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Who’s Out There Now: Johnny

Written By: jeff

Posted On: March 20th, 2012

career break travel adventures in rwanda, gorillas,

Out with the Gorillas in Rwanda. Copyright OneStep4ward.com

In this week’s ¨Who’s Out There Now¨ feature, we bring to you Johnny, who’s been traveling the world since 2006 and blogging about it on OneStep4Ward.

1. So, where in the world are you answering these questions?

I was in North Korea last week but I’m writing this from the comfort of a condo in Bangkok, Thailand (nursing a rather persistent hangover!)

2. You’ve got a pretty impressive list of countries that you’ve conquered including…Somalia? How did that come about?

I love to travel to places that I know are literally ‘off-the-beaten-track’, and not in a lonely planet sense. I mean I want to be the first Irish guy they’ve ever met! There aren’t too many places in the world that I can do that, so  I’ve got search long and hard. With Sudan, Somalia, East Timor, Mongolia, Kazakhstan and North Korea under my belt, it’s going well!

3. Not that you haven’t been busy traveling around, but how have you missed South America up until this point?

It stems from my love affair with Asia I guess, although I hope to rectify that huge void in my travels in 2013, in preparation for the World Cup in Brazil.

career break travel adventures in North Korea, Johnny Ward,

In North Korea. Copyright OneStep4Ward.com

4. You’ve got quite a following, people who are interested in what you do and how you are able to design your life around travel. What are your three key messages to people who want to make a change in their life for the better, but feel stuck in their day-to-day routine?

That’s a great question Jeff, I’d go with these:

  1. Believe that it’s possible for yourself. Don’t look around the internet and see people living YOUR dreams, go and get them yourself. People like me are nothing special, we just did it – and so can you.
  2. Carve out an online income. I know it’s easy to say, but within 6 months of choosing an online income method you could definitely be earn $500 per month, maybe much more. I know it sounds like some crazy scheme but it’s true, blogging is a great start.
  3. Forget about social conformity. Keeping up with the Jones’ was a concept created by a consumer agenda, one which we are under no obligation to subscribe to. 50 hour weeks, Monday morning meetings and chasing a promotion are not a prerequisite of a successful life. Half the battle is just acknowledging that.

5. Career break, nomadic adventure, backpacking, how do you characterize your trips?

Certainly not a career break. I guess I’m a lifestyle designer, for want of a better term, or perhaps a digital nomad. Although I’m certainly a backpacker at heart.

6. What are some of the secrets to travel that you’ve discovered that you think more people who aren’t traveling should know?

“How many countries have you been to” is not the way to judge how well traveled someone may be. There seems to be a new breed of passport stamp collectors. Traveling overland, and travel relatively slow – that’s the key to really living the dream in my opinion.

career break travela dventures in Tanzania, climbing Kilimanjaro,

On top of Kilimanjaro. Copyright OneStep4Ward.com

7. What was your first ¨We’re not in Kansas anymore¨ moment on this trip?

Haha! Oh God, on a hitchhiked Chinese cargo boat up the Mekong River through Laos that I thought would take one day, but ended up with a 2 day illegal trip through Burma, getting accosted by the police in China and being dumped by the side of the river with no clue where I was! I had been traveling for less than a year at the point!

8. What’s been your most ¨local¨ experience so far?

Staying in the slums with an awesome dude I met in Dhaka, Bangladesh. His house was home to 8 people and it was probably the size of an average bedroom, but the hospitality was out of this world, and the food was amazing.

career break travel adventures in Uganda, rafting the nile in Uganda

Rafting the Nile in Uganda. Copyright OneStep4Ward.com

9. What has been your most embarrassing moment?

It could be one of many! Getting summoned up on stage in both Malawi and South Korea due to being the only foreigner in the crowd and having to dance to their respective local music, to a highly amused crowd both times! At least I got a free t-shirt in Malawi from it though!

10. What’s your secret for getting the most out of your journey?

Speed, all the way. Slow down and drink it in, one night here then an 8 hour bus, one night there and a 12 hour train. That schedule can kill you, slow it down and feel the place. Also, I travel cheap not because I have to but because I find it draws some much more authentic experiences. No air con tourist buses for me.

career break travel adventures in Africa

Hanging with the hyenas. Copyright OneStep4Ward.com

11. Finally, our lightening round. 

  • Best dish you’ve found so far: tibs in Ethiopia. Sautéed meat in spicy sauce. Love it!
  • Most exotic food eaten: lambs testicles and pigs penis in China.
  • Most breathtaking moment: Paragliding over the Himalayas in india.
  • Biggest disappointment: Johannesburg, South Africa or Terracotta Warriors in Xi’an, China
  • Most memorable place: Clichéd, but Thailand – it literally changed my life.
  • Most memorable person: A one eyed, one legged dude in Calcutta India who wanted me to sleep in his blood-stained room. I’ll never forget that!
  • Best thing to have on a long bus ride: Imodium
  • Worst thing to have on a long bus ride: The sh*ts!
  • Best thing you packed: My macbook pro
  • Dumbest thing you packed: Expensive shoes to party in – ridiculous.
  • Funniest travel habit you have: I always try to scope out the best seat on any bus before I buy the ticket, it’s a compulsion. And I always seem to get screwed despite it!
  • Place you wish you could’ve stayed longer: If I’ve ever wanted to stay longer, I’ve stayed longer.

You can follow Johnny online at OneStep4Ward.com, on Facebook and on Twitter @OneStep4ward.

Every week, Career Break Secrets profiles a different traveler or traveling couple who are embracing the ¨Because Life Is Out There TM¨ travel spirit.  These are people who have taken the plunge to embark on a career break and are currently traveling the world.  

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6 Responses to “Who’s Out There Now: Johnny”

  1. Kate says:

    Curious as to why the Terracotta Warriors were one of your biggest disappointments. I’ve always wanted to see them, is it not worth the trip?

    That Hyena picture is just nuts by the way!

  2. johnny says:

    Hey kate,

    Xi’an is a cool city and it’s (relatively) close to both Beijing and Chengdu, which are both cool places so if it’s on your bucket list by all means make the trip but don’t expect to be overawed! it’s just a ditch, in a hanger, with some men in it – i was really disappointed :S i thought it would be much bigger

  3. Derek says:

    Love the Nile pic! Brings back memories! I rafted the nile in Uganda back in 2009.. probably the scariest thing I’ve done.. they say its Class 5, the highest class you can raft without being certified. We had to walk around 2 rapids that day since they were Class 6.. freaky stuff!

  4. jeff says:

    Derek, I’ve heard they are quite rough. But, didn’t realize there were Class 6 in that region. Wow!

  5. Derek says:

    Jeff, could have been the time of year? I went on September 1st, 2009.. still remember the day, haha! But they are also building a new damn which is causing the river to flow differently and too fast in come areas.. some of the Class 5’s where obviously Class 6 to me.. there was no way they were Class 5.. talk about freaky! 2 weeks before we went down they had one of their kayaker’s almost drown. They said one of the Class 6’s, if you get sucked in, you are guaranteed to stay underwater for 45+ seconds before it pushes you out, the guy was lucky.

  6. Derek says:

    ‘building a new Dam*.. not damn!

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