This is a bit of an overdue post due to the Christmas holidays and being laid low by nasty colds. They didn’t dampen the festivities though and we have had a great time catching up with friends and family with more to come over the next few weeks.
Now it is time for me to do my Michael Parkinson impersonation, or perhaps more like Mrs Merton (RIP). Some of the questions are the same as my interview (see the last post) so you can get a comparison between our answers. Other personalised questions have been added as they came to mind. If I know Jon, there will be some impulsive, random answers which may lead to more questions but then that is what the comments are for so get asking!
Who are you?
I’m Jon or Jonno or whatever you want to call me, the other half of this JWalking team with Jo.
Which country are you from?
England, not the United Kingdom or Great Britain.
How did the name JWalking and landsailing come about?
When we decided we were going to start a blog I knew that we really needed a catchy name to give it character. I really didn’t just want it to be called ‘the blog’ and get lost in the thousands of travel blogs that currently exist. We went through a few ideas but it was actually our son Shaun who came up with ‘JWalking’. He said it was an obvious name and that as they say was that. I wanted to call it ‘Don’t Forget your Toothbrush’ but that idea was vetoed very early on.
The Landsailing term came from a lovely lady in the Chart and Map shop in Fremantle, Western Australia. As we chatted about our JWalking trip and our travel plans she just came out with ‘you two are land sailors aren’t you’ and it just seemed to fit perfectly. Perhaps the blog should have been called LandSailing?
Now for a few quick fire questions to get you warmed up………
Favourite country? New Zealand
Favourite city? Munich
Favourite airline? South West Airlines in the USA
Favourite pet you met? Domino the Spaniel from Washington DC.
Favourite tweet? Photo from Wellington cricket ground when we were watching New Zealand play Pakistan and both the stadium and the NZ cricket team retweeted us. More exciting that that!
Favourite meal? Family BBQ with Eva’s whole family in Vochera, Austria.
Favourite beach? Trinity Beach near Cairns, Australia.
Favourite Christmas song? Merry Christmas Everyone by the great Shakin Stevens.
Lake or Mountain? Lake. No, Mountain. No, Lake ………….. Um definitely Lake, or Mountain.
Hot or cold location? Hot but only because I can wear shorts.
Boxer shorts or pants? Both depending on the weather (not at the same time obviously). Boxers in the winter.
Beard or clean shaven? Tried the beard but just not me so clean-shaven so I keep looking so young.
What is your favourite mode of transport?
It has to be by foot. We’re never happier than when we’re hiking and exploring new locations, it’s undoubtedly the best way to see anywhere and some of our walks over the past 19 months have been fantastic. Also love a ferry as it seems like you’re jumping a long way.
Where is your favourite place in the world?
Easy question (I don’t think). Some of my favourite places haven’t been the standard tourist destinations but have often been places we’ve stumbled upon almost by accident. I absolutely loved Hokitika beach on South Island, NZ as it was a wild and almost unreal sort of place. Also the weird shallow water of Jasper Lake in the Canadian Rockies was unbelievable. If I’m being absolutely honest though my favourite place is sitting beside a lake anywhere with Jo at my side. It really isn’t the place that touches you, it is who you are with.
Which is the worst place you’ve been to and why?
Has to be Montreal. We tried so hard to like it and to uncover its secrets but it just had nothing to offer. After visiting Quebec it seemed so drab. Sorry Montreal. Also, and everyone will disagree I know, but I really wasn’t taken with Melbourne. Big and busy and ……. well just big and busy.
Have you had any bad experiences whilst travelling?
I wouldn’t say we’ve had any bad experiences. We haven’t been hurt or scared by anything so it has to be No. The two bad Airbnbs of Scumbag Lily and Slippery Luc were a little traumatic, as was finding a huge big-as-your-hand red spider over our bed in Tasmania. All part of the adventure I think.
What’s your favourite JWalking photo?
Have you any idea how many photos we have taken so far? It’s over 8000 so quite a few to go through. I obviously love any of me, especially on my own looking fabulous, but my absolute favourite is of Jo on Manly beach in Sydney, Australia. The main photo on Sydney Harbour and the Manly Scenic Walkway. Just looks too good to be one of mine.
What has surprised you most about travelling?
The lack of stress and worry. We’ve always been fairly laid back but with so much to organise and book it was conceivable that all of our trips could have been more stressful. Surprisingly we’ve managed to stay calm and relaxed throughout everything that’s happened. I think we work well together and neither of us ever gets cross about anything. What also surprised me is quite how well we got on with so many of our Airbnb hosts and how much we’d love to see them again.
Who is the most memorable person you’ve met on your travels?
We’ve met so many fabulous people all over the world and it’s tough to pick just one but if I must then I’ll say it has to be Bruce from Twizel in New Zealand. I’m not sure if I have ever met a more contented, happy person in my whole life. I loved his positive can-do attitude to life and also his pleasure at enjoying all of the simple things. Plus he made me laugh, a lot.
What have you learnt about being together for 18 months for 24 hours a day?
Loads of things. The most important being that life is about sharing. Sharing everything. Every experience is improved immeasurably when it is shared with someone, and more so when that person is your best friend. I’m hopeless without Jo and she makes the whole world so much brighter. But I guess I always knew that.
Has this experience changed you?
I don’t think so. I’ve always been fairly relaxed and easy going but perhaps it’s made me more contemplative and thoughtful about life, the universe and everything. Oh, and I have learnt that I really enjoying meeting new people and making new friends more than I previously imagined.
Are you going to convert the blog into a book?
Almost certainly not. There are so many travel blogs and books around that it would be a mammoth task to create something new and unique. I love writing the blog and I hope people enjoy reading it but it probably isn’t unique enough to publish. Shame though.
What should you have kept/brought with you?
There’s nothing at all that I wished I’d taken travelling. I was never into ‘stuff’ and that has just been confirmed after wandering around for 19 months with one small case of dirty washing and socks.
What did you bring that you did not need?
It was so difficult deciding what we needed before we first left as we had absolutely no idea how our days would turn out. I took too many pairs of warm socks and backup pairs of glasses and sunglasses just in case. Not needed.
What is the furthest you have been out of your comfort zone?
If you could maintain one tradition/culture you have learnt about what would it be?
I don’t know, so hard to say. There are countless things that I would like to do more in my life such as cycling daily as we did in Groesbeek Holland, or canoeing as we did in Jasper and Lake Bled, or even just attending more outdoor festivals and concerts as we did in Burnaby Vancouver and also Auckland. Something I would like to learn about though is meditation. I think it’s something that both of us could benefit from.
Do you have any advice or tips for aspiring travellers?
Do it before it’s too late. So many people save all their lives for an adventure and then retire and just can’t manage to get going. I would advise to plan carefully and book as much as possible before you leave so you can enjoy the experience instead of worrying about arrangements. Also, you can’t see everything so choose carefully and appreciate every moment you have.
We always planned to spend a few months in England in 2017 and have now booked up 7 or 8 months of housesitting assignments interspersed with a couple of volunteering stays. We really haven’t explored our own country as much as we would have liked so this is an opportunity to start doing that and maybe get back in touch with a few old friends along the way. Whilst we’re doing that we will decide whether we want to go further afield and when that might be. Always fancied Scandinavia, Egypt, and Iceland but can’t quite stop thinking about New Zealand again.
Got any other questions? Let us know and we’d love to waffle on and try and answer them for you.