to Australia with a tourism board at the end of the month.
I’m Jordan, a freelance travel photographer and storyteller from the UK. My Instagram is @jordhammond, and I’d love to have you follow along on my adventures!
Connect with him on his Instagram and purchase some of his prints on his website!