Like Martin Luther King, Marcus King had a dream. For Marcus though, his was about white sandy beaches, exotic landscapes and the crystal blues of Jamaica. Marcus was dreaming about travelling and it’s safe to say that’s one dream that has come true. Not only has the 27-year-old Houston, Texas native travelled to several cities and countries around the world, he’s actually the owner of one of the most popular travel blogs and websites today. Marcus’ Hardly Home brand is the place for young, hip, fashionable and wanderlust travellers from around the globe to connect and share stories and photos of their trips. Not only that, Hardly Home brings travellers together through amazing group trips around the world. Of course, me being a travel junkie myself, I had to be a part of this movement. I followed Hardly Home on all social media platforms they’re on and soon enough I was contributing stories to the site! My stories of travel, food and trip taking have now become a part of this movement. Scroll through the Hardly Home website, Instagram feed, Twitter timeline or Facebook posts and you’ll instantly be tempted to gather up a group of friends, grab your passports and head to some exotic location for a week or two to soak in new culture, food and entertainment! I caught up with Marcus a while back for a Skype chat to talk about his amazing brand, why travel is so close to his heart and how Drake played a role in all this!
God has really shown himself to me through travel
MiniSkirts and Microphones (MAM): What was the driving force behind Hardly Home…the website, the name, the brand?
Marcus King (MK): I actually have an engineering degree from Prairie View A&M University and after I graduated, I went right into work. But about two years in I was getting bored and frustrated with it and I was looking for something else to do, just to really be creative because I don’t like to set limits. I had a dream one night that I was in Jamaica. I’ve always wanted to go to Jamaica since I was in high school, so in my dream I’m in Jamaica and it was everything I could imagine and more, and you know how when you’re having a really good dream and an alarm or something goes off and it wakes you up? That happened to me, it turned out it was 5:00 a.m. and it was time to go to work. I was so mad! But as a kid I would always mess with websites as a hobby and I always just had ideas of things I would like to do. I love to travel so with a website to keep me focused, I knew it was something I could do by myself and I thought about it and a name for the website, it took me like two weeks and I chose the name Hardly Home because it’s universal. This is something that could literally apply to anybody, it’s for everybody. I just made the website and it helped because I was already travelling around from my college days. I love to go to new places and see new things. It’s opened my eyes and I just love it. I think I’ve found that one thing that I’m super passionate about and I picked it up and ran with it.
MAM: How did you know that travelling and people wanting to tell their stories about travelling would be such a hit?
MK: It all just kind of happened. It’s almost like the law of attraction and it’s just the way the universe fell into place. It’s really me and I have some friends, a host of people I’ve met along the way. We have the same interests and we collectively do this. I travelled a lot in college and was always going to different cities and going to concerts and festivals. For me and my friends, this is the life that we were already living we just put a name on it.
MAM: Speaking of putting a name on it, there are tons of other travel blogs and pages, how do you keep Hardly Home one of the more popular ones?
MK: I think the name by far sets us apart. It’s catchy and clean and I must admit that Drake had a line in his song “Uptown” where he says, “Hardly home but always reppin’,” I remember the first time I heard that song and as soon as it came on, I felt him real tough on that line and I always remembered it and it applied to how I was living. We started all of this around the end of April 2013 and initially it was just a blog, but somedays I’m looking on The Travel Channel and I’m like, “If Anthony Bourdain and Andrew Zimmern could make this their job where they travel the world and eat all this food and have a camera crew following them, why cant I do the same. Like why not?!” That’s why we went on to branding all of this and it all happened organically. I had a phone case made with Hardly Home and everyone always asked me about it and what Hardly Home stands for.
MAM: You do a lot of interaction on social media with fans and followers. Why is it so important to keep in touch with people like me?
MK: Because I’ve been on the other end of it and it makes you feel like they’re too good to respond. I don’t want to do that. However, I do understand that you can’t respond to everyone and now I’m getting to that point where I get so many emails to the point where it is a lot but I also understand the importance of keeping in touch and messaging people back and letting them know you see them.
MAM: What are your plans to grow the brand?
MK: Right now, I love putting together these group trips. We did one to Cuba in November and another is coming up to Dubai in March. I just want to help people travel and be a medium for people to learn and learn about travel and to be able to travel. Travel is really important to me and above all else, probably what it means to me is that God has really shown himself to me through travel. I’m a sucker for scenery, and while Houston is home, it’s really flat and we don’t have the mountains and the beaches here aren’t the greatest but there are things that I know that are out there but aren’t home. So to go and see some different places on this earth, it gives me a sense that it has be something greater out there than man to create something this beautiful.
MAM: What have been some of your favorite places to visit and where do you want to go to next?
MK: Well I have to say that I did make that trip to Jamaica by the way!!!!!!!! I also love California, I’ve been up and down the coast, I love the Caribbean and have spent a lot of time in Mexico. I haven’t been to Asia as yet, but I really want to take a year off of work and just travel. I do want to do The Bahamas, Dubai, Cape Town, Cairo to see the pyramids, Rio and carnival in Trinidad and Tobago!
Follow the Hardly Home website as well as their IG and Twitter accounts @HardlyHome for all your heart’s travel desires!
Drake had a line in his song “Uptown” where he says, “Hardly home but always reppin’,” I remember the first time I heard that song and as soon as it came on, I felt him real tough on that line