Recently OffAtEveryThing got the chance to interview Jonny a travel blogger who has plenty of exciting travel stories with him. Read his interview here.
Let us start with your formal introduction and your interesting story on how you developed an interest for Traveling?
As a child, I used to study an Atlas of the World, dreaming that one day I could visit all those places. I loved geography at school and in my spare time, I enjoyed reading football magazines and books. I remember studying my Panini Sticker Album from the 1986 football World Cup looking at teams from places like Uruguay, South Korea, Mexico, Poland and Iraq. I dreamt that one day I could visit all those places. Eventually, over time I started travelling to those places, so it took me a while but I developed a love for travel. It became an addiction in 2007 when my travel blog was launched. By 2010 I had visited every continent. By 2015 I had backpacked 100 countries. The last few years I have slowed things down, but the love for travel is still here.
“Spend your night life table hopping, trying to keep your bag of bones in trim” – Noel Gallagher.
How often do you travel?
Every day. I see it all as travel, so every second of every minute of every hour of every day. I see my life as “always the tourist”. Everything is new to me, there is something new all the time, so it’s all travel. The only time we don’t travel is when we sleep. Even the same walk from your flat to the bus stop can be different on any given day. Be the tourist, even in your home town.
“Every day is all there is” – Kylie Minogue.
What’s your travel style?
The word “style” is hard to define but generally I try to find new and crazy things every day – unusual activities, remote towns and cities, new cultures, unrecognized countries and republics, quirky bars and cafes. I’m just looking for extraordinary things. If something is unusual, I’m all for it. If something is very common and overdone, I’m less interested in it.
“Don’t be a stranger” – Dina Carroll.
What is that triggers you to travel to an entirely new destination?
The mere fact that it’s new. I hate mundane, boring, repetitive things. If it’s new, my adrenalin flows, I get excited about a place I have never ever seen and will experience for the first time. Travel is a huge adventure.
What you like the most about traveling?
Not staying in the same place. Every day is different, never being bored, always being busy. Meeting new people. Eating new food. Trying new experiences. Drinking new drinks. Speaking different languages. Visiting new buildings. Watching new football matches. Life has been one huge adventure for me.
“We live in a beautiful world” – Coldplay.
What you dislike the most about traveling?
For sure the negative impact that travel has had on my health. I suffered severe depression and turned into a person I didn’t like, travel was the core of the problem, influenced by others I met. This was influenced by a few nasty people I met on my journey, but I have to face up to it myself and try and deal with my depression. I made many mistakes too myself, I lost friends that I was so fond of. But they also lost me and that makes it a sad world sometimes. I wish I could have back all the friends I lost in my life again. But I can’t – we ruined each other’s lives without meaning to. If any of them read this – I’m sorry for what went wrong. We both made mistakes. They know where I am if they want to work things out and be friends again. I want to forgive and be forgiven.
“I write this alone on my bed. I’ve poisoned every room in the house” – Manic Street Preachers.
How do you plan your destinations?
These days it’s via the internet. In the past it was mostly travel books. But all the information now is online. So I book everything online now – flights, hotels etc. The only thing is I am still very spontaneous so sometimes I don’t plan at all. Like this weekend, my friend and I are just going on a random trip, with no planning. Sometimes it’s the freedom that drives us. But if it’s a country that might be hard to travel in and requires visas etc. then we need to plan something in advance, otherwise we won’t be allowed in.
What are the 3 destinations you loved the most?
This question’s answer changes all the time depending on my mood, but today I’ll go for:
- Neko Harbour, Antarctica
- Gdańsk, Poland
- Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
What were 3 destinations opposite to your expectations?
- Thailand – one of my least favourite countries to date. I’ll try not to return if I can avoid it.
- Venezuela – a horrible place full of bribery, guns, corruption, scandal and everything wrong with humanity.
- Poland – I didn’t expect to fall in love with this country, even on my first visit in 2005, but it’s the only place I can imagine living right now. It’s blown my expectations so high – such a beautiful and under-estimated country.
Which 3 dishes from around the world made you fell in love with food?
- Pierogi ruskie, Poland
- Ulster fry, Northern Ireland
- Pepperoni pizza, Italy
“Smacznego!” – Polish for “enjoy your food!”
How do you manage to get perks/upgrades/etc based on your traveling lifestyle?
I’m a travel writer so I get a lot of this through my expertise and hard work. I run travel blogs and built up a profile with them over the last ten years. Other than that, doing some PR, promotion or work for companies always helps. But it’s not about the upgrades and freebies. I was travelling long before those things were an option for me.
How do you finance and manage your trips?
Working hard. I try to work every day and I rarely say no to new jobs. Down the years I’ve had over 50 jobs in various capacities.
“Money, money, money. It’s a rich man’s world” – ABBA.
How do you save money while traveling? Can you share any 3 tips?
I don’t save any money at all. I spend it all and often end up in debt, so I am not the best person for tips on this. My tip is to spend the money today as tomorrow is promised to no-one. If I had to give two more, I’d say work hard and try to book cheap dorm beds in hostels.
Have you tried travel discount (or promo codes) such as Thomas Cook Discount codes ever?
No. I don’t really understand discount codes and things like that.
If ‘Yes’, how was your experience? If ‘No’, do you plan to try these travel coupons and promo codes for budget traveling?
No, I don’t plan to use them unless they contact me in conjunction with my blogs and promotion opportunities.
How do you manage when interacting with people without speaking their language?
There are many ways. Universal language and body language helps. Studying maps and knowing the local names for places. Making friends in every place I visit. Having local friends that speak English. Learning the language. Living there for a while. There are many ways.
Any worst incident while traveling which you will never forget?
I’ve had many of these. My 2016 visit to a friend’s town was one of the worst, as I was disrespected and lied to when I was only being nice and touring the sights, bars and cafes to help promote them. That really affected and I will never forget it. Also in 2012, I lost $1000 US in a river in Laos when I was tubing in Vang Vieng. It was bad at the time, but I’ve got over it and forgotten it, so I guess the lies and deception affected me the most.
What is the funniest story you experienced while traveling?
Again I have lots of these stories. Looking back, losing $1000 US in the stream is quite funny now. I once did a big lumpy poo on the broccoli farm I worked on as there was no toilet. I swam naked in Antarctica and I also had to run away from a guy who tried to handcuff me at the Gambia to Senegal border.
Any ending note for travel lovers?
I guess I probably have more honesty than a lot of travel bloggers, as I write about the good and bad and don’t dress this lifestyle up as superior to anybody else’s. If you love travel, keep doing it but be aware that things can go sour very quickly. If something doesn’t seem right, don’t do it. And for those who don’t love travel, don’t force yourself on a trip just to try and enjoy it. We are all different and all we seek is a smile.
“Don’t ever change” – The Lightning Seeds
With this, the interview session with Jonny came to an end.