A few months into teaching, I started to become aware of how big and awesome the world was and how that, with the one life that we have, if we follow a path in which our true passions don’t lie, then we’re doing nothing but wasting our time.
Johnny, you left university in 2006 and decided to take a year out before work…what made you want to go traveling?
I guess because I come from a small town in Ireland, and we didn’t have much money growing up, I always felt like i was missing out on seeing the world so as soon as I could take the plunge i did! I had planned to go before uni but my mum convinced me to wait, she was worried I’d never come back (turns out she was right!)
Where did you go and what exciting things did you get up to?
My first stop was heading with a one way ticket to Thailand and a place on the CELTA (Enligh teaching qualification from Cambridge uni) course in Chiang Mai. So i studied that for a month, traveled around Thailand and Cambodia for a month then headed back to Chiang Mai to find work as an English teacher. That literally changed my life forever.
When did you realise perhaps you didn’t want to go back and work in finance?
A few months into teaching, I started to become aware of how big and awesome the world was and how that, with the one life that we have, if we follow a path in which our true passions don’t lie in then we’re doing nothing but wasting our time. I realised I wanted to live life with no regrets, experience everything, see everything and not hold back due to social conformities.
What motivated you to set up onestep4ward and when did you discover that blogging could be a source of income?
I set it up about 18 months ago or so, and at that time I had maybe visited 30 countries but I had had no money at all so I was traveling so ridiculously cheap that I kept ending up in crazy situations, my friends all suggested I write a blog. So I started then. After 6 months or so, I had a few advertisers knocking on my door which was great to the situation now where it can provide me the level of income to allow me to travel and not to actually ‘work’
Were you inspired by any particular websites, or travel bloggers?
I loved the candy trail and wandering earl – both these guys were real travelers, who had done and seen so many amazing things. They weren’t another guy who went to Australia, and then to South East Asia and maybe to the US and then talked about traveling in the same tone as everyone else. They went to different places and really saw the world, that’s what I try to do too.
I’m sort of actually semi-based in BKK until feb 2012 (although going to North Korea in January for a while) but yeah I’ve been in every Asian country west of Pakistan aside from North Korea and Bhutan – and I’m trying to sort those both out at the moment.
How do you fund your lifestyle these days?
Onestep4ward.com generates anywhere between $1k-$4k per month, so that’s enough. I’ve started another site called aspiringbackpacker.com which is starting to make money. And I have my new business, getting people to study their TEFL course in Thailand – that’s going to be quite big hopefully, it’s called Teach dot Travel (www.teach.travel). Between those things that’s enough money to keep me on the road. Also, I work on summer and winter camps in Korea for a bit of surplus cash if I’m in the area.
Do you have any travel plans for the upcoming year?
I do actually! I’m going from Tibet to Ireland by land, via the Trans Siberian train, I can’t wait. Trying to sort visas out at the moment which is a nightmare, but it’ll be worth it in the end.
Your blog has a strong emphasis on lifestyle design, what would you say to anyone thinking of becoming location independent?
Just bloody do it! It’s terrifying I know but everyone who has done it was terrified too, so you’re in good company. And once you make the leap of faith, you’re life will never be the same again.