About Me

Me, at Monument Valley!

Hey, I’m John! Just a normal guy from Scotland who has an obsession with travel, and a totally rational love of cats. Here’s some facts about me:

  • I'm 24 years old
  • I live in the small town of Dunoon
  • I'm half Scottish, half American
  • I'm a student at the University of the Highlands & Islands
  • I'm an introvert, and quite shy
  • I once dressed up as a Cat for Halloween

At the age of 21, after working in an office for the last year, I was pretty fed up. Fed up of working all the time, fed up of never doing anything, and fed up of seeing everyone I knew go off to all these amazing places and never going anywhere myself. 

So.. I decided to do something about it! 

On the eve of my 22nd birthday, I booked a last-minute weekend trip leaving the next morning. Long story short, it was an amazing experience, and made me completely fall in love with travel. Since then I’ve spent over 200 days abroad, flying over 100,000 miles, and seeing more of the world than I ever imagined. I’ve not seen much, yet, but I’ve got big plans! 

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Continents
Being eaten alive at Kualoa Ranch, Oahu, Hawaii, USA
At Crater Lake, Oregon, USA
At Bakers Beach, taking in the view of the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, California, USA!

About Travelling Tabby

I started this blog for a few reasons:

  1. It gives me some experience in web development and digital marketing.
  2. It allows me to document my travels and keep a personal record.
  3. It gives me the opportunity to share my stories and advice with the world.

It sounds super cliche, but I really do think travelling is one of the greatest things you can do. It totally changed my life! What I really want from this blog is to help others get the same joy out of travelling that I do.

That could be by introducing a seasoned traveller to a new tool, or by inspiring someone to take their ever first ever trip abroad. Blogs like these inspired me, and I want to do that for someone else.

In terms of the actual content on here, you can expect:

I’ll talk, in detail, about the trips I’ve had. This will include exact figures on what I spent, where I stayed, what I ate, what I did, and a whole load of other stuff! I’ll also include pictures and recommendations. 

I’ll share the resources I use for my trips. This could links to websites which I use to get cheap flights, and spreadsheet files which I use to effectively plan out and organize my trips.

I’ll share lots of advice about a range of subjects relating to pre, active, and post travel. This could include stuff like tips on how to make extra cash at home, and how to stay safe on the road.

I’ll write a little about each destination I’ve been to, and then I’ll make more posts regarding specific areas of it. Stuff like ‘Hiking Koko Head in Oahu’. Expect a mixture of information, tips, and inspiration!

I’ve got a huge travel bucket list! (you can see it here) Every time I cross something off it, I’ll write a post about the experience and how I done it! 

These posts will only happen when I’m away on longer trips, so they won’t be very common. But you can expect week by week updates on how my longer journeys are going!

I like to make little photo books for most trips I go on. I also like making videos of some trips, and sometimes an annual travel video. These will be shared here after being uploaded onto YouTube and Issuu.

Curious about the name? I would be too! But there aren’t any exciting stories behind it, I just love cats (who doesn’t?). After a lot of brainstorming, I finally came up with ‘Travelling Tabby’ for the blog. 

Plus, when I’m travelling, I share a lot of the qualities of a cat. Curiosity, cautiousness, independence, friendliness. I mean, I don’t.. I don’t lick myself, or eat mice, but you get what I’m saying! 

I designed the logo myself, and even tried to make it look like my old cat, Star. She sadly passed away in 2018, so in a way this blog is also a nice way to remember her. 🙂 (That’s Star below, with her Panda!) 

Star, the cat! Happily resting with her Panda friend

More Information

Planning
My first trip was pretty impulsive, but normally I sit down and plan out my trips in advance. I keep track of everything in a spreadsheet, inside of which I’ll also have my packing list, calendar, and finance tracking. I really like to be organized and stay in control of things! 

Length
Most of my trips tend to be under a week in length, but I want to try and have a long trip every 5 years or so. I don’t like to rush through places just to check stuff off your bucket list, so if possible I’ll try to stay somewhere for 4-6 days and have a more relaxed experience.

Interests
There are so many places around the world I want to visit. I love big cities and nature equally. My two soft spots are skyscraper-filled cities and deserts, mostly because they are just so unlike where I live. My top interests are hiking, wildlife viewing, and seeing iconic landmarks. I also love seeing the weirder side of places. Ghost towns, niche museums, disaster sites, and all that kind of stuff fascinate me!

Budget
I try to travel cheap, but not super cheap. You won’t find me hitchhiking or couchsurfing, but I try to save money where I can, especially when it comes to transportation. Although for me, travel is all about the experiences you have and the memories you make. I love stuff like shark diving, helicopter flights, and music festivals. Sadly they are expensive as hell, so that is where most of my money goes!

