Bangor-born blogger Jonny Blair describes himself as “a long term backpacker and digital nomad”. He has been travelling the world since 2003.
“Since 2003, I have visited around 130 FIFA countries and a further 40 unrecognised countries and states,” he said. “I have worked in Irish pubs in three continents, taught English to children, teenagers and adults and spent six months on the farms of Tasmania.”
He had amazing experiences along the way. “Some of my craziest experiences have been hiking to the highest point of Central America (Tajamulco, Guatemala), crossing the equator on foot in Macapa (Brazil), feeding hyenas in Harar (Ethiopia), visiting Saddam Hussein’s House of Horrors in Sulaymaniyeh (Iraq), bathing nude in Whaler’s Bay (Antarctica) and playing football beside a Buddhist Monastery in Samangan (Afghanistan).
I have visited over 40 unrecognised countries. In most of those places, I was the only tourist and in some I was the first and only travel writer and backpacker to give the country any kind of media coverage.
Jonny writes every day and posts on two blogs. “I’m rarely far away from my favourite two inventions — the paper and pen. I write everyday and I seldom say no to a groundhopping trip to watch an obscure football team.
“I run two main blogs at the moment, Don’t Stop Living is my flagship project which began life in a hostel in Toronto in 2007. However, my spin off project Northern Irishman in Poland is now more popular.
“I also love writing about football, I’m a veteran of around 600 live matches across 100 countries, a keen supporter of Glentoran FC, KP Starogard, Bournemouth and Northern Ireland.”
He said he enjoys sharing videos on YouTube. “I personally get most joy from my YouTube videos as they are fast and real, or my blog posts about bars, restaurants and cafes and especially when I visit and write about micronations.”
Jonny said he misses some home comforts and company in Bangor. “Being An Ulsterman, I miss a good old cheese soda, a wee shot of Bushmills and of course a pint of Guinness.
“Depression is the hardest thing for me personally. Loneliness is tough and trying to maintain a relationship while being a public blogger who also works as a barman and teacher is a lifestyle that others question and don’t really associate themselves with. People have to like you for who you are.”