Meet the travel bloggers: Around the World in Eighty Years

This Meet the Travel Bloggers interview is with travel blogger and photographer, Jim O’Donnell of Around the World in Eighty Years.

travel blogger photo Jim O'Donnell

Colorado State Fair,photo/Jim O’Donnell

When, why and how did you start your travel blog?
To be quite honest, I never really did start a travel blog as we all think of them now. In 2003 I had a blog called Taigawalk, where I posted photos and updates from my 5-month, 1500-mile walk across Finland. I let that run until 2005 or so then turned it off and never really thought about it after that.

A little over two years ago I started Around the World in Eighty Years to have my own travel stories, book reviews and photography online. It was mostly just for me, like a portfolio, but I honest-to-God, didn’t even realize there were “travel blogs” out there until people started contacting me and telling me what a great blog I have and I started looking around and found this whole community.

travel blogger photo Jim O'Donnell

Evening on the Arabian Sea near Goa, India, photo/Jim O’Donnell

How did you get that name and what does the name mean to you?
I’m a writer and an avid reader as well as a traveler and I wanted a website name that reflected that, paid homage to past travelers, to literature, to my high standards as a writer and to my travel goals all in one name. Around the World in Eighty Years works just perfectly.

What is the thing that keeps you the most jazzed about blogging?
My goal is not to be a travel blogger exactly but to use my website as a way to propel myself into a career as a travel journalist. What keeps me jazzed is both keeping my eye on the long-term goal and telling good stories with my photography and writing.

travel blogger photo Jim O'Donnell

White Sands National Monument, New Mexico, photo/Jim O’Donnell

What excites you about travel?
Freedom. Mystery. Anticipation. I like the freedom that travel offers but I also like NOT knowing what is out there and the anticipation of meeting new people, seeing new places and having new experiences.

What kind of traveler are you?
My preferred way of travelling is on foot. A bicycle or canoe will do me if I must.

On the road, do you seek out some experiences more than others?
I seek out people, history and nature. Really, what I want to learn and experience while I’m travelling is how the process of culture over time created what we see today from both the environmental and historic root conditions of a place. I seek out the land, the water, the archaeology, the food and above all the people who just don’t mind sitting down to have a conversation or to show me what matters to them. I love it when someone takes me off to some new place just to show me what is important to them.

Is being in your comfort zone important to you?
There has to be some balance. I love to be outside of my comfort zone. I crave that. But there is only so much of it that I can handle and at times I need to retreat for awhile, regroup myself and then head out again.

travel blogger photo Jim O'Donnell

Jim O’Donnell, Wheeler Peak, New Mexico, photo Jim O’Donnell

What’s your most memorable travel experience or favorite trip ever and why?
I remember heading out to an ancient Nazca cemetery in the dunes of Peru. When we got there we found it had just been looted and the bones of the dead were scattered everywhere across the sand. All those empty skulls staring up at me form where they had been tossed after being ripped from the ground was disturbing. As the sun went down the looters came back, armed and threatening. We high-tailed it out of there!

What’s your favorite place on earth?
The Sahara.  Not only is it visually stunning but also emotionally stunning.

Where are you off to next?
I’m looking ahead to 2013.  I’ll start off in Panama in January and if possible find my way back to Haiti before the summer. In August I’ll head to Finland for 6 months where I’ll base myself while making trips to the UK, southern France, Sweden and probably back into Russia. Finland is great for outdoor activities so I expect some kayaking in the islands, some fishing back in the taiga and more from that great country.

travel blogger photo Jim O'Donnell

Candy for sale, Gavarnie, France, photo/Jim O’Donnell

What’s the biggest fantasy on your bucket list and why?
That would have to be either travelling the Sahara overland from the Atlantic to the Nile, taking the Trans-Siberian Railway or climbing Kilimanjaro. But really, my bucket list is so darn long its hard to pick just one. One thing I’d really like to do at some point is spend a summer travelling around the state fairs and county fairs in America creating a photo essay of this rather unique part of our national heritage.

Archaeology, beer and food have motivated author and photographer Jim O’Donnell’s twenty-five years of travel to over forty countries on five continents - and are at least partially to blame for the five languages he is sure he can stumble through. Jim is the author of Notes for the Aurora Society and Rise and Go, a collection of 200 plus images and short stories from his travels as well as numerous other sordid tales, articles, half-finished novels, works in progress, essays and other scribbling. His work has been featured from National Geographic Maps and Boots-n-All to Travelers Tales and Matador Network and more. Jim is the owner and head monkey at Around the World in Eighty Years. You can find him on Twitter and Facebook.

2 Responses to “Meet the travel bloggers: Around the World in Eighty Years”

  1. Jim O'Donnell
    November 14, 2019 at 12:04 pm #

    Billie and Steve, thank you so much for this opportunity. It was alot of fun!
    Jim O’Donnell recently posted..Glass Blowing – The Ancient Art of Shaping LightMy Profile

    • Billie Frank
      November 14, 2019 at 3:28 pm #

      It was fun reading it and getting to know you a bit better! Send the link to all of your fans

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge