As the title suggests this is a compilation of the 10 best Northern Irish travel blogs out there, as of January 20th 2013. What do I mean by that? OK so these are travel blogs that are written by world travellers who come from Northern Ireland and are currently travelling around the world or have at least travelled a lot recently. It is NOT about world travellers who are currently in Northern Ireland or writing about Northern Ireland.
It’s not compiled using any statistics or analysis whatsoever – these are just fellow Northern Irish travellers who love to write about the world and as a travelling Northern Irishman myself, I LOVE reading these blogs. Plus if you’re sat at home in Belfast or Dungannon right now wondering what to do with your life, take some inspiration from your fellow Northern Irishmen and women and get out and see the world!!
The catalyst for this post comes from the fact that in 2012, travel magazine Wanderlust included FOUR blogs with a Northern Irish link in its top eight of the year. I was quite astounded by that, three of those four even came from my hometown of Bangor, and of course Don’t Stop Living (which you are currently reading by the way) is one of them. It got me thinking about how many other Northern Irish nomads there are. I honestly don’t meet many Northern Irish people on my travels. For example I only met 1 other Northern Irish person in Africa, Antarctica and South America combined (Grant, from Carryduff). BUT there are a few of us about and those that write travel blogs and are good at it, I really recommend you check out this list and these EXCELLENT sites. If you are in Northern Ireland right now and want to escape the flag issues, cold weather and lack of opportunities, get out and see the world – and these blogs are all run by Northern Irish people, if we can do it, anyone can!
Here is how the Northern Irish travel blogs qualified for the Top 10 list:
– The writer of the blog has to come from Northern Ireland
– The writer of the blog has to be regularly updating their content
– The writer of the blog has to be travelling around the world currently (or has extensively travelled the world and is still writing aboutit)
– The website has to be an actual ‘blog’ (i.e. no travel, flight, tour operator sites count, even if they are owned and run by a Northern Irish person abroad)
– Each Northern Irish travel blogger can only have one website on the list.
I picked my favourite 10 Northern Irish travel blogs. So yes, this list is compiled by me and it’s one person’s opinion BUT feel free to disagree, message me with other blogs I’ve missed or nominate your own travel blog. You must meet the qualifying process above to enter your travel blog. I will compile a list every year in January, so this list os for 2013.
These are in alphabetical order by the way, not in order of which site is “better”, they are all great in their own way and there isn’t a “winner” or a “best” site! I love them all! The shortlist, the 10 Best Northern Irish Travel Blogs, 2013:
An Ulsterman Abroad – by Chris from East Belfast
Don’t Stop Living – a lifestyle of travel – by Jonny Blair
Geriatric Traveller – by Maura Ward
GAWA9 – by Jono Crute
Helen Moat: Travel Writer – by Helen Moat
Ikimasho – by Justin Egli
Live Less Ordinary – by Allan Wilson
** ENTRANT DELETED DUE TO STALKING MY FRIENDS AND FAMILY AND SAYING THAT LYING IS DOING NOTHING WRONG **
Seven Continent Dander – By Phil Mooney
The World is a Book – Life in a rucksack – by Abbi Morrison
ALSO RAN: This website of mine obviuosly didn’t make the list as it’s not an actual blog but it’s worthy of a mention given that it features a journey round the globe with my Northern Ireland flag:
Travelling Northern Ireland Flag – 1 man, 6 counties, 7 continents – by Jonny Blair
Notable Absentees From the Top 10 Northern Irish Travel Blogs:
The following Northern Irish travellers didn’t make the 10 Best Northern Irish Travel Blogs list, probably because they don’t actually have a travel blog 😉 :
– Rory McIlroy (a golfer from Holywood touring the world playing golf)
– Tim Wheeler (a singer from Downpatrick touring the world with a guitar)
– Terry McFlynn (a footballer from Magherafelt playing in Sydney)
So now that we have our top ten, here’s an overview of each site, from my perspective:
I love Chris’s site “An Ulsterman Abroad” because he focuses heavily on North Korea. Indeed Chris has lived in Asia for a few years and writes regularly about his fascination for the “closed country”. He has been to North Korea a few times, was recently living in Pyongyang and has even taken his Northern Ireland flag to watch the DPRK National team. Well worth checking out!
Chris comes from East Belfast, Northern Ireland.
You’re here and this is my site, run by me, Jonny Blair. It’s not arrogant or boastful to put my own travel blog in the top 10, it’s my belief that mine is one of the 10 Best Northern Irish Travel Blogs out there. If I didn’t believe that, I wouldn’t keep the blog going!! I love travelling and I love writing about it!! My stories and statistics speak for themselves. I have travelled extensively round the world for the last 10 years, starting my blog in 2007, visiting all seven continents, writing over 1,000 blog posts and I am always on the lookout for a new journey. I live a lifestyle of travel and I encourage you to do that too!
Jonny comes from Bangor, Northern Ireland.
