I decided to quit blogging last weekend. I just did not feel like doing it any more. “I would rather be the worst author than the best travel blogger,” I declare to nobody other than myself. I decided to quit. I decided to write books instead. I wrote up a quick outline in like 15 [...]
I decided to quit blogging last weekend. I just did not feel like doing it any more.
“I would rather be the worst author than the best travel blogger,” I declare to nobody other than myself.
I decided to quit. I decided to write books instead. I wrote up a quick outline in like 15 minutes, looked at it, and said, ‘Hey, this looks pretty good.’ I decided that I would write books without care or regard as to who reads them. I would get back to the source, I would write for me.
Tonto National Forest, Arizona, Southwest USA, North America
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Wade’s Travel Gear | All Travelogue Entries
This blogging venture turned into a grossly contorted Frankenstein sort of block headed green beast. This was only suppose to be a writing exercise for other publishing mediums.
Then it grew into something that I did for my family and friends — something to allow me to keep in touch better while traveling. (little did I know that families and friends don’t really read travel blogs).
Then I became friends with Andy Graham, the Hobotraveler, and a carrot was dangled in front of my nose:
“Hmm, if I work really really hard and type my fingers to the bone — if I wake up at 5AM every morning and start publishing pages, maybe I could make enough money to travel off of this website.”
The idea sounded good — hey, Andy makes a good living off of his site — but years of waking up at 5AM and ticking these words and pages off into oblivion have left my pockets perilously empty. For the amount of time that I have put into this site, I estimate that I may have made 25 cents an hour.
And this is a liberal estimate.
I have enjoyed publishing this website for a long time, and this was more than enough to cover the fact that I make a penance off of it.
Then I realized something: I enjoy writing, but I don’t like pushing all of the buttons and formatting the pages and doing all of the excess computer chores that publishing online necessitates. I realize that I could just write without all of the baggage.
I could write the stories that I put up on this website a little deeper, I could take my time with my writing, I could not be bound to publishing 1 – 2 articles a day. I could write to enjoy it and sluice off a good deal of the pressure.
This sounded good to me. I decided to quit blogging. I decided to work on a book and publish it myself and hand it out to whoever would want to read it.
I decided to enjoy writing again.
So I told my wife that I quit. She did not believe me, but did reveal an odd show of disappointment when she realized that I was not joking. She even offered to learn how to make pages and help out a little more. Chaya hates this internet shit. This offer meant a lot.
“But you like your website,” she said.
“I like a lot of things,” was my only reply.
I was done, finished, completo, finito.
Then Andy called last night from the Philippines, and a little glimmer of hope reemerged. We talked of new ways of promoting our sites, and of how to use the print media in our favor. Maybe, just maybe, I could still make something of this internet publishing fiasco? Maybe.
We hung up the phone. I quickly smothered these residual hopes. I am done, I reminded myself. I am going on to another path, going to climb a new mountain. I would rather be a bad author than a good travel blogger.
I met the archaeology crew in the parking lot of the Motel 6 in Payson the following morning. My friend, K., mentioned something to me about Vagabondjourney.com. I too, told him that I was done, finished, completo, finito.
He looked a little disappointed. Why? he asked. I told him that we would talk about it later.
We talked about it at a cheap Chinese restaurant. I told him why.
Then I went back to our hotel room and blogged. I suppose the train was not derailed after all. I looked up to find that my new path was really just a detour to the old. I must declare that I am on the same path that I have been walking for four years, I look back at a trail that leads so far back that I can no longer see its beginning.
I have no idea where this all began anymore, but it was so long ago that I can’t quit now. I just may be passed the point of no return.
I wrote the following over the weekend to state the reasons why I intended to cease the publication of this travelogue. I publish this segment “as is.” I am a little unsure of what it says, and I do not feel like re-reading it.
Perhaps unfortunately, I am a man who abides stringently to Newton’s First Law of Motion:
“An object at rest tends to stay at rest, unless another force acts upon it; and likewise an object in motion tends to stay in motion.”
If I do something one day, I will do it all day long; if I do something all day long one day, I will do likewise the next day, the next day, and the next day on towards infinitude.
For years I have blogged pretty much daily. An impetus of inertia hit me and no other force was able to act upon it. Until now.
I sat for two days in a hostel in Flagstaff, Arizona. I sat in an upper bunk in a dormitory that just so happened to give me a view of myself in a vanity mirror on the wall above the sink. When I sit around I like to look at myself in a mirror. It is perhaps a strange preoccupation, but I like to watch myself think. My idea set up would be a table, my computer, and a mirror right in front of me so I could watch myself tick off these words.
I have never claimed to be removed from vanity. I think I look good. Well, I sat for two days looking at myself in a mirror in the upper bunk of a hostel in Flagstaff, Arizona thinking that I look good thinking. I also ran smack through the brick wall I have been running into for the past three years.
I lost my inertia. I lost my inertia for blogging. I lost my inertia for being an internet “writer.”
I all of a sudden no longer felt like a man bashing through a thickly vegetated woods trying hard to get to the glory land pastures on the other side, but as a dumb donkey tied up to a tree in a desert — just dreaming about being in the woods working hard to get somewhere.
I am getting nowhere by blogging. I am getting nowhere putting up all of these pages of “travel information” on VagabondJourney.com. I knew this for a