“Where were you while we were getting high?” – Noel Gallagher.
This Travel Blog, Don’t Stop Living is Fifteen Years Old Today!!
On the 27th August 2007, I wrote the first ever blog post on Don’t Stop Living, here it is
. The photo above was also the first ever photo to grace that travel blog. It was taken in the airport in Palma, Mallorca in Spain’s Balearic Islands in July 2001. The main photo for my blog back then in 2007, was this one below taken at the top of the Empire State Building in New York City in 2007.
“A moon is in my head” – Ian McCullough.
Empire State Building, NYC 2007
When, how and why did Don’t Stop Living start?
As today is the 27th August 2022, this blog officially started FIFTEEN years ago today on the 27th August 2007. That’s when I wrote my (now cringeworthy) first ever blog post, simply called Welcome to Don’t Stop Living. However I am not a tech geek and that was purely the date when the blog went live and I hit “publish”.
Don’t Stop Living – A Lifestyle Of Travel
“I write this alone on my bed, I’ve poisoned every room in the house” – Richey James Edwards.
However, it was actually July 2007 when I drafted the first blog post and came up with the idea of a travel and lifestyle blog about my journeys, called Don’t Stop Living. I started the blog because I was inspired by two fellow backpackers I met – Mike and Lee in the Planet Traveler Hostel in Toronto, Canada. They were both English backpackers with travel blogs. Before I had met Mike and Lee, I had never even heard of a travel blog!!
Mike Burkimsher’s Blog: Ball of Dirt/The Long Way Home
Lee Price’s Blog: One Life and One World
Lee Price and I in Toronto, Canada – the man who inspired me to start a travel blog
Having a beer with fellow travel blogger Mike – the guy bottom left who inspired me to start my blog back in 2007 in Toronto, Canada.
Here is a photo of me in Toronto in 2007, taken by Lee, the day I had my notebook out and was writing my diary and physical notes. This was where the travel blog all began.
Glory Days Loyal: August 2007 All Blog Posts
I met Lee and Mike in the Planet Traveler hostel in Toronto. Weirdly Lee and Mike didn’t keep their travel blogs going after 2008.
“In the blink of a young girl’s eye, glory days” – Bruce Springsteen.
Before Don’t Stop Living, What Writing Did I Do?
I have always been writing in some shape or form. I write every day. I love to write. As a 10 year old I wrote a football fanzine for Glentoran with my best mate Michael McClelland. By the age of 23 I had written for about 10 different football and music fanzines, including editing my own football fanzine, “Here We Go…Again”. At University I wrote for the magazine there, Nerve. I also worked in PR in London, writing press releases for companies and placing articles and products into newspapers, magazines, TV, radio and even online. Then I quit the PR world of London in June 2007, booking a cheap one way flight to Toronto. As well as all that, I write poetry. I have well over 1,000 unpublished poems – I really want to get them released soon. I have 4 physical books released, have another few on the way and have also released two e-books. Here are some photos of me writing down the years.
“I need a job so I want to be a paperback writer” – The Beatles.
My room for writing at Jozef K Bar, Gdańsk. I finished some books in this room.
Travel Writing in Taiwan
Writing my book in Termiz, Uzbekistan
Doing a bit of travel writing while waiting for my tea in Seki Square, Azerbaijan.
Travel Blogging in Pyongyang, North Korea
Travel writing in Xiamen, China.
Don’t Stop Living is ALSO the name of an album I wrote and played guitar on back in 2001. Here is a photo of that cassette tape album –
Sunday’s Inspiration: Don’t Stop Living
Don’t Stop Living blog, my social media and my books are littered with quotes and anecdotes from others. I copy from my heroes because everybody does that. Noel Gallagher is a genius and one of the biggest influences on my life.
“I’ll put on my shoes while they’re walking slowly down the hall of fame” – Noel Gallagher.
Backpacking in England: 8 Quirky and Quick Music Related Sights to See in London
Changing Faces of Don’t Stop Living 2007 – 2022
In those last FIFTEEN years, the front page of Don’t Stop Living has changed many times. Here are some of the previous looks. I’m happy with the way it is now, the redesign was done expertly by Hannah Henderson, The Useful Human so thanks Hannah! Thanks also to Trevor Warman, a fellow backpacker and blogger who alerted me of Hannah. You can see Trevor’s story at Nomadic Backpacker.
