Tuesday’s Travel Essentials: iPod

Jonny Blair using his iPod in China

Another journey on a train through China with my Apple iPod out – Tuesday’s Travel Essentials

iPod. A word I didn’t have a clue what it meant 10 years ago and suddenly, it’s become a travel essential for me. I was a walkman boy – I owned a tape (cassette) walkman player in the 1990s and I took it travelling with me everywhere, I even upgraded to another travelling tape player in 2003. It took me a while to get with the digital age, but I’m almost there. Tuesday’s Travel Essentials today is simply about the iPod. While using my tape player travelling in Valencia, Spain in 2003, three problems arose:

– not enough room to carry my tens of tapes on my travels

– the batteries always ran out

– the tapes got chewed up

So I ditched it and got a CD player. Hmm decent upgrade but still not there yet.

What was a travelling music fan to do? Nothing, we let Steve Jobs and Jonathan Ive invent the iPod which sorts everything out for us. OK, so there might be other music players out there doing the same thing as an iPod, but I own an Apple iPod, OK? And it’s the same iPod I’ve had for almost 7 years. It still works like a trouper and provides my ears with sentiment and random music while I board endless buses through China, New Zealand and Paraguay.

Tuesday's Travel Essentials - an iPod

The iPod gets another playing as I drift through endless New Zealand countryside back in 2010.

Jonny Blair of Don’t Stop Living – I used to work for Apple!!

Really? Yes, really and for about a year as well – I was assigned as a Public Relations Assistant on their account when I lived and worked in London. Believe it or not (and my managers will vouch for this), I had NEVER heard of iTunes or and iPod back then, let alone know how to work one. I still owned my tape player, a cheap one which I bought in England around 2003.

Jonny Blair at an event in London

I’m actually in this photo of a consumer technology event in London in 2006. I was doing PR for Apple at the time!

That soon changed, I met up with all the Apple PR guys from the UK, I got to know journalists and attended events. I even walked past Steve Jobs once, not even knowing who he was. But one thing came out of it all – I got an iPod and I quit that job to travel the world the next day.

Jonny Blair of Bite PR as a frog

Working for Apple in 2006 – dressed as a frog (I kid you not) – I wasn’t your average office worker. Step out of the mundane folks…

As I chimed There Goes The Fear by Doves onto my ear stereobox on my flight to Toronto, Canada from London’s Heathrow I was now a traveller, a travel writer, a travel blogger and no longer some boring Northern Irishman donating their entire time and effort to working in an office in London. It’s not a design for life is it? So I re-thought my strategy on what made me happy, and travel was the winner. Not dissing those who work in an office, as a lot of you love it and are very successful, but come on – 50 hours a week sitting by a desk using e-mail and telephone to phone and message people you’re not really that into. If any of my ex colleagues from Bite PR (or anyone I met from my PR days) are reading, don’t worry I LOVED working at Bite and I LOVED working on Apple at the time. I did my best in the job, but ultimately my destiny lay further afield. “You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one…”

Sorry for the random digression there, back to iPods and why they are this week’s Tuesday’s Travel Essentials:

1. My iPod stores ALL my music on it

2. My iPod has lasted almost 7 years

3. My iPod is red and black (like my favourite English football team, AFC Bournemouth)

4. My iPod battery still lasts a long time!!

5. My iPod can access every BBC Radio 5 Live Podcast

6. My iPod fits in my pocket

7. My iPod helps me relax

8. My iPod is part of my journey

9. My iPod loves trains

10. My iPod loves buses

11. My iPod can be charged on my laptop and by mains

12. My iPod provides me with travel memories (what songs I listened to on which journeys etc.)

13. My iPod doesn’t chew up tapes

14. My iPod doesn’t need batteries changed

15. My iPod doesn’t require me carting endless copies of Oasis albums in my backpack with me

Apple iPod a travel essential

My iPod helps me through another bus trip on this sphere we find ourselves on.

Here is my post on my top travel tunes which I put up last year, this often changes by the way, but as a given, these 10 are top notch:

Jonny Blair’s Travel Tunes

Songs that my iPod played randomly that made me sentimental:

– Send Away the Tigers by Manic Street Preachers (came on during my first visit to China in 2007)

– Wind of Change by Scorpions (everytime I hear it, it will remind me of a travel buddy from days gone by)

– Khe Sahn by Cold Chisel (was my iPod tune while broccoli harvesting in Tasmania in 2010)

– Empire State Halo by Echo and the Bunnymen (was one of the first tunes I ever heard on my iPod on my travels)

– Stand By Me by Oasis (this was the first ever tune I played on my iPod in 2006)

If you work for Apple Inc and want me to travel round the world with a new iPod (mine is 7 years old) or if you want to send me a free Apple computer (even an old one), then I’d love that. The only other Apple I’ve had recently was in my lunchbox. But I enjoyed it 😉 You’ll get good PR you know – I always liked a good Apple event in London back in the day…

A wee shout out to the Apple team I worked with just because I loved them so much – Andrea Littler (Christopherson), Jonathan Hopkins, Sally Plant, Susannah Hardy, Karen Hardinge, Robin Cook, Rich Rust, Graham Day and Jigna Patel. If you also worked on Apple at Bite in 2006 – 2007, sorry but I must have forgotten you. If I learned anything from working at Bite and on Apple, it was that life’s too short to be stuck in an office. Suddenly travelling Northern Irishman was invented! Hope you’re all doing well and enjoying life.

I’ve just booked my next three trips by the way but I’m using Hong Kong as my base for the next 6 months or so, I’m off to Hangzhou in China in 3 days. Loving this lifestyle of travel and hoping to inspire you all to get out and see the world! Check my advertising page if you have an idea for a product for my Tuesday’s Travel Essentials, and don’t forget I welcome free computers as the ones I have always break…

3 thoughts on “Tuesday’s Travel Essentials: iPod

  • My first iPod was a gift from a friend – the original “shuffle” and I kept that for YEARS until I broke down and upgraded to a “Nano4” – hey, the shuffle was great because it was small, slim and held enough music to entertain me for hours on end.

    Jonny, I’m cracking-up with that frog suit photo! I have done a couple of gigs myself best described as an extra at events – Southern Bell (complete with hoop skirt and parasol), Ice skater (complete with skates on my feet the entire night but no ice) – tasks included standing at event entrance to invite folks inside for drinks and food. I’ll have to look for those photos! Oh what we’ll do for cash. *laugh*

  • Thanks Maria – I took a while to get into iPods to be honest – I was convinced a tape player and a CD player would last forever. They were replaced by my iPod and my travel diary and pen have been replaced by this travel website.

    I never liked being mundane in office jobs. A frog suit, having a shower in work and showing my bum to the entire office on my last day were a few of my top “PR” moments. Sounds interesting – get some photos up on your site, I’ll be getting your interview up as the next one 😉

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