Published by Johnny Ward on May 13, 2013
Restlessness (def): The ability to rest or relax as a result of boredom
Restlessness is a personality trait I actively encourage. I’m a restless character and I’m proud of it. Restlessness is our brain letting us know that we can be more, we can do more, we can achieve more. With every business idea flapping through our mind, and every country we dream of visiting, our brain runs at 100mph running all the different scenarios simultaneously. Business models, profit margins, route plans, sights to see. This is my restlessness and long may it continue.
I remember throughout my life my restlessness was frowned upon, teachers and family members would comment on it – “you’re so restless Johnny”. It was seen as a negative emotion, something you had to work through and deal with. Accept your current standing and be ok with your lot. I wasn’t haven’t any of it.
I believe restlessness is our mind telling us to strive for more. Restlessness is the emotion we experience before we make a change. It’s the trigger, the catalyst that we need. The wakeup call that what we have now isn’t enough.
Treat restlessness as a call to action, brought on by boredom, so surely the solution to it is to remove the boredom….
But restlessness isn’t enough to achieve your dreams. It’s simply the first step. We have to act on it. Whether you’re restless about a relationship you wanna stop (or start), restless about your job prospects and how unfulfilling your job is, restless about your yearning to travel, about how big the world is and you wanna see more of it. It’s all positive, don’t repress those worries. Take them, understand them and act on them accordingly.
Be happy you’re restless, pity the ones who are content with less. Your restlessness means you’re not accepting the status quo. You know there’s more to life, so go out and get it.
Tags: inspiration, motivation, motivational, motivational monday
Published by Johnny Ward on April 08, 2013
I remember facebook stalking some guy (God I wish I could remember his name), around 7 years ago when I began this lifestyle, I was 22 and he was about my age now (29). His facebook photos were immense, from Argentina, Mexico, Greece, China, Egypt – I was blown away, how can someone so young travel so much?! So I contacted him and humbly told him my story. I was a broke English teacher in Chiang Mai, Thailand making about $700 a month but I dream of doing what he’s doing, how can you travel so much?! His response crushed me. “You won’t be able to do it teaching English in some sh*tty country for f*ck all money mate, that’s for sure”. All he had to tell me was to make a start. But instead he almost crushed me. Asshole. But now, 7 years later, i’m telling you guys….
Now, as I approach my 100th country I’ve been getting a lot of emails from loyal readers who wanna follow their travel dreams too, but their task seems too daunting, it’s too big a jump, too large a gap to envisage bridging. If you dream of hitting up 100+ countries, how can you even start to rack up that number, right? It’s just too many, it’d take too long, cost too much money. Hold that thought.
People following my onestep4ward facebook fan page and who are also either working online or aspiring to do so have been contacting me with increasing regularity too as my lifestyle has evolved from broke backpacker to not-so-broke backpacker. Blogging, affiliate sales, copy writing, SEO – whatever it is you’re doing, or considering doing, watching your google analytics tick over on 15 readers per day, or your paypal account is getting less action than a Catholic school nun, it’s difficult to see how or when you’ll be reaching a point where you’re financially independent, free to chase your dreams and set up your life how you want, it seems almost impossible, believe me – I know it. I was there less than 3 years ago too.
Heartfelt, speaking from experience, pep-talk time…
I left my country with less than $2k in the bank more than 6 years ago, with a one-way ticket to Asia, a degree I was destined never to use, a severe bout of wanderlust, a desire to be self-employed and a morbid fear of succumbing to the rat race. No clue, seemingly no hope and certainly no plan.
Fast forward 6 years and everything’s come together. I’ve set up ‘home’ in Thailand, I travel as much as I want (which in essence is indefinitely), I work less than 20 hours a week, with friends all over the world, a more than healthy bank account and aspiration to even bigger and better things.
But how did I do it? How can you do it too?
Make a start. That’s it. Stop creating obstacles, stop ‘accepting’ that it’ll never be you, stop comparing yourself to others, and most of all stop procrastinating. Be proactive, make a decision that moves you towards your dream. Stop talking about it, stop waiting for your friends to join you, stop waiting for your families approval. Do it now, make your start.
You wanna be a photographer? Ok, what have you done to make it happen? Get snapping, get networking online and start pitching.
Wanna be a travel writer? What have you done to make it happen? Start writing about your home, and your surrounding areas, contact your local paper, pitch your ideas to magazine, be relentless.
