Sunday’s Inspiration: 10 Ways I’ve Managed to Travel The World for 12 Years

jonny blair in china travelling 11 years

How on earth have I managed to be travelling for 12 years?

Today on Don’t Stop Living dot net I share a short sharp version of my story on how I’ve managed to travel the world away from my Northern Irish homeland for over a decade, 12 years away now. As well as my 10 easy steps to travel the world, here are the ways I always have enough money, time and mobility to live this lifestyle. I wrote this post ages ago on a bus in Guatemala by the way and just never bothered to type it up so I’m just pushing out a backlog before it gets too old to share.

Just chicken bussing it through Guatemala

Just chicken bussing it through Guatemala

10 ways I’ve managed to travel the last 12 years:

1. Working Non Stop.
My brain and my body don’t stop. I haven’t actually had a proper week off work in my entire life, which is ridiculous. Even when I was in Antarctica, I would get back to my cabin and type up a travel blog. It doesn’t always feel like work and it’s not always paid work. But I haven’t had a break. Until now 😉 I’m serious – my career working travel timeline is ridiculous. The scary thing is it was Austrian Hitler that proclaimed that work is good for the soul…dear God!

“Arbeit Macht Frei” – German Nazi Party (don’t quote me on it, please)

Working way too hard - cauliflower harvest in the winter time in Tasmania, 2010

Working way too hard – cauliflower harvest in the winter time in Tasmania, 2010

2. Working in Bulk. NOW.
When the money is there, take it. Take it with both hands and work your ass off. If it means no social life for two months, do it. If I’m offered to work 15 days straight, I’ll do it. Work hard now, grab the money and run. Remember – tomorrow is too late! The opportunity may never come up again.

“For all we know, we might not get tomorrow” – Pitbull

Clean that floor NOW. Tomorrow is too late!

Clean that floor NOW. Tomorrow is too late!

3. Not Paying Bills.
I haven’t paid an actual bill in about 6 years. I hate them. I detest the idea that I should give my hard earned money to a company to do something for me. I’ve stayed in hostels, hotels, tents, bed and breakfasts, guesthouses, homestays, with friends, with family. No bills. Just stay a few nights, and on you go. And it’s almost 7 years since I last signed a fixed term rent contract. I’m currently not tied down anywhere. If I wanted to head somewhere new tomorrow, I could. What exactly is a bill? Bill Gates – Microsoft.

I'll spend my Ulster bank tenner on myself please.

I’ll spend my Ulster bank tenner on myself please.

4. Not being a fucking fusspot.
I’m not a fusspot. I don’t have time for fusspots. By fusspots I mean lazy people who set limits on their working career to gain a higher standard of themselves in society. Waken up people. Work anywhere. If it means cleaning up sick, scrubbing down bars or hardcore broccoli harvesting then do it. No job is beneath you. Don’t be a fusspot and don’t look down or up on anyone – we’re all equal. We’re all human. No time for fusspots! The only pot I’m thinking of is a wee Bushmills.

“Who are ya? Who are ya?” – Every football fan ever to a player they recognise but pretend they don’t.

Give me a shot of Bushmills whiskey please.

Give me a shot of Bushmills whiskey please.

5. Using local transport.
I walk a lot and I love using local transport. Check out my post on my favourite 25 types of transport around the world. I haven’t owned a car in almost 5 years, I hate taxis and try to avoid them, though admittedly we sometimes need taxis and not all taxi drivers are poo poo exits.

“Last train to Clarksville” – The Monkees

Get on the train

Get on the train

6. Free and discounted tours, trips and accommodation.
Don’t Stop Living has opened new doors for me. Through this site and the fact I really travel I have been on a few sponsored trips, tours and reviewed hotels, hostels and restaurants along the way. I love doing it and it works three ways. It’s good publicity for the place I work for. It’s good content for my readers and hopefully some tips they will use. It also saves me parting with my cash. Everyone’s a winner baby. Except the competitors who are too tight to give out free publicity in exchange for a few carrots.

