ZIPOLITE, Mexico- I have become a business man, this travel blog is my operation, but what is it that I am selling?
Information, entertainment, inspiration.
The three elements that make up the front end of writing.
This travelogue began in 2004 as a writing exercise, I had no intention of making money from it or even of doing it as a continuous hobby, let alone a profession. I blogged simply as a mechanism to polish my wit, sharpen my edges, and add some teeth to my written words — all in the name of someday writing for the newspapers, the magazines.
Then in 2007 two things happened: I began publishing articles in print and I realized that I do not really enjoy publishing articles in print. Sure, being able to physically pick up and shake around something that had Wade P. Shepard stamped upon the byline was pretty cool for around twenty seconds, but then I realized that I had done is contribute to world’s collective store of toilet paper, fire starter, and gerbil bedding: my articles would be read and then tossed in the garbage. I quickly spent my paychecks from these pieces of writing and realized that I was not left with much for my effort.
Who can call one single modern print journalist by name?
I was ramrodded with a university education in journalism and even I can not.
How many of you know my name?
Surely, if you have visited this travelogue more than a few times you know that my name is Wade Shepard.
In the process of doing online writing exercises I’ve constructed an identity for myself. I am Wade from VagabondJourney.com. This sounds way better to me than AP. Nobody.
I also realized that I enjoy the process of blogging far more than pasting together articles. I am free here, I use these blog posts as the propelling impetus to investigate my world, what I write remains my property and is here on one website for anyone to find at any time, I have my own source of media, and people read: over a million times a year my writing is read. Isn’t this the prime directive of any person who writes?
I then needed a way to make blogging profitable, and this past year the income that I generate picked up many fold. I can now say that I 85% make a living from blogging — and I support a family of three. If I were still a solo traveler, I would have strode into the glory land of self-sufficiency long ago.
During the process of trying to make a living off of VagabondJourney.com I realized that I have become a business man: I’ve constructed a product (information, experience, advice) and I vend it openly. I also realized that my perspective also needed to change. I am not longer a grubbing artist toiling nameless in the gutters and ditches of planet earth, but I have slowly started to construct public face — I have appeared on television, on various radio programs, and on numerous websites — and this face needs to be one that I can spin a profit from.
In point, I need to be on 100% of the time. I have three cell phones with SIM cards from three different countries, I carry computers, cameras, a digital voice recorder, a Blackberry, all the devices and gadgets of modern business: where did the bohemian wanderer with a small satchel of books and not even a change of clothes go?
He became a business man. I sit in WIFI cafes and listen to the other international business men talk on their super data phones, I take out mine to optimize my time with two internet connections. I have found frightening similarities between them and me, we nod to each other as we pass: location independent business solidarity, you could call it.
But this new role is often incongruous with perpetual travel.
A couple of weeks ago Randy Sharman, who does a morning travel show for AM770 CHQR Radio in Calgary, invited me on as a guest. I accepted the offer, we set up a time, I gave him my phone number. When the time of the interview came, my phone did not ring.
I checked my email, there was mail from him saying that my phone did not work. I tried a few things to tweak it, nothing worked. We indefinitely postponed the interview. I took the phone into a mobile shop, was told there was nothing wrong with it. I fumbled, then found out that there is a quirk to calling Mexican cellphones: you need to dial a 1 in between the country code and the area code.
I dropped the ball, I was not prepared to do business, I lost a sale.
I have always seen myself as some sort of underground traveling writer, not until recently have I had any real incline that I would — or could — peak my head above the surface. My head is sticking out of my hole now, and the coast is clear: I am going to step out and have a look around.
Wade Shepard | VagabondJourney.com INC.
I am a gruff talking farm boy from the sticks in a profession littered with squeaky clean suburban white kids and slick white collar aficionados. Can I be marketable? Will my limiting factors of character and writing be my charming grace or too much for polite society to bear?
There are two ways towards publishing success:
1. You do the same thing as that everyone else is trying to do, put it in a posh package, either do it better or get the most friends to say that you do it better — you play to the audience that sits before you.
2. You do something that is out in right field, over the wall, out in the hills, do just what you want without regard to the hoard, work hard, sit back, and wait for “them” to come — you create your own audience. –Vagabond Journey to become a geographic magazine