Thinking about teaching English? What have u done to make it happen? Sure, a $200 online tefl isn’t gonna make you the best teacher in the world, but it’s a step in the right direction. Don’t have a degree? China is still waiting for you. Keep moving forward.
To get to where we wanna be, we gotta start moving in that direction. Talking about it doesn’t count. Start making progress, any progress, however small. Then make some more. Before you know it, you’re living your life, following your passion and from there anything is possible. See you on the road folks. Happy travels!
Tags: inspiration, motivational, motivational monday
Published by Johnny Ward on August 13, 2012
“So what do you do?”
“Oh me, Im an accountant? I do spreadsheets and stuff”
“Great, how about you?”
“I sell office equipment”
So, that’s what “you do” is it? That’s your defining act? And it may well stay like that until you’re retirement, in a cool 40 years or so. Not quite what you had in mind when you were 14, and all starry-eyed.
Where did this question, and its meaning, stem from? When did we let our jobs define “what we do”? This, I hasten to add, is not my normal damning opinion on life in western Europe or north America, this viral sentiment has spread the world over, and shows no signs of letting up unfortunately. But we don’t need to accept it.
Todays article is more of a call to action than anything else. On two fronts actually. First up, I urge you to never ask anyone “What do you do” IF your actual question means “What job do you do”.
From a sociological point of view we need to begin to understand that those are two hugely different things. If we continue in our current mindsets, we’re never going to shift our psyche to an area where we can actually live our lives doing what we love to do, with ‘work’ coming a distant second. A peripheral necessity.
Secondly, when someone asks you “What do you do” be prepared to answer openly and honestly. Don’t let your work define you, that’s not “what you do” as a person. Tell them your passions, your hobbies, your dreams. Educate them not to be defined by their job, spread the positivity.
If someone asks me, “Johnny, what do you do?”, my answer is invariably along the lines of:
“I travel a lot, I love to go kayaking too. I party too much with old friends, but I wont apoligise for that. I try to experience new things regularly and I love meeting new people. I try to avoid my comfort zone as much as possible!” *Queue furrowed brow from the questioner.
If you struggle to think of a free and open answer, then have a look at your life. Is it full? Interesting? Exciting? If it’s not, do something about it. Photography class, yoga lesson, speed dating. Whatever. If you have nothing to answer to “What do you do” then that’s even worse than the questioner assuming that your work defines you. Because maybe it does.
Tags: motivation, motivational monday
Published by Johnny Ward on August 06, 2012
I now around 7 websites (with 5 more in development) and a business in Bangkok, I’m writing an ebook (or 2), I work about 10 hours per week, and I travel when and where I want. I have an assistant who does my research and organizes my work flow. Life is good, but it’s not exclusive to me. Not by a long shot, if you want it, you can get it. So do you want it?
Judging by the large amount of emails I get from my readers regarding my expertise, you guys assume I’m a computer whizz. Let me put that idea to bed right now. I’m awful with computers, I don’t know what HTML stands for, I even struggle to resize an image. I’ve never studied computers, or marketing, or journalism, or entrepreneurship.
What I do have an abundance of is a) ideas b) passion for life. And that’s all you need guys, the rest is just details.
If you’re working in a job you don’t like, or if you’re dreaming of being self-employed, it only takes an idea to set you free. If you’ve been sitting on that idea for a while, get off your ass, and utilize it. But it into practice. You don’t need the expertise. You can hire that, for a fraction of the price you’re thinking right now.
Ideas are much more valuable than any skillset you can learn on youtube. There are no video tutorials in the world than can teach you to generate ideas, there is your skill, now run with it. Online businesses take next to no capital to start-up, and as they grow, so will your scope to market it.
You’ve thought of a social network for fitness? No probs. How about an online market place for retro football shirts? Easy. Be proactive and get it done. There are countless websites where you can hire designers, programmers, researchers, writers for next to nothing, literally. We’re generation Y, the world is shrinking and we’ve been gifted the chance to come from countries with strong currencies. Use that.
Don’t ask your graphic design mate how much it costs to make a basic website, he’ll quote you $2000. Check out freelancer, elance etc and get it done for $200. Seriously. And then you’re off, the rest is up to you? Logo? $30. Business card design? $15. These are genuine fees.
All you need is the idea. The rest is all downhill. Good luck, see you on the road.
Tags: it only takes an idea, motivational monday
Published by Johnny Ward on July 30, 2012
Facing your fears is the only way to truly overcome them, and hitting the open road with no real plan can induce trepidation in even the most hardened traveler.
