Get the champagne out. Don’t Stop Living is SIX years old today. The travel blog I started while backpacking in Toronto in 2007 has now amassed over 1,200 travel stories over a six year period. Life’s been pretty good in the intervening years. I’ve managed to backpack my way to almost 80 countries, across all seven continents working in more than 50 jobs now. Plus I’ve been able to share all these moments with you guys through this travel blog. Yes, I’m 6. Don’t Stop Living is also the longest running one man travel blog that covers all seven continents!
Whether you read my posts, like my stories or take my advice isn’t the point. The fact is I love writing Don’t Stop Living. It’s an obsession and a passion. Even Google are shocked at how many posts I write each week to the point they don’t believe how much I can write – Google guys – I’m a travel writing machine as well as being a permanent backpacker- just ask my girlfriend! And yes, Don’t Stop Living is the longest running one man travel blog that covers all seven continents 😉 Remember it’s all written by me, I have no helpers and I really travel the world, I don’t get guest trips everywhere nor do I stay in posh hotels. I also answer all my e-mails from readers and advertisers and help fellow travellers. All this for free!
Thank You, Readers
Without further ado, it’s you my readers who need to be thanked. Thank you! Without you reading, it would seem slightly less of an achievement to get to the 6 year mark. It’s nice to know that people actually read my stuff. In all honesty it takes a lot of work to write all the posts (especially detailed stuff like this). There’s nothing more satisfying getting comments, likes and interaction on the posts, Facebook page and Twitter. In fact, I LOVE it. Keep up the good work readers! Remember I’m here to help you all travel easier and cheaper! As for the endless e-mails I get each week, thanks for that as well. I reply to every e-mail that isn’t junk. It’s got to the point where I’m going to write an e-Book and launch it on here. If you weren’t reading, I’d still keep writing of course, but I love the interacting with you all via my Facebook Page, Twitter and the readers that I have met by chance in Tokyo in real life. Yes, there was that crazy moment in Tokyo in May 2012 when I got recognised during a bust festival just on the strength of my travel blog, crazy!
Thank You, Fellow Travel Bloggers
I have to thank a load of fellow travel bloggers out there too. Despite being six years old today, it’s only in the last 12 months that I’ve genuinely interacted with other bloggers and reached out properly into the travel blogging community and with the exception of a few idiots, I have to thank my fellow travel bloggers. Let me namedrop some of the good guys and girls that have interacted, read my posts, shared my stories and just been general top people in this industry to deal with – thanks guys – Allan Wilson (Live Less Ordinary), Samuel Jeffrey (Nomadic Samuel), Maria Falvey (Accelerated Stall), Sam and Zab (Indefinite Adventure) and the countless others that I’ve missed out but have been in contact with, especially those who I’ve interviewed in world travellers or have interviewed me on their site and the bloggers that I met in Tanzania recently!
By the way, I’ve never thought of giving up my travel blog, and especially not now when it’s worth almost $85,000 US. A staggering figure really…it’s just one man’s adventures…
Thank You, Fellow Backpackers
And thanks to all you that have backpacked with me in the last 6 years, none more so than my best mate Neil Macey, my girlfriend Panny Yu and everyone else I’ve met along the way. We’ve had some crazy times, a load more stories yet to be written about and we’ve seen some pretty cool sights and done some cool things! I mean swimming in Antarctica, Christmas at Machu Picchu, falling down the steps in a strip club, feeding a hyena mouth to mouth, meeting Roger Federer, showing my ass to an entire office of PR workers and losing $1000 US in a river. And tons more crazy times!!
“These sacred moments of silliness are where I find my heaven”
Before Don’t Stop Living What Writing Did I Do?
I have always been writing in some shape or form. As a 10 year old I wrote a football fanzine for Glentoran with my best mate Michael McClelland. By the age of 23 I had written for about 10 different football and music fanzines, including editing my own football fanzine, “Here We Go…Again”. At University I wrote for the magazine there, Nerve. I also worked in PR in London, writing press releases for companies and placing articles and products into newspapers, magazines, TV, radio and even online. Then I quit the PR world of London in June 2007, booking a cheap one way flight to Toronto.
When did Don’t Stop Living start?
As today is the 27th August 2013, it officially started SIX years ago today on the 27th August 2007. That’s when I wrote my (now cringeworthy) first ever blog post, simply called Welcome to Don’t Stop Living. However it was actually July 2007 when I drafted the first blog post and came up with the idea of a travel and lifestyle blog about my journeys, called Don’t Stop Living. I met Mike and Lee in the Planet Traveler Hostel in Toronto, Canada. They were both English backpackers with blogs:
Mike Burkimsher’s Blog: Ball of Dirt/The Long Way Home
Lee Price’s Blog: One Life and One World
When I saw their blogs and realised how easy it was to set up, I was straight in there and I headed to Blogspot, as it was run by Google. I kind of expected it to be the best platform since it was run by Google. I was later proved wrong, but anyway, I set up the blog, instead of using dontstopliving.blogspot.com, I used my name on the domain name to make it more personal it was jonnyscottblair.blogspot.com and on the header I called it Don’t Stop Living. DSL was born. The way things happened, neither Mike or Lee continued their travel blogs after 2008. Funny that, they kind of inspired me to set mine up, and mine is now still going strong, yet they haven’t updated theirs for some 5 years.
