Sunday’s Inspiration: Depression, Disillusion and Distractions

“Illusion never changed into something real” – Natalie Imbruglia.

Sunday’s Inspiration: Depression, Disillusion and Distractions

Sunday’s Inspiration: Depression, Disillusion and Distractions

I promised I would write some more about the mental and psychological aspects of my travel lifestyle and I will but just a quick one today on a wet Sunday in Kaliningrad City, typed live from the Kruassan WiFi Cafe in Victory Square. Hour on hour, day on day, month on month I become more lost, more depressed, more disillusioned by this whole lifestyle. Let’s be frank about this – travelling the world impresses NOBODY. It’s boring. It’s unrewarding and it’s completely over-hyped (even by myself). It’s easy to do and provides short term bliss, and that’s all. Nobody gives a sh*t because travel is boring.

Arrival in Kaliningrad this week - visa finally granted!

Arrival in Kaliningrad this week – visa finally granted!

“Maybe just happy” – Kurt Cobain.

I go down the pub and tell my friends about my travels. They are so bored. They fall asleep faster than they would watching a modern film. Same goes with my family. I send my brother postcards and get my Mum fridge magnets from hundreds of places. I only do that to show I care about them and am thinking about them when abroad, but really they don’t want these gifts. Which again, pains me. And then there are my travel friends. Even they are not impressed by my travels, as they’ve been there too. Yes people who travel don’t even get excited about travel anymore! The whole lifestyle the last few years have turned me into some kind of monster. Nobody is impressed and realistically all I have to show from my travels is this website and a few folders of momentos I kept from over 140 countries (debated or not).

You don't want to hear my crazy story

You don’t want to hear my crazy story


I’m seeing a psychologist at the moment in the city of Gdansk in Poland. I had to do it – it was the right move. Days became too depressing. Real friends didn’t seem to exist. The friends I made in Poland also seemed to ignore me, some of them not even excited about how cool I thought their country was, and when I visited obscure towns in Pomerania, none of my Polish friends thought it was interesting! There was me, working hard, being myself and the rewards were a night on my own crying into a pillow. In a town I’d never heard of.

My lonely room in Pelplin, Poland

My lonely room in Pelplin, Poland

Depression has been on and off for me down the years, but this year has been the worst since 2009 (the Hungarian dancer saga). So at least I’m in good hands and hopefully there will be a light at the end of the tunnel. I can’t hide my depression any more. I felt I had let myself down as a human and had turned into a bad person. I made some new friends who led me to believe everything was OK again.

Crazy Dog best hostel Kaliningrad

Checking into the Crazy Dog, best hostel in Kaliningrad

There are other people out there who have contributed to my depression and I won’t name them, but it will be people that I think I can rely on, people I think would be great company for a coffee and a chat. Only then they shun me and I’m sipping coffee on my own, contacting hospitals. It was a fast downward spiral of events, the last six months or so.

Backpacking it alone in Starogard Gdański

Backpacking it alone in Starogard Gdański

During the last few weeks, I missed Daniel Evans wedding. I couldn’t believe I could miss it. Dan and I lived together in Australia, we travelled together and even headed to crazy Ladonia together in 2015. I had a year’s notice for his wedding and I let him down. The real reason I couldn’t go to the wedding was depression. I didn’t want to go and see everybody being happy yet I was sad myself. It didn’t seem right. Daniel got married the same weekend I backpacked alone in Tczew and my ex-girlfriend Panny Yu had her first birthday in 6 years without her Northern Irish boyfriend.


Travel become boring for me. I was disillusioned by it. I’m justified to say this – over 800 towns or cities into my journey, places can become uninspiring. I was back in Amsterdam recently and realised how much I hated it. Same went for Paris. It was only really when I backpacked through Leba, Starogard Gdański and Pelplin that I reignited my travel spark.

