Lifestyle Design, Outsourcing and Backpacking with Johnny Ward



Johnny Ward, one of my favorite travel bloggers writing out of One Step 4Ward, has visited over 100 countries since 2006. I know him for his writing on adventures, entrepreneurship and lifestyle design.

If you’re looking for a good place to start with his writing, take a look at Johnny’s Bucket List and funny backpacking stories. Following, he answers a few of my questions:

You mention that you started your travelling career moving from Ireland to London for school, and then, after running out of money travelling, you worked in Australia. Can you tell me more about the life lessons you learned from living and working in Australia?

To be honest, Troy, the things  I learned (or confirmed rather) was that a) I wasn’t suited to working for someone else, and b) I don’t wanna sell my time. Both these lessons set me off on the path I’m on now.

I had a great time, and met some awesome people in the office I was working but every Sunday night I felt like clawing out my eyes in the hope that I wouldn’t have to report back to work on the Monday morning!

You wrote, “If you’re not happy, a good salary isn’t progress, it’s financial prison.” That’s not necessarily counter to common wisdom, but you acted on it. What books, people or other outside influences had the most effect on your way of seeing the world?

Tim Ferriss [The 4-Hour Workweek]  helped crystallize my thoughts, but I think I was already making my own way to similar conclusions.

I’m terrible with authority, so I was independent since birth, and making money for someone else while they give me a cut was not how I was gonna make my mark in the world!

Do you still have an apartment in Thailand? And why Thailand over the hundreds of other places you’ve travelled to?

Yes, mate, as soon as business took off I wanted to “own” something. Growing up poor I never really had much, so as soon as I hit six figures in my bank balance I was on the lookout for a permanent roof to put over my head, so no matter what happened then I’d be set.

Thailand was the first country I moved to, teaching English seven years ago, and I just fell in love with it. I love the chaos; it’s never boring, yet if I ever feel the need for my home comforts they’re just a taxi ride away in Bangkok.

It’s perfect for me.

To me it’s obvious that North America is a . . . different . . . experience than Southeast Asia, but do you have a country “type” preference when travelling? Any examples or major exceptions to the rule?

I hate the term, but for the readers to understand me better I prefer to travel in “Third World” countries. I hate how sterile the West feels after the chaos of the rest of the world. I love the buzz of foreign cultures.

It’s safe to say I’ll never live in Ireland again!


You’ve mentioned that you make five figures monthly from your blog; I’m assuming that a lot of this is based on writing gigs and selling editorial ad space (correct me if I’m wrong). Do you have any maybe-someday dreams of other projects leveraging your awesome community?

I don’t do any paid writing anymore, mate, and I sell bits and bobs of advertising. I started a media company, which generates most of my revenue and I outsource the workload, leaving me relatively free to travel the world.

Sometimes I long to write a book but my attention span is so short I don’t know if I have the ability to do it :s

You mention Nomadic Matt (who, incidentally, is speaking at TEDx in Toronto in February) as having been an influence on you; are there any other travel bloggers whom you highly recommend to people (like me) who love travel?

He influenced me in that he mentioned people were making money blogging, that was all it took for me to get going, and ultimately to where I am now.

I’m more of a businessman than a blogger, so I don’t really read any travel blogs. That being said Anthony from Man vs Clock and Niall from Disrupting the Rabblement are great guys.

A lot of people ask you how you make money with your blog; what’s interesting to other people is usually not what makes me the most proud, but it feels good when people figure that bit out. What’s one question that you wish people asked you about your life, and what’s the answer?

That is a super question, mate!

My passions lie in lifestyle design, outsourcing and backpacking, and I could talk about those three things indefinitely.

What I really wish they asked me? If I believe that they can achieve what I’ve achieved. Cause the answer is absolutely yes.

Thanks Johnny!

If you liked this, check out our last interview with Kimberly Fisher!

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