Damon and Jo
If you're a college student tight on cash, this travel channel is perfect for you. (Illustration by Natasha McDonald, Columbia College Chicago)

The Ever-Expanding Platforms of Travel YouTubers Damon and Jo

After 10 years of providing attainable travel content, Damon and Jo are launching a new phase in their wanderlust-driven career.

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Damon and Jo

After 10 years of providing attainable travel content, Damon and Jo are launching a new phase in their wanderlust-driven career.

In many students’ minds, the freedom to travel is a hallmark of the college experience. Countless portrayals of university life detail spontaneous road trips and study abroad adventures, all in the company of lifelong friends. Of course, these depictions rarely deal with the underlying reality of prolonged globetrotting. Regardless of the chosen destination, expenses arise to complicate the trip. After all, transportation and hotel prices are rarely set to accommodate college students with light wallets. Eager students, before allowing financial constraints to smother their Jack Kerouac dreams, should consult YouTube’s resident cheap travel experts. For 10 years, Damon Dominique and Jo Franco have provided subscribers with the inspiration and methods necessary for realistic travel. Now, the creators are launching a new phase in their formerly joint-career.

Throughout their college careers, Damon and Jo bonded over a mutual dislike of traditional travel content. In addition to the cheesy, cookie-cutter model travel shows often follow, the minds behind them rarely acknowledge price as an important factor. For the most part, creators fashion this content for older generations with luxury in mind. After becoming thoroughly fed up with these expensive exhibitions, Damon and Jo “took off around the world and made a travel show for the social media generation” — “Shut Up and Go.” True to its name, “Shut Up and Go” encourages viewers to drop everything and travel the world.

Of course, viewers must employ some finesse to follow the show’s mantra. During their cross-cultural escapades, Damon and Jo demonstrate ways to obtain travel necessities without breaking the bank. With the dynamic duo’s tips, paying for plane tickets becomes an achievable goal instead of a lofty fantasy. Whether in Morocco, Iceland or France, the pair flaunts their cheap but comfortable hostel arrangements, allowing followers to see that international travel isn’t always ludicrously expensive.

As Damon and Jo give travel advice, their hilarious commentary and unique perspectives further distinguish “Shut Up and Go” from a traditional travel show. Indeed, the vloggers are a far cry from the artificially cheerful, ultimately stale travel hosts of a previous generation. When mishaps emerge, Damon and Jo present their frustrations to viewers with an air of authenticity. For example, in one video, Jo describes the discrimination she encounters traveling as a black woman. Elsewhere, she provides existential insights after getting shot in her hometown of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Through thick and thin, Damon and Jo’s content remains genuine, acknowledging relevant cultural issues at every opportunity.

Now, after revolutionizing the travel content scene, Damon and Jo plan to expand their online platforms. In addition to their well-known channel “DamonandJo,” each host possesses an independent platform for individual content. On these channels, both Damon and Jo tackle subjects of personal interest, detailing even more travel tips and tales. Additionally, viewers receive a deeper glimpse of each host’s personality, making this “new chapter for Damon and Jo” a perfect opportunity to join their thriving community of young travelers.

Simply titled “Damon Dominique,” Damon’s channel focuses on “travel, love, philosophy, languages, uh, small apartments and guys with thick accents.” Despite briefly drawing a mental blank while typing his list, the seasoned YouTuber never fails to provide thought-provoking content for subscribers. In his series “Friday Night Red Wine Talks,” the creator discusses matters of morality and mortality with well-traveled friends, all over a generous glass of wine. Oftentimes, viewers provide conversation suggestions for this series, making the content even more engaging. Additionally, since he is currently living in Paris, Damon releases videos for committed Francophiles everywhere. He laments the difficulties behind finding apartments and opening bank accounts in the iconic city of love but provides some much-needed advice for fellow France-bound travelers.

For viewers seeking self-improvement tips, Jo Franco’s new channel provides tons of information on pursuing excellence in every area of life. As the YouTuber writes in her channel description, “I grew up out of my comfort zone so discomfort became the fuel, now I’m obsessed with growth whether that means business, money, power, fitness, and overall motivation.” From makeup tutorials to entrepreneurial advice, Jo infuses each video with a powerful sense of purpose. Although certainly motivational, this creator’s tips frequently defy common opinions on living a successful life. For example, Jo encourages her audiences to question one pursuit that is often considered essential: a college education. Although valuable in some respects, Jo urges students to weigh the pros and cons of pursuing a degree, providing some much-needed advice in a society filled with indebted students.

Despite this surge of independent content, Damon and Jo assure fans that their joint platform isn’t going to disappear. While attempting to clarify the channel’s exact future, Jo explains that “both of us have a lot of ideas individually [and] we also have a lot of ideas together… that’s never going to change. What is gonna change is where you can find that content.” Additionally, the pair later reveals that a future beyond YouTube could lie in store for their platform.

After building such a large online travel community, a network television show seemed like the obvious next step for the unconventional travel vloggers. With this accolade in hand, Damon and Jo could properly step in as new travel hosts for the social media generation. Although unattainable at the moment, the creators assure fans that the idea still weighs heavily on their minds.

For the moment, however, fans can still find the duo hard at work online. “Shut Up and Go,” now a full-fledged global media platform, provides travelers with easy to access resources to simplify any spontaneous trip. In addition, contributors document personal adventures abroad, inspiring readers to “shut up and go” themselves. From riding the “midnight express train through the snowy Swiss Alps” to becoming “the new addition to an Italian host family,” these tales never fail to set one’s imagination in motion. For skeptical readers, the website supplies one final argument: “How do we know these stories are 100% possible? Because these are the stories you’ll find on this site. We’ve lived all of them, and you can too. Shut up and go.”

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