Hello there friends of the WordPress world! So just yesterday I asked for questions from you guys for this Q&A post, and you well and truly delivered!
Here are 25 of the best questions (in no particular order); the variation says a lot about how weird and/or wonderful you lot are! ~ oh, and sorry if you didn’t make the cut…I had to stop somewhere… ~I still love you, you know that right? RIGHT?! Please don’t leave me…
Oh. Well here are the questions and my attempts at answers! I tried to give as much detail as I could, to do it justice! Enjoy! ~
1. nicciattfield.wordpress.com asked…”Are you going to write a book about your travels? I would love to read it, if you do.”
There is probably a couple of books in there somewhere! Well, I should hope! I have toyed with the idea of putting the stories together in one piece for publication (but honestly wouldn’t know where to begin with all that stuff!) So until the day I fathom that, it brings me a lot of joy to share them directly with people who follow my blog! Thanks for reading, you will be the first to know if there is something in the works!
2. liisthinks.wordpress.com asked…”Has travelling changed the way you think about people/humanity? And how has it changed? Also- you’ve been to places- do you have a nationality or culture you’re a “fan” of? If so, then why? Aaaand- the country, other than you home-home, you would live in for the rest of your life until you die?”
Oh, yes – very much so – in fact I remember at 15 stating that I will “NEVER GO ON A HOLIDAY” and asking “WHY WOULD ANYONE WANT TO LEAVE ENGLAND, EVER?!” Fortunately that moronic stupidity waned as I got a little older, and I actually became the opposite of that troubled teenager – should go without saying that I’m relieved – travelling has put me in touch with humanity in a way I could never have realised if I hadn’t had ventured out of my homeland…what I like best is not seeing the landmarks, or the tourist spots, but the people – after a while you start to appreciate that we are all here on this earth together, just trying to do our best – doesn’t matter who you are, or where you are from – well all share that, and that’s a comfort. Aaaaaaaand – pass! haha! I am still trying to work that one out!
3. kzzinsky.wordpress.com asked…”Which has had the most significant impact on the way you see yourself?”
I have had a particularly good year in South Korea, and can’t wait to return shortly (I think next week!) – I am not sure if it is just that I matured, or if their work ethos has sort of rubbed off on me…but for once in my life I found myself sticking with things and being productive – choosing cafes for late night writing sessions over heavy bar visits (mostly!) I will not be having a single day off in my regular week for the foreseeable future once I get to Korea, but this is necessary if I want to get to where I want to be! Perhaps back home I couldn’t have achieved this mentality…but who knows? With that said every country leaves an impression on me, and in turn changes me (I hope for the better!) I’m a working progress, just like my writing!
4. ofopinions.wordpress.com asked…”Do you ever imagine what a mean, ranty side of you might have been like? You always come off as nice, which is a lovely thing, but do you ever have a mean John sitting on your shoulder, uttering a different dialogue? Write that down here, if you can.”
Wow! That’s an excellent question actually, and like all excellent questions is a tough one to answer! Firstly, I would say that I owe a lot to my family – who are lovely people – I am sure if you were to turn up at their door, you would be invited in for tea and buttered teacakes without hesitation: so that helps!I also think I try to focus more on the positives – I used to be very negative, I think that is the sort of attitude a lot people hold where I am from – but it’s wasted energy and doesn’t help anyone (especially yourself!) But hey, that doesn’t mean I can’t be a badass…
5. ramblingsfromamum.wordpress.com asked…”And believe it or not my question before I read your caged poem, was where do you want to be mentally and physically in the next 5 years?”
Well, physically I would like to be more like Arnold Schwarzenegger, that way I could just burst through walls whenever I need to enter buildings – rather than using doors (I find the opening mechanism tedious at times)…I suspect that’s not what you were asking! It may surprise you to know I actually know where I would like to be…it’s just about getting there! In my poem, a-caged-bird – the negative voice is a culmination of reactions from naysayer people from my hometown, rather than my own insecurities – I wrote it after visiting for the first time in a year. To answer your question, a lot can happen in five years, and I hope it does – in a dream world I would have a few books published…errr…maybe a TV show…and you know…a robotic companion, as well as a castle with a moat and drawbridge. I remain hopeful.
6. erikakind.wordpress.com asked…”I did not read all the other questions so this one might already be asked. I would like to know how you grew up. You sound so fresh in your posts, so real and straight from the heart, which actually is the reason I follow you. You are full of humor and ironic but you don’t seem to kind of bear a grudge. You wonder about life and rather observe than expect and you are simply interested of what you get from life and your journeys. So were your surrounding very open and tolerant? Or did you simply break out to be right like that?”
