Sundays Inspiration: The Aimless Diary of A Long Term Backpacker, Aged 35 and 3 Quarters

“And I travelled round the world from year to year. But each one left me aimless; one more year the worse for wear.” – Jimmy Barnes

Sundays Inspiration: The Aimless Diary of A Long Term Backpacker, Aged 35 and 3 Quarters

Sundays Inspiration: The Aimless Diary of A Long Term Backpacker, Aged 35 and 3 Quarters

I’m telling you how it really is with me. I’m telling a story on here, it’s not really a travel guide, it’s really a one man travel blog which you can read and use as a travel guide if you want. And I have been writing about this lifestyle for nine years. It’s ridiculous to document your life in this way, the ups and downs, the highs and lows, the crazy and the sensible. It’s a sad old lonely life most of the time and hence I buzz off the crazy shit and I get down down down.

Not the promised land they spoke of…

“We are never gonna survive unless we are a little crazy” – Seal.

The willy out in Germany. The drug present in Argentina.  The Paddy Campbell theft. The broccoli farming backpacker. The country that doesn’t actually exist. Another country that potential doesn’t exist. The beer festival in Palestine. Touring countries that Gordon GuruGod hasn’t even heard of. The smuggling bullets across borders (future story). Those who have met me know what to expect but it’s all aimless.

Getting my passport stamped in the People's Republic of Podjistan

Getting my passport stamped in the People’s Republic of Podjistan

I won’t fucking change or sell my Bournemouth-influenced Ulster soul to the Devil. All I want to do is go down the pub and talk about the 1986 World Cup. Or the day AFC Bournemouth beat Grimsby Town. Because that’s my entertainment. Colin Clarke goals, Steve Fletcher goals…these are my heroes. They did what I dreamed of. What I couldn’t do. But what about my dream, my life…

Beers in Sonsonate, El Salvador

Beers in Sonsonate, El Salvador

“Names on the faces in places, they mean nothing to me” – Noel Gallagher

Ollantaytambo. Poatina. Masar e Sharif. Shaoguan. Stepanakert. Tiraspol. Sonsonate. Kourou. Chiayi City. Dire Dawa. Kokoszkowy. Qazvin. Nukus. Tashkurgan. Meaningless to most of us. Cities, towns, villages we’ve never heard of. Seriously mate, where the f*ck is Kaiping?

A night out in Kaiping. Where's that mate?

A night out in Kaiping. Where’s that mate?

The only thing they all have in common is I’ve been to them all. I also had never heard of most of these places until I went travelling. Most don’t even appear on major maps but they all exist. I’ve seen them with my own eyes. My travels are spontaneous and aimless. But the point of aimless travel is what exactly? I sometimes get asked “why do you travel?” and while I normally answer it in a different way each time, I also ask back “why do you stay?”[In the same place]. For me, I need a reason to stay in the same place but I dont actually need a reason to travel. I’ve had lots of bases down the years but they were for a reason…
Bangor, Northern Ireland: my family is there. I’m from there.
London, England: I had a job contract there.
Dartford, England: I lived here by default, a mate had a flat here.
Parramatta, Australia: I had a job contract there.
Poatina, Australia: I had a job contract there.
Hong Kong: Panny is from there.
Tbilisi, Georgia: A great base while touring the Caucases.
Montevideo, Uruguay: A cool city to study Spanish in. Home of the football World Cup.
Gdansk, Poland: I stayed because was lied to by a fake travel friend.
Warszawa, Poland: I moved here because of my friends and to help recover from depression.
Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan: I just f**king liked it, OK?
Bournemouth, England: I lived here for 6 years. The town I have spent most of my adult life in. I worked there. I studied there. Most of my best friends live there. I’m a Cherries fan.
Of those, Bournemouth is the only exception to the rule. My heart belongs there and I know it. It’s instinct. My love affair with sunny sunny Bournemouth began in 1994. Now it seems, I need a reason to go back. A reason other than friends, football or work.

I just backpacked through Afghanistan, Karakalpakstan and Uzbekistan. It was easy. Because I know how. We become immune to difficult when we are in control.

But where next? I write this in Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan. A live blog post. But I’m bored. My mind finds it hard to contemplate that it was 5 years ago since I left Australia. I’ve met a few cool people here this week in Bishkek – Terri from Canada and Joel from Australia ( They’ve been on the same lunatic journey as me, touring fake countries, places the media incorrectly determine as war zones and we shared beers in Apple Hostel. But I’m lost here. I don’t know what’s next.

“You can tell the sun in its jealous sky that we walked in fields of gold.” – NL via Sting.

I’m aiming to be in Grodig in Austria in April and France in June 2016 for the European Championships to support Northern Ireland. The next four months, I’ll be working out what to do after that.

Jonny Blair at Tatev Monastery in Armenia

I’ll see you all in France for Euro 2016

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4 thoughts on “Sundays Inspiration: The Aimless Diary of A Long Term Backpacker, Aged 35 and 3 Quarters

  • Hi JustSomebody, that sounds cool mate. I’d love to go to both countries of course, I have been to neither before. I have a few options! Safe travels. Jonny

  • Wishing you all the best in your next phase of travel post-Euro 2016! I agree with JustSomebody, and say finish off the rest of the ‘Stans/Central Asia if you can. Your posts have generally been extremely uplifting and positive since you started exploring this area around the end of 2015. It’s like you almost got a “second wind” travelling here, especially through Afghanistan. So, it only makes sense to finish off this area after the Euros. Good luck!

  • Hi Ray, I won’t be going to Turkmenistan or Pakistan at the moment, I have to call it quits on some things to catch up on work, finish the visas I have and make sure I get a load of my backlog written up. I keep saying it but if I stopped travelling now, I would still have a story a day on DSL for the next 10 years, and the more I keep travelling, the bigger the backlog gets! Plus I don’t want to “fly in and out” of those countries in a few days the way veterans like Ward and Abbamonte do, I’d rather have more time to explore them, in which case they have to wait. Safe travels. Jonny

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