Backpacking in Poland: Exploring Peaceful, Pleasant, Holy Pelplin

Backpacking in Poland: Exploring Peaceful, Pleasant, Holy Pelplin

To get inspired by travel these days, I need to visit places nobody else has heard of. Otherwise it’s boring. The amount of backpackers I met the last few weeks heading to Berlin and Krakow upset me. When they asked me about things to do there, I basically told them not to go there. There’s nothing to do there. I can only be honest to myself. Nobody who shared my dorms the last few weeks really inspired me that much. Probably because I also don’t inspire them. Nobody thought writing about Afghanistan, Gorno Badakhshan, Uzupis or Adammia was interesting. Yet I buzzed off it and was even on Afghan news this week. I love the unpopularity of it and I still detest travel blogs on Thailand and New York city.

Backpacking in Afghanistan: Visiting Hazrat Ali's Tomb and Blue Mosque in Masar e Sharif

Backpacking in Afghanistan: Visiting Hazrat Ali’s Tomb and Blue Mosque in Masar e Sharif, so boring to everyone else

Perhaps I’ve become a travel snob, but no apologies if I have. At least I’m real. I’d far rather whackpack through Karakalpakstan, Kaliningrad or Xinying than tour (yawns) Bangkok, Rome or Buenos Aires.

sinying xinying station backpacking taiwan

At Xinying train station getting the train north to Taichung.

I was disillusioned by travel and that’s why I headed to these remote parts of Poland, and now to a remote region owned by Russia.

“He could preach the bible like a preacher, full of ecstasy and fire.
But he also was the kind of teacher women would desire” – Boney M.

Bus to Kaliningrad please

Bus to Kaliningrad please


People see my smiles, my happiness and my articles and stories and must thing this is all keeping me happy. But these are distractions. They are temporary smiles. Like the Euro 2016 football tournament. It was really just a cover up for my depression and a temporary high in a low.

“Love remains the drug that’s the high, and not the pill” – Seal.

The Blair GAWA in Lyon watching Northern Ireland v. Ukraine.

The Blair GAWA in Lyon watching Northern Ireland v. Ukraine.

Being in a five year relationship with Panny Yu also now seems like a distraction. It was all bliss with Panny, but that was surely a cover up for my unhappiness.

Panny and I on the first day of open water dives in Utila Honduras

Panny and I on the first day of open water dives in Utila Honduras

Somehow in the madness of it all, I met two other girls at the end of my relationship with Panny and I aim to write more about this. Neither of these girls were of any interest to me at all. Initially. But somehow in the madness of it all, I managed to fall in love twice again. Yes, twice and I couldn’t shake it. It was again a temporary distraction. I hate dishonesty in life, and hiding things so I told both these girls my exact feelings. They didn’t like it at all. In fact, I think it somehow turned a love into a hate in a single moment and I had to pick up the pieces, again. I felt like the devil with an angel’s mind.

Eating Kashubian food in Gdansk

Eating Kashubian food in Gdansk

So I study Polish in Gdansk now, I’m looking for a flat here and I might even get a part time job on top of my travel writing. I’m seeking happiness again and it is tougher now, than it was before. Backpacking the world and becoming a professional travel blogger sure as hell changed my life – it gave me money, time and freedom. Yes, it gave me that hat-trick. But it didn’t yet bring me love and happiness. That remains the dream and I will go seek it. On every corner on every street.

Backpacking in Kaliningrad - Cathedral of Christ the Saviour.

Backpacking in Kaliningrad – Cathedral of Christ the Saviour.

I’m in Kaliningrad today and yes this place is brilliant, I love it. It was a challenge to get here and to write about it and I’m thankful I had a great Hotel, my trusty Ibis for the first night, and two nights in the Crazy Dog Hostel. So there are a lot of perks and nice people to meet in this lifestyle. But things are not totally right in my mind.

Victory Square, Kaliningrad City!

Victory Square, Kaliningrad City!

For the first time this week, I properly looked through my back catalogue of photos and videos. Just quickly, but I realised how many places I’ve really been and really seen. That much is staggering and is probably the best thing to think of as I try to escape this depression.

“Everything in love got broken on the road to Mandalay” – Robbie Williams.

