Name: Jonny Blair
Age: Older than 30
Nationality: Northern Irish
Occupation: Full time tourist and travel writer; part time barman, ice cream seller, teacher.
Current Location: Warszawa, POLAND
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1) When Did Your Love Affair With Travel Begin?
I’m pretty sure it was when my parents bought me the Mexico 86 Panini football sticker album.
When I opened it and saw countries like Uruguay, South Korea, Iraq and Scotland, I became enthused about all these countries, cultures and the world.
I started studying maps, atlases, history and geography. I was convinced that sticker album was my platform to travel the world.
One day I dreamed of being a tourist in all those places. Little by little, I lived that dream with nonchalant aplomb. But I’ll never forget where my wanderlust stems from.
“All these places feel like home” – Snow Patrol.
2) How Would You Describe Your Style of Travel?
I am limitless, boundless and I get culture struck everywhere I go. I am probably one of the few right-wing travel writers who has no limits.
I will travel anywhere and everywhere. I don’t say “no”, I don’t tell lies, and I will go anywhere and everywhere without qualms.
If it’s a week backpacking in Afghanistan, count me in, if it’s a week hiking in Colombia, I’ll do it, if it’s a Mozart concert in Austria, get me a ticket, ladies handball on an unknown beach in Lithuania – yes please.
If it exists as a place, I’ll go there. In my travel drenched mind, only the likes of Neil Armstrong and God have less boundaries than me.
I probably would go backpacking on the moon or in heaven, but for now I’m happy being limitless on planet earth.
“I’ll take you places you’ve never known” – Meatloaf
3) What Do You Like Most About Travelling?
Despite having done over 10 TV interviews, more radio interviews and numerous newspaper, internet and magazines interviews, this is probably the first ever time this question has been posed to me!! I pondered for a moment and then realised I can answer it in one selfish word – “football”.
I love how, no matter where I went on my travels, to remote countries that FIFA or the UN don’t even recognise – one thing was consistent – football.
I played football with kids by a monastery in outback Afghanistan, I watched the World Cup final in Brazil, I ran a football supporters club, I visited over 300 stadiums around the world and people find peace and love in football.
Football is played in every country and it brings people together in the most beautiful way.
Other than football, I love the variety that different cultures bring – people, food, transport, ideals, religion, boundaries, even banal things like the method of shopping/drinking. I hate repetition and boredom.
“An extraordinary guy can never have an ordinary day” – Noel Gallagher.
4) What’s the Number 1 Thing Travel Has Taught You?
Don’t trust others. These days, I trust nobody but myself and God.
Some of my fellow tourists, travel friends and travel writers let me down. I met liars, thieves and nasty people.
I met people who thought that they were Gods and Gurus to solve the world’s problems.
So these days, I trust nobody. Stay open minded and sceptical every time you meet a new person. Build trust over time and if someone shows signs they might be lying, stay well away from them.
5) How Do You Save Money to Travel?
I don’t. I never save money. Life is too short for that.
If I have money, I spend it today as tomorrow may never happen. We are not guaranteed a tomorrow, none of us are, so live for today.
Spend your money on experiences that will live on even after your death.
If I ever get really rich, then yes I will use a bank and save money to buy a flat or a car, but right now, I live for today.
“Tonight I’m going to live for today, so come along for the ride” – Robbie Williams.
6) What’s Your Best Budget Travel Tip When on the Road?
I have so many of these that it becomes hard to pinpoint one, but for me, when I started off, a bed was always just a bed for a few hours sleep – so find the cheapest accommodation everywhere you go – shared rooms with multiple people – don’t be scared to sleep anywhere.
Tents, bus shelters, hostel dorms, B&Bs. There are far more options than Googling the best hotel in a city.
7) What’s Your Favourite Travel App at the Moment?
I must admit I am not really into Travel Apps despite having worked on lots of them!
But if I have to choose it would be Vadovia or GPS My City – two apps which give you great knowledge of unusual, peculiar and interesting tours you can do yourself in a city.
8) What’s the One Thing You Never Leave Home Without?
9) Name the Most Incredible Place You’ve Visited
Really this is too hard!
I’m in Poland at the moment so I should say Gdańsk!
For sheer awe-inspiring moments, I’d say Antarctica, Machu Picchu, Danxiashan in China, Giants Causeway in Northern Ireland or the Kaluts deserts of Iran.
I probably visited too many places and that dilutes the value of which single place was the most incredible.
“Been around the world and there’s no place like home” – East 17.
10) Where Are You Heading To Next?
While based in Poland, I run a website about life in Poland, so it is my dream to have visited every Polish province by the end of 2017, and I have five left to go.
Aside from that, I love backpacking through unknown countries and micronations, so I aim to visit San Escobar and Republika Bialenska in the near future.
In terms of recognised countries, perhaps Cameroon, Turkmenistan or Cyprus will be next.