I’ve just said goodbye to my buddies on the road (again) and I’m jumping on the train to Hungary to begin the third leg of my China to Ireland by land trip. From this point on, I’m going it alone and I’ve got no idea what to expect.
Every time I embark on a lengthy journey like this my fears reestablish themselves. Am I going to be lonely on the road? Where will I sleep? How will I get from A to B? What if something goes wrong? What if I run out of money? With a thousand doubts rushing through my head, I take a step back and appreciate my concerns.
Of course I get scared when I venture into the unknown, and I’m sure you guys will too, but don’t worry it’s completely normal and it means you’re actually living life. I think of this – if it’s true that we need to know pain to know pleasure then surely we need to know fear to know courage.
If you never wanna be scared, stay right where you are. There are no fears deep in your comfort zone. There’s also no excitement, no discovery, no adrenaline. There’s no new friends, no new experiences, no sense of living.
If a little fear now and then is the price we have to pay to wake up in the morning with a smile on our face and an extra beat to our heart, then it’s one we should be willing to pay.
Apathy will be the death of all of us if we’re not careful, and that’s what our comfort zone represents. So don’t be apathetic, get lost then find your way. Be scared then find your courage. Hit the road, embrace your fears and live your life. We only get one of them. Happy travels.
Tags: fear, motivation, motivational monday
Published by Johnny Ward on July 23, 2012
Loneliness is a common emotion on the road, especially when you travel alone however, it’s not an emotion that lasts long, trust me. Sometimes paths cross and sometimes they separate but it’s what happens in between that keeps us going.
“True happiness is only known when shared” Alexander Supertamp
Every time I embark on a new leg of my journey I let a group of friends know my vague plans, I hope that one or two of them are at a juncture in their lives that they can join me, and over the past 6 years that’s happened quite a lot.
It’s common for people to feel stifled by their job, to dread the alarm on a Monday, to be in a relationship that’s dragging them down – I offer them a way out, or at the very least, a break from their status quo where they can get their heads straight and work out what it is they want from life.
Traveling with someone does something that no other walk of life can truly do. It creates a bond that really cements a friendship, it takes you from drunken bar buddies to someone you can rely on, share your problems with and rejoice in each other’s success.
Traveling, and backpacking in particular, is no holiday as any true traveler can attest to. You’ll be lost, beyond tired, hungry, hungover, broke, homesick, uncomfortable, too hot, too cool, heartbroken. You’ll also be ecstatic, happy, appreciative, free, independent, positive, enthusiastic, exhilarated, and radiant. The range knows no end.
Extreme emotions are tied to traveling and there’s no avoiding it. Your travel buddies will see the best and worst of you, they’ll see you from defensive to vulnerable, from selfish to selfless and if you’re still at the next platform, waiting to board the night train to your next destination, cracking jokes about the crazy sh*t that’s happened on your trip, then you’ve probably got a friend for life.
Traveling reveals new depths of friendships. You’ve got proof that your travel pals are there for you through thick and thin, and it’s reassuring. Your paths may separate but your bond will remain strong. Continents may be between you, but your experiences transcend that. Every facebook status liked, every new backpacking plan and you’re right back together again, even if it’s just in thought. And sometimes that’s all you need.
Loneliness only exists when we forget to appreciate the friendships that we’ve already formed, the escapades that you’ve shared with people you’re close to, so next time that sad pang hits your heart, recollect the good times, reminisce. How can you be lonely when you’ve shared all those experiences with someone, and they’re only a thought away. Happy travels.
Tags: friendship, inspiration, motivational monday
Published by Johnny Ward on June 25, 2012
I remember my economics professor at uni proudly declaring that there’s “no such thing as a free lunch”, granted he didn’t coin the phrase (we can think Mr Smith for that one) but boy did he love to sell it. I just never quite bought it though, at least not entirely.
The message is clear, nothing comes for free, we need to strive for everything, we get out what we put it, reap what you sow, yadda yadda yadda. I’m not gonna argue that this is completely wrong, but I certainly don’t subscribe to the sentiment in its entirety, and neither should you.
For those of you who haven’t read Tim Ferris 4HWW (four hour work week) book, I’m going to run you through a principle that I absolutely, fundamentally and wholeheartedly subscribe to.