Here I am actually on the Road to Mandalay

Here I am actually on the Road to Mandalay

14 thoughts on “Sunday’s Inspiration: Depression, Disillusion and Distractions

  • Hi Amanda, thanks for the comments. The thing is people always tell me about putting down roots etc. But that’s never been a problem. I put down roots many times – in Bournemouth, in Devonport, in Parramatta, in Hong Kong and in Bishkek and it doesn’t help. Sometimes it makes things worse. That said, I’m willing to stay in Gdansk for a while at least and have a flat there. We will see what happens. Safe travels. Jonny

  • I have been to Poland once so i recommend going to Malbork castle (the biggest castle in the world by area)
    and also Slowinski National Park (The biggest desert in europe)
    P.S when will you go backpacking in Balkans like Croatia,Serbia or even Republic of Srpska?

  • Hey mate sounds like you are listening to what you need to do. Keep following your instinct. I can understand what you are feeling. But for what it’s worth I find your off the beaten path interesting… Sometimes we can only see what we want to see. More people are interested then you think. And comparing it to travelers that want to stick to main hubs and their opinions isn’t fair. They aren’t really traveling in our eyes are they? We feel like this too sometimes and then we meet real travelers like you are and it’s so refreshing and so great to talk to someone that has the same ideas and sence of adventure… So maybe we are few and far between buy there are some travelers that actually travel out there… (I know you understand what I mean by that).As always I’m here for you any time you need. And when are we making beer plans!!??x

  • Hi Terri, as always thanks for your comments and support. There is so much disillusion in long term travel now. I’m just glad I found a base in Poland for a while, without that I know I would get lost even more. Hopefully things sort themselves out the next few weeks. I’m sure we will meet again soon. Safe travels. Jonny

  • Hi Elliott, thanks for the comment. Yes I visited Slowinski National Park and will be heading to Malbork soon too. I’m not sure about those countries you mentioned but someday I will visit them. I have been nearby before in Slovenia and Kosovo. Safe travels. Jonny

  • Hi Jonny, I have been struggling with depression for long time. I lost my job, my relationship with family was worsening in the process. I’m trying to collect money and start travelling or groundhopping by take same part-time job, but so far my parents told me that it is embarassing for entire family to see a “educated” man who previously worked in big company with good salary has to work as part-timer with unstable income. I become more depressed spending my entire week at home. Then i read this. I always think that traveliing in some ways will be ease my depression. Maybe I feel what you feel, I just imagine in what kind of situation I find myself happy, just to caught up later that It didn’t work. I know you from grounhopping forum that by now you’re a missing person. I say to myself, It could be me. I hope you safe, Jonny, your story is inspiring people like me.

  • Hi Alto, thanks for your comment. Yes I am a football fan and a groundhopper too, but sadly my life has been full of ups and downs as well documented on this website. I had depression since I was a teenager and it continued through adulthood and sadly has been evident through my blogs. I did have a steady relationship for 5 years of this blog and things were good for the most part. They have taken a turn again and I hope to recover. I hope you make the right decision for you and enjoy your travels. Best wishes, safe travels. Jonny

  • Hi Jonny,
    I am so sorry to hear about your depression. I really don’t understand depression and mental health problems so I don’t know if I can help you. I can tell that you don’t like liars and only want the truth from people. For example if someone messages you to say “we are friends Jonny” then you will expect them to meet for coffee, show you sights, travel together and even like your posts on Instagram or Facebook, especially photos from that person’s town as you would make them so proud. I hope you can recover from this depression. One day I hope to understand how you feel and why others ruined your life, your blog, your travels, your business. If you ever want to meet for a coffee or for travel tips of my towns, no problem. Feel free to send me more photos, I cannot wait. 😉 Karolina

  • Hi Karolina, thanks for the comment. I hope to recover sometime and be able to visit your town to review it with honesty. I hope the local people there can be honest to me and meet for coffee to show me the sights? Do you think they will do it? Safe travels. Jonny

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