#MyBlogLife: Travel Junkie Janet Newenham On Visiting 50 Countries Before Hitting 30
'I've essentially been travelling full-time or living overseas since 2009.'
Name: Janet Newenham
Blog: Journalist On The Run
When it comes to achieving goals, Janet Newenham is one person who’s gone above and beyond. After pledging to visit 50 countries before her 30th birthday – and achieving that goal last November, by the way – she’s now planning her next big trip, travelling overland from Cork to Capetown. Yes, overland. As in… no planes. A journalism graduate, Janet started her travel blog Journalist On The Run back in 2010, and it’s now her main source of income whether she’s at home or exploring the world. Basically this girl is living the dream, and we caught up with her to find out how she did it…
When did you first catch the travel bug?
At a very early age! It happened far earlier than most of my blog readers and friends may believe. When I was 16, I spent six months in a boarding school in France followed by a summer volunteering in Belarus. From then on, on travel has been a huge part of my life.
What was your first big trip outside of Europe?
I jetted off to Africa for an entire year when I was 18 as a sort of gap year. I taught business and economics in a school over there, and backpacked solo all over east and southern Africa. I came home for a few years to study, but since graduating from Dublin City University in 2009, I’ve essentially been travelling full-time or living overseas.
How many countries have you covered so far? Give us all the stats!
In total, 54. This year has been pretty crazy. I somehow managed to travel through 13 countries on three continents in the last six months. Plus, I have 32 countries lined up for the next six months!
What made you decide to start a travel blog?
I moved to South Korea in 2010, and started a blog for fun mainly, to share my highlights and lowlights with friends and family back home. It was a great way to stay connected and for them to better understand how different my life overseas really was. Since then Journalist On The Run has evolved and grown into so much more than what it started out as. I never could have dreamed back then how far my blog would take me in life. It’s the best thing that ever happened to me and my most prized possession!
You’re living the dream of every office worker in Ireland by making money while you travel. Did it take long to start earning enough to fund yourself?
I only discovered that you could make money from your travel blog 12 months ago. I realise how mad that must sound considering my blog is now my sole source of income, but I honestly did not have a clue. Once I started to earn a little money, I used to stay up all hours to think of new ways to monetise my site without taking away from the blog my readers have grown to love so much. I would say it took a good six months from when I quit my job to when I felt financially secure. Six months of hard work, following six years of putting in the ground work!
What has been your favourite destination to date?
Iceland, for sure. I travelled there on a Wow Air press trip late last year and fell totally in love with the country… and the people. I have travelled extensively in places like South Africa and New Zealand, but I still believe Iceland trumps them all when it comes to natural beauty.
You’ve mentioned before that you have a life bucket list. Any big things left to cover off?
My bucket list is never-ending! I add new things to it every year. My main goal was always to visit 50 countries before I turned 30, a goal I ticked off last November when I arrived in Lesotho, Africa. My biggest goal now is to write my own book, something which I hope to achieve next summer once I have completed my next trip: an overland journey from Cork to Cape Town kicking off on August 20th.
I made it!! My decade long bucket list to visit 50 countries before my 30th birthday is now complete!! Arrived in beautiful Lesotho yesterday the country with the highest low point in the world and home to Africa’s highest pub. This ‘gateway to paradise’ is absolutely spectacular and I can’t wait to discover more of it!
You must have packing down to a fine art at this stage! Share a few tips with us…
I am a huge advocate of packing light. No matter how little you pack, you will always have too much. My best tip would be to pack your bag, then take out exactly half the clothes and shoes you packed. Then take out some more! Also, I pack a scarf no matter where I’m going. It’s one of the most useful items to have with you when travelling as it has so many uses.
What are three items you can’t live without when travelling?
As I work from the road a digital nomad, I could never live without my phone and my laptop. I also recently invested in a drone to take aerial photographs for my blog and social media feeds, so that will be coming with me everywhere I go from now on. It’s lucky I travel light because I’ll barely have room for clothes in my backpack once I have all the electronics in there!
What’s your plan for the coming year?
Loads! The Cork to Cape Town trip will be the biggest of my life so far. It’ll be a six to nine month trip as I’m hoping to make it the whole way without flying, passing through 32 countries on two continents. It’s a 15,000km journey so there will be plenty of boats, buses, trains and who knows what else.
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