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Traveling and Projects

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Traveling and Projects


After eight years of traveling, I have come to the realization that travelers need projects to keep them going. My mother always tells me that people need to work to be happy; I now know that she is correct. I loathe the role of the employee, but I do not mind working . . . and I have always loved big projects.

On the Road projects can be anything from working the occasional temp job, research projects, websites, writing, collections (go to Loren Everly.org for a couple of great examples of travel collections), missions such as climbing mountains or hiking long distances, making amenities to sell, anything that you can build upon day by day which consolidates the experience of traveling into tangible, balanced whole. A project is just a deep, dark pit for me to jump into so that I can wake up each morning with something to do and go to bed with the feeling that I actually did something. Projects are done just for the sake of doing them, and I feel that the best project is one that can never be finished. So I study language, history, religion, write, write, write about everything, dive into any curios whim that I am struck with, and, basically, work hard solely for the simple joy of it. I do not feel as if the main idea or intent behind a project is to be successful, as the great affair of a project is the simple joy of averting idleness. I love projects.

I have found that it is easy to feel a little lazy and under-productive after a long stretch of continuous travel. I feel that it takes a very thick skinned individual to tramp on endlessly for years doing nothing other than sightseeing. I have tried to do this, and found that it does not sit well with me. After a few months of beach combing and loafing- going to one place just to go to another- I feel a little internally imbalanced, as if I am not fully living out my days. I begin to get the urge to do something else, sometimes these feelings would get so intense that I would consider going home. Then I found the project, and, just through the simple act of doing a little “work” everyday, I discovered a way to live a balanced life on the road.

“People need to work,” I hear my mother’s scoldings coming back to haunt me.

Since making the realization that I needed to incorporate some mode of “work” into my traveling, I have found myself doing many little things to keep myself stimulated while on the Road. Some of these projects have included studying a variety of languages in many different countries, studying Traditional Chinese Medicine in China, horimono (traditional tattooing) in Japan, took a job as a journalism intern with a magazine, attended 8 different colleges and universities in six countries (hahaha, I must laugh at this), worked jobs on three continents, began writing the Song of the Open Road Travel Blog, and learned and experienced much more than I could have if backpacking alone was my sole pursuit.

I have now began what is perhaps my biggest project ever: the Vagabond Journey.com website. It has quickly turned into my monster in the closet. If the site seems to be incomplete, it is because it is, and I hope that it always will stay in this incomplete state. I intend for this website to be a dumping depot for a variety of traveler necessities, essentials, tips, and points of interests (well, my own interests). Essentially, this website is meant to provide me with a forum to really dig into the things which peak my fancy and collect information, photographs, interviews, and stories where ever I travel in the world. The Vagabond Journey site is meant to grow and change on the internet as I grow and change on the Road.

What goes into this website is that same substance that goes into me.

Now I just need to find a WYSIWYG editor that easily allows for the inclusion of Javascript. This, alone, has been a lot of work. I am to the point that I feel that learning the basics of HTML code would just be easier. If fact, this is what I am just going to do. I have spent the past five months burning through four different web editing programs, and none of them are up to my satisfaction.

I must say, I do like the frustration that comes with projects.

I think my mother was right.

Wade from Vagabond Journey.com
Casablanca, Morocco
January 7, 2008

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Filed under: Travel Philosophy, Vagabond Journey Updates, Website Construction, Work

About the Author:

Wade Shepard is the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. He has been traveling the world since 1999, through 76 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 3048 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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Wade Shepard is currently in: Polis, Republic of CyprusMap