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Lesson on How to Live Deliberately

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“What have you been doing all night?” my wife asked me with a touch of scorn, “downloading travel guides? You don’t even use travel guides!!!”

She was exasperated, and rightly so.

I had just worked over ten hours on the farm, returned home, and immediately ran off to chase my largest windmill: this website.

(a chase which usually lasts for hours and hours each day without getting any closer)

My wife allows me time and space for this internet project — she stands back and watches me bang my whole body up against this brink wall all night long. She loves me and knows that I love to write words – even when she so obviously thinks that I am like a rat on a spinning wheel: I think I am going somewhere, but, in actuality, I am just running in place.

But my wife still applauds me when I proudly proclaim that I now make as much money off of Vagabond Journey.com in a month as I do in three days of farming.

But we will make more money from this someday . . .

Bangor, Maine, USA, North America
August, 2009
Wade’s Travel Gear | All Travelogue Entries

But on this night I got caught, I put in a good four hours on the computer interspersing website work with stupid shit. I was wasting time on inconsequential activities that really did not need to be done when I was doing them.

I was tired from working all day, and I intuitively found myself angling towards tinkering away at easy thinking nonsense rather than going full force on the day’s website chores and getting it all finished — finished and done for the day so that I could have a couple hours with my wife and new baby before bed.

But I tinkered, dabbled, and spliced real work with nonsense internet browsing: I was downloading travel guides that I will not ever use for f’ck’s sake.

The day waned into night, and my wife seemed a little perturbed. But I ignored very obvious signs and tinkered until bed time. I did about two hours of real website work in four hour’s time.

I wasted two hours.

My wife was angry, and I knew that she was justified: she sacrificed her own time so that I could have the space to work on this website, and I threw it in her face by taking the long road around my intended tasks.

I learned a good lesson: I have a baby, a wife, I work real jobs, and I write words. If I want to do everything, I need to do it without hesitations, distractions, or being knocked off of my path.

I need to be like an arrow flying towards the bull’s eye.

It is the easy, brief seeming moments that eat up the lion’s share of a person’s time. Do I tie my shoes and walk directly out the door or do I sit down in a chair, breathe deep, read a few words from a supermarket circular, look out the window, stoop down, tie a shoe, and then repeat the entire process all over again?

Do I write my travelogue entries, publish them, and get off the computer or do I check my email a dozen times, play on Facebook, see if anyone @’ed me on Twitter, check my adsense earnings, and hope that in vain that someone out there bought something from my travel gear shop?

There are two ways to get the mangoes down from the tree:

1. I climb the tree and just take them.

2. I stand down at the bottom and throw rocks up into the branches in hopes that a mango will fall.

The first way gets more fruit.

Direct action gets the goods . . .

This is the transition that I am now in: I do not have the expendable, easy thinking moments to spare any more. I do not have time to open a new window and browse another website when I am waiting for a page to load, I do not have time to open up my email 25 times a day, and when I know I want to do something, I need to do it, without hesitation, without being diverted on the path.

I am eating a large ice cream cone in the sun on a hot summer day: I either eat it down fast in one initiative without diversion or it is going to melt all over the friggin’ place.

I now have a big rich life — to keep it all I need to put my attention into what needs done the most “right now.” To dabble is to allow my riches to dwindle away.

My wife taught me a good lesson about life.  I am a busy man now, but this is nearly irrelevant: why would I ever want to piddle my time away with half actions even if I were not busy?

Time is  life, and I do not want to loose any of it like change through a holey pocket.

It is the empty, restful, easy thinking lee side moments that eat up a life. Those do-nothing, day dreamy side steps that come in between one action and the next need to be creamed.

(Less than pertinent travelogue entries like this one perhaps need to be creamed, too.)

I need to thin down my gut and walk the road that lays before me directly and fully: grab the cookie and get my hand out of the jar before I get caught.

This is called living deliberately.

Time is just as much worth saving as money.

All journeys are journeys of learning. I am learning.

How to be a father books

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Filed under: Travel Philosophy

About the Author:

Wade Shepard is the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. He has been traveling the world since 1999, through 80 countries. He is the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China, and contributes to Forbes, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3136 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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Wade Shepard is currently in: Zhushan Village, Kinmen, TaiwanMap