Follow My Real Life Adventures: Join My Journey On The Don’t Stop Living Tour

“I’m keeping my head down now for the summer,
I’m out of my mind but pour me another,
I’m going to take that tiger outside for a ride,
What a life.” – Noel Gallagher.

Bishkek has been magical. It has by far been my favourite new city I have toured since I first arrived in Hong Kong in 2011. I’d love to stay here forever in Bishkek, capital city of Kyrgyzstan. But family, friends, football and wacky off the wall things dictate my travel a lot more than before. Earning money through Don’t Stop Living gave me the most important thing in my life so far – freedom of movement.

The Next Journey On The Don't Stop Living Tour

The Next Journey On The Don’t Stop Living Tour

In England, in Hong Kong, in Australia I was tied down to contract work. I was working for others, waiting days, weeks for my wages. Now, self employed I have the time, money and mobility to do what I want. It dawned on me recently in Bishkek that I’m now in control, which probably explains why it felt so good coming back to Bishkek – because I can do it. Tomorrow at the drop of a hat, I can go almost anywhere I want (visa and transport availability permitting). So I plotted my journey for the next few months and it looks something like this. Come and join me and meet up with me along the way! I’ll be working along the way of course as a travel blogger but will have plenty of time to meet up and enjoy myself along the way.

Jonny Blair backpacking in Kaluts desert Iran

I found some freedom

I’m fed up with all this “new country excrement“, “ticking off another visa” etc. It’s boring, unnecessary and backwardly unprogressive. So I’m returning to some huge countries from my journey so far and instead will go on some touristic trails and some off the wallbanger activities within. Here’s a snapshot.

Bishkek, KYRGYZSTAN
I can’t say much new that I haven’t already said but Bishkek rocks. I love this city and I will be based here for the next three weeks. I’m sorting out the first ever organised pub crawl in partnership with Apple Hostel and I’m writing some really nice stuff about the city.

Lenin and I whackpacking in Bishkek

Lenin and I whackpacking in Bishkek

A solemn day at Victory Square in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

A solemn day at Victory Square in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

Munich and Stuttgart, GERMANY
Five times a backpacker in Germany, yet zero times to even visit Munich. So we’re on! I’m excited to try the beer and food in this iconic Deutschland city on my first visit to Germany since 2007. That’s a whopping 9 years but I’m excited to tour Munich and Stuttgart and the areas around them.

Backpacking in Berlin, 2007

Backpacking in Berlin, 2007

Grodig, AUSTRIA
I’m overlanding from Munich into Salzburg and on tour to Grodig with Lock In Lee Adams on the Nicky Barmby Backpacking Journey.

Lock In Lee and I

Lock In Lee and I

London, ENGLAND
I reckon I’ve spent two years of my thirty six in London so far. A full year living there, baring my ass to PR reps, and I’ve been in and out around 365 days before and after so it’s time again. Millwall Neil and I owe each other some more time and we will be hanging out like old university times, or Taiwan times. Hell – we might even go backpacking in London and become hippies in Camden.

Millwall Neil and I whackpacking in Taiwan

Millwall Neil and I whackpacking in Taiwan

I’m back on the sauce this time too so we can have a good old English ale! Who let Millwall Neil and I on the rip again??

Millwall Neil and I in London Town on St. George's Night before.

Millwall Neil and I in London Town on St. George’s Night 2004.

When we were young: Millwall Neil and I. Good times.

When we were young: Millwall Neil and I. Good times.

Northern Ireland and England - night on the sauce with Millwall Neil

Northern Ireland and England – night on the sauce with Millwall Neil

Looking at those photos makes me sentimental. We had good times then we headed on our own journeys round the world. It’s going to be pure lunacy back in London all these years on with Neil. We both have more freedom now. We don’t have to be older and wiser. Who are we to kid?

Silly hats night with the lads in Bournemouth. Alan Connell Alan.

Silly hats night with the lads in Bournemouth. Alan Connell Alan.

Liverpool (Everton FC), ENGLAND
Again another repeat city, and I’ll be visiting my brother Danny and meeting up with my Cherries mates to watch Everton FC v. AFC Bournemouth. We’re Premier League.