Don’t Stop Living – December 2012
Don’t Stop Living – 2010
Don’t Stop Living – 2017
Don’t Stop Living – 2012
Don’t Stop Living – 2012
Don’t Stop Living from 2009 – 2013
Don’t Stop Living – 2014
Don’t Stop Living – a lifestyle of travel new logo – 2017
Don’t Stop Living logo 2012 – 2022
Early days of Don’t Stop Living
At the time I started the blog because it was just an idea to write about my travels and my life. It has since turned into a much bigger project than that. It opened up many doors for me on life’s corridor.
“We’re never gonna survive unless we get a little crazy” – Seal.
The “Don’t Stop Living Globe” is at the front of a Primary School in Xinying, Taiwan
Why is my blog called “Don’t Stop Living”?
“Don’t Stop Living” – Unknown Toronto-based High School graffiti artist, 2001.
I stole the words “Don’t Stop Living” from an unknown Toronto-based High School graffiti artist when I backpacked there in September 2001. They were etched on the High School wall with red spray paint and in capital letters. It was a sign and I made it my motto from that day forth. This means that Toronto has influenced this blog twice. It gave it it’s name and it is where the blog all began. I haven’t been back to Toronto since.
“Birds go flying at the speed of sound to show you how it all began” – Coldplay.
CN Tower, Toronto, Canada in 2001
Don’t Stop Living as a message and website has only ever meant ONE THING to me, and to you. It has nothing to do with travel blogging or even backpacking. And this is it:
“Don’t Stop Living” by Jonny Blair, definition: To live every day with fulfilment and joy, just in case it’s your last. Live life to the maximum. DSL/Don’t Stop Living.
“I want all of you tonight, give it everything tonight, for all we know we might not get tomorrow” – Pitbull.
Give it everything tonight – for all we know we might not get tomorrow.
“No fire where I lit my spark” – Neil Finn.
I am a bit hungover today and I write this from my flat in Warszawa, Poland. I enjoyed sharing my fifteen year journey with the world. There were so many highs and lows. Here are some lows, since the blog started I have
– broken my leg
– broken my ribcage
– broken my collarbone
– had about 10 visas declined
– been illegally deported
– been illegally arrested
– been illegally held in “custody”
– been hit by a train and was unconscious in hospital for the first 24 hours
– been to court in a country I wasn’t born in
– been on over 5 different types of medication for depression
– visited therapists, doctors, psychologists and psychiatrists
– not contracted COVID ever
– lost 6 phones
– had a laptop stolen due to my flatmate’s negligence
– lost 3 cameras
– been in a crash in Gorno Badakhshan
– had 9 backpacks lost by airlines
– had over 20 flights cancelled
– missed over 10 flights
– missed over 10 buses or trains
– split up from every girl I was with
“Love remains the drug that’s the high; not the pill” – Seal.
Some of those stories haven’t even been written about yet. I’ll save some for a future book, speaking of which, Aftershot is almost ready…my next book from the new “This Is The Next Century” series.
This Is The Next Century: AFTERSHOT
“A bitter aftertaste and a fantasy of how we all could live” – Robbie Williams
On that day, 27th August 2007 when I started my blog I had no idea what would happen with this blog. Back then, even Nomadic Matt and Wandering Earl’s blogs hadn’t yet started. Many other travel bloggers have come and gone, they don’t last the pace. I’ll never stop writing. I have 2,000 unwritten posts, 200 drafts and 6 books unfinished as we never get time to finish them all. The blog has been run as a business since 2012. Here are some more positives in those 15 years, I have
– written over 5,000 blog posts
– published 7 books
– visited 204 countries
– lived in 6 countries
– worked in over 30 different jobs
– been to weddings in four different continents
– visited all 7 continents
– attended 4 football World Cups
– attended 2 football European Championships
– watched over 300 live football matches
“That sugar cane, that tasted good” – Michael Stipe.
Backpacking in Mauritania: Riding The Iron Ore Train From Choum to Nouadhibou
There’s a huge back catalogue of blog posts on here that I hope you enjoy reading as much as I enjoyed writing. So that’s it for now, on a day when AFC Bournemouth lost 9-0 to Liverpool FC at Anfield. I was there once, supporting the Cherries and we only lost 1-0.
Anfield Road, Liverpool
I hope to continue my journeys and my writing to try and find some happiness. Maybe one day. Here’s to the next fifteen years!
Hey Cape Town! 2020
The City of Oxford Turns Northern Irish! SOENISC at The University Derby – Oxford United v Cambridge United in 2007
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