For this installment of the “Love of Travel” series we are honored to meet Jonny from “Don’t Stop Living” Travel Blog. Jonny is a pioneer in the travel blog industry, and he has been running a one man travel guide online for nearly a decade. Having visited all 7 continents and 85 countries, he is full of useful tips and some pretty great stories! Jonny believes that “every day is different” and “life is an adventure;” which we wholeheartedly agree with. Oh, and he likes beer too…which is right up our alley as well! So check out the interview below, and be sure to check out his website and follow him on social media (links at the bottom)!
What inspired you to want to see and experience so much of the world? Was there a moment in time, or have you always had a case of wanderlust since you were a kid?
It kind of started when I was 6 years old and watched the Mexico 86 World Cup on TV – my country Northern Ireland qualified and I supported in front of the TV with my Dad. But it was when I saw all these teams from different countries and cultures and the players in the sticker book that I was intrigued. I knew I wanted to see those places eventually. But it took me a while. As a teenager I made it to USA, Netherlands, France and Spain. It wasn’t until I was in my 20s that I started travelling properly, eventually making it to all 7 continents by the age of 30 and now ready for the 100 country mark.
You have an impressive resume – we love it! After traveling for a decade you have traveled to over 85 countries on all 7 continents, do you have a favorite city or country that you lived / worked in?
For favourite city I’ve lived in I’d have to say Hong Kong, which is a surprise as normally I’m not into big busy cities. But I can have almost everything I need in Hong Kong. There’s fast internet to get online work done, there’s a bar or restaurant or 7/11 on every corner. There’s a beach to relax. There’s mountains. Plus it borders China and is only a ferry away from Macau if I want to get out. It’s 12 hours from London and it’s 16 hours from New York. I’ve worked in bars and schools in Hong Kong on and off for about 3 years of my travels. I also liked living in London but I worked in a busy PR office at the time and that job just wasn’t for me.
You have had a wide variety of jobs all around the world, which we think is awesome! Is there a job that was just absolutely the worst — that you would never want to do again?
I have to say probably not. I’d do them all again. I got what I needed out of every job and I enjoyed them all. There were tough days out on the broccoli and cauliflower farms but it was rewarding work. Through saving money in that job I made it to Antarctica. One job I had when I was still living in Northern Ireland was as a postman and I quit after 3 days as I hated it – got chased down a driveway by a dog. I later delivered phone books though so I won’t say no to ever doing it again.
We love your travel style and your motto that “Everyday should be different. Life is an adventure!” Do you have a favorite adventure that stands out in your mind from all your years of travel?
There’s no real one favourite but I’ll list some highlights – touring Amadiya in Iraq was up there as you stare down into the mountains realising that there are no other travellers about. Hiking the Inca Trail in Peru was also immense – just magical misty mountains and this famous lost city at the end of the adventure. Cruising around Antarctica was also amazing. Other moments that stand out are watching the Mass Games on National Day in North Korea, feeding hyenas mouth to mouth in Harar, Ethiopia and staying in Xinaliq in Azerbaijan.
Your website, “Don’t Stop Living” is an unbelievable source of information! What is your favorite part of being a traveler / blogger? Did you always intend for the site to become what it is, or did it just happen along the way?
It just happened. I started writing my travel stories back in 2007 before the likes of Nomadic Matt and Wandering Earl’s blogs came out, so I’ve been in the blogging game a long time. These days it is a good source of information for fellow travellers but in the first 3-4 years it was all just my stories from life on the road. It takes time to build a readership and become a trusted source. I’m not quite there yet but should be by the time my blog turns 10. The favourite part of blogging is when people actually interact with me through the blog – by commenting, by sharing or by contacting me. It’s a bit of a “lonely” blog without all that!
What kind of advice would you give someone who is thinking about traveling long-term around the world, and perhaps doing some work along the way?
The first advice is DO IT. Once you’ve thought of it – you have to do it! It’s really hard to get the message across to people how easy it is to travel – I guess some of us can do it and some of us can’t. Making the first step is the crucial part. Booking a one way ticket is your best bet as you can’t get homesick and you don’t have a definite ending.
Lastly, we see that you have a passion for beer (as do we). Is there a speciﬁc beer that stands out in your memory (as either good OR bad) from your travels around the world?
I’m a Guinness man, so any pub with a Guinness suits me fine these days. There was one moment back in 2010 in Uruguay though that stood out. I was sat in the sunshine at the marvellous Casapueblo in Punta Ballena waiting for the sunset. Cold beers and the sun sinking on the horizon with an awesome soundtrack was near wild heaven for me! In terms of actual beers, I like Kokanee from Canada, Sokol from Slovenia and Bintang from Indonesia.
** All photos were kindly provided by Jonny Blair.
Jonny Blair – Travel Writer at Don’t Stop Living – A Lifestyle of Travel
“the longest running one man travel guide to all seven continents”
We want to thank Jonny for taking time out of his very busy schedule to share his “Love of Travel” with all of us. We enjoy following along on his adventures and learning so much from this travel master! Cheers & happy travels to all of you!