Damon Dominque describes himself in his Instagram bio as an expat who “puts the ‘lust’ in wanderlust.” An Indiana native who speaks five languages fluently and has lived in Paris for the last several years, Dominique boasts 221,000 followers on his Instagram and another 422,000 on his YouTube channel while putting out content around travel and languages. (He and his best friend ran an old channel together, amassing over a million subscribers before they split up.) He credits his love for travel and new locales to watching episodes growing up of MTV’s seminal The Real World reality show, of which he’s seen every episode of every season.
“From a young age, I was just enthralled by travel, culture, and language despite being from the cornfields of Indiana,” Dominique told me in an interview earlier this month conducted via videoconference.
The origins of Dominique’s career grew from multiple roots. Money, of course, was a driving force. Dominique describes the desire to travel and become culturally literate has always been there, but in the early years he was “always broke.” It’s not easy to globetrot when you don’t have much money, after all. Moreover, Dominique was bored with all the travel vlogs that focus on food; as a vegan, he felt there wasn’t much out there that was considerate of his dietary choices. “That’s kind of the angle I’ve been going with [with the channel]—every other part of the travel industry besides food—languages, culture, [and] law,” Dominique said.
For Dominique, the linguistic component to travel is the key to success.
“I’d say there’s never been a more accessible way or accessible time to learn a language—you don’t actually have to travel anymore. You can