You can take the boy out of Miami, but you can’t take Miami out of the boy. David Hoffmann has spent most of the past decade visiting 1,000 cities in 68 countries. Even when he's back home, he turns a simple trip around the corner into an adventure. For Hoffmann, the element of discovery is everywhere, and though he’s been traveling, he hasn’t forgotten his roots.
As the travel host and producer of David’s Been Here, Hoffmann presents international destinations through video episodes, articles, and social media platforms. DBH’s website receives 92,000 page views per month from more than 80 countries. Add to that 1,700-plus episodes seen by more than 10 million eyeballs, and you’ve got a homegrown success story.
Hoffmann was born in Miami to Venezuelan parents of Italian and Hungarian descent. As a teenager, he embarked on a life-changing trip with his culturally diverse family to Europe. "Six weeks in Spain and one week in Italy opened up my world," he says.
Wanderlust, check. He also had an innate knack for business. In grade school, Hoffmann sold mangoes on the street corner for a dollar each. In high school, he sold muffins during homeroom and became “the muffin guy."
Hoffmann’s drive was originally influenced by Miami’s monied class. “Growing up here, there was a lot of money. It makes you hungry. I grew up with a lot of rich friends around me,” he recalls. “You’ve got to make it here. I wanted to be successful.”
But he had a deeper calling. The 9-to-5 lifestyle wasn't his path.
Hoffmann continued to travel throughout college and took advantage of Facebook to share stories and travel tips with friends. By the time he graduated from the University of Miami’s entrepreneurship program in 2008, he had a solid reputation as “the travel guy,” and David’s Been Here took off — as did Hoffmann, with videographer Carlos de Varona in tow. The duo covered 22 countries in two years, producing episodes about the culture, gastronomy, and history, as well as nature and wildlife, of each destination.
By 2010, Hoffmann had run out of money and had to rethink his revenue model. To fuel his passion for globetrotting, he expanded his presence on social distribution channels, strengthened his blogging skills, and developed financially sustainable relationships with brands. “I wish I'd had Instagram when I first got started,” he says.
But in spite of the fame and awards, Hoffmann remains the same curious and down-to-earth “travel guy” who encourages travelers to think quality, not quantity, and spend as much time as they can in a destination. He also knows the travel bug can bite anyone at any time; a whole section of David’s Been Here is devoted to mentoring would-be influencers who want “to leave their mark on the world.”
Travel has also left its mark on Hoffmann.
“I wanted to show people the world, show them about destinations they don’t know about, what’s not on their bucket list,” he says. “But it’s also become an evolution of who I am.”
Hoffmann has come a long way from selling muffins and is making a living at what he loves, working selectively with sponsors, and casting his net wide in the travel content industry. He also loves his audience, which took time to build. “People trust me now.”
“I sell you the reason why you should open your mind, travel, and explore,” he says. “I inspire people to travel. It’s really the only thing that’s going to make you richer in life. It’s the healthiest addiction you can have.”
Today, Hoffmann is in his 30s, married, and the father of a 1-year-old girl. Other episodes are in the works, but he’s spending more time in Miami now, exploring what’s cool about the 305.
Even though he’s visited nearly every corner of the world, Hoffmann is a Miami boy at heart. His hyperlocal episodes include Coconut Grove, Doral, the Turtle Hospital in Marathon — “I love turtles,” he admits — and Wynwood. Chances are that people will want to go where David has been in Miami even if they don’t agree with his choice of transportation.
"I really want people to know that I'm a local," he says. "I hate cars, and I don’t want to be in my car all day. I use Metrorail. It's one of the best ways to get to know the real Miami."
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Miami native Maria de Los Angeles currently journeys in northern latitudes but is a correspondent for the Magic City. A community advocate, she pens stories about art, culture, good folks doing good things, women's issues, and only-in-Miami moments.