I'll be returning to Goodison Park, Liverpool home of Everton FC

I’ll be returning to Goodison Park, Liverpool home of Everton FC

Fellow Obama worshipper Chris “Knoxville” Bilsland will also be meeting up with me.

Chris Knoxville Bilsland and I at Doncaster Rovers FC a few years back

Chris Knoxville Bilsland and I at Doncaster Rovers FC a few years back

Armagh City, NORTHERN IRELAND
On my return to Northern Ireland this year, I plan to visit a few new parts of my home country. Armagh is on the list and time permitting I’d love to visit Rathlin Island too.

I’ll also be attending the Northern Ireland v. Belarus match in Belfast City, my third NI match of the season.

My brother Marko and I at the Northern Ireland v. Latvia match in 2015

My brother Marko and I at the Northern Ireland v. Latvia match in 2015

Milan, ITALY
I’ll be returning to Italy for the second successive year and this time on the Mussolini trail to Milan and hopefully meeting up with my Vietnam backpacking buddies from Milan – Daniele and Chiara from the Sapa Hike.

My Dad and brother Marko are meeting me in Milan and we are overlanding into France as part of the Northern Ireland Green and White Army invasion of France!

Marko, Rocky (the dog), Danny and I - the Blair brothers are off to France

Marko, Rocky (the dog), Danny and I – the Blair brothers are off to France

Then my brother Danny will be there when we get to France. He grew up since I backpacked the world, look at him here:

Youngest brother Danny and I playing pool in Torrevieja Spain, 2003

Youngest brother Danny and I playing pool in Torrevieja Spain, 2003

SEBORGA
OK so I will be visiting some new countries too. I’m heading to Seborga as I need at least one new country in amongst the 8 repeats. I’m guessing it’s a land border from Italy into Seborga but I’ll work it out.

Seborga to Italy border

Seborga to Italy border

Nice, Lyon and Paris FRANCE
Yes, I’m going to France to support Northern Ireland. As Northern Ireland fans, we have waited 30 years for this moment and now we have qualified so it’s not to be missed. I’ll be there for all seven matches as we try and lift the trophy outright and take it to Belfast, Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland is the home of George Best and the place where the penalty (pelanty) kick was invented so it’s about time we get crowned European Champions and Aaron Hughes gets his 100th cap.

Watching Northern Ireland play Wales in Cardiff in 2004

Watching Northern Ireland play Wales in Cardiff in 2004

Long before I was a travel blogger, I wrote for Northern Ireland fanzines – Arconada…Armstrong!, Here We Go…Again and Happy Days so I will try and get some football articles written and we may see a new HWGA fanzine out for the tournament.

With the GAWA watching Northern Ireland play Austria in Vienna in 2005

With the GAWA watching Northern Ireland play Austria in Vienna in 2005

Poland and Kaliningrad
After the tournament I plan to tour northern Poland and Kaliningrad, with more reunions, including with Ola Aleksandra Mueller, Magda Łabuda, Rafal Kowalczyk and Piotr Pawelski!

Ola Mueller nasty liar

Another reunion with Ola Mueller and Magda Labuda is coming up

So that’s my next three months all sorted!! I hope some of you reading can meet up with me along the way, especially in France for the Euros.

Green and white army!

Backpacking Northern Irishman!

From Bishkek with Love,

Jonny Blair

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2 thoughts on “Follow My Real Life Adventures: Join My Journey On The Don’t Stop Living Tour

  • Munich is a crazy place! I went there when I was 17 on a high school class trip. You’ll definitely enjoy the atmosphere of the Beer Halls. How many days do you reckon you will spend there? I only had 3 days myself, and the only thing I remember from that trip was our visit to Dachau. But, you’ve already been to Auschwitz, so I can see you giving that a pass.

  • Hi Ray, I’ll have three days as well though I might do one of them outside the city and I am skipping Dachau as you predicted. I watched a documentary about Dachau’s liberation many years ago – it was a guy from Belfast that was part of the British armed forces that liberated it. Very sad times. I’ll be doing the happy stuff – beer and food, and maybe a top 6.3 whackpacking sights if I can be bothered. Safe travels. Jonny

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