I want you all to know me a little better. You all know “Kevin’s Travel Diary” but none of you really know Kevin (me 🙂 ) so I’m going to tell you lots about me, so you can learn who this guy is behind this travel blog. You already know about how my love for travelling began, but now we will go deeper into the life of me.

I’m going to take you on my journey of life.

So where to start? We know my name’s Kevin and travels my middle name 🙂 . I have travelled around 80 countries and I have this huge passion for travel. My first passion whilst travelling is to learn and understand about different cultures, the how and why everyone lives in different ways. I like to learn about the local way and understand the different ways of doing things. Culture is a strong part of people’s everyday life. By understanding different cultures it opens my eyes to different views, values, humour, hopes, fears and even loyalties. I find it stimulates my mind and forces myself to see and think in different ways, it helps me understand there is more than one way of doing something.

Time for me to really open up……

Now, a step back in time….. When I was at school I struggled to learn, I was never the type of person to sit still and listen to teachers, this was no fault of the teachers, perhaps it was more because I didn’t understand what and why I was being taught what I was. I was the terror that would disrupt the class, don’t get me wrong I wanted to learn, but I just couldn’t get to grips with the way I was being taught. Rather than being taught a different way, I was just told that I wasn’t worth the time and how I’m going nowhere in life. This, of course, set me up for my life failure, well it would have if I wasn’t as strong-minded as I was.

My behaviour got worse and worse at school, until, they couldn’t control me any longer. They would suspend me for weeks at a time. (I always knew I wanted to work as a hotel manager as I thought it would enable me to travel the world and stay in lots of different hotels). How wrong was I. Well kinda…..

Each time I was suspended I got myself a job in catering, I worked in a total of 9 different establishments before I found my first real job on weekends. I still had my troubled life at school and still getting sent home for weeks at a time. I very quickly worked out that every time I was sent home from school I could attend work and get paid. (I don’t condone or recommend you do this). This, of course, fuelled me more to get sent home from school so I could earn more money. Eventually, the school had enough of me and I left at 15, that was it, my destiny was to fail…. Not under my employers watch!!!. The owner of the hotel I worked for saw me as a project and took me under his wing. He knew I wanted to run a hotel, and it was his hotel, that he wanted me to run. For the next year, I worked school hours for £2.00 an hour and learning my education under my new employers. My education changed and I started to learn about business, rather than academics which I think slightly explains my grammar.

My 16th birthday came and I was free from the education system, I was quickly offered my first promotion at 16, I was to become a function supervisor looking after all the weddings. After a year I had saved enough money for my first holiday which was in Majorca. At the time, travelling at 17 years old was not allowed without the consent of parents. My parents were away at the time of booking so, a quick forged letter from my parents (sorry mum 😂) I was on my way to Majorca and the feeling of freedom was where my true love of travelling began.

About me
Kevin's Travel Diary

After my first holiday alone in Majorca I learnt the meaning of freedom, ok, it wasn’t quite backpacking S.E Asia (more of a 5 star resort) but the feeling of doing what I wanted, when I wanted had definitely won me over.

Still under the wing of the owner along with my first promotion, I learnt the necessary skills to further my carrer. Alot of hard work, every hour under the sun and around 6 managers later, I finally got the job I always dreamed of. Hard work finally paid off! Anything we desire is possible!

With the promotions came a huge paycheck which of course sent me packing on my next adventure. (Although back then my job paid my travels, I now get paid to travel) This time the adventure sent me to Tunisia, my first true experience of Africa and learning about a different culture. Again I never backpacked here, and I stayed in an all-inclusive resort, but I was never shy to get out and about and visit the local town and take in my new surroundings. I remember so clearly booking a tour from town to go on a jeep ride up the mountains to see a local village. I was more interested in the jeep ride, that was until I arrived at the local village. I was first greeted by a local and his camel, the local shoved something in my mouth and told me to stand still.

Ermmmmm……….

Camel kiss…..

A kiss that made me fall in love  😍😙

ok no…… not with the camel ……..

But with this strange culture of feeding camels. How cool would it be to own a camel? Well, that is almost the norm for a lot of locals in Tunisia. After exploring their village, trying homemade bread, and understanding a different way of living it was at this point that I fell in love with the culture and wanted to explore different ways of living. A love that has never left me, even down to this day.