The youngest blogger on the list is Jono Crute, who was born in Derry/Londonderry, spent a lot of time in England and now lives in Canada. Jono is a young Northern Irish guy who travels the world and LOVES a beer with his mates! Yes, BEER features heavily in his tales which include booking a flight to the USA on the spur of the moment because his computer was broken!! Just because he had a few pints of Guinness in Belfast back in 2011!! Jono is a top lad and always up for a pint, that’s when he’s not playing poker or watching Manchester United or Northern Ireland.
Jono comes from Londonderry/Derry, Northern Ireland
The joys of Facebook have seen me connected with Maura and her excellent website Geriatric Traveller. I won’t mention Maura’s age (nor do I know it!!) BUT she is the most experienced traveller of all of us, and now as a “geriatric traveller” Maura can relax and see the world through a different perspective. Maura appeals to those of us who have had our children grow up and are looking to explore some of the planet while finding time to relax over a coffee beside a river. Have a check at where Maura has been, recent places include Harbin in China and Prague in the Czech Republic. Maura proves that you are NEVER too old to travel.
Maura comes from the Mourne Mountains, Northern Ireland
I wasn’t actually aware of Helen’s blog until I read about it on Wanderlust as she was one of 4 Northern Irish bloggers to make the top 8 posts of 2012. Helen grew up in Northern Ireland and has lived and worked abroad for years. Her recent journey back to Belfast received high acclaim and is worth checking out for its random comments in regards to the Northern Irish ‘language’ -yes those wee sayings that we use in Norn Iron that you just don’t hear anywhere else! Boys a dear, my head’s cut…so it is! Here’s me till im.
Helen comes from Belfast, Northern Ireland
You will fall in love with Ikimasho’s quirky travel wit. A fellow Bangorian traveller, currently based in Japan’s crazy capital Tokyo, Justin Egli loves photography, writing and travel in equal measures. The passion for this hat-trick of loves comes across in his recent stories from Bagan and Bangkok. Even without the words, his pictures tell a great story on their own! The very title of Justin’s blog is Ikimasho, which means “let’s go” in Japanese. If that’s not a two word phrase to get you to see the world, I don’t know what is. Justin had the most popular blog on Wanderlust’s Blog of the Week for 2012 and is planning more adventures!
Justin comes from Bangor, Northern Ireland.
Allan Wilson knows street food in Bangkok even better than he knows the back of his hand. Aside from living the less ordinary lifestyle in Thailand, Allan runs another site on Bangkok’s Boutique Hotels and traipses around Asia at any given opportunity. He recommends living the dream life in Southeast Asia, sometimes he not only aspires to, something that he now does 😉 Check out Allan’s site and head to Bangkok for a food feast. What Allan doesn’t know about food in Bangkok, isn’t worth knowing. His lifestyle can also help inspire others from Northern Ireland to get out and settle in a new city. Allan’s love for Bangkok is evident not just through his website but the fact he has featured on Wanderlust as recently as last month. His love affair with Thailand’s capital stretches back to 2002!
Allan comes from Bangor, Northern Ireland
** ENTRANT DELETED DUE TO STALKING MY FRIENDS AND FAMILY AND SAYING THAT LYING IS DOING NOTHING WRONG **
OK so “Seven Continent Dander” is not the actual name of this travel blog, which is hosted via the Travel Pod wesbite, but it fits. Phil (eas Fogg) and Jules (Verne) left behind their life in Carrickfergus a few years ago with a conquest to visit every continent! They did it! Although recently their travel stories haven’t been kept up to date, they qualify for this list simply because their stories are so witty and quintessentially have a Norn Irish edge to them, such as “I’m top o the world, Ma!” for their Potosi post. This is the only other travel blog on the list except for Don’t Stop Living that has travelled to and written about every continent. The stories on here are fantastic, I really hope Phil turns it into a standalone website at some point as it merits that!
Phil comes from Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland
Taking its title from a popular travel phrase by Saint Augustine, Abbi Morrison is turning more pages everytime she gets time off work to travel. Hailing from the north coast of Northern Ireland, Abbi is now based in New Zealand living her own travel dreams. Abbi offers extreme variety on her blog posts ranging from long distance running to relaxing on beaches to sky diving, this young lady is a Northern Irish adventurer. Her recent travels have taken her to Australia and Fiji.
Abbi comes from Coleraine, Northern Ireland
So that’s it for 2013 as far as the Top 10 Best Northern Irish blogs go. In the meantime, if you’re from Northern Ireland and thinking about heading out to see the world, my advice is get out there and do it! If you are also from Northern Ireland and have a travel blog that I have not listed but you think should be included, please get in touch, by e-mail to jonny at dontstopliving dot net, by filling in the contacts form, by commenting below or by liking my page on Facebook!
This is the first ever list of Top 10 Northern Irish Travel Blogs, I will make it an annual thing every January!!
Please comment and let me know your thoughts!!
Jonny – living a lifestyle of travel at dontstopliving.net!!