Recently named by Forbes as one of the top 10 travel influencers of 2017, Louis Cole (FunForLouis) is an explorer and trailblazer in the truest sense of the word. With a following of almost 2 million subscribers on YouTube and over a quarter of a billion views, Louis has amassed a loyal following from his daring and unconventional adventures.
He first made a name for himself with his quirky culinary stunts. Now he’s since grown to become one of the biggest names in travel. Having trekked through countless jungles, climbed misty mountain peaks and even circumnavigated the globe, Louis Cole is truly an inspiration for anyone who considers travel their calling in life. Team Holidayguru was lucky enough to be able to have an interview with him as part of our podcast and see what he’s been up to recently – and get a sneak peak as to what adventures and projects are yet to come!
Not everyone may be familiar with the name FunForLouis. Hailing from the town of Epsom in Surrey, UK, Louis has been filming and producing videos pretty much as long as he can remember. Starting off recording antics with a friend from school, his YouTube career officially started in 2011 under the name FoodForLouis. Hardly your conventional food vlog, Louis documented his daring food stunts and gradually built up a considerable following. However he never went into YouTube with the intent of making a living from it. He said it was “a bit of fun” at first, and it was only after meeting various content creators that he realised that there was lots of potential to be had.
But something else also clicked with Louis. He didn’t want to be remembered for his culinary antics – it wasn’t the type of legacy he wanted to leave behind. He knew that his true calling was travel, having already been on trips with family and friends that had ignited his wanderlust from a young age. He set up a second account, FunForLouis, where he started to vlog about life and travel with the intention to inspire others and show just how big the world truly is! And it’s not just travel he’s passionate about – he’s taken the time to draw attention to social issues as well. His ambitious Boombus project saw him turn a old double decker bus into a mobile party venue to help tackle issues such as youth crime and gang activity in London.
In doing so he’s made himself a name as one of the most influential travel bloggers out there. Highlights include skydiving above Dubai, paragliding above Cape Town and even heading on a trip to North Korea.
I really recommend watching FunForLouis’ Draw my Life video as it’s a great way to see his humble beginnings and get a feel for his worldview.
Beyond Borders – around the world in 90 days
Easily Louis’ most boundary-breaking and ambitious project to date, Beyond Borders is nothing short of an incredible undertaking. I think we all dream of being able to just fly around the world at your own pace, and that’s exactly what Louis has gone and done!
Beyond Borders is a crowd-funded project that looks to celebrate and document the diversity of the world that we live in. The idea came about during a trip to New Zealand, where Louis met a guy named Juan-Peter Schulze (or JP for short). JP is a qualified pilot who asked Louis if he was up for flying around the world for him. Louis quickly agreed to the idea (as I’m sure anyone would!), and the pair soon developed the idea of filming a fully fledged documentary to showcase the experiences they had along the way.
One Kickstarter page later and this idea became reality. Their campaign managed to raise over £111,000 to fund their adventures – a seriously impressive amount! The money went towards not just essentials during their trip, but also to fund post-production and final editing, to really ensure that high-level of quality. The fact that it’s been funded by his followers has also added to Louis’ motivation for really producing something worthwhile and memorable. I think the way things are shaping up already, it’s going to be his defining piece of work for a long time!
The Beyond Borders adventure saw Louis and JP circumnavigate the globe in 90 days with a stopover in 22 countries, ranging from Arctic towns in the far north to tiny island nations in the Pacific. They’ve mapped out their voyage below:
Of course when you’ve travelled so much it can be hard to know what to say your favourite part is, but Louis gave me a fascinating little insight.
We were getting stopped by everybody in the street, shaking our hands, hugging us – I’ve never experienced that amount of overwhelming hospitality and love.
He named Pakistan as one of his highlights, mainly because he never anticipated even really stopping there. The plane needed to refuel, and the pair were able to secure a special 72-hour transit visa which enabled them to land and stock up the supplies needed. According to Louis, Pakistan is a country that most people don’t really get to truly experience – other travellers maybe just stick to their hotels, or its reputation with Western media of being dangerous puts a lot of people off going. But after asking friends for advice on things to do and see, the pair quickly realised that this country really is something special. The level of hospitality they experienced there seemed to have really had an affect on Louis, and it’s these of eye-opening experiences that makes travelling so addictive for many people. And this is exactly the kind of message that this documentary is aiming to share in the first place. Growing up in the Western world, we are exposed to a certain worldview that can be hard to break out of sometimes, but keep an open mind and you’ll always be surprised by what’s waiting for you out there.
The future for Louis
Releasing Beyond Borders
When you live a nomadic lifestyle travelling the world, who knows what the future will bring! I think it’s fair to say that the both of them will need a bit of time to recuperate from the journey as it really was an adventure in the truest sense of the world. But it seems that Louis will definitely pour his heart and soul into really making sure that this film will be amazing. Over the course of the voyage they’ve recorded somewhere from 14 – 16 terabytes of footage, and they have around 30 – 40 hours of interviews alone – that’s enough to almost justify realising a series of short programmes! Post-production will start very soon, with Louis assembling a team of editors and producers to help him make the final cut. Louis estimates that a realistic release date for Beyond Borders will be somewhere in mid-2018. I’d say it’s totally going to be worth the wait…
I just couldn’t resist asking Louis what plans he had in store for the future as I think it’s something a lot of people are interested in knowing. Interestingly there wasn’t that much talk of destinations he was considering (though he will be staying in Cape Town at the beginning of the New Year), but the project he had in mind that I’d be very interested to see how it develops in the future.
For people who travel a lot, or are even totally nomadic in their lifestyles, I think there’s always the question of what home means. It might not necessarily be a physical place, but even just having that sense of belonging, or being part of a community where you know you can always return to and find like-minded people. Louis would like to address this in the future with a little dream of his: building a retreat for travellers where they can always return to and exchange and share their ideas and passions. He has the vision of establishing a community where there’s a large emphasis on living sustainably as well. The idea of a little village of tree houses in the woods… You gotta admit that sounds pretty cool!
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