It was soon after this holiday that my terror years past, I think it was due to my holiday, it opened my eyes to different beliefs, morals and of course ways of living. I had a lot of money coming in due to my promotion, and gaining a sense of sensibility from travelling alone at a young age, I decided to put my money to good use and buy my first home. Yep, 18 years of age and I managed to convince a mortgage company to loan me the money to buy my home. A home that I still call home today, a small 2 bedroom home that is a stones throw from the famous sand duned beach of Camber Sands.

After buying my home, I had enough money left to save for my travels, a new found passion that kept me on the straight and narrow. I was keen to take another trip and learn about other cultures around the world.

Next up was turkey, a new culture to explore….

On the bus journey to my hotel, I was surprised to see the locals smoking a bong, “what a bong?” I thought. “Yep, definitely a bong” I answered myself. Wow! Were they really smoking a bong and using drugs in the middle of the street? Was that aloud? Omg, how exciting! I quickly dropped my bag in the hotel and headed in the direction of these bong smokers. I never wanted to take drugs but I did want to learn about another culture, especially one that allows this in the middle of the street. After speaking with the locals, I learnt that it wasn’t a bong, it was, in fact, a Nargile aka shisha (hookah). Something that is part of the Turkish culture dating back to the 17th century. It became an important part of society and was used as a status symbol.

After joining the locals for a nargile or 2 I was then offered a traditional Turkish shave. I thought “why not”. I was a young man and the locals thought it would be funny to mess around shaving me with the largest knife you’d ever seen. (See picture) I think they were trying to scare me and have a laugh amongst themselves, the problem was, I wasn’t scared and found it rather amusing. 😅 Either way, it was a cool local experience and eventually I was given the true traditional shave. After my shave, I was then directed for a traditional Turkish bath, but I’ll save this story for another time 😁.

Over the next couple of years many holidays passed, (Spain, Greece, Morocco and Bulgaria to name a few) new cultures were learnt.

Then……

At a very young age (20) Along Came “Porsha” my first and only child. She is the little adventurer that pops up in some of my pictures every now and then. She too, like me, loves an adventure and has so far been to France, Belguim, Netherlands, Spain, the main 4 canary islands and India. It’s very hard to leave my little-loved one at home whilst I travel the world but she fully supports my travelling, and really enjoys receiving lots of postcards from everywhere I visit 🏝.

After my terror years pasted, I was left with a big hole that needed filling. That’s when travelling introduced me to some adrenaline sports. Stay tuned and next time I’ll share about my travels which fueled the adrenaline inside me, which later became my hobbies leading me to seek out …………..

camel kissing
kevin hodgon
High boat jump

From a young age, I learnt to scuba dive and have now dived over 200 times in more than 30 countries. My 2 favourite places have to be Mexico and the Maldives, closely followed by Egypt.

Fishing is another favourite of mine but I’ve only ever fished in England and Thailand.

A past time hobby of mine is go-karting, this was my first take on adrenaline and this hobby certainly was the start to me becoming a bit of an adrenaline junky.

The feeling of speed adrenaline….. Speeding around a track reaching up to 60mph certainty gets my heart pumping. When I was in Bulgaria I went down to a karting track and felt the “need for speed”. In fact, it was here that I learnt I was a natural and was asked by the circuit owner if I wanted to take part in a race later that evening. Of course, I did! I hung around with the track owner all day, helping out in return for preparing me for the race ahead. I entered the race and finished 3rd. After a great finish, I continued with this sport and went on to win many more races. I no longer kart as I have now found kitesurfing, a height adrenaline.

Kitesurfing, another hobby that came from my travels. This hobby started in Egypt, I didn’t learn to kitesurf in Egypt, I learnt to wakeboard. After I learnt to wakeboard it was something I wanted to keep doing. With no wakeboarding at home, I learnt to kitesurf instead, this was the sport that could fill my adrenaline needs. After lots of crashes, practice and many fails I learnt to jump! Hello, height adrenaline!!

Adrenaline has become a part of me now and I always try to seek different types of adrenaline during my travels. That maybe speed, height, nerve or even fear factor adrenaline, I just love the feeling.

