Mikhail “Mikki” Tenazas was on his way to fulfilling a childhood dream. He finished medicine at Ateneo School of Medicine and Public Health in 2012 and was close to being like his uncle, who was his biggest inspiration for becoming a doctor.
But in the process of completing his studies, he realized that it wasn’t the career path he wanted.
“Since grade school, I knew that I wanted to be a doctor,” says the now 36-year-old. “It was only in med school when I realized that I wasn’t happy with it.”
He traded his white coat and stethoscope for an online business that allowed him to travel, a luxury he promised himself to do a lot of once he had the means.
The self-confessed “hodophile,” or one who loves to travel, began producing travel pages, taking inspiration from wanderlust-inducing accounts he has long been an avid fan and follower of—@nakedplanet, @wonderful_places and @beautifuldestinations.
To be effective and proficient at it, he taught himself how to work a digital single-lens reflex camera as well as edit pictures on Photoshop and Lightroom.
Armed with the right tools and skills, Tenazas started @theglobewanderer in August 2014, spending a lot of time curating the photos that would make it to the feed, and even posting in the wee hours of the morning to target audiences based in the United States and Europe.
“When I started, I never imagined that it would eventually turn into a full-time job. I knew I wanted to earn from it, as a side gig, but all the opportunities that came with it were a surprise to me since I started my pages way before travel influencers became a huge deal,” he says.
The shift from medicine wasn’t easy, he confesses, but the hard labor and time he put into his odd profession have definitely paid off, especially when his family finally approved of his life-changing decision.
“My dad was disappointed when I did not go into residency and specialize, but when he saw that I was doing well in my business, along with the opportunities that came with the job, he eventually came around and became very supportive. I was even able to bring my parents and my siblings with me on a few trips.”
With his pages gaining enough traction (@theglobewanderer, which focuses on nature and real-world issues like climate change and poaching, has 2.9 million followers on Instagram as of this writing), Tenazas is not only able to connect, but also learns from and shares ideas with hundreds of influencers, content creators and photographers from all over the world.
He has worked with brands and created content for international tourism boards, as well. Needless to say, he got to feed his hunger to travel, visiting the dreamiest places, often with loved ones in tow.
“Saudi Arabia has got to be one of my most memorable destinations,” he says. “I got to visit it before it opened up to the rest of the world, and I saw just how different it is from how it’s portrayed in the media. The people are so welcoming, and you have a rich culture and history, and the most stunning locations, which few have had the pleasure of visiting,” he reminisces.
“Bhutan was also incredible, like a land frozen in time. Simply one of a kind! Seychelles was a dream, with the most beautiful landscapes, turquoise water and white sand beaches, giant Aldabra tortoises and the friendliest people.”
Antarctica, Iceland, Madagascar and Norway are some of the countries he has been meaning to tick off his list.
One of the industries hit the hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic is travel, and consequently, Tenazas’ job wasn’t spared. A lot of campaigns were canceled, and even some of his long-standing partnerships came to an abrupt end.
To cope, he launched his own Lightroom Presets (@mikkipresets) or image filters, and created an online shop for it (mikkipresets.com). Luckily, the response was so good that he is planning to launch new sets this year.
“I was also able to finally work on my travel blog, theglobewanderer.com, which I’d been putting off since 2017,” he adds.
Tenazas manages three travel pages—@theglobewanderer, @thetravelpro and @mgtenazas. INQ