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Vagabond Fails to Make Money

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Vagabond Loses Deal and Pays Up

I had made a deal with pregnant Chaya in Istanbul:

If I made enough money, I would continue traveling on through Egypt across the Sahara into Ethiopia, and she would exit Africa via Cairo and hold down the USA on her own until I returned in mid-summer.

If I did not make enough money, I would return with her to the USA, work jobs that pay, and help make preparations for the baby.

The rules of the engagement were laid upon the table:

Money means thousands, not hundreds.”

I did not make thousands of dollars since Istanbul. I scarcely even made hundreds.

I failed — so I have to tuck my tail up between my legs and stumble my way back to the USA, the land from which I came.

I lost, and I know it.


Back to the USA — back to the land of Stubbs, wine, books, and guns.

It goes without saying that such deals with pregnant bellied women should be set in stone, but Chaya was open to compromise.

“If you want to keep traveling, you can,” she told me with love in her eyes.

I do believe that she would not have been too angry with me if I did travel down through the desert to Addis Ababa and then flew back to the USA at the end of June.

But this would have meant showing up on her family’s doorstep ragged and without a penny to my name.

It was clear to me in Egypt that I did not have enough money to travel anywhere, let alone cross Sudan and buy a flight out of East Africa. If this journey is really as endless as the way I have it fixed in my mind, then going belly up in Ethiopia is not the worst thing that could happen.

At this point, I do not have $600.

Showing up in Maine a mere month before my child is due to be born without a penny or prospect is the worst thing that I could think of doing. I felt slightly worse thinking this thought than the one that followed it: returning to the USA and working hard for the summer to make up enough money to begin the endless voyage over again after the baby is born.

It is one scenario to travel until my last resources are expended when I am on my own — I will get by, I know this — it is quite another when I have one and a half other people dependent upon me to help make up the collective bean money.

If I want to keep traveling, I need to make money.

I suppose I am coming to terms with the fact that I have a family now.

I have traveled a lot in my life — I have traveled enough to know that I do not need to feign irresponsibility to go one more mile right now. I have learned that Sudan and Ethiopia will still be there next year when I have Number Three in tact and ready to go.

The time is ripe to leave the Middle East and Africa, the time is ripe return to the USA.

I have set sail through the stormy seas, and can only hope to weather out the storm, suck it up, and work.

And have fun doing it.

I made a deal — I lost — it is now time to walk my words.

My wares did not sell.

I lost the deal.

But I know that my pockets shall be far fuller on the backslide.

As my mother would always tell me, “In life, you have to give a little to get a lot.”

Vagabond Fails to Make Money

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Filed under: Africa, Egypt

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