Fear adrenaline is what lead me to hand feed wild Hyenas in Ethiopia. I watched a t.v show called “Planet Earth 2” and watched this crazy guy in Ethiopia hand feed wild Hyenas. I just imagined what the adrenaline would be like, next thing I knew I was on a flight and ready to feed these huge wild beasts. This was one experience that got my heart pumping with nerve adrenaline. I arrived at the slaughter, in pitch darkness and met the Hyena men. They started to call the Hyenas. I stood there watching in such amazement as they called me forward to hand-feed these animals. When I got closer, he asked me to kneel next to him, he held some meat above my head while the hyenas fed from his hand, just inches away from my face. I could feel the warm breath of the hyena, breathing down my neck and I can hardly express in words what I felt. But it was at this point that I felt the neck of a hyena rub against mine and for the first time I really appreciated the sheer power of these animals. I was then handed a piece of meat, my moment had come, the reason that led me here. I held out my hand and waited for the Hyena to come and feed from my hand. As it got closer, I feared for my life and dropped the meat, I realised how easy it would be for these wild animals to eat me instead. Hyenas are the second largest land predators in Africa and have the most powerful jaws. I built up my courage and attempted it again, this time with success, a wild hyena sneaked around the back of me and took the meat on offer.

The adrenaline from fear and nerves are definitely what lead me to these amazing locations.

One day I was speaking to my friend about my travels, and all the places I’d been. I then made a joke about wanting to visit Somalia. A joke that became very real. A few days later a lot of people asked if I was really going to Somalia. Going along with the joke I replied yes of course!. Before I knew it, I was going. This definitely ticks all the adrenaline boxes.

kart racing
hand feeding hyenas
kevin hodgon

It is true that my bizarre travels, to places like Somalia came around after a joke. I spent 5 days in notorious Somalia. oh, I might go to Somalia, then that joke became real as word got out. Now I have to go!. Oh while I’m there I’m going to meet pirates, another joke that word got out, so I had to make that become real too. Yes, it all started as a joke! A joke that I knew would get my heart pumping with adrenaline.

One of the most surreal and eye-opening experiences was walking across no-man’s land from Ethiopia to Somaliland. As you walk from border to border there are no guards that can assist you, you are all alone. Well, if it wasn’t for the 500 locals swamping you trying to assist you to the unknown. The unknown where you could get shot in the head or kidnapped quicker than you can sip your bottled water. From the ambush perfect swamps around Kismayo in the south, the warrens of Mogadishu, to the pirate dens of Bosaso on the Gulf of Aden. The whole country is a breeding ground for warlords, pirates, kidnappers, bomb makers, fanatical Islamist extremists, freelance gunmen, and idle, angry youths with no education and way too many bullets. What was I doing walking across this border? Unknown to me, but walking this border was the safe part of Somalia and in fact altho not reconsigned is different to Somalia.

Just imagine the feeling of sitting at the roadside with a man and almost half a million dollars. Ok, I didn’t count it but see the picture! A lot of money. Yep, I sat with the big boss man and enjoyed Somalian tea (the best tea ever) this man, who at the end of the day, leaves his money at the roadside covered with a small bit of tarpoling. Is this man crazy? No security, no guards! Wow, this was the start of an incredible experience.

It’s true that I went in search of pirates, I was taken to a remote bombed out, shot down, derelict fishing village in the middle of nowhere, no one around. The experience of seeing this alone was immense. This was it, the meeting point, to be kidnapped? to seak out what I came here to see (pirates).

I waited….

and waited….

and waited….

Maybe they were scared of me 😊after a long 3-hour wait, out came two guys with what I will describe as tea towels around their head. Only seeing their eyes as they walked towards me screaming no photos, no photos. They had their ak47s under their arms, bullets around their neck and the biggest machete I’ve ever seen.

I would like to say we had a nice chat, but that would be lying, I’d like to say I enjoyed meeting them, but that would be lying, I’d like to say I wasn’t scared, but that would be lying, especially when they ask me about what insurance I have, what house I live in, do I have family and wife. Netherless, I did it, I met some pirates, but the biggest question that still holds over me, were they really pirates. The answer to that is….. I don’t know, I do genuinely believe they were, they claimed to have kidnapped 4 people in total. If they weren’t, then still, I was brave enough to at least hunt out these pirates, live and tell the tail.