It ‘s called the Pareto Principle, created by Mr Vilfredo Pareto back in the 19th century. In Lehman’s terms, essentially he argues that to generate 100 arbitrary units of output, you need to put in 100 arbitrary units of input. Pretty simple stuff so far, right? Good.
He goes on to argue that the first 80 units of output are generated by our first 20 unites of input. Then we have to use our next 80 units of input to generate the last 20 units of output.
More simply put, for example, to earn $100 dollars, we may have to work for 100 hours (just for simple maths!). However, the first 20 hours we work actually reaps $80 of the $100. Then we need to use the next 80 hours to squeeze out the last, more difficult $20. Finally giving us our maximum $100, albeit at the cost of our 100 hour effort.
So what Tim Ferris, and now I, say loudly and proudly. F*ck that last $20. Work your 20 hours, and take your $80. It’s not worth it to strive, and toil, and labour for the last $20. Use those 80 hours elsewhere, whether it’s for travel, leisure or even more projects.
I work around 10 hours per week, and it allows me to travel the world AND save money each month, my online income is slowly growing and growing, as are the amount of projects I undertake and amount of work I outsource. When people ask me how I’ve redesigned my lifestyle I tell them I adhere to the Pareto Principle. And I’m never gonna stop.
So, “there’s no such thing as a free lunch”. Thanks Prof, understood, but there’s certainly such thing as a cheap, delicious lunch. And I’m gonna eat that every day. That’s my work done for today, I’m off to Santorini, Greece tonight, happy travels!
Tags: 4HWW, four hour work week, lifestyle design, make money from your travel blog, make money online, monetize your travel blog, motivational monday, pareto principle
Published by Johnny Ward on June 04, 2012
It’s time for some hard, honest truths. Priorities, priorities, priorities – that’s what they always tell us about right? Do something wrong at school, uni, work – “You need to get your priorities straight”. Next time someone says it, look right back at that them and agree, cos they’re right, even if they don’t quite know it.
The 21st century priority list runs as follows:
Success – Check bank balance, invariably not big enough. Not successful enough yet. Keep trying. Represented almost solely upon your income.
Square Family – Husband, wife, 2 children, maternity leave, good school, dog. Must not indulge in other desires. Keep it regulated and safe. Tuesday night is date night.
Expectations – Family expectations, Societal expectations – either way, it’s obvious you should have your alarm clack set for 7am on a Monday morning, that much is clear. Don’t forget it.
To Conform – Dress the same (nice suit by-the-way and where did you get that bag? It’s marvelous), go to the same resort in Spain or Cuba your friends went to last year, drinks on a Thursday night, Indian takeaway on a Sunday.
Save – The taxes are crippling but put at least 10% of your money away, aside from retirement funds, just for that ‘rainy day’. Ignore the fact that it is, in fact, raining today, and has been raining for weeks.
Impress – New BMW series, larger thinner more expensive TV, Jimmy Choos, chat about the expensive restaurant you tried last week, yes my engagement ring cost $10k, he must really love me. Skiing in France so 2009, I’m in Argentina this year. I could only get 4 days off work, but it’s the new Alps, trust me.
Achieve – Graduate scheme, middle management, director. Now YOU finally get to make the decision on which new flavour of Lays can come out next year. Feel the power.
Sound familiar? Depressingly so. If you’re happy, fulfilled and genuinely content then good on you, I admire that. No need to read on.
If you’re reading this, shaking your head, knowing deep down it’s true then it’s just about time to shake it up, don’t you think? Here’s how I deal with priorities:
Happiness – Number 1 priority. Everything else derives from this. Do what makes you happy, and then do it more often. I loved to meet people, experience new things, inspire others. So I do it and it makes me happy. This is not quantum physics, anyone can do it.
Creativity – If someone asks me to draw a horse, it’s more likely to look like a vegetable. I can’t sing, play any instruments and my dancing only qualifies as dancing by very drunk people. However, we’re all creative in our own right, whether it’s writing, making music, drawing, even speaking to new people is creative. We all need a creative outlet. If you don’t have one, you’re stifling yourself. Find one. Facebook doesn’t count.
Freedom – For me this means freedom to go anywhere I want, do what I want, meet who I want. But true freedom doesn’t necessarily mean traveling, my freedom gives me the choice to travel, and I love it. Freedom means freedom to choose to do what you want to do. If you’re doing something you don’t wanna be doing, you’re not free. Search for your freedom, pour all your effort into achieving it. There’s no happiness without freedom of choice.