Food
I do like trying new foods, but only when it looks good. I won’t be eating a slug in Africa ‘for the experience’ or whatever, but I really love trying foreign variants of my favourite foods. Most of the time I’ll just be getting some cheap street food.

Accommodation
On short trips I tend to travel with a small suitcase and stay in budget hotels, whereas on longer ones I’ll be going with a backpack and mostly staying in hostels. I.. really don’t enjoy hostels, but you can’t argue with their price!

Solo Travel
Most of the time I’m travelling solo, and tend to stay solo during my trips. Although I’ll sometimes join a tour, as it might be the only way for me to see certain places. I went on a 21 day camping tour of the Western USA in 2018, and it was such an amazing experience!

2017

  • May: A 2 day trip to Oban, Scotland, and the nearby Isles of Staffa and Iona.
  • September: A 5 day trip to Barcelona, Spain, and the nearby Montserrat.

2018

  • March – July: A 4 month trip to London, the USA, the Bahamas, and China. The USA stops included New York, Florida, California, Illinois, Utah, Nevada, Arizona, Washington DC, and Hawaii. In China it was Guangzhou, Shixing, and Hong Kong.
  • October: An 11 day trip to visit a friend in Portland, Oregon, USA, and nearby areas.

2019

  • March – April: A 15 day trip back to Portland, and then Coachella Valley in California for a week.
  • May: A 4 day trip to Malaga, Spain, and the nearby Ronda.
  • June – July: A 31 day trip to visit Portland yet again, and also a road trip through Central Oregon. 

Tomorrowland, Belgium: I’m saving up to go to the Tomorrowland music festival in Belgium. This will hopefully be in 2021 or 2022.

Birthday Trips: Every year I am determined to go away for my birthday. Where? No idea! But, somewhere. My birthday is in May. (this may be off for a few years, due to my birthday being right in the middle of my scheduled exam weeks 🙁 )

Pacific Northwest, USA: I have more plans to visit my friend and his family in Portland, Oregon. From there we have talked about trips to Seattle, Vancouver, and maybe even Yellowstone NP!

World Trip: After I graduate in summer 2022, I’ll be going off to travel the world. No solid plans for this yet, but I expect to be away for 6-12 months, and visit 6 continents. (darn you Antartica and your prices)

Family
I currently live with my Step Dad in a beautiful wee town called Dunoon. My Mum passed away a few years ago, and my Dad lives in New Jersey, USA. I used to visit him every summer as a child, which I think gave me an early love for travel and adventure! Oh, and I’ve got 4 big sisters scattered around Scotland.

Education
After high school I got a 2 year HND in Admin & IT at the University of the Highlands & Islands. A few years later, I went back and completed a 1 year HNC in Digital Design & Web Development. Now, I’m back again to get a 3 year Bachelors Degree in Business Management. Whatever I end up doing, a degree will help.

Employment
My first job was working as an Admin Apprentice in the local Social Work department. This eventually turned into a normal Admin role, which I loved! A nice, relaxing, mostly stress free job which paid well and had nice benefits. I worked here for a year and a half, before leaving to go travel for a while.

I’ve also been volunteering at a local Oxfam charity shop every week for the last 3 years, which is fun! Nowadays I don’t work, not in a traditional sense, but I spend a lot of time online earning money. This is through stuff like matched betting, completing surveys, and whatever else I can do.

Hobbies & Interests
Most of the time you’ll find me at home working on some kind of digital design project (making books, editing videos, creating websites). This is a huge hobby of mine, and I love being able to combine it with my travels! I also enjoy playing video games, and watching stuff like Sons of Anarchy. 

I follow Liverpool FC, and I like most music, but my favourite music artists would be Illenium, Odesza, Taylor Swift, and Lana Del Rey. Also you may not know this, but I actually like cats! I have a bad habit of spending hours on YouTube, falling into the ‘dumb cat video’, related videos cycle. 

(If you still want to know more, check out the F.A.Q page, or leave a comment below!)

Thank you so much for visiting my blog! I’m still quite new to travelling, and a complete newbie at blogging, but I’m excited for what the future holds. I really hope you get something useful from here.

Also, make sure to follow me on Instagram for awesome pictures, videos and stories of my trips!

John

25 Responses

  1. Found you via the Scottish Coronavirus chart – excellent data analysis and presentation. Shame there’s not something similar of the rest of the UK. I’m interested to know how you accessed the data, e.g. on age and gender of fatalities. Please would you let me know, if you can – maybe I could create something similar, if only for my own understanding.

  2. Hello

    I do hope your tutors and lecturers at UHI are aware of your excellent data and presentation here on covid19. I’m a university lecturer in business and was a senior manager in plcs for many years previously and I do think your data is more useful and accessible than (shhh!) even the government published data. Your information captures the right charts (e.g. excess mortality / trackers v averages etc). I’ve found this way more useful for daily updates than any of the other data available. Thank you!