Thank you , that’s a huge compliment and I couldn’t help but smile when reading your question! I actually grew up in a pretty rough area, in fact I recall walking to school and having bricks and glass bottles thrown at me regularly by gangs of children because I attended a different school to them…my school St. Aidan’s was referred to as “Bent Aidan’s” as it was an all boys secondary school…that should tell you something about the mentality of that place. Totally backwards. I don’t moan about it, in fact I laugh it off – because what is the point on dwelling on such things? I am glad that I didn’t get sucked too far into that kind of lifestyle, a one which is self-destructive and negative…drugs, drinking, a cycle of unemployment – instead I do my best to see the positives, and strive for more.
7. cupstory.wordpress.com asked…”:D well okay, what are you going to do when you want to travel so bad (that time) but you dnt have money.. thank you..”
That’s the million dollar question! Man…I wish I had a million dollars…sigh. The positive thing though, is that the way I live I can’t see that happening – I work hard, with money coming in from teaching, tutoring, and writing – so I am usually able to save a little away without too much hassle! Although if that was to happen, then I would just have a little moan, plan the next trip – and get back to work so I can start saving again!
8. stillnotajournal.wordpress.com asked…”Here’s one I got asked recently, and am still formulating an answer to: why do you write? Why do you write what you do? (I can answer that; because you’re bloody good at it!)And, do you have a writing process?”
I’m glad you think so, I appreciate it! It’s a big question! But I suppose the reason I write what I do is…well…I enjoy it! I love telling stories! Among my friends it became normal to expect I would have a story when I returned from wherever I had been! And it wasn’t till a few months ago that I thought about writing these down – I probably have a library of terrible novels and screenplays that were me trying to fit into the regular writer niche, but that wasn’t me – which is why I attempt to write just as I would speak if I was sitting with you telling the story face to face! I know for some this is a bit much, as it includes swearing and turns of phrases that don’t sit well – but it allows for an honesty in the writing I feel. It’s also helped with other (fiction) stuff I have been working on, as I have found my “voice”. Sorry, I think I am rambling – but it was such an interesting question it got me going! Oh – and writing process? I do like to write on notepads first most of the time, although it is in my own little code – I write in keywords that spark a memory…so for an upcoming Nepal story I am working on it would go like this: “Nepal>monsoon>elephant ride>umbrella>jungle>couple>claw tiger>metal rod>”etc, etc! On the other hand sometimes it floods out. What about you?
9. geraintisitt.wordpress.com asked…”I was going to do a question and answer blog as well. Good for you for opening up. Okay, question for you. What has been your worst travel experience so far?”
haha! Great minds think alike, I’ll be sure to look out for it if you do end up doing one! I don’t like the phrase “worst”, because there are positives to draw from everything – but I would have to say Nepal. I don’t know what kind of person would enjoy two weeks of heavy rain, heavy diahorrea, and malaria carrying mosquitoes…but it should go without saying I am not that kind of person!
10. cuileffect.com asked…”What’s your favorite thing about working with kids from all over the world? What’s the most difficult?”
I love the unpredictability of kids, and the way they will find fun in boring things, due to that every day is different! The most difficult thing I encounter, is probably an issue you may not expect, and that is the fact that I am a male. Unfortunately because of a horrific few – there appears to be a stigma against males in teaching, particularly in South Korea. I had one Mother attempt to take her child out of my class as it made her uncomfortable how much her kid loved me – she was six years old. It’s hard to take sometimes.
11. southernboulevard.wordpress.com asked…”What’s the one thing that you notice is most different between every country/place you’ve been to, and what’s the one thing that’s most similar? Asked an exchange student this question, at least the first one, and he said money, had an interesting perspective. Thanks!”
Interesting! I would say that manners and etiquette often differ widely from country to country – and as this is something we are so used to in our homeland it can often be the most alarming: for example where I am from people are pretty friendly and may start up conversations despite being total strangers, so when I go to a place that isn’t like this it is easy for me to think of the inhabitants as rude, or hostile! Not so! Just different! But that’s why I love travelling, meeting people and experiencing cultural differences is what it is all about!
