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Traveller’s Tales: Jonny

A life of travel. In 1997, at the age of 20, Jonny found that this was what he wanted to do with his live while he was in his first months abroad. And since that moment in that year he hasn’t been doing any different. With numerous of countries visited and loads and loads of experiences gained in the passed few years, Jonny is living his dream.

On his website ‘The Backpackingman‘ Jonny writes about all his stories. Definitely worth a visit!

Could you tell a bit about yourself?

I grew up in a lot of countries due to my father’s work, so I was kind of used to the travelling lifestyle. I am totally addicted to the freedom that comes with it. It suits my personality perfectly. Meeting new people and experiencing things I haven’t tried before never gets boring.

How old were you when you first started travelling and where did you go?

When I reached 20 I got the urge to explore and so I did. I took a flight to Cairo in Egypt and on my second day there landed a job as a film extra in Egyptian movies. I haven’t lived at home since, and have spent the last 17 years travelling and working my way around the world.

What is your opinion on travelling solo vs. with someone?

I must admit, I prefer travelling solo. It tends to put you out there more to meet other people and you can choose easily what you want to do. I have travelled with friends and loved their company and had a fun time, but for long term travel I prefer to go alone. Alone you can choose what to do and not compromise because your friends want to go to a certain place you may not be so interested in, but want to enjoy the company of your friends.

Your website shows you have been to 74 countries already. I won’t ask you to write them all down. In stead, where are you now?

Yes I have been to a lot of countries so far, but there are so many more I want to see. Right now I am in China, which is a great place for food!

Any idea where you will go next?

I am planning on going to England for a few weeks over Christmas to visit family, then visit friends in Amsterdam. After that I am not so sure, but I love East Asia so may end up in Taiwan as I haven’t been there before.

You have been travelling non-stop for a long time now. I think many people have this question: How do you afford this all?

Well, I consider myself on the road as I have kept going since leaving home in 1997, but have done various jobs along the way in different countries, especially in Amsterdam, which was kind of an unofficial base. I would save money over a few months and then continue on again. I also studies a lot about poker and am a pretty good player, so I try to find easy games when I can that helps fund me a bit. For example, I didn’t like Nairobi but spent 10 days there because the games were so good and basically payed all my African safaris with it.

While reading your website I saw there isn’t a section about North and South America. Haven’t you been there (yet)?

I have been to South America but not the North. The reason there is no South America section is because I started the website after being there and have not written any retrospective posts yet.

Eating monkey in Borneo, Cage diving with Great Whites in SA, Sandboarding in Namibia, Experiencing a funeral at the Tana Toraja in Indonesia. Anything that you really like adding to this already impressive list?

There are so many things that I have been lucky enough to experience over the years that it would take a lot of posts to cover them. I will chuck in here for now that I was blessed into a tribe in Indonesia back in 2001. That was pretty cool.

What is the best/scariest/craziest/saddest or most exciting experience you have had?

It is hard to answer this question because when you travel for so long you have so many different emotions over the time. So the best ones I couldn’t really answer as there are so many. The scariest probably was when I had a major medical issue in India back in 2007 that would change my life quite seriously. I wrote about it in a post on my website, but it was basically to do with a blood clot in my brain that exploded and caused a stroke and seizures. I still have it in my brain, but mostly have the seizures under control. It hasn’t stopped me though! Another moment is when I was mugged by several men with knifes in Bogota in 2012. Saddest moment would be that medical thing I mentioned before. Exciting moment would probably be in my first few months in 1997 when I realized that this was the life I wanted to live – a life of travel. Amongst many others of course!

If I say ‘travelling’, what is the first thing that pops into your head?


Want to know more about Jonny and his travel tales? Visit his website by clicking here.

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