Like many life stories, mine is not exactly a fairy-tale.

In 2008, I felt like I was on top of the world and life was going very well. I owned my own mortgage and real estate company, was earning a lot of money and was able to travel to many amazing places. Then the mortgage crash of 2008 happened and I felt as though my entire world and everything I had worked so hard for was destroyed.  I ended up losing 3 houses (including my own dream home), my cars & broke up with my fiancé.  I was completely devastated and felt like life was over.

Looking back, it ended up to be a blessing in disguise because I was a slave to my company and wasn’t passionate about the mortgage industry. A year later with no money to my name, I ended up going on a mission trip to Africa and that experience changed me forever. It opened my eyes to what was important in life and really taught me to appreciate all that I still had. More importantly, it rekindled my love for global travel and experiencing new people and cultures.

This trip, combined with a moment I had at an orphanage, helped change me forever and reminded me how important it is to help others and pay it forward. I realized that whatever I did next in my professional life, I needed to be passionate about & of benefit to other people.

 Gil Antolin

For the next few years, I worked as hard as I could to rebuild my life and support my son. The life of a single father was hard,  so to provide I ended up working at a few random places doing sales jobs to make ends-meat. A few years later, my son introduced me to Instagram, a social media platform that I immediately fell in love with. I ended up starting an account to share my passion of traveling and ended up putting in more time and effort with that than I did with the current jobs I had. My passion drove me to make sure the account was run as well as possible, and it quickly grew in popularity.

What happened next was nothing short of a miracle. My Instagram account quickly became one of the largest travel accounts in the world.  Along the way, I was able to quit my other jobs & replace my income, but more importantly, I started getting paid to travel all over the world. I learned a lot about what makes Instagram accounts grow and many industry secrets to help any Instagram user grow a following.

Despite having no advertising or marketing experience, I was able to take my passion and turn it into my dream job. Thanks to the power of social media and most importantly, Instagram, I have been able to create a social media following of over 5 million followers worldwide, meet people and do things that I would have never had the opportunity to do otherwise.  Along the way, I have made many like-minded friends who share my passion for travel. Fearlessly follow your passion & be of benefit to others, and you too can live your dream!