I decided to quit blogging last weekend. I just did not feel like doing it any more.
“I would rather be the worst author than the best travel blogger,” I declare to nobody other than myself.
I decided to quit. I decided to write books instead. I wrote up a quick outline in like 15 minutes, looked at it, and said, ‘Hey, this looks pretty good.’ I decided that I would write books without care or regard as to who reads them. I would get back to the source, I would write for me.
This blogging venture turned into a grossly contorted Frankenstein sort of block headed green beast. This was only suppose to be a writing exercise for other publishing mediums.
Then it grew into something that I did for my family and friends — something to allow me to keep in touch better while traveling. (little did I know that families and friends don’t really read travel blogs).
Then I became friends with Andy Graham, the Hobotraveler, and a carrot was dangled in front of my nose:
“Hmm, if I work really really hard and type my fingers to the bone — if I wake up at 5AM every morning and start publishing pages, maybe I could make enough money to travel off of this website.”
The idea sounded good — hey, Andy makes a good living off of his site — but years of waking up at 5AM and ticking these words and pages off into oblivion have left my pockets perilously empty. For the amount of time that I have put into this site, I estimate that I may have made 25 cents an hour.
And this is a liberal estimate.
I have enjoyed publishing this website for a long time, and this was more than enough to cover the fact that I make a penance off of it.
Then I realized something: I enjoy writing, but I don’t like pushing all of the buttons and formatting the pages and doing all of the excess computer chores that publishing online necessitates. I realize that I could just write without all of the baggage.
I could write the stories that I put up on this website a little deeper, I could take my time with my writing, I could not be bound to publishing 1 – 2 articles a day. I could write to enjoy it and sluice off a good deal of the pressure.
This sounded good to me. I decided to quit blogging. I decided to work on a book and publish it myself and hand it out to whoever would want to read it.
I decided to enjoy writing again.
So I told my wife that I quit. She did not believe me, but did reveal an odd show of disappointment when she realized that I was not joking. She even offered to learn how to make pages and help out a little more. Chaya hates this internet shit. This offer meant a lot.
“But you like your website,” she said.
“I like a lot of things,” was my only reply.
I was done, finished, completo, finito.
Then Andy called last night from the Philippines, and a little glimmer of hope reemerged. We talked of new ways of promoting our sites, and of how to use the print media in our favor. Maybe, just maybe, I could still make something of this internet publishing fiasco? Maybe.
We hung up the phone. I quickly smothered these residual hopes. I am done, I reminded myself. I am going on to another path, going to climb a new mountain. I would rather be a bad author than a good travel blogger.
I met the archaeology crew in the parking lot of the Motel 6 in Payson the following morning. My friend, K., mentioned something to me about Vagabondjourney.com. I too, told him that I was done, finished, completo, finito.
He looked a little disappointed. Why? he asked. I told him that we would talk about it later.
We talked about it at a cheap Chinese restaurant. I told him why.
Then I went back to our hotel room and blogged. I suppose the train was not derailed after all. I looked up to find that my new path was really just a detour to the old. I must declare that I am on the same path that I have been walking for four years, I look back at a trail that leads so far back that I can no longer see its beginning.
I have no idea where this all began anymore, but it was so long ago that I can’t quit now. I just may be passed the point of no return.
I wrote the following over the weekend to state the reasons why I intended to cease the publication of this travelogue. I publish this segment “as is.” I am a little unsure of what it says, and I do not feel like re-reading it.
Perhaps unfortunately, I am a man who abides stringently to Newton’s First Law of Motion:
“An object at rest tends to stay at rest, unless another force acts upon it; and likewise an object in motion tends to stay in motion.”
If I do something one day, I will do it all day long; if I do something all day long one day, I will do likewise the next day, the next day, and the next day on towards infinitude.
For years I have blogged pretty much daily. An impetus of inertia hit me and no other force was able to act upon it. Until now.
I sat for two days in a hostel in Flagstaff, Arizona. I sat in an upper bunk in a dormitory that just so happened to give me a view of myself in a vanity mirror on the wall above the sink. When I sit around I like to look at myself in a mirror. It is perhaps a strange preoccupation, but I like to watch myself think. My idea set up would be a table, my computer, and a mirror right in front of me so I could watch myself tick off these words.
I have never claimed to be removed from vanity. I think I look good. Well, I sat for two days looking at myself in a mirror in the upper bunk of a hostel in Flagstaff, Arizona thinking that I look good thinking. I also ran smack through the brick wall I have been running into for the past three years.
I lost my inertia. I lost my inertia for blogging. I lost my inertia for being an internet “writer.”
I all of a sudden no longer felt like a man bashing through a thickly vegetated woods trying hard to get to the glory land pastures on the other side, but as a dumb donkey tied up to a tree in a desert — just dreaming about being in the woods working hard to get somewhere.
I am getting nowhere by blogging. I am getting nowhere putting up all of these pages of “travel information” on VagabondJourney.com. I knew this for a long time, but I kept at it because I enjoyed it.
I enjoy writing words. But it is unbelievable how much time I spend pushing buttons rather than writing words. If my enjoyment is found in writing then way do I spend more than half of my time pushing buttons and formatting pages — I am not even writing most of the time that I am on the computer.
I don’t like this anymore.
I feel sick when I look into my computer screen, I feel sick when I open my email and find a dozen emails from people who want something from me, I feel sick when I skip a day of writing to walk in the mountains and feel overwhelmed with double the amount of work the next day. I suppose this is a sign of success. VagabondJourney.com is bringing in nearly 2,500 unique daily visitors, we are ranked 220,000 in Alexa. I am getting to the place that I set out for all those years ago, and I realize that I do not really want to be here.
I seriously feel nauseous as I type. I miss my family and I hate the time that this f’cking website takes away from them. I hate that I feel like I have to write rather than be with my wife.
The internet is a taker’s market, and I am sick of giving. I am sucked dry. The internet is candy for people who want something for nothing. (I want something for nothing, too, so I use the internet. I am not going to pay for something online — Are you crazy?)
I have “suggested donation $2” written all over the travel help portion of this website, but nobody contributes. Instead, they ask me the same questions that I have answered a dozen times over and just expect me answer them again. The internet is for people who take.
But it takes a lot of time, effort, and inertia to publish this travelogue everyday. Seriously, readers, I put in over 5 hours a day into this site. Why?
I don’t know anymore.
The well is dry.