Jimmy Ryan

Hello World – Why I Chose To Start Blogging In 2020

Hello world was the first title I gave my very first website page when I was learning to write HTML. It seems apt that I should title my first blog post the same. I wanted to write this as a way of paving the path to future blogs, what to expect, but also to explain why I started.

Why I Started Blogging In 2020

Since an early age I’ve always tried to walk my own path, not following the crowd, and to do things that others may not have dreamt of. I’m a creative soul and I’m proud to say I’m a bit of a dreamer. I dream what may be possible; I try to think of things which would be quite abstract, and things which may not have been done before. I’ve a good sense of humour and try to carry that wherever I go, so it goes without saying that some of my dreams turn out to be a good laugh too.

Before I even thought about blogging or creating videos I was minding my own business and having a laugh doing random stuff. I look back on those times and think that some of the things I’ve done would make epic videos! I’d love to watch back at those times to reminisce. This started my train of thought to begin documenting in the future. After watching some YouTube channels and enjoying the stories and adventures of others, I wanted to showcase some of my fun. I think it’s great that someone can be taken along for the ride through YouTube, from the comfort of their own home. I wanted to do the same.

On top of Duga

Things I’ve Done Pre 2020


Before 2020 I’d had some great life experiences, not a lot of them made it past the odd photo. I’ve collectively spent weeks in the Chernobyl exclusion zone and have been visiting since 2011. In my first visit I was just tagging along with a friend. I’d been to Ukraine before but never thought it was possible to visit Chernobyl. Years later I’d been back again and again and started taking tours of people. At first friends, and friends of friends, but later complete strangers who’d contacted me specifically for a tour. Because I’d been there so often, and became friendly with the government officials, and since I knew the area so well, I was given a lot of freedom in the zone. I was often left free to wander alone, I knew where to go and where to avoid, I never left my Geiger counter behind and was careful.

I’ve abseiled the Ferris wheel and buildings in Pripyat, climbed to the top of the 150 metre high Duga radar and drove a minibus all throughout the zone. But the experience of walking the streets of an abandoned city, completely alone, is something I’ll cherish forever. Later ABC News did an interview with me about Chernobyl, which then led to other news channels, and soon enough I was 5 minutes famous all over the world.

Jesus and bear

My Travels

In my early twenties I decided to put my house up for rent. I filled my dad’s garage with all my furniture and went to live in another country. The country I first chose was the Czech Republic, and the city was Prague. That was Prague before all the mass tourism, when the prices were still really favourable for the British pound. I booked a plane with no plans, nowhere to live, no job, and really no worries. I stayed in a Hostel for a few days while searching for somewhere to live, and immediately made some friends who were also looking for a place to live. Just a few days after arriving in the country I moved into an apartment with two other expats. Since the currency exchange was so good I didn’t need to find a job and instead spent my time socialising, exploring the culture, learning the language and... did I mention that the Czech Republic has some amazing breweries? Prague was great. I met some amazing people, but it mainly helped me discover myself. I never did find full-time employment there but occasionally I helped out taking huge groups of people on pub crawls. A highlight for me was probably hiring a Jesus costume and wearing it to pretty much any event I could, together with my friend who was dressed as a polar bear.

After Prague I spent some time backpacking throughout Europe. I visited some amazing places and I’m still a huge fan of Europe (as a whole) as a holiday destination, but I fell in love with Central/Eastern Europe. I found the people there to be very warm and caring, after you get to know them a bit first. I spent a lot of time in Poland, probably because I found my now wife within the first 30 minutes of arriving! Years later we got married and we had a fantastic Polish wedding, complete with (what seemed like) a warehouse full of vodka and a large selection of smoked meats.

I spent so much time in Poland, and since I was getting ‘mates rates’ at the Hostel, I was invited/snuck into an awards ceremony for Hostel World. Hostel World is a booking agent and they were having their annual awards ceremony in Dublin. A short flight and a little time later, I was accepting an award for the Best Hostel in Poland! As somewhat of a prize Hostel World gave out t-shirts with their logo on, and HOSTEL CREW printed in huge letters on the back. This only reinforced my status when staying in any future hostel, a lot of the time getting free drinks and room upgrades.


I grew up working on a farm and from a young age was able to drive some huge machinery and vehicles. I still remember the first time I reversed a tractor, dolly and articulated trailer. I sweat buckets trying to get the trailer into a tight parking spot while the farm manager watched over and after completion he only gave a simple nod in acknowledgement. I was just 13 at the time, but this lead to me moving onto bigger and more complex vehicles. At 18 I passed my goods vehicle licence and later moved up to large goods vehicles and trailers. In my early career I lived out of an articulated lorry (semi) and travelled all over the UK, moving anything and everything. Later I would travel to Europe in my lorry while working for a German construction company.

Driving the bus

My Own Vehicles

My passion has always been vehicles and the open road and I’m often reminded how lucky I am to work with one of my passions. But I’ve not left it there. In 2016 I bought an old Stagecoach service bus, 72-passenger bus, which in service would pick up and drop off passengers in Carlisle. The 25 year old bus had ended its service life and somehow made its way to the South coast of England and was running school contracts. I spent over a year lovingly restoring it to its original glory. I painted it in Stagecoach company colours from 1992 and restored whatever possible back to new. Once completed, I toured Britain in the service bus which was originally designed for short city distances. I was taking it onto motorways and was stopping at bus shows throughout the country. Along the way I took the bus camping. This was something which started as a challenge, but was surprisingly easy and only raised a handful of eyebrows.

Before selling my bus I bought an old military lorry and trailer directly from military service. It has four-wheel drive and was probably designed for a zombie apocalypse. It’s become such a big part of my life that I’ve written a blog post specifically for it and what my plans are with it.

Abseiling Clarence Flour Mill

Random Stuff

A lot of what I get up to feels a bit random. I’ve been with friends on an adventure and sat down on a night to discuss the day’s activities, we’ve often laughed at the day gone and thought, how the heck did that all come about?! Some examples:
Trying to bribe a hotel manager to let us drink beers on the hotel roof (there wasn’t a roof terrace). We ended up on the roof anyway, but then met a local who showed us some other rooftops we could access and took us down some underground storm drains in Kyiv, Ukraine.
Abseiling things, from abandoned mills to bridges; my abseiling ended up on the local TV news channel.
Paintballing in a U-boat factory in Poland for one of my friends’ birthday was a bit surreal.
After an all day/night drinking session while walking home in the AM, I stumbled upon Ukrainian X-Factor auditions and thought it would be fun to join in. I never made it through to the next round but gave a beautiful rendition of a classic Spice Girl song.

Now I Start Blogging

I’ve had such a blast over the years and met so many great people. I think people are the key to some of my best memories. A great big thank you goes out to everyone I met over the years. I hope that this blog, together with my YouTube channel, Instagram and Facebook, serves as good entertainment. Join me on this journey, get involved, say hello, leave a comment. Cheers!