12. fenneblogin.wordpress.com asked…”I know this is a bit odd, but do you like pokemon? To the point where you just became one? That’s what happened to me, XD. Otherwise, what do you love to do. Like love to do so much that you did it all day everyday and never got bored. I’m a comic maker. My own series is on my blog. Check it out. The emblemites.”
Not odd at all! Well…maybe I am not the right person to ask about judging oddness…but still! I am a 90’s baby, so naturally I am a Pokemon fan. Actually a while ago one of my students set up my phone with a Game Boy emulator so that I can play Pokemon, what a blast from the past – certainly makes boring subway journeys more bearable! I will check out your series – I have linked to your blog, so others can have a look too! I am still in talks over the possibility of the creation of a Storytime with John comic series…initial talks have went well and I have to sign contracts and such once I arrive back in Korea – perhaps that will interest you, if it ever happens!
13. writerinsoul.wordpress.com asked…”Okay, got one. Does your family, who appear in posts, read your blog??”
Ahh well, that’s a funny one – they didn’t really know too much about it until I sent my kids-make-me-sick post to my own Mother to get her reaction! Of course I took out ALL of the swearing and other naughtiness…she loved it as did the rest of my family, so they ended up subscribing…now she gets all of the unadulterated posts straight to her email! Oh well, I tried to stay the angel son – I suppose that’s gone now!
14. browneyedgirldotcom.wordpress.com asked…”Are there any places you’ve traveled you would never go back to?”
Hmm…I do think about this from time to time – it’s funny that even if you have bad experiences in a place (as I often do!), once you are back home safe and sound, you begin to reflect more positively on the trip as a whole. There were times in China that I thought (well screamed) “I WILL NEVER COME BACK HERE EVER AGAIN!” And then I found myself there for just a couple of months ago! So never say never! Nepal was a very tough trip and I have no ambition to return, but then again I visited in the monsoon season…argh…toughy!
15. holdmethrillmekissme.wordpress.com asked…”What influenced you to teach English in foreign countries? What would you say is the best and worst thing about your job? I hope you are having a nice life too 😉
I am! Well so far so good, haha! Parts of that question have been answered already, but in terms of what influenced me to teach in English in foreign countries, I would say that travelling and seeing the world played a pivotal role! Usually flights to and from your home country, accommodation and reasonable salary are provided as standard, as well as end of contract bonuses in some cases – if anything it makes for terrific experiences that you can tell your Grandchildren someday!
16. seaofdesire.wordpress.com asked…”What is your favorite bedtime story to tell? To hear?”
Well growing up in a family of five kids, and as one of the oldest – I was often on bedtime story duty…I would put on voices, actions, and often just make up stories altogether. Roald Dahl was a favourite of my siblings (as well as myself!), I feel that his books nuture creativity and imagination…as well as an all important eccentric humour that is needed in this life!
17. universeinherseashells.wordpress.com asked…”Favorite type of cheese? I know, brilliant question.”
A brilliant question indeed, and possibly one of the toughest. It all depends, I had a horrific run in with Gorgonzola cheese recently, it just hid in the sandwich, lurking…waiting for it’s chance to overpower the bread and the rest of the filling – suffice to say it ruined my day and possibly my whole year. So not Gorgonzola. Mozzarella for pizza, obviously. Everyday cheese probably Red Leicester…I do like Wensleydale from time to time…this could go on forever. What about you? Is it weird that this question really excited me? Probably…
18. cerobinsonauthor.com asked…”You’re a young man of 23, who enjoys living, breathing, traveling (etc.)….So just a pretty normal guy! Found out some interesting details about you under Contact and One Lovely Blog. One of five children. Do you travel with any siblings? Think a sister in Italy. Would like to know more about your place in “family.” And…How did you start writing such an awesome, funny blog? Must have had some creative skills (any supporters?) to get where you are today! I’m awed by Storytime with John, and realize my simple, beginners down-home site, Beyond Sundown, needs a huge make-over boost!”
Phew! Where to start…hmmm…I should probably begin by saying I love your blog – so shush! I enjoy the real life honest feel of it – so don’t be modest, I am sure if people check it out they will agree with me! I am pleased you enjoy mine though, I can only try my best! It’s crazy really as the blog itself is only about four months ish old, but so far I have been thrilled with the reaction it has received! I went to university and studied English Literature…but I don’t attribute this to my writing whatsoever, if anything it made me feel disenfranchised from the typical canon – that’s why I try and write real stories, for real people – that are easily to relate to! In terms of my family, I have been on a bunch of trips with my siblings as of late (Nepal with my elder sister, Italy with my little sister, and Hungary/Austria with one of my younger brothers!) certainly a great way to catch up after a year away from them!
