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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….

motivational mondays

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!


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Got a question? Wanna comment? I'd love to hear from you

29 thoughts on “Motivational Monday: Making a Start On Your Dreams

  1. lol, although the guy almost crushed you, he is so right!! I’m currently where you were back then. A shitty teaching job for a ridiculously low salary, reading all the travel blogs out there and thinking about how they manage to travel and I feel like being stuck in this shitty job.
    But you’re right, you have to start somewhere, and also important: even if it doesn’t work out like you hoped, learn from failure and mistakes.
    Your blog and post got me (and a lot of people) inspired. It’s time to leave a place that is not making me happy, travel, discover, make mistakes and learn, put my blog out there, but most importantly: start!

  2. Hey Johnny,
    I agree that you have to take the step and make a start in creating your own lifestyle. I left Ireland with -$14,000 and am debt free and still traveling 4 years later 🙂

    If you want it bad enough, you will succeed!

  3. Very motivational post, I salute you. I think people really need to move on and do what they want and not what the society wants for them.

  4. Hey Johnny, I got to read your blog just this afternoon when i was looking for some tips to climb Mt. Kota Kinabalu this coming Sept. and i have to say even though I’m so sleepy I still kept on reading. 🙂 I very much like this post because of the simple truth it passes on, sometimes we spent too much time in perfecting ourselves to meet certain standards and claiming that we’re not ready yet but then forget to even start on what we really want.

    Cheers on your 100th country. 😉

    Cheers! J

          1. Honestly, after 3 coronas i find it difficult to understand him. Haha.
            Anyway, cheers! We are going to try to set ourselves up to climb Mt. KK end of this month without reservations to a travel agency. Hoping for the best and will let you know updated costs. 😉

  5. 100th country? Congratulations on such a milestone. Keep going. Love the story and the quote, so inspiring!

  6. Haha, loved “your paypal account is getting less action than a Catholic school nun”… I digress, what a motivational article. 🙂

  7. I love these motivational posts so I’m glad you’ve had the time to write a new one 🙂 Very Inspirational!

  8. Awesome post Johnny 🙂
    I’m hoping to make serious movement on travel writing when in Hong Kong. Fingers Crossed.

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