- Travel Topics
1. Can you start by giving us a little bit of background about yourself and blog. How did you start traveling? When did you start blogging, and what did you expect readers to get out of it?
Sure, I’m from Ireland. I grew up in a quite a poor single parent family in a small town in the north and I always dreamed of escaping the island! I’m really close to my mum so when I finished high school I was a goner, off traveling, for sure BUT my mum talked me out of it, “Johnny, I know you, you won’t come back, you won’t get your degree. wait until you graduate” so I did. I graduated, 6 days after that I left, and my mum was right, I never went back! That was 2006, I didn’t start blogging until 4 years later, around 2010 – after I had been to around 50 countries or so, I thought after the 50 country mark, I was a ‘real’ traveler so it was time to help some other people hit the road too.
2. Let’s talk experiences – what has been the best experience you’ve had on the road? The worst? The most dangerous?
The best? That’s tough, summiting Kilimanjaro was pretty cool, as was watching Usain Bolt break the world record in the Beijing Olympics, or watching Spain lift the World Cup in South Africa! Swimming with Great Whites, trekking with mountain gorillas, Everest base camp, it’s tough to choose, I’m gonna have to pass! The worst? Ugggh, there are a few of those too. Getting arrested twice in one day in Ukraine recently wasn’t great, nor was breaking my leg in Thailand! The most dangerous? Getting rocks thrown at me in Somalia was particularly grim but it was probably a dodgy bus journey in Ethiopia or rural western China when I literally thought i was gonna fall down the 100m sheer drops to the side of the bus, I was almost in tears for 10 hours on each of them.
3. What’s been your favorite country thus far, and which one are you looking forward to the most?
Well when I don’t travel I’m based in Bangkok, Thailand so that’s where my ‘home’ is although I don’t like to travel there so much actually, just live. For traveling, I love Nepal and Malawi – so much to see and do, but also so cheap. I’m really looking forward to hitting up New Zealand next year, I used to live in Australia but I never made it over, so I’m really excited about that.
4. When you first started traveling did you always imagine that this is where you’d end up? Specifically, did you expect to have so many people following your journey? Did you think you’d be traveling for this long?
Actually I dreamed of traveling this long, but I thought it would be more of a case of ’work 1 or 2 years, 6 months off. Repeat’. I never envisioned being able to make good money online and travel indefinitely, this is even more awesome than I dreamed lol! In terms of followers, that blows my mind, getting emails from people, having people meet me from my blog around the world, it’s crazy but I love it!
5. Having read your blog you talk about monetization and it seems you’ve been achieving a lot of success. What do you think are the main drivers of this? Any tips for new travel bloggers?
It’s a little bit boring but the key is perseverance, that and diversifying your income stream. Also, my blog isn’t a standard ‘I went to the Thai islands and got drunk, then to Angkor Wat’ travel blog, I really travel, which is something a lot of other bloggers don’t really do, I guess that helps too.
6. What’s the most favorite post you’ve ever written?
7. What are some of your interests outside of traveling?
I’m a sport fanatic, playing and watching so I follow that a lot. I’m also a huge movie and book buff, and traveling gives me a lot of opportunities for both, which is great.
8. What are your upcoming plans, both travel and non travel?
Travel – every country in Europe before Christmas, and then reach my 100 countries mark before December 2013! Non-travel, I have a lot more websites and books launching so that keeps me busy, travel aside.
9. What do you miss most about being home?
Only my family, but then ‘home’ is a strange concept. I consider Thailand my ‘home’ now, so what do I miss about that? Everything! Food, culture, weather and the biggest thing, my girlfriend – that’s really tough.
10. Do you ever think about calling the quits? If so, any idea what you’ll do when you “settle down”?
Hmmm people ask me this a lot actually. I think the concept of ‘settling down’ has changed a lot, especially now that I’m self employed and make my money online. I’m free to live anywhere, go anywhere. That being said, I’d love to buy an apartment in Bangkok, which I’m saving for at the moment, so that’ll give me an extra ounce of stability.
Johnny Ward, founder of onestep4ward.com, has backpacked, volunteered and studied in almost 100 countries since graduating uni in 2006. He uses his blog to show other people it’s possible too. He loves to wander further than the average backpacker with recent trips to Somalia, Kosovo, North Korea and Sudan to name but a few. Check out his site and get ready to be inspired!
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