Where Did Don’t Stop Living Start?
Toronto, Canada. It’s where I got the idea for the travel blog in 2007. It’s also where I typed up my first mock post in 2007. So hats off to you, Toronto…ain’t been back since though!
Where Does the Title Don’t Stop Living Come From?
I stole it. I’ve mentioned this before. It also comes from Toronto. On my first trip to Toronto in Canada in 2001, I was walking past a High School around the University area/Wellesley Street West and on the wall at the High School in graffiti was etched the phrase “Don’t Stop Living”. They even put the apostrophe in it. I was a cameraless traveller that day, so I jotted the phrase down in my travel notebook as I found it so profound. I then wrote a poem called “Don’t Stop Living” and used it as my phrase ever since. It was the obvious title for my blog when I started it and that was that. It got me through tough times when I was on the brink of suicide (early 2009 – the bad times) and I live by the phrase “Don’t Stop Living”.
What has Don’t Stop Living looked like over the years?
Well no thanks to a horrible ex girlfriend who broke my hard drive, I don’t have the early screen grabs of it, so this lot will have to do, here’s how it’s changed over the years (and there was a lot of work behind the scenes believe me and it’s had a LOT of changes!!):
The World on 27th August 2007
Here are a few random facts about what was happening when I launched DSL six years ago today:
– US President was George W. Bush
– British Prime Minister was Gordon Brown (but only just, Tony Blair stepped down in June 2007)
– Ian Paisley was the First Minister of Northern Ireland, with Martin McGuinness his deputy
– Oasis hadn’t split up yet
– AC Milan had just won the European Cup (Champions League)
– Sudan was one country. South Sudan wasn’t a separate country yet.
Facts About Don’t Stop Living
– Born, August 27th 2007
– Number of Blog Posts currently live on Don’t Stop Living: 1,191
– Number of Blog Posts/Pages in history: 1,400 plus (some were deleted, moved to other blogs or transferred from posts to pages)
– Number of monthly viewers according to Wass Up – 56,000
– Number of monthly viewers according to Pulse Maps – 12,300
– Don’t Stop Living is officially the longest running one man travel blog that covers all seven continents (Nomadic Matt’s site began in 2008, and the likes of Gary Arndt has an assistant).
– Most of my viewers currently come from Thailand (which is shocking since I don’t even like Thailand!)
– The top 6 cities to have viewed Don’t Stop Living are: Redmond (USA), Belfast (Northern Ireland), Bournemouth (England), Sydney (Australia), Hong Kong, Bangkok (Thailand). Apart from Redmond in the USA, I’ve been to them all and spent a considerable amount of time in most of them.
– Don’t Stop Living has been on 3 different platforms in 6 years (Blogspot, then WordPress.com and finally WordPress.org)
– Don’t Stop Living has had 3 different domains in 6 years (it was a nightmare transferring stuff over believe me!)
– Don’t Stop Living’s highest ever Page Rank to date is Page Rank 1
– Don’t Stop Living’s highest ever Alexa Rank to date is 115,539
– Don’t Stop Living’s highest ever Domain Authority is 39
– Don’t Stop Living’s highest ever Page Authority is 49 (for the homepage)
– On Don’t Stop Living I’ve written about over 70 countries across all 7 continents
– April 2013 was my busiest ever month for Don’t Stop Living traffic on Google, although I rarely look at these reports and graphs as it does seem slightly unrealistic.
– My normal traffic has been on the increase every month since the blog started! It’s only the traffic from Google that has taken a dip in recent months!
What will Don’t Stop Living get for its sixth Birthday Present?
I’m excited to be launching a brand new logo this week at some point to celebrate my 6 years of Don’t Stop Living. You may have noticed my page load time is very slow, well I’ve been using Bluehost to host my site and they are a server that just can’t deal with my bandwidth or traffic anymore, so I’m changing servers this week!
I was also on a recent sponsored media trip and have two more lined up, which is more than deserved after 6 years of constant travel blogging!
By the way guys, it’s been hard work keeping Don’t Stop Living going for 6 years, especially since I’ve been on the road, busy working and been on the move basically the entire time. So thanks for standing by it.
What’s Next for Don’t Stop Living?
Another six years would be nice. I’m hoping to get to 80 countries by the end of the year, launch another website and maybe my first e-Book. If I get the time. I’m off to North Korea next week then will be backpacking round the Middle East with my girlfriend.
I’m chuffed today to be sitting with a site as extensive as this and all I want is for you to read it, follow it, enjoy it, leave the odd comment and hopefully use it as a guide to when you go backpacking round the world. I’m not claiming to be an expert at everything here, what I am doing is giving you all a detailed and honest account of my life on the road.
Thanks for following the last six years and may all your dreams come true.
One last thing, if you get a chance in life, don’t stop living!
Travel Writer at Don’t Stop Living – A Lifestyle of Travel