5 Questions with… Jonny Blair of Don’t Stop Living – A Lifestyle of Travel
I love travelling even though I don’t travel as much as I’d like to. There are times when I feel like I can’t but then people like Jonny Blair from Don’t Stop Living – A Lifestyle of Travel remind me that anything’s possible and if you really want to do something, all you need to do is get moving! Jonny is passionate about traveling and wants everyone who reads his blog to catch the travel bug. He also shares some great experiences, funny moments, and good advice on how you too can get up and see the world first hand.
Check out this “5 Questions With….” and get to know Jonny and his site a little better!
Jonny Blair is a long term traveller from Bangor in Northern Ireland. He doesn’t believe in staying in the same place for long and he wants to see the world while he can. A veteran backpacker of over 90 countries, Jonny aims to inspire others as he himself continues on his jaunts around the world.
I like to believe that everyone dreams of doing something out of the ordinary at least once in their life but only a few will actually go out and pursue it. Was there a particular moment that made you decide that traveling the world was something you wanted to do?
There was no particular moment for me like that. Things just developed since I left my hometown 11 years ago, initially I thought I’d just be away for a few months. A few months became a few years, and that became over a decade. Almost 90 countries in now, and having been to all seven continents, I’m pretty happy with the way life has panned out for me. There were a few factors that influenced my decisions along the way though. As a child I used to watch football and collect football stickers so I always wondered what places like Uruguay, China, Australia etc. were like. I knew eventually I’d want to travel to all those places.
One day while working in a butchery in my hometown of Bangor, we ran out of meat and this gave me an excuse to check if my qualifications to date were enough to get me into University. They were as long as I studied for another 8 months on a course, so I did that, moved to England and as soon as I started working in England I knew I wasn’t coming back. I worked in hotels and on the beach as an ice cream salesman often working 7 days a week and meeting people from all over the world. I had mates from Colombia, Angola, China, England, Spain, Poland and Australia. By 2007, I had been to China, Russia and New Zealand. By 2009, I was living in Australia, by 2010 and by the age of 30 I had visited over 50 countries across all 7 continents. I relocated to Hong Kong using it as my base as I toured the Middle East and Asia and now aiming to break the 100 country mark before the year is out.
What are some of the difficulties you’ve faced throughout your journey and what advice would you give others who may find themselves in the same situations?
If I’m honest I will say I haven’t had many difficulties, I’ve always worked hard to keep myself on the road. But I know of others that do have problems on their travels and my best advice is work hard, save hard and don’t waste money. There is no need to worry too much when you travel. If you can’t get a visa, try again. If you can’t get a job, be relentless. Have no limits or boundaries. Clean toilets. Work for free food. Do anything to get money. If you get tired or bored of travel, find a location to stay in for a time and work there to get ready for the next adventure. Talk to as many people as you can and build up a load of new contacts. Soon you’ll know someone in every country you go to.
You’ve been to many places that I’m sure are very different from your hometown of Bangor in Northern Ireland. What are some of the most interesting experiences you’ve had throughout your journey?
Too many to mention so I’ll do a top 5:
1. The Inca Trail in Peru – the Inca Trail was magical. It’s a 4 day hike through the misty and mysterious mountains of the Sacred Valley that leads you on the final morning down to the ruined and lost Inca City known as Machu Picchu. It’s just an epic journey and one not to be missed. Makes me sad that some fit and healthy travellers actually just get a bus or a train to Machu Picchu ruining the whole glory of the 4 day hike. To make things even better I did this adventure at Christmas, arriving at the lost city of the Incas on Christmas Day. My Inca Trail Stories
2. Antarctica – Antarctica was a dream trip for me. I set my mind on it. I camped out in the wilderness in Tasmania saving hard for this epic trip and I went and did it. When our ship sailed into the coldest continent it was just magical.Top 5 Backpacking in Antarctica moments
3. Hyena Feeding in Harar, Ethiopia – At dusk in the walled city of Harar, you can head down a lane on the edge of town and feed wild hyenas mouth to mouth. It’s supervised by well known local hyena tamers, but these animals have the largest bite of any land mammal. It’s an adrenalin rush and I needed a beer afterwards!
4. Homestays in Iran – Iranian people are easily, by far the friendliest and most welcoming people you will EVER meet. Ever. Fact. While just backpacking in Iran, you will get endless invites to local people’s homes. They will treat you to their superb hospitality. Try the local food, tea and shisha. Relax and chat about every topic in the world and help them learn English and about your culture. Iran is a special country.
5. Off the Wall stuff in Taiwan – It was hard to pick a 5th one as I had to leave out China, Bolivia, Uruguay, Iraq and Jordan, but Taiwan was a place where I rediscovered my backpacking touch. I toured about 7 or 8 cities that nobody I knew had ever heard of. Places like Chiayi, Shinying, Hualien, Taidong, Eluanbi, Changhua etc. and loved it. The Taiwanese are an awesome bunch of people to meet and my best mate Neil worked out there which meant we could also get our fix of football and beers down the bars in Tainan, Kaohsiung etc.
What have you learned about yourself and people in general from your traveling experiences?
I’ve learnt that if you want something enough, you just work hard and you get it. Put your mind to it and do it. I don’t have limits anymore and I don’t use the word “can’t”. There is no can’t. Have no fear – be fearless, create no boundaries and don’t put obstacles in your way. Despite travelling the world I will always be a very proud Northern Irishman. It’s my treasured homeland and I love it. I’m proud of where I’m from and I believe everybody else should be.
What I’ve learned from people in general is that you need to phase negative people out of your life. People that say they “can’t” or “won’t” do something – they really grill me. I’m not impressed and I’m not inspired. However the people who stay happy and create no limits for themselves are the best people to meet. My best mate has worked in about 6 or 7 countries. He got out there and wanted it. He worked hard for it. My girlfriend has been to every continent. She didn’t follow the norm of her school buddies and lived her dreams. These are the people that inspire. “These days the stars ain’t out of reach” – Jon Bon Bovi. I share my inspiration tips every Sunday on my blog – Sunday’s Inspiration
If you could hop on a plane/boat/ship right now, where would it take you?
There are a lot of places I haven’t been, so it’s too tough a question. I do want to visit Cameroon, Nauru, Turkmenistan and Nepal at some point. If you give me a few minutes, I’d actually just google what airport is the most expensive to fly into and take that one. I’m a budget cheapskate tightass so if the flights gonna be covered, I’ll pick the dearest one!
Thanks Jonny for contacting me and introducing me to your site. I look forward to following you on your next adventures.
You can learn more about Jonny by visiting:
Websites: Don’t Stop Living – a lifestyle of travel / Jonny BlHP,MwedoAY/RGG,5olR&vg%3/a> / Crossing World Borders
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