19. lovingafrenchman.wordpress.com asked…”Master storyteller, John, We all enjoy the webs you weave. What is YOUR favorite story? (Someone else asked about bedtime… no matter to me.) What do you read when you are not mopping up children’s vomit or having your picture taken by complete strangers?”
Firstly, thank you! I am pleased yourself and others enjoy what I write! After all, that is what it is all about! (Surely!) But my favourite story…hmm…despite finding the books rather too heavy, I do feel that the STORY of The Lord of the Rings is probably one of the best ever created – just the wide scope of worlds, characters, and even languages that J.R.R. Tolkien created, just totally amaze me. However for personal reading, I tend to (don’t judge) stray towards works of rather dark humour…Bret Easton Ellis’ “American Psycho” is one of my favourites for example, as well as Hubert Selby, Jr’s “The Room” and Hunter S. Thompson’s “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. I think I am drawn to them as they speak on the untold and unspoken parts of life, which we rarely utter out loud. Fascinating.
20. nursekeith.wordpress.com asked…”Okay so John, where do you really want to live (and why) and what is it that you won’t get tired of doing (like your passionate about)? :D”
haha! Aaaahhh, this question again! I always like to think I would be close to my family when I eventually “settle”, after all they are very important to me – as are my close friends. But who knows what the future holds? I hope that through my writing I will be able to continue travelling – but also will be able to afford that ticket back home…
21. candidlycarol.wordpress.com asked…”In your travels what place or site has caused you the most emotional response? Did you laugh, cry, get upset or reflective? Why?”
Great question. There was a time in China when I was on a crowded subway train, and suddenly heard a loud blaring of muffled music…people started to barge and push, squishing me against the edges of the carriage – I tried to gently push back to avoid being suffocated – and when I did so, looked down – and saw quite a sight. There was a man. With only one arm, who was lying flat on a skateboard, a basket for coins on his back alongside a battered cassette player…dragging himself around with his single limb, as people cringed and ooh’d and aah’d. I put something in there for him, and he went on his way. That image stuck with me for a long time, it is still with me…I don’t know…it made me thankful…it made me think about…well…I don’t know…
22. mcjcyber.wordpress.com asked…”What is the key to a successful poet like yours!! Just need a little bit of it. Thanks.”
You charmer, you! I have no idea! I am no poet – never mind a successful one! If you figure it out then let me know!
23. megansure.wordpress.com asked…”Question – what are your views on the death penalty?”
Well in England we do not have the death penalty thankfully – I find it to be an outdated and barbaric form of punishment, and consequently I am against it. I think that it is a very dark part of the human psyche that desires revenge and retribution through the death of another person. Naturally I am sure that if some horrible bastard was to slaughter my whole family – I would initially like nothing more than to drown the offender myself – but then I would be no better than him, I certainly don’t think it is our choice who lives and dies – death after all doesn’t just affect one person, there’s a ripple effect.
24. howardat58.wordpress.com asked…”Are you planning a trip to Eastern Europe? I’m thinking The Ukraine.”
Well I just got back from a trip to Hungary, I have been there before though – so there is still the rest of Eastern Europe to explore! Ukraine isn’t particularly on my radar (should it be?) but Russia interests me and is certainly a place that I want to get to…oh, I do definitely want to visit a good friend of mine in Bulgaria in the next few years! So in short, you can probably count on it – as I do like to check out “new” countries whenever I can!
25. firstnightdesign.wordpress.com asked…”Do you want to teach forever or do you have other plans while life happens? I also think you should publish.”
No, certainly not – I find teaching emotionally draining in lots of ways, and as such it is not something I could keep up for the long run…in fact I deliberated stopping teaching altogether this year, and writing “full time” – the only reason I didn’t was for security so that I would have a roof over my head (typical writer’s struggle I am sure!) As a compromise I will have a far more manageable school schedule this year, MWF 3-9 and TT 5-10, I am hoping this allows for a whole lot of writing! Oh, and thanks for the vote of confidence, that is certainly my dream…I am not sure how a person does that though – help me out guys I know most people here are more seasoned than me!
And that’s it I’m afraid! This was fun – well some of it made me want to walk alone, skip rocks against a lake, and question the meaning of life – but still…thanks for the questions, we should do this again sometime ~ actually reply underneath and let’s continue this chat!