A chat with Johnny of OneStep4Ward.

11/19/2020Jake Ryan

When I first started blogging, Johnny of was a big inspiration for me. He was living my dream, travelling, blogging and making a killing at the same time. 

Johnny has managed during his time blogging to visit every country, and has now set himself some new goals to reach. 

I recently spoke to Johnny, see what he had to say below. 

First of all, tell us a little bit about yourself?
Johnny, from Ireland. Born in the south, grew up in the north. Growing up, very young, we had a very turbulent childhood that I won't go in to much, but we ended up in Northern Ireland, living on welfare in a single-parent family - my mum, sister, and me. Although we were broke, my mum always taught me to believe in myself, so after going to uni in England, I hit the road - that was 2006, and I've kinda been on the road since!

You’ve achieved so much already, tell us a little about your biggest achievements to date?
I guess it's finishing my 10 year journey to every country in the world. It cost me so much - finances, mental health, missing big events, potential careers, relationships. But it was my dream. And no one from ireland had ever done it before, so i wanted to be the first, to make my mark. Especially coming from the type of upbringing I had. 

Lets start with your travelling, at what age did you first start travelling?
We couldn't afford holidays growing up. I didn't go overseas until I was 14, on a boat to France, and then again a year later. They were the only times I had been abroad. Then university 18-22. From 22 to now (36), I haven't stopped! First time, was summers at uni, I worked at kids camps in the USA. 

When did you get the idea of wanting to travel to every country on the planet?
I had 'accidentally' visited 49 countries since finishing uni. I had taught English in Korea and Thailand, and traveled between jobs, all through Asia, broke-travel, $10 a day stuff, it was amazing. then moved to work in Australia in a 'real' job for a year, but i hated it, quit, and flew one-way to zimbabwe, where I overlanded from Cape Town to Cairo via public transport. That brought me up to 49 countries, which is about 25% of the world. i though 'wow, 1/4, lets try for 100 before 30yo, and then all before 35!".
started a blog, and it began to take off, which meant i could work from my laptop as i traveled, and I went for it.

I guess this might be hard to answer, but did you have a favourite country you visited?
Honestly I don't, sorry to disappoint! Its about the people, isn't it? If im with my girl, or my mum, or my best mates, the countries I'm in when with them are the best. 

Which country was the biggest surprise for you? 
Maybe Ethiopia? I hadnt expected it to offer so much in terms of tourism. Epic stuff to see and do in every corner of that country. Unreal.

How did you family feel about your quest to visit every country?
Always supportive, but initially a bit worried about where my life was going. No career, no money, and a long-term plan to just travel. But as the business side started to work, that worry was alleviated. 

What did you learn about yourself while travelling?
Make the most of your opportunities. People think other people get lucky. They don't. They just pick the ball up and run with it when they get the chance. If you are too risk-averse, you don't even see the opportunities when they present themselves, hence feeling 'unlucky'. Everyone gets their chance, only brave people take them. I learned that I must be one of the brave people, or regret it forever.

What advice do you have for someone wanting to go travelling?
There is no 'perfect time'. And doing it younger is better. That doesn't mean you should have traveled 10 years ago, it means NOW is better than in 2 years time. 

How much would you recommend starting a blog to someone who is planning to go travelling?
100000%. Worst case scenario, you have a great diary of your trip that also can help others. Best case? You make a lot of money, and can be free from the rat race forever. Surely that's worth a shot?

How long have you been blogging? 
10 years. 

How much work goes into your blog each week? 
When I'm traveling, I only do emails. Advertising makes me money, so I sell the ads while I'm on the road, but rarely blog. So maybe 1-2 hours per day. when I'm stationary, maybe 3/4 hours per day - some time on ad sales, and some time on blog posts. 

What’s the proudest moment of your life so far?
Making my first $1m from my blog, or buying my first place mortgage-free. To just travel is amazing, but having financial security means you shouldn't need to answer to a boss for a while means that you'll have the freedom to live the life you want.

As someone who is an inspiration to many, who are your biggest inspirations in life?
Growing up, only my mum. I had no male figure in my life, no close family, no male family friends. That was tough but my mum was, and is, my hero. Nowadays? David fucking Goggins. I LOVE THAT GUY. The attitude of not moaning, not complainings, just doing. I love it.

Outside of travelling, what else makes you happy?
Pushing myself, ideally for charity. I just cycled the length of thailand, having never cycled before. Then ran Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai, 200km across 2 days to raise money for COVID-affected families. I have my Mudita Adventures non-profit, where we have donated over $200k over the last 5 years. And I've been climbing the highest peak on each continent recently too (known as the seven summits). Comfort zones means a life of mediocrity. That's my biggest fear. 

And finally, what are your plans for the upcoming year?
The rest of 2020? Training. Because in January 2021, I will row across the atlantic!

Thanks Johnny for taking the time to speak to TravelFoodFilm. 

Be sure to follow Johnnys journey on his blog and Instagram

All photos in this post are property of Johnny at OneStep4Ward. 

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