In this travel blog you’ll find plenty of articles about the lands I’ve been fortunate enough to explore. But, travel opened up my eyes to so much more (plus the world went f’in mental) and therefore ‘VisionsofJohanna’ gets a little political, opinionated and personal. My words are often polarising and intelligent debate is welcomed here.
I get fierce over human rights, mental health, equality and animal exploitation. I’m an ocean lover and I surf, sail, swim, kayak and dive. I love art, the macabre, exploring religions, spirituality, politics and subcultures.
In July 2013 I left alone, with a backpack I could barely lift. With no real plan, I had no idea whether I’d packed the right things, or whether I’d even speak to another human for the following year. Landing in Bangkok was a massive WTF moment. I was in that odd gap of time you occasionally find yourself in. I’d left one life but hadn’t started my new one yet. I slept and woke up in the city sun and set off to explore. From the very first morning I knew it was going to be alright.
Over the following year I went on an incredible journey around the world. I walked The Inca Trail, reaching Macchu Pichu; dived with Tiger sharks in South Africa and Caribbean Reef sharks in Belize’s Blue Hole; stared face to face with a Great White Shark; jumped off tall things in New Zealand; hang-glided across Abel Tasman; reached Everest Base Camp in Tibet; hung out with South Africa’s Xhosa people, Australia’s Aboriginal community, New Zealand’s Maoris, Lake Titicaca’s oldest community & Tibetan Monks; mountain biked Bolivia’s Death Road; did fire limbo in Thailand; A Full Moon Party in Koh Phangan; kayaked in Halong Bay; surfed in Bali, Jeffrey’s Bay South Africa, Raglan New Zealand, The Great Ocean Road Australia; volcano trekked across Java, starved myself and shit myself at a detox centre in Phuket; sailed the Whitsundays; went spear fishing in Australia’s Northern Territory; Salsa danced in Guatemala; did a toboggan run down the Great Wall of China; rock climbed and abseiled down waterfalls in Bolivia & Costa Rica, and I saw elephants, lions, kangaroos, parrots, crocodiles, koalas, caiman, monkeys, zebra, tarantulas, toucans, orangutans, Komodo dragons and piranhas in the wild.
I landed back in London in August 2014 as a much happier version of the girl I’d left behind, but the wanderlust wouldn’t leave me. Within two months I was whisked away to Barcelona for a job that found me. For the following eight months I worked in fashion in a global role in the most fantastic city. But something wasn’t right. I dreamt of all the people, the communities and the freedom I’d found on the road. I wasn’t ready to settle and I wanted to put my heart and soul into supporting projects I believe in.
Next stop Central America, Costa Rica and Nicaragua. From May 2015 I worked as a Communications Officer and Photographer, supporting an NGO and their community projects. I was all set to move on and travel down through Panama, Colombia and Ecuador when the Universe had other ideas. My bag, my tools were snatched, taking so much content and robbing me of my travelling, freelancing lifestyle.
So in September 2015, I landed back in London with a bump… I survived winter, working for a global travel brand, until I was ready to set sail again. August to November 2016, I spent working in and exploring Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, Australia and Japan.
The first half of 2017, was a Spanish affair, weaving my way around Spain and a teensy bit of Portugal. My goal was to learn Spanish and soak up as much of my favourite culture, living the ‘Digital Nomad’ lifestyle.
Now I’m back in London and for the first time in many years it’s a conscious choice. I’ve sharpened my skills with an Creative Writing MA and I’m soaking up all the arty, literary and cultural magic London has to offer. I work as the Global Content Manager at Hostelworld, where I manage a team of in-house writers and a whole world of freelance writers. I get to share my passion for travel writing with those just starting out and inspired daily by those on the road.
I’m not under any illusions that my lifestyle is something everyone can achieve and for the opportunities I’ve had I’m beyond grateful. If you have been born into a country that allows you to travel and you have the ability to earn, plus the desire to explore, please grasp the opportunity to do so. I’m a huge believer in conscious, ethical travel and reckon the world would be a better place if the lucky ones got out there into the big wide world. Have a read of my Huffington Post article ‘We Travel Because We Are Privileged’ and my blog post ‘Travel isn’t Always Comfortable’.
Travel has ground to a halt, due to COVID-19. I had 2020 trips planned, to countries I’d never visited – pack-rafting in Finland and hiking in the Scottish Highlands, Transylvania and Bosnia. We now see that this planet is fragile because us humans have abused its resources. Is this just a timeout, a pause for the wildlife and natural habitats to restore? Or perhaps it’s a more permanent end to life as we’ve known it.