This is officially the 1,000th actual post on my travel blog Don’t Stop Living (not including pages or deleted posts)!! I know for a fact that if you had said to me in Toronto in 2007 when I started my travel blog that in less than 6 years I would have amassed more than 5 awards, more than 1,000 blog posts and managed to visit over 70 countries across all 7 continents I would have taken it for sure! So things have worked out well for me since starting Don’t Stop Living! It’s me, Jonny Blair that writes all this stuff but it’s thanks to the internet and all my readers that I get to actively share it, meet fellow travellers and bloggers and get connected online with loads of new people. I LOVE it.
So as it’s number 1,000 this post is a bit of a reflection on Don’t Stop Living and a bit of an insight into who I am. I’m a very approachable person, I’m a people person so it feels great writing 1,000 posts and putting my messages and stories out there, hoping in some way that they will be read by others and help my fellow travellers out. But I’d like to introduce myself to you again and tell you my story…hopefully to inspire you to travel too and live your life the way you want. If you are reading this now with a thought of travelling the world, then get out there and see it! Every day I get emails and messages by people I know and people I don’t know all asking things like “how do you manage to travel so much?” and “what advice can you give about ‘x’ country/city”. It inspires me that someone else is reading and someone else is wanting to travel.
I grew up in Bangor in Northern Ireland in the 1980s. Life was a football and an atlas. That’s how I spent my childhood days – down the local park playing football or at home looking at obscure countries in my atlas. I have 2 brothers and 1 sister all younger than me. My parents worked hard their entire life to give us a head start in life. I’m proud of them for that and I believe their hard working, busy mentality has rubbed off on me and given me a decisive edge on my travels. I won’t go hungry…and I don’t do lazy…
So after dipping into journalism, stock control, butchery, banking and even posting letters, I didn’t know where life was really taking me. I was down in the doldrums with life going nowhere in 2003. Then one day, I decided to leave Northern Ireland and moved to Bournemouth in England to study, work and try somewhere new. While working and studying in England I also went travelling round Europe (from 2002 – 2007), I got a degree in Public Relations, I met a load of cool people, I worked in a load of different jobs, life had changed and I was inspired.
Then after a year sweating it out in Over Crowded London, I finally did my first proper round the world trip so I quit my job as a Public Relations Assistant in London, England in June 2007. Since quitting that job in 2007, I have worked as a teacher, bar man, ferry steward, harvest worker, ice cream man, welcome host and countless other jobs. I have visited places such as Belarus, Suriname and China’s Fujian Province. I have slept in farmer’s barns, Chinese families homes, hotels, airports and tents amongst countless other places. And I have written 1,000 Blog Posts since 2007. The most expensive thing I own currently is my laptop.
Here are a few random facts about me that you may not know:
– I was born in a town called Newtownards in Northern Ireland.
– At school my favourite subject was Geography. I have an “A” at GCSE level.
– When I turned 16 in 1996, I had NEVER been outside Europe.
– When I turned 21 in 2001, I had NEVER been to Asia, Middle East, Africa, South America or Antarctica.
– I’ve written material in two published books (both about football – one was a guest chapter I wrote, the other was a fan’s perspective/interview).
– I have never been officially unemployed since 1998. I’ve have always had at least one job.
– When I landed in Australia in 2009 (on a one way ticket), I had less than $200 dollars to my name.
– By the age of 30 I had been to over 60 countries across all 7 continents.
– I hate mobile phones and I have only bought one in the last 8 years! (in Australia).
– I don’t believe in the travel myth that a person who spends a year in one country is just as well travelled as a person who has spent a year in 6 countries. I’d always pick the latter (though I did spend an entire year in Australia once without leaving). In fact I think it’s absolutely ludicrous that fellow travellers seem to think that you don’t see anything by moving from country to country (definitely a debate for a rant on another day). I spent the first 23 years of my life in Northern Ireland and it was only after I left that I actually feel like I’ve travelled or seen other cultures. Nothing comes to those who wait…
– I have been releasing my writing since I was aged 10. My first published writing was a photocopied Glentoran football fanzine with my childhood mate Michael McClelland.
– I used to hate the term “backpack” so much so that I once binned my backpack in favour of a suitcase and soon realised my mistake. Don’t believe me, check this post when I slagged off backpackers! I admit it, I totally am one…
– I have appeared on Television in 6 countries
– I currently write a regular column in the matchday programme of my favourite football club, Glentoran FC (based in Belfast)
– I’ve never been to Chicago, Edinburgh, Madrid, Munich, Rome or Barcelona, nor do I really have any major plans to visit those cities.
And the odd and unusual and sad ones:
– In 2009 I broke down, drove my car to the edge of a cliff and almost killed myself. I have no idea what happened next. I was finished with life. (a story for another day but ultimately the saddest time of my life and my only motivation was to board a flight to Taiwan to stay with a friend).
– I hate mushrooms.
– I disagree with everything that I don’t understand.
– My favourite beer is a pint of Guinness.
– My favourite food is an Ulster Fry.
– My favourite blog post is this one: How to book a cheap trip to Antarctica
– My favourite city is Montevideo.
– My favourite country is Northern Ireland.
– My favourite continent is Antarctica.
– My favourite job is travel blogging.
– My favourite animal is a koala bear.
– My favourite film is Live and Let Die.
– My favourite song is Stand By Me by Oasis.
– My favourite book is Fifty Dead Men Walking by Martin McGartland
Here are some facts about my travel blog, Don’t Stop Living:
– Don’t Stop Living was started in Toronto in 2007.
– The title “Don’t Stop Living” was taken from graffiti I saw on a wall in Toronto in 2001 (yes, my first visit to Toronto).
– I have no real explanation as to why I started “Don’t Stop Living”
– I have written a blog post in every continent (I typed about 7 posts offline in Antarctica and uploaded them later)
Here are my previous milestone posts (please note the blog was slightly less of a guide to travel in it’s early days!!)
1st Post – Welcome to Don’t Stop Living
10th Post – Foreigner in Beijing, China
100th Post – Jamie Hayter he’s Having a Laugh
500th Post – Pocitos Beach and Uruguayan Steak Meal
666th Post – The Day I Smuggled Drugs Through Argentina
999th Post – World Borders: How to get from Malaysia to Brunei
It’s a milestone and thanks for reading and following my adventures for the past 6 years. Bring on the next 1,000 Posts! And stay connected with me:
jonny at dontstopliving dot net
Here are a few other ways to connect with me:
– Like Don’t Stop Living on Facebook
– Subscribe to Don’t Stop Living videos on YouTube
– StumbleUpon Don’t Stop Living
– Follow Don’t Stop Living on Twitter