The guy who spent the last ten years travelling to all 197 countries in the world has named his favourite country.
Travelling is one of the most popular hobbies, yet we don’t do enough of it and its even more rare to travel the whole world.
That is why Johnny Ward did it. Now that he’s seen the whole world, he’s named his favourite country. Algeria! Then he named the Philippines too, both being his favourite.
Algeria and the Philippines are two amazing countries. Algeria, due to the crazy western media, gets almost zero tourism but it’s an awesome country. The People are super friendly, the food is delicious, the sights, the Sahara, everything! And the Philippines is pretty much Thailand 20 years ago – still has loads of untouched places and it’s just paradise everywhere.
The 33-year-old traveller from Ireland started his journey as a broke English teacher in East Asia for five years before he started blogging and over the past decade has worked his way up to earning over $1m.
A stark lesson that Ward took away was about different people, and how we’re all actually very similar.
The Western media’s portrayal of the world encourages fear of the unknown, but after actually meeting individuals from everywhere and embracing the cultures, Johnny saw how much of this is based on constructed stereotypes as opposed to reality.
Western Islamophobia has gone off the scale, but the Arabic world for example is my favourite area in the world, the people are so friendly and the travel there is unreal. Deep down, we are all the same – we all want the best for our loved ones, we all want to improve ourselves, we all want to be happy, not so different.
Arriving in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia with no hotel booked, no transport booked, no sights to see planned, I chatted to Eyad @eyadajaj via couchsurfing. He couldn’t host as his extended family was in town, but he organised someone to pick me up from the airport, drive me to Jeddah and he had organised a hotel for me for my 3 nights. Amazing hospitality from a complete stranger, but now a new Saudi friend 😊 Arabian hospitality is something else, and Jeddah is so much more than what the Western Media projects. I’m delighted to come here and experience it for myself, here’s a pic of Eyad and me in the old city. Eyad took time out, drove 1.5hours from his office outside the city to come and see me, he and spent the evening showing me the best of Jeddah, amazing people everywhere ❤️🌎 #everycountryintheworld #jeddah #saudiarabia #couchsurfing #realtravel
There are about 6,500 different languages spoken around the world, so how did Johnny communicate and manage to get around so well?
He had no choice but to learn the languages. He was ‘Studying Spanish in Colombia, Thai in Bangkok, fasting for Ramadan in North Africa, staying in the slums of Bangladesh’.
Because he was ‘so broke’ in his first five years, Ward had to become fully involved in the local transport and culture because ‘hotels and airports were beyond me, and that was kinda the most beautiful thing about travelling like that’.
As well as fulfilling his own dreams of travelling, Johnny used his success and mobility to start a charity called Give Back Give Away which works on ‘community development projects to improve the lives of those who need it, from playgrounds for kids to market stalls for families to sell their wares’ while also giving away a free two week trip to see the work being done.
Nearing the end of his trip he visited Yemen which he also loved.
He took a photo of this beautiful beach.
Kalansia Beach, Socotra, Yemen. The most beautiful ‘undiscovered’ beach in the world, where’s this place on Nat Geo or Lonely Planets too 10 beach list?! 🙈 Check this out, white sand, electric blue crystal clear water, and only me to enjoy it. Socotra is something seriously special, and Kalansia is the most gorgeous beach I’ve ever seen. I took the pic from scrambling up a hill beside the beach, in my flipflops, and it was worth all the sunburn and bashed toes! 😝😊❤️🌎 #kalansia #socotra #yemen #everycountryintheworld #onestep4ward
Having just completed his whole world challenge in Norway, Johnny expressed that he is ‘proud to have finished but also relieved, 10 years is a long time, I’m kinda free again now!’.
After such a broad experience of the world, the one lesson he took away is ‘That if we want something badly enough, deeply enough and we are willing to sacrifice a lot to get there, then we can honestly achieve our dreams’.
Congrats to Algeria for being his first favourite place! Viva l’Algerie.