We have a new interview today with Johnny Ward, who’s been travelling around the world for about 7 years so far. I’ve particularly enjoyed reading not only his blog posts about his travels and experiences, but also his rants and advice about making money. In the rants you can often find truths that many people don’t talk about, and the ‘making money’ bit… well, I’m particularly interested in that!
Without further ado, let’s get into the interview.
Could you please tell the readers a little bit about yourself?
Sure, I’m a nomadic Irishman – been on the road since graduating Uni in 2007, I’ve travelled to over 100 countries and I run a business for about 10 hours per week from my laptop. On the rare occasions when i’m not on the road, I’m based in Bangkok, Thailand where I have an apartment in the city.
Why have you chosen Bangkok as your base?
Bangkok is a real hub for ‘digital nomads’. The lifestyle vrs cost of living is unparalled around the world. For a budget of around $3k per month you can have a tailor, a maid, a city centre apartment, a personal trainer etc. It’s really something special.
You started travelling back in 2006 – why did you make that choice?
I come from a really small town in Ireland, I grew up in a single parent family with no money so the prospects of world travel were slim. I always dreamt of far away places but they never seemed feasible. Then as soon as I graduated I thought ‘screw this, let’s give it a go!’, that was 7 years ago and i’m still going!
What would you say is the motivation that keeps you going?
I have a dream to visit every country in the world, that’s something I’d be very proud to acheive. So I don’t wanna rest until then! Also, from my fan page I’m aware how many people would love to be doing what I’m doing, so I feel compelled to enjoy the opportunities that I have as much as i can.
In your travels so far, have you found a favourite country?
To live, Thailand hand’s down. But not to travel in, that’s been done, and done again! To travel in, I’d say Ethiopia, or Iceland (or Papua New Guinea) – you get much more authentic experiences if you venture a little further than the others.
So why is Thailand your favourite country to live in, and why are the other three countries your favourite to travel in?
Living in Thailand, like I said earlier, is just just an amazing lifestyle. I can recover from my road-weariness, get stuck into some more online projects with decent internet, I can continue learning Thai and the restaurant/bar/club scene in Bangkok is really fun too.
Traveling in Ethiopia remains one of my favourite backpacking destinations. It’s super cheap, but with so much to see. Lalibela, where churches are dug into the ground as opposed to on top of it, should be one of the most famous sites in the world and were it not in such an obscure country, it certainly would be.
Iceland at Christmas is a real bucket list ticket. The northern lights are spectacular, as is riding snowmobiles over glaciers, ice-climbing and partying in Reykjavik. It may not be cheap, but it’s worth it.
PNG is a place I had been longing to visit, i love to go where other people generally don’t. And like my trips in Sudan, Somalia, East Timor, Kazakhstan etc as soon as I landed in PNG i felt like i was really traveling again. I stayed with a local tribe in Medang, a small town in the north of the country. They welcomed me with a local tribal dance, I ate dinner with the chiefs – amazing!
What’s been your most memorable experience in your travels?
As a huge sport fan I loved the Olympics in Bejing and the World Cup in South Africa, but I’m a huge wildlife fan so trekking with gorillas in Rwanda took my breath away.
What was it like in Beijing during the Olympics? What do you remember best about it?
Beijing was electric during the OIympics. They knew the eyes of the world were on them and they delivered. Best ever Olympics? Very possible. Beijing is always fascinating – Great Wall of China, Peking duck etc but that combined with elite sport was perfect. And China is very affordable to travel in to, another huge plus!
Have you worked out an average cost of travel per week, or does it depend on the country you’re in?
Excluding business expenses, I guess I’d spend around $400 per week. Naturally it depends which country you’re in but on average I’d say about $1500-$2k per month is more than adequate.
What’s been the most expensive country you’ve travelled through, and the cheapest?
Most expensive is Bhutan, the visa is $290 PER DAY for a solo traveler! The cheapest is probably Bangladesh.
What do you do to earn money along the way?
I have a few income streams online, I run a number of websites and have a number of staff who manage them. That allows me the freedom to travel when and where i want!
What do you like and dislike about your lifestyle choice?
Dislike? Very, very little to be honest. It used to be my lack of money, but online business are growing so that’s not such a worry anymore. The biggest dislike is actually a fear that it could end! Like? Everything, no boss, no alarms, indefinte travel – i wouldn’t swap it for anything.
How has the travelling lifestyle changed you?
I like to think it’s made me more patient, and it’s certainly opened my eyes to how fortunate we are to come from ‘developed’ (hate the term) countries – with our health care, education, opportunities etc. I appreciate everything i have, every day and the more i travel, the more grateful i feel.
What advice would you offer people who are thinking about doing the same thing?
In terms of travel, do it and do it as soon as possible. If you want it to be a new lifestyle, then work out a way to make money online whether it’s freelance skype english teaching, article writing, sales, affiliate marketing – find a way to bring it at least $1k a month, then you’ll be truly free!
Thanks Johnny, I really appreciate your time!
You can find him at any of the following locations:
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