December 22, 2016

Jonny’s Story: About Northern Irishman in Poland

Jonny Blair backpacking in Tczew, Poland

“What’s your story, baby?” – Nicky Wire.

So why is a passionate Northern Irish travel writer living in Poland, when thousands of Polish people leave Poland to work in the UK and Ireland year on year? Jonny’s motives are pure and simple. Fuelled from his heart and his mind, Jonny’s passion is in Poland, Jonny loves Poland and has finally settled here after a ridiculous 150 country journey around the world. At the same time, Jonny loves the fact that Polish culture is present in Northern Ireland and that there are some Northern Irish things in Poland. When the sun sinks in Gdynia, here is Jonny’s story:

I was born in Newtownards, Northern Ireland (Irlandia Północna) in 1980. In my early days living in Bangor, Northern Ireland I became infatuated with football, geography and history. I dreamed as a young child of playing football for Glentoran FC or Northern Ireland, but that was never going to happen. So I dreamed of travelling the world instead. On my journey, I wanted to earn a degree at University, make friends with people from every country and culture I could and see some of the world. My love for writing intertwined with my base in Poland is undoubtedly the reason why I launched this site in 2016, my new platform.

Watching my beloved Northern Ireland at Windsor Park (second right)

“Gatta love that ain’t gat no name” – Suede.

I studied Journalism in Belfast (Northern Ireland) in 1997 and I studied Public Relations in Bournemouth (England) in 2003. I worked with many Polish people from 2004 – 2007, during which time, I visited Poland twice and made many Polish friends. My first visit was in 2005 and later again in 2007. By 2007 however, I had travelled around the world to about 30 countries including China, Belarus and Canada. In 2009, I was now living in Australia and by the age of 30 I had visited all 7 continents and around 50 countries.

I lived in the land down under, 2009 – 2011

All of this was from working hard and travelling on a cheap backpacking budget. I had more than 50 jobs along the way (some detailed here). In 2011, I moved to Hong Kong. While based in Hong Kong, I was able to visit almost every country in Asia including places like East Timor, Bangladesh and North Korea. I also had a long term girlfriend there and we travelled the world together for five years and I became a self employed professional travel blogger, writer and itinerary planner.

Touring Colourful Poznań, Poland in 2015

Having cracked the esteemed and selfish “100 country mark” in 2015, I began to realise that staying in one country was what I needed in life now. I was 35 and homeless, the nomadic life had taken its toll. I was back in Poznań, Poland in 2015 but wanderlust got the better of me, so I headed to Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan and tried to make it my new home. But I only stayed a few months there, until life brought me to the city of Gdańsk in Poland in July 2016. It was here that I suddenly realised where my heart belonged, so I stayed!!

I fell in love with Gorgeous Gdańsk in 2016

This website was born in the midst of a year of personal problems and severe depression. I want to promote Poland in a good way through my personal stories and experiences. I love Poland so much and I hope you see that through my writing, my photos and my stories. I am a writer. I am a tourist. I am a storyteller. I am a Northern Irishman.

“I’m an alien. I’m a legal alien. I’m an Ulsterman in Warszawa.” – Not Sting.

So this site will aim to document my journeys and it will run alongside the Facebook Page and my Instagram Feed.

Some of you may also know me from my association to the following passions:
Ulster Cherry – I am a massive AFC Bournemouth football fan
GAWA – I am a massive Northern Ireland football fan
Globetrotting Glenman – I am also a Glentoran FC fan
Don’t Stop Living – I turned my passionate travel blog into a business and used it as my main platform for 9 years (2007 – 2016).

Read about Jonny's love for the capital city, Warszawa.

This a present from Stalin’s reign

Finally, please enjoy the website and get in touch with me or meet me if you want. I don’t bite. I love people, but I especially like Polish, Northern Irish and English people. I feel most at home around that hat-trick of people.

My thanks to Basia Gowierza, Rafał Kowalczyk and Magdalena Chrząstowska who inspired the birth of this site and made my smiles real again. And also to Ola Mueller who was meant to be my tour guide but let me down with her lies and lack of honesty, perhaps one day Ola will apologise. Please do it and make a Northern Irishman in Poland happy.

Stay happy, all of you. #beatdepression #honesty #notolies

Kocham polskę.

Jonny Blair (December 2016)

Here are a few other ways to connect with me:
– Like Northern Irishman in Poland on Facebook
– Subscribe to Northern Irishman in Poland videos on YouTube
StumbleUpon Northern Irishman in Poland
– Follow Northern Irishman in Poland on Instagram
– Follow Northern Irishman in Poland on Twitter
– Get Northern Irishman in Poland on GooglePlus

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