    1. Hi,

      Thank you so much! 🙂

      Yes, I’ve had positive feedback from my University which is nice of them! And thank you, I’m glad you’re finding it useful! I try to make it informative and easy to take in at the same time!

  3. Hi John

    I look at the gov.scot and nrs websites regarding Covid 19 statistics and information and try to make sense of it all which can be quite time consuming, even as a retired physicist. However, I find your presentations far easier and accessible! Well done. Perhaps the government should temporarily recruit you!! Keep up the good work.
    I shall now look at your travel blog as well.

    T Crompton

    1. Hi,

      Thank you so much! 🙂 I do try to make the information as easy to take in as possible, I’m glad it is working!!

  4. Hi John

    I’m a medical scientist by academic training and have worked in R&D and senior management roles in global multinationals for many years. I have to say your Covid tracker is very impressive! I’ve found it hugely informative – easily the best source of info for Scotland, Your collation and presentation of the data is absolutely superb – crystal clear and instantly accessible. Thanks for your efforts and for sharing this

  5. I’m a professional software developer, I’ve been sending folks to your coronavirus monitor for months now. Excellent bit of work, although the gender gauge looks a bit dodgy… 😉 Thankyou for your effort, as others have said. I wish the other parts of the UK were as well supported as we are, this page spoils us somewhat.

    1. Hi,

      Thank you so much! 🙂 There are some other good pages for the rest of the UK! I thought about expanding mine to cover those, but that would be far too time-consuming, I’m afraid!

  6. Hi I cant thank you enough for the absolutely splendid corona spreadsheets ,they have kept me sane in this troubled time. I was working in Zaire now D.R.C in the late 80s on the then new virus HIV and using minimal computation and very basic spread sheet EPI.INFO from CDC Atlanta. You have made amazing use of present systems and deserve a bottle of wine should you visit the Borders’.
    Tom H

  7. Fantastic, John – I enjoyed your blog; find the coronavirus map useful, and am now looking for a kitten after our previous cat died – so if you come across a lonely moggy on your travels………………..
    And although I’ve travelled a great deal, including a year spent doing VSO in Ethiopia, few places beat the West of Scotland for sheer natural beauty.

    1. Thank you so much! 🙂 I agree, Scotland is one of the most beautiful places in the world. And you’re allowed to say that when you’ve seen lots of the world!

      Sorry to hear about your cat. Losing them is the worst.. but I will keep you in mind if I ever do come across a friendly kitten looking for a new home 🙂

  8. Your corona virus tracker is fab! The most accessible presentation of stats I have seen anywhere on the web. It also makes me feel more comfortable about venturing out and about. Thanks!

  9. Hi John,
    I was introduced to your page on Corona Virus, back in March and have followed daily to begin with and more like weekly now. Its fab to get a detailed insight to how Scotland are doing during this awful time! I’ve recommended this page to many people I know. I’m totally surprised you are not employed by our Scottish government, considering the amazing stats you are providing to us all!

    I love looking at data, i’ve self taught myself on powerbi and qliksense, to see the data i use daily at work, in different visualisations, ehich helps me get my team to focus on the right things!

    I truly hope this leads to great things for you.

    As a cat owner/lover myself and now I realise you write about travel, something I love too for business & pleasure, I’ll be sure to follow your travel blog too!

    1. Hi,

      Thank you so much, I’m glad you like the page! 🙂

      Good on you for learning new tools! I mostly just use excel right now, but powerbi is on my ‘to do list’. It looks brilliant!

      Thanks for following the blog! It’s still in its early days, really. (The virus struck when I was getting close to finishing it, and I’ve not had much time for it since). But hopefully you’ll find some of the future posts of interest!

  10. Echoing the comments above John. Really superb and accessible data.
    I work as a doctor in Scotland in the midst of all this. I have always wanted to know the numbers based on health board /geography and demographics of affected populations. This is super helpful and I’ve recommended to all my colleagues at work.
    Please keep up your efforts, hugely appreciated by us.
    Best.

    1. Thank you so much, I’m glad you’ve found it useful! I agree it’s nice to look at the geography/demographics of the cases to give the data some more meaning.

      I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon 🙂

  11. Hi, I would just like to say how much I value your coronavirus site which I have followed from back in March. It’s even better now you have expanded it to cover the whole of the UK. I too worked for A+B Council some time back. A great place to live. You’re a credit to UHI and yourself! Keep it up and dream some more, Dave

  12. Hi John
    Thanks for all you have done to make statistics on Covid 19 in Scotland clear, understandable and accessible. This is in contrast to the Scottish Government’s published data which seems designed to confuse. If the SG really wants to be open with the public it should offer you a consultancy to carry on the good work your doing. I hope you are able to carry on for what looks like a long haul.

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