Johnny Ward of OneStep4Ward.com, has traveled to over 100 countries since 2006, and shares his expertise and tips about each country that he has visited on his travel blog. He has traveled to several continents, he has had amazing experiences, and he has experienced wonderful people and cultures.
As Johnny says on his website, “If you’re not happy, a good salary isn’t progress, it’s financial prison. Life is meant to be lived, not sold to the highest bidder. Social conformity, the media, our education systems dictate that we should go to school, go to uni, go to a city, work in an office, save for a retirement that we’ll be too old to enjoy. Personally, I don’t want to do that. Not one bit. I wanna live now, today and you should want that too.”
Johnny on Travel Blogging
You are one of the best-known names in travel blogging. To what do you attribute your blogging success?
Thanks for the love but I wouldn’t go that far!! I guess my site is popular because I’m from small town in Ireland, not from a rich family, etc., so If I can travel the world, people know they can do it too. Also, I go to places that most people don’t so that’s always interesting too.
What were your goals when you first started OneStep4Ward? Have they changed over time?
Just to share my story and hopefully to inspire other people to travel. I really wanted to show that everyone can see the world, it’s not some far-fetched dream reserved only for the wealthy. Also, I hoped that my site could fund my travels a little bit and luckily enough I’ve gotten to the stage now where I don’t have to ‘work’ unless I want to. So that’s pretty cool. My plans now are to start more sites, all travel orientated and to expend in the English language teaching programs overseas.
It sounds like you are living a very rewarding lifestyle and your blog is helping to create residual income. What tools do you use to monetize your blog? Which works best for you?
I have a few sites but for my flagship site at onestep4ward.com I sell advertising and publish ‘guest posts’ for companies. It compromises the quality of my blog, I know that and I don’t like it, but it allows me to live this lifestyle so I gotta make sacrifices somewhere.
What non-monetary benefits, professional or personal, do you get from blogging?
I get to share my stories, that’s cool. And I’ve met some awesome people through my site, when I’m in a new country people often email me and we meet, I love that.
What’s the most popular post on OneStep4Ward? Why do you think that is?
Haha, it’s actually a story about my mate sh*tting on his own passport in Kathmandu and also one about how much it costs to climb Kilimanjaro. The first one is just an awesome travel story and the second one is a real account about costs, not some company trying to convince you to book their trek!
What is the single most effective strategy that a blogger can use to bring traffic to a blog?
Without a doubt regular content. If you can post 3 or 4 times per week, and you stick at it for a year or so, then you’ll be doing just fine.
Do you think that blogging has improved your writing, your perception, your photography, or any other skills? If so, was creating the blog in part a conscious way to develop these skills?
My photography has come on leaps and bounds although I’m still probably average at best! My writing is a lot faster now, and I’m much more aware about SEO when I write now too. It might not translate when you read but Google loves it.
Which travel blogs, if any, do you read?
I’m a big fan of Michael at thecandytrail, and wanderingearl. I like ‘real’ travelers, none of this Thai islands, boozey, 6 weeks in SE Asia travel blog scene.
Who, in your opinion, is the most successful travel blogger (from a business perspective)? Why do you think that is?
Gary Arndt probably and maybe Nomadic Matt. Gary is for real, he travels everywhere and he’s diligent about his work. Matt markets himself well hence his popularity.
Johnny on Traveling
What made you pick up your things and head off to explore the world?
Wow, well I’ve actually wanted to travel since I was about 14. Because I was quite poor growing up, we never really went overseas. I didn’t leave Ireland until I was 14 or 15! Now I know I don’t want a mundane, ‘ordinary’ life. I want to be different and I want to really live my life, every day.
What one thing do you know now that you wish you had known when you first started traveling?
You know what? I’m happy with where I am now so I wouldn’t wanted to know anything. It’s all been an awesome learning curve and everyday we learn new things. That being said if I had known you could make money from blogging I probably would have started my site years ago!!
You have traveled to over 60 countries. Can you name your favorite three and least favorite three?
My favorite country is Thailand but I don’t enjoy traveling here, I enjoy living here. For traveling, my 3 faves would be Ethiopia, Indonesia and maybe China. My least favourite is definitely South Africa! So tense there, other than that I’ve got nothing but love!
About how much, on average, do you spend in a month on the road?
It varies a lot to be honest, a few years ago I spent around $800 USD per month because I had no money! Now it’s probably a bit more, maybe $1000-$1200 but naturally if you’re in expensive countries, it’s tough to stick to that budget. I’m off to Russia next month for example and the visa alone is gonna cost me in excess of $250.
How much time are you “plugged in” to your computer, smart phone, or other devices during the course of your travels?
I travel with my MacBook everywhere and I’m a big movie buff so I definitely use my computer everyday. Workwise, probably an hour or two a day but I’m on my computer more than that socializing, watching movies, etc.
If you are interested in reading more about Johnny Ward, check out his travel website and blog at OneStep4Ward. *Updated December 2013