This man backpacked during the entire pandemic and it wasn’t ‘easy’

By | October 12, 2021

This dedicated traveler has gotten a lot of mileage in while much of the rest of the world sat in lockdown. 

In December 2019, Tomas Hromjak threw in the towel on the corporate world and decided to embrace his passion for photography and hit the road, he told CNN. The Slovakia native bought a round-the-world ticket — which included airfare to a series of international destinations — set off and did not look back.

When the pandemic hit just a few months into his globe-trotting, he was forced to rework certain legs of his travels, but he remained committed to his new nomadic lifestyle: September was the two-year anniversary of his initial departure. And rather than let the logistical challenges of traveling during a pandemic get him down, he sees them as making his experience all the more unique. 

“I’m seeing the world from a completely different perspective,” the 34-year-old recently told CNN Travel from Guatemala. “For me, traveling is about experiencing and learning something new. I think this is a unique opportunity. But has it necessarily always been the easy one? No.” 

Among the obstacles he’s faced have been the constantly changing lockdown laws for various locales. Out of all his destinations — which have included Ecuador, Peru, Panama, Singapore, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar and more — he found his visit to Chile to be the most intense due to the 10-day isolation period required upon entering the country.

“The restrictions were crazy, but I just decided to go,” he says of going to the nation where, in his two months there, he didn’t encounter a single other foreign traveler. “Some people couldn’t believe I was really a tourist. It was definitely the most challenging place I visited because of all the restrictions.”

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Indeed, the strange experience of being one of the only tourists in places normally teeming with sightseers has significantly defined his journey.

“The most striking difference is obviously the amount of tourists,” he says of pandemic travel. “If you go to hotspots like Cancun or maybe Cusco in Peru, you will see people. But when you travel just a bit off the beaten path, there’s pretty much no one there.”

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