“Do you keep the receipts for the friends that you buy? Ain’t it bittersweet? You were only just getting by…” – Noel Gallagher.
Reality reflection always hits me now and then, and aside from friends and family, this blog is officially and actually the most important thing that I have. It’s true. My Northern Ireland shirts, my AFC Bournemouth match tickets, my photos from 12 zany years of whackpacking all blur into insignificance when I realise the business that this idiotic travel blog turned into.
“The devil, the devil, the devil…” – Jonny and Joe Blair.
“It’s a long long way from here to there” – Paul Van Dyk.
But honestly, I am back and Don’t Stop Living is back and going to be back for good. I will not be taking the site offline, the Facebook page offline nor will I speculate on my future. Welcome back, Jonny Scott Blair. Lifetime football nerd, wacaday poet, travel blogging geek, Ulsterczyk.
Let’s get to the facts – yes I have been suffering from a mid-life crisis and long term depression. What do you want me to do? Quit? lie about it? get on with it? I just kept being honest about it. A nasty liar who means nothing to anyone destroyed my life in 2016.
“You don’t mean anything to anyone, anymore” – Liam Gallagher.
Just move on Jonny, forget the liars, forget the fake bloggers, forget the haters, forget the Guru God and fellow blogger who stalked me and my Mum and my friends. Just Lviv it!
I LOVE IT. I love being “Ulsterczyk” (the nickname penned by Kamil Kowalczyk in June 2018). My love for the project is unconditional. It’s clear. I found a niche and a passion on the streets of Poland. But does that hide depression?
No, no and no. Depression is here to stay but day in, day out, my friends won’t know it. They won’t see it. I smile, I work hard. I hardly had a day off work due to depression (admittedly a few). I still travel. I do all that I can. But when my head hits thon pillow in another town in another country, sadness kicks in. I still write the word suicide on my breakfast list. Don’t worry baby…
“I write this alone on my bed. I poisoned every room in the house” – Richey James Edwards.
“You’re such an inspiring guy Jonny, don’t stop what you are doing, don’t stop living” – Anonymous message from known follower.
Some followers of this blog emailed me or Facebook messaged me in private when I posted my suicide bid in 2016. On those tram tracks, I was ready to die. I cannot contemplate what really happened at the time. I still don’t know why I almost killed myself other than blaming the person who lied. Is that enough to put yourself and your life into its final straw in the roof of its mouth? Who knows. Was the liar the reason I almost died?
What I know is that my suicide bid, it…
It wasn’t the break up of my long term well publicised on here relationship with Panny Yu.
It was the meeting in Romania in 2014. It was that.
That’s a long time ago now. I got damn old. I have wrinkles in my forehead.
Today is the 2nd May 2019. Let’s start again.
Is it time to change? No chance, as Jonny Blair doesn’t change. I am still a Northern Irish nationalist, football loving travel geek who doesn’t care about the wind in my face. I don’t care about you. I care about me. My life’s moments flashed before and I was proud again. 170 personally recognised countries entered my backpack, zenithed by these wacaday moments:
- Feeding hyenas in Ethiopia
- Getting my willy out in Antarctica
- Almost scoring from the half way line in Afghanistan
- Selling hand crafted gifts my Mum made for charity in my old primary school
- Drinking Guinness on the North Korea to South Korea border
- Being the first and last tourist to backpack through Podjistan
- Spending Christmas Day at Machu Picchu and eating guinea pig
But it’s time to bring the blog back properly. I mean to STOP posting every other post about suicide or depression. Because I’m too positive a man for that.
“I’ll take you places you’ve never been” – Meatloaf.
The story isn’t finished. Don’t Stop Living is still fucking kurwa living. I just backpacked to my 170th country when I landed in Kenya for giraffe kissing in April 2019. It was as easy as serving a pint of beer in the land down under. On route I swallowed DR Congo, Rwanda, Uganda Punk and Burundi. The target was 200 countries before my 40th year ends. It’s still possible. But so is Jonny Blair being the happy tourist he was back in 2007 when I backpacked Toronto and started this travel blog for no reason.
“It’s a nothing love” – Ace of Base.
Update on my change, today
So today, I am moving to a new flat in Warszawa. I am getting a new phone. I am buying a bed for the first time ever. Yes, I told my youngest brother on Skype tonight that at the age of 39, I am finally buying a bed!! I will even post a photo of that on my blog when I buy it. I have never bought a bed before, nor contemplated doing so having spent the best (or worst) part of 10 years bed hopping. At one point, I slept in 200 different beds in a 365 day period. I need a home. Since I was 23, I have never spent longer than 2 years in the same flat / room.
I am finally going to release my long awaited book and I am the best man I have ever been. I have coped with the bad times and I continue to do that. I know I write a lot of posts like this and I write a lot, but it’s in my blood. I write every day. I am never more than a metre from a pen and paper. It’s the way writers do it. My Ulster heart won’t wilt in foreign sunshine…
My final words of wisdom, for now:
Don’t Stop Living
“I don’t believe in destiny, I don’t believe in love. I don’t believe that anything will ever be enough” – OMD.