“What is your most memorable childhood travel memory?” That’s what I’ve asked over 50 travel bloggers and other travel addicts. These are their personal stories and photos.
Today, I interview Jonny from Don’t Stop Living!
Hi Jonny, do you remember the first time you went travelling?
Well yes – it was a family holiday in 1986 to Devon in England. I remember going to the beach, playing football and eating ice cream! We stayed in caravans and tents and I played with my brother and sister.
It was exciting to visit a new place, having grown up in Northern Ireland. The weather was also slightly warmer so it felt tropical at 24 degrees!
Did your parents travel much before you were born?
When they had time and money – yes!! They’ve been all over the UK and to some parts of Europe before I was born. In those days before internet it was a lot of sun and sea holidays. But they were big into camping out. It would have been the 60s and 70s back then – no travel blogs or even digital cameras!
What was your favourite holiday destination as a child, a teenager and an adult?
As a child it was England. It just seemed so much bigger and diverse than where I grew up (Bangor, Northern Ireland) and I loved trying new food and seeing new towns and cities. I’d been to places like London, Bournemouth, Liverpool, Lancaster, Truro, Bideford, Salisbury, Winchester and loved England at the time. I later moved to England but haven’t been back properly in over 4 years.
As a teenager it was Scotland. I used to go away with my friends and football buddies for weekends. After a school trip to Holland in 1991, Scotland was the first time i really travelled in my teens without my parents and I loved it. We’d leave Belfast by boat on the Friday and return late on the Sunday. They were good times.
As an adult it’s too difficult to pick a place, as I’ve now managed to visit over 80 countries, so I’ll give you a top 5 places – 1. Antarctica – truly magical, inspiring and off the wall – I loved it. 2. China – but mostly the remote unknown parts like Likeng, Shuhe, Luoping, Danxiashan etc. I don’t have much time for Beijing or Shanghai. 3. Bolivia – the crazy city of La Paz, the marvellous salt plains and the rocky night buses to Uyuni and Potosi. 4. Northern Ireland – the Causeway Coast, Belfast City and the town I grew up in Bangor – highly recommend them. Every time I return there I’m on holiday!! 5. Azerbaijan – only in here because it’s recent and I’m buzzing off it but the mountains at Xinaliq were just amazing and Baku is a cool city.
Can you tell me what your memory is with this image?
This was my first ever trip away from my parents – to Holland with my Primary School in 1991. This was us at Belfast International Airport. Those were great days and started a crazy travel lifestyle for me.
Can you remember a specific travel item/gadget you used to take on a trip as a child?
As a child it would have been a football. Any green patch of grass I saw, I’d be out playing. I had a Sega Game Gear as a teenager but preferred the outdoors – football is my game. I hope it hasn’t been replaced – in Uruguay I played football with kids, and in Azerbaijan too recently. It just depends where you go. I think kids need to play outdoors instead of sitting in front of a computer, but the world has changed since the 1980s.
Did the way you travelled as a child changed much when you grew up?
No, not much – my parents were “budget backpackers” too! So I’ve taken their clever attitude into adulthood! We rarely took organised holidays. We used to camp out a lot, stay in local guesthouses and campsites and my Mum was always hunting for bargains.
My parents also taught me how important bringing a packed lunch is, money saving, healthier and raw travel. Organising things yourself is much better too.
I remember my Dad going mad on a tour company once and loved it – my Dad won’t let companies walk over him and always fights for what he paid for. I like to think that attitude has rubbed off on me. We do go back to how it was – had my parents slumming it on trains in Sri Lanka with me and my girlfriend earlier in the year.
Finally: What is your best tip for making a trip memorable?
Follow your own dreams. Try not to listen too much to others – seed advice by all means, but follow the destiny you want. I worked my ass off for 5 months in remote farms while camping out in the Tasmanian wilderness to save for my own travel dream – to visit Antarctica. I did it and I’m proud of my 40 plus posts on backpacking in Antarctica.
If you want to read more of Jonny’s stories, be sure to visit his website: Don’t Stop Living
Find all the previous interviews here.
Want to participate as well? That’s great! Please fill out the interview questions on this page.