Fulfillment – Almost as important as happiness. In the dark of night, just before you sleep, and your thoughts are running wild. Are you happy with your life? If the answer isn’t yes, you need to change something fast. I don’t need to say more than that, you already know it.
Honesty – Honestly to yourself, honesty to each other, honesty to the world. Don’t lie to yourself about who you are, what you want, the things you need/desire. Don’t follow someone else’s dream and convince yourself it’s yours.
Achievement – This does not mean reaching a new level on World of Warcraft, or beating Angry Birds. Set yourself goals and strive for them. Reward yourself accordingly. Be ambitious and when you achieve those goals, be proud of yourself and set new goals, further and more difficult. Don’t stop trying and don’t stop achieving. Write them down and never escape from them. Without them only mediocracy exists.
Tags: get your priorities right, inspiration, motivation, motivational monday
Published by Johnny Ward on May 28, 2012
Being driven by a singing, one-armed taxi driver 600km in Botswana, hitch hiking in a cargo boat through Burma and China, drinking in the toilet cubicles on a 14 hour train with no seat ticket – awesome experiences, and ones that don’t come from studying our Lonely Planet inside out.
Staying in the 'suburbs' of Dhaka, Bangladesh
When I reel off some of the crazy stuff that’s happened to me over the years, it brings a genuine smile to my face. All these memories warm my soul more even than the thought of seeing the Taj Mahal, The Pyramids of Giza or Petra, it’s always about the people.
Sitting in hostels, meeting fellow travelers, I often hear people say to me “That’s so cool Johnny, wow but that kinda sh*t just doesn’t happen to me”, and a few people nod in agreement. “Wow, you’re so lucky that happened, must have been amazing”
Maybe the stars aligned and allowed me that experience, maybe I hang a rabbit’s foot around my neck, maybe I collect four leaf clovers and stuff them into my pants each and every morning. Or maybe it’s something else.
Amazing things happen to people because they put themselves out there, they’re open to propositions, they chat to random people, they invariably say ‘yes’ more than ‘no’.
If you want to attend a wedding in Malaysia, don’t stay in the ‘Rasta hostel’ with all the other backpackers for a week. If you want to drink tea with old Japanese men then you won’t get that from eating in McDonalds in Tokyo.
When you’re on the road, strive to be different. Be open to everything, never say no. Sit down with strangers, smile at the local girl in the corner, buy that guy a beer.
In fact, apply this not only when you travel but in every corner of your life, remember if you do what you always do, you’re gonna get what you always get. And if you’re not satisfied with what you’re currently getting then change something. Our world is full of amazing people doing amazing things, and guess what folks… they’re not lucky, they made it happen. Now what are you gonna make happen? Happy travels.
Tags: inspiration, motivational monday
Published by Johnny Ward on May 21, 2012
It’s humbling to know that we’ve all made mistakes, hurt the people closest to us, wasted and spurned opportunities, made the wrong decisions. It’s part of what makes us human and what helps connects us together. We’re all in the same boat, all imperfect in every sense.
Our past is our past, there’s no sense in dwelling on what’s gone wrong there, whether we caused it directly or if it was inflicted upon us. We should never ignore the incidents in our lives that brought us to where we stand today, we need to recognize them and appreciate them, for the positive or the negative, but we can’t spend our present hung up on them, lest we jeapordise our future.
Things have gone against us all in the past, some worse than others, but the future is a blank canvass for every single person who is reading this, me included. Regardless of the episodes behind us, we have endless possibilities awaiting us now – but we have to part with our past to grab them, we have to put the past away and move forward.
The future is awash with new opportunities, new chances to dilute our past and create something better, something worth working for, something to be proud of. But we can only achieve those things if we cut ourselves free of the negative things in our past, accept them and move forward.
Feeling sorry for ourselves, regretting mistakes, playing the victim will not allow us to fulfill our potential, we’ll never reach our dreams if we play to that. Positivity breeds positivity, so f*ck the victim complex, f*ck regret, shame and unhappiness – understand that tomorrow is a new day, start producing a past you can be proud of, and start immediately.
I know I’ve certainly made more than my fair share of mistakes, and although I’ll never forget them, I know I can put the past away and look forward to all the awesome things that I’ve still yet to achieve, the amazing sights I’ve yet to see, the inspiring people I’ve yet to meet. It’s all in front of me and I can’t wait to go out and experience it all. I hope you can experience it with me.
Tags: inspiration, motivation, motivational monday