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Vagabondjourney.com Report for Dec. 2011

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These past two months have seen a few major transitions at vagabondjourney.com. We’ve continued on our established path of being less of a travel site and more of a resource/ research site that focuses on news, current events, culture, geography and ecological issues. A vagabond geographic, so to speak. Travel is love affair with the world — its people, landscapes, ecosystems, and wildlife — and we’re working hard daily at vagabondjourney.com towards providing more in-depth glimpses into the state of this planet today, as seen from the ground up.

Can’t do this alone

Throughout the years, vagabondjourney.com has had many great writers, journalists, and researchers come through and share their talents. Over the past two months, two authors have really contributed outstanding work in particular. One is Tiffany Zappulla, who completely took on the South Korea travel guides solo, penned an article on this travelogue, and authored a featured story on top of that. The other is CJ Toth, who contributed a number of travel guides from all over Europe and Africa. Both contributors really excelled over the past two months, and we wanted to let them know that we appreciate all their hard work.

Vagabondjourney.com currently has the following internships available:

1- Environmental issues correspondent.
1- Indigenous/ minority cultures correspondent.
1- Wildlife/ extinction alert/ new species researcher and correspondent.
As many as possible- Correspondents from various regions/ countries of the world.

We are mostly looking for journalism students, journalists, or writers who are use to working on a deadline for these positions. These are serious internships and should not be approached as something to be done when spare time allows. The minimum commitment is three months. Tutoring and advising is provided for students. If needed, work evaluations/ references will be provided upon request.

If interested, contact Wade at vagabondsong [at] gmail.com.

Homepage

There is a new homepage on vagabondjourney.com, and I have to say that for the first time ever I’m happy with it.  The homepage how has everything that is going on in the site on it, so this is the place to go to find new articles, guides, and blog posts. Please use this page when you enter the site, as the content is now being distributed to many different sections — not just this travelogue. There is still a lot of work to be done on it, so watch for more changes coming soon.

Narrative and editorial blog

The focus of vagabondjourney.com is going in a more geographic/ culture/ ecology direction more and more each month. Typically, around 50% of the articles on this travelogue were “about the world/ geographic” type pieces, around 25% were travel instruction and guides, and the remaining 25% were personal narrative/ thoughts/ ideas. Now each type of article has its own section.

Since early 2009, we’ve been publishing destination guides and travel information in the travel guides section — which is now growing into maturity. Travel tips will stay in this section for now, but may soon have their own home. The narrative and more personal pieces have been moved from this section of the site to an independent arena. If you want to follow the day to day explorations, thoughts, and experiences of myself and my family, go to blog.vagabondjourney.com.

There is a reason why newspapers and magazines have different sections for different topics/ article types, and the experience of 7 years of internet publishing has taught me this.

Featured articles

There is now a weekly featured article on vagabondjourney.com. These articles are often the results of in-depth study and investigation. There will continue to be links to the feature article of the week in the sidebar of this section of the site, as well as a link on the homepage.

Feature articles for November, 2011:
Snorri Helgason: the New Face of Folk Music
Gobekli Tepe: the Fall of the Nomad the Rise of Agriculture
One Culture, One Border, Two Very Different Societies: the Future of the Korean Peninsula
Life Working in the Informal Economy of Colombia

Travel Gear

Rich Poulter has been at it again, reviewing the best travel gear the manufacturers of this world have to offer. This past month Rich has been reviewing travel/ outdoor/ adventure fleeces. His testing methods and reports are astounding. Check out who won our fleece test!

Comments

December status report

Your comments are important to us here at vagabondjourney.com. We want to hear what you have to say, we want you to be a part of the discourse of this publication. But since I began offering parts of the site as a full feed and email digest, on-site participation has plummeted. It seems as if most long term readers who were once diligent commentators are now just reading in their email and are not clicking over to the site. This was a trend that I noticed immediately when I first offered the full feed option prior to traveling in Iceland. While the popularity of a blog should NOT be measured by comment number (many large top travel blogs like Gadling.com rarely get more than a comment or two per page) it is great for the community here who visits the site regularly to have a lively discourse taking place. So often people tell me that one of their favorite parts of the site are the conversations that take place in the comments, and not having this in exchange for a full content feed is not a good trade off. It can’t just be me talking here. Please leave comments, they really help the site and are truly appreciated.

Support

Talking about support, there are many things that you can do to help vagabondjourney.com. As we are generally always struggling to get by here — especially now that we are paying nearly $200 per month in server fees alone! — reader support is a must for us to keep our heads above water. Good thing there are many things that you can do help. First, we ask for a collective $150 per month in reader contributions. If everyone who reads this site contributed $1 per week, our financial woes would be a thing of the past. But this is not really going to happen, so if a handful of readers could keep an eye on the donation meter in the sidebar and help out from time to time this would be greatly appreciated.

There are also other ways to offer support without making a financial contribution. Clicking through our Amazon.com links each time you buy from them would be a great help over here. We receive a portion of the proceeds of Amazon sales that we refer at no additional expense to you. There are Amazon affiliate links throughout the site, but most visibly on the homepage and on the index of this travelogue. Keep this in mind when doing your Christmas shopping this year! Also, simply linking to our homepage or to specific articles on vagabondjourney.com from your own site or blog also helps out a ton. Another thing you can do that costs nothing is to download the Alexa extension for your web browser. This is one of the major ways that websites are ranked  the “prominence” of a website determined. If you have the Alexa extension activated in your tool bar, each time you go to a site you essentially “vote” for it in the global rankings.  As far as usage, I use this extension daily when determining the authority of the sites I visit.

Travel with Children Tips

My wife, Chaya, put up some great tips this past month:
How to self cater for a family while living in hostels
Baby clothes transcend class structure
San Cristobal de las Casas is a great budget travel family destination
How to stop motion sickness in children when traveling

RSS feed

Vagabondjourney.com now has a global RSS feed. This is a single feed for all the different sections of the site delivered in one package. You can subscribe by RSS or by email to receive everything published each day in a single digest.

Vagabond Explorer magazine

Vagabond Explorer Magazine is on an extended hiatus. A magazine in PDF format is clearly not something that readers currently desire. A print version is in the cards, but we are trying to build up the enthusiasm for doing it. In point, to start up a magazine requires tons of PR and promotion BS which I am not willing to do. I am a writer, not a salesman. Most marketing tactics and strategies generally make me sick, and, to be honest, I am not going to partake in an action that would make myself vomit. I am not going to blow smoke up your ass, now or ever. Vagabond Explorer failed in part because I am not going to BS you into buying something. You are too smart for this, and I respect that.

Travel

We returned to San Cristobal de las Casas in Chiapas, Mexico and stayed here all month. We are living cheap and trying to rebuild our beaten and battered travel funds. The projection is to remain here until March, and then jump across seas to China or Indonesia. I want to go on a solo journey through East Africa at some point soon, but finances are not revealing this to be a possibility.

Money

Our funds are lower than they have ever been since starting out on our family travels. In fact, I have not had such a meager amount of money backing me since 2002. Not good. But we are trying to get back on top of things. We are living within our means here in Chiapas and restructuring the site into something that could bring in more earnings. Reader contributions are perhaps needed more now than ever.

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Filed under: Vagabond Journey Updates

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.

Support Wade Shepard’s travels:

Wade Shepard is currently in: Polis, Republic of CyprusMap