Mogadishu never failed to impress either, one day I’m on the beach playing football with the local kids, watching the fisherman walk past with their large sailfish catch on their heads. Then the next day I’m running for cover as a terrorist decided to blow up the market. I was metres away from the scariest experience I ever wish to encounter. Stood outside my guest house watching the locals go about their day and all of a sudden a big explosion happened before my eyes. As I stood there in disbelief, scared and confused my guards grabbed me back into my guest house for a swift exit to safety. (I don’t always condone doing the things I do) but in 20 years from now perhaps you too can enjoy climbing small mountains in Somaliland, swim in the Gulf of Aden in Puntland and enjoy luxurious beaches in Mogadishu. Somalia really does offer it all. 😀

So how about North Korea? How did that come around?. Well, I was at my girlfriend’s parent’s house for dinner after I got back from Somalia and her brother made a comment, “where next North Korea? Lol”. I went home that night and my brain got ticking with excitement. “North Korea” could I? Is that even possible? I quickly learnt that if you pick a big event in North Korea, entry is easy. I picked their Pynonngnag Marathon, I could claim that I can run 😊. Next thing I know I had organised for myself to join a tour heading for North Korea to run their marathon in just 8 weeks. Needless to say, he is banned from making comments again. I trained hard for 8 weeks but sadly 5 days before my trip I dislocated my hip. Oh no! Treatment in China made a 10k run doable and I finished in the top 100.

kevin hodgon
somalia
kevin hodgon

So North Korea came around after an evening with my girlfriends family. To my surprise and no doubt yours, North Korea is doable and very easy too. So my entrance into North Korea was aiming to run in their Pyongyang Marathon. After I booked the tickets training had to begin, I took my own approach for training which was going really well, that was until I dislocated my hip just 5 days before I was due to run. My tour of China before entering North Korea enabled me to learn about different treatments. A few treatments made a 10k run in North Korea doable and I finished within the top 100. North Korea is the most surreal country I’ve ever been to and by far the most interesting because of the strict regime. Whilst in North Korea there are a lot of “do’s” and “do not’s”, such as to listen to your guide, bow and show respect to the statues of their leader, and do not take any pictures of anything without your guides permission. A trip to North Korea will leave you amazed and not just for the huge architectural buildings that seem to be empty.

Running has now become a part of me and I’m hoping to take this new passion to as many countries as I can. My next par-taking in a Marathon is in Iraqi around October time. If you’re a keen runner then why not join me?

I’ve really enjoyed sharing a little about Kevin to all of you and I really hope you’ve enjoyed learning a little bit more behind this blogger.
When I first started this blog some of you will perhaps remember that it all started as a personal diary for myself (which it still is) and I would tell you all how my grammars not perfect and I do make spelling mistakes and how I’m a standard guy travelling the world on annual leave. I started a diary, and a dream to get paid to travel. A dream that I never thought would become real, until now.

As I travel more and more and get paid to visit amazing countries worldwide, I know others would also love to do the same. So I’ve started a private group on FB called “Forucksake lifestyle”. It’s going to be a community of like-minded travellers and those that want to travel, where you can find out exactly how I fund my adventures, find answers, recommendations and products to help you in your future travels.

north korea marathon
great wall of china
north korea group shot

So where next for Kevin’s Travel Diary? I have 2 answers for this one.

1) I plan to start a company running tours, where other bloggers will join you, on these tours you can also speak with other bloggers on how to become a successful blogger, learn to take Instagram worthy pictures or just join a fun tour, meet new friends and get the best out of travelling…..

2) As above, I am starting a new group that will show you and teach you how to become a successful blogger and how you too could travel the world and get paid. Now, I’m not going to tell you I earn 250k or even 100k, I won’t even tell you I earn 50k and in fact far from it. But what I do earn is enough to enable me to travel for free and also offers of being paid to travel.

My blog may not be the most successful out there, earn the most money or have the prettiest pictures. But my blog is living proof how a normal guy can go from a terror child to getting paid to travel the world, and living a life I love.

If you would like to join my new group and learn all about blogging then head over to https://m.facebook.com/groups/862084477311489 where I will teach everything and even walk you through the first steps. Always wanted to blog but don’t know where to start? I’ll help you with that. Don’t know how to build a website? I’ll help you with that. Don’t know SEO? I’ll help you with that. Don’t know, don’t know, don’t know? I’ll help with all that too.