Johnny Ward has made a success of his travel blogging. He claims to have generated income of $1 million from his website reports of his adventures.
There’s a lot of information on OneStep4Ward. Since he began traveling, the Irishman has spent time in 194 of the world’s nations. There are just three more countries to visit and then he’s been everywhere! He’s saving Norway for last – Johnny says getting there is straightforward and the country will provide the perfect location for his friends and family to meet up to celebrate.
I assumed this well-travelled twenty-something knows how much a beer costs in Oslo. Then again, if you’ve made a million, you can afford a ridiculously overpriced round of £10 beers. But he won’t be having a swift one in the other two remaining places – Yemen and Saudi Arabia. That’s if he gets there. Both states are proving really difficult. Johnny says he’s on the phone or email for hours each day trying to secure the necessary visas and paperwork.
You might be surprised to learn that he thinks North Korea isn’t that difficult to gain access to. It’s straightforward if you’re prepared to pay for an organised tour, he says. And luckily he has a friend who does just that. I was interested to hear what he thought about his Pyongyang experience. “The country is not as ridiculous as the Western media would have us believe but is not without its flaws,” is his considered reply.
With so many stamps in his passport, Johnny is wealth of travel knowledge. I want to know if the days of stretching a tight budget are over. If you want to travel cheaply there is one region that benefits from good tourism services and remains cheap, he tells me. That’s Southeast Asia. You can still get by on €30 a day,” he says. “As soon as you think about LA or Sydney you’ll start burning the cash,” he warns.
And money matters are addressed in Johnny’s best advice for travellers. Don’t go anywhere without a fistful of dollars! Johnny always makes sure that he has a few credit cards to fall back on and at least one Visa card and a MasterCard. His top tip is to have a secret stash of United States dollars and Euros secreted in your bag and on your person. “If the brown stuff hits the fan you can pay your way out of a problem,” he cheerfully advises. “Are those two access-all-area currencies?” I ask him. “The dollar more so,” he responded “but if you have those two you can always pay.”
Johnny says that if you find yourself in a country where ATMs won’t work, as sometimes happens, or you’ve been robbed, you can always pay a cabbie for your journey to your hotel or the airport with US currency. “The exchange rate might be awful and the journey may be just a few dollars in the local currency, but that’s better than nothing and being stranded.”
You can follow Johnny’s travels online at onestep4ward.com where he’ll share some of the secrets of making money using the internet. He suggests that travellers produce a blog as it can be a gateway to travel, with many hotels prepared to offer reduced or free rooms for a review.