“Give me just a smile and would you make it snappy, get your sh*t together girl” – Noel Gallagher.
When you have visited 154 countries, disputed or not, it can be hard to decide where to go next and for the last year of my life, my travels have simply been stalled. Facts don’t lie. Jonny Blair don’t lie. He is arguably still the most honest backpacking tourist blog on your internet. On anybody’s internet. Don’t decay, don’t delay…don’t dream it’s over…I come from an honest family remember…there are liars around…and we expose them and get reprimanded…
“Everybody knows, but no-one’s saying nothing” – Noel Gallagher (again – yes, MY poet).
“Nigdy nie widziałem Warszawy tak pięknej, jak dzisiejszego wieczoru” (What King Zygmunt told us) – “I never saw Warszawa as beautiful as I saw her tonight” (repeat it EVERY night and you win).
When you are depressed and suicidal daily, you have no intention to move and no passion to travel anymore. “The blog” turned 10 this week, I even posted about that and brought the blog back, only because you voted for its return. I’ve lived in Poland for well over a year now and not had any passion for backpacking since I was lied to so cruelly in 2016. So the question really does remain – where to next? Can I travel again?
I believe I can and I will, I just need to beat out the depression and somehow feel that I am personally superior and stronger than those who chose to lie and disrespect my tours to their towns. My travel writing was made fun of, I was disrespected by “travel friends” (they were fake) and I lost all passion for writing. If I do travel again, I won’t promise to write about it, I’m not sure I will ever feel that genuine passion again, it was lost under stormy skies. And where should I go next anyway? If it’s outside Poland, I’ve already been to 154 of the 625 countries out there! So I have less than 500 to choose from, only 60 of those are recognised globally. In which case, let me break it down by continent.
I mentioned recently, that there are only really 6 Asian countries unbackpacked by me. If I do head to Asia in search of Lhasa, I will look for the cheapest Tibet tour around and try and backpack it. Tibet is the hugest region I haven’t toured (except Siberia, Russia) but it’s a real country. Also on the radar are Turkmenistan, Bhutan and believe it or not, the Maldives. I turned down a free whackpacking tour there last year in the wake of serial liarism towards me. I got close to Tibet in 2012 in China.
Other omissions are Bhutan, Pakistan, Turkmenistan and Nepal.
It would seem obvious now that I am based in Poland and in Europe (it’s the first time since 2009 that I officially lived in Europe), to try and visit some of the remainder of European countries I haven’t actually been to. They include Cyprus, Northern Cyprus, Malta, (mainland) Greece, Seborga, Isle of Man, Albania and quite a few other disputed countries. I have already been refused entry to Sealand and Elleore, but will keep plugging away. Officially on the FIFA list, Albania is the only mainland European country I haven’t set foot in – if I count my trip to Rhodes as “Greece”.
Let’s be honest here, New Zealand, Australia and Easter Island don’t really count as “backpacking the Pacific” so in other words, I’ve never been to Pacific Islands. Places like Tonga, Solomon Islands have always been hearsay to me. Again, I checked out even the flight routes to Naura and Micronesia, but I have yet to visit. Maybe, maybe…
This seems to be the most obvious next trip for me, due to proximity. I have been through the region countless times, but have not yet managed to visit these countries: Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, Oman, Saudi Arabia, (southern) Iraq (I did spend 10 days whackpacking Iraqi Kurdistan including Saddam Husseins’ bunker in Sulimaniyeh) and 5 of the 7 Emirates also remain unbackpacked.
Living in Poland with flight connections through Istanbul to all of these places make this much more feasible with a Istanbul layover welcome enough (Istanbul is still the only city I have visited each year of the last 5). I have a feeling I’ll be back there, soon.
Again, the entire region remains unbackpacked for me, which seems ridiculous now. I decided to tour places like Brazil (5 visits), Uruguay (spent a month there living with a family and watching Penarol) and even 3 weeks in Mexico (still in my top 3 cuisines in the world). My only official Caribbean adventure so far was to Trinidad and Tobaga in 2011…
So some food for thought but I won’t give anything away just yet. Perhaps I will leave Poland for a week or two to go backpacking again. There are many untold stories of course.