“Be a business backpacker” –

A free lift through the desert? Yes please!

A free lift through the desert? Yes please!

6. Don’t waste money
I see people do it all the time – even some of my best friends. They waste money (or at least spend money in a way that I personally wouldn’t do it and I class that as “wasting”, rightly or wrongly you can work out). Why buy a new pair of jeans? (you already have a pair!) Why buy shower gel EVER? (it’s free in every hotel and most hostels!). Why wear make up? (nobody notices and that money is better spent elsewhere). Lobby David Cameron for cheaper eyeliner if you have to, but seriously, it’s your money. Don’t squander it on trash.

“Bring down the government, they don’t speak for us” – Radiohead

Dressing up as Margaret Thatcher in work in 2008

The Day I…pretended to be Margaret Thatcher in work.

7. Choosing my countries wisely.
I’m still a mega budget backpacker. This means I love places like Iran, Armenia and China. All cheap and easy trips. I’ve done a few dear trips like Antarctica but I worked my ass off on broccoli farms for that one, and with North Korea I picked the best budget operator out there.

“I gotta take it on the otherside” – Red Hot Chili Peppers

Khor Virap, Armenia to Turkey border monastery

Khor Virap, Armenia to Turkey border monastery

8. Love Over Gold.
For me my love of travel always by far outweighs the money element to it. For example I’d rather have the crazy experience of a broken down bus than have got straight to my destination early by taxi. Even if both were the same price, I’d always side with the raw and real travel experience. Yet somehow in the madness of it all, the crazy sh*t ends up being cheaper. You might have to wait for ages for that next boat though…

“Love over Gold” – Mark Knopfler

When's the next boat?

When’s the next boat?

9. Be Selfish.
I’m not afraid to admit I’m a selfish guy these days. The money I worked hard to earn is MINE. I earned it. In the past I was too kind and too much of a nice guy, especially to my ex girlfriends. I’m not going down that road again. That said I do like to treat my girlfriend, family and friends now and then. But only if I know they’ve worked hard and deserve it. They have. I have a very hard working girlfriend and family. Earn your money and spend it the way you want, be selfish. And count every penny. Sepp Blatter fucking does.

“It’s my life, it’s now or never” – Jon Bon Jovi

Don't you worry mate, I'm counting!

Don’t you worry mate, I’m counting!

10. Not Saving Money.
This isn’t even a hypocritcal point here – it goes along with the lifestyle – you’ve worked hard at it, now enjoy it and spend it wisely! What’s the point is delaying your travels “until you’ve saved/stored more money”? Bullshit to that. The time is now. I’ve never kept much savings money and I’ve never wanted to or worried about it. Go and enjoy yourself NOW. Remember, there is no guarantee that tomorrow will happen, for you. For me. For Lionel Messi. Let’s have it!

Sorry lads but Northern Ireland should have smashed you in the World Cup.

Sorry lads but Northern Ireland should have smashed you guys in the World Cup.

Food for thought or maybe just another useless travel blog post!

Enjoy your day and don’t stop living.

5 thoughts on “Sunday’s Inspiration: 10 Ways I’ve Managed to Travel The World for 12 Years

  • Jonny–these are fantastic words to live by…agree with them all. Some great reminders–I only wish I could do away with the “bills.”

    You’re an inspiration! I’m sharing this article on my facebook.

    Hope all is well good sir!
    R Dub! recently posted…San Diego, CA – June 20thMy Profile

  • your one lucky man id love to travel the world the only place ive been is the maldives

  • Hi Elaine thanks for your comment. There is no luck involved at all – I haven’t been lucky! I have just been hard working, committed, passionate, enthusiastic and ambitious for travelling the world. That’s all you need. Anyone who needs luck probably didn’t deserve to travel the world in the first place – it’s about wanting it. Well done on the Maldives, I’m 102 countries in and haven’t made it there yet!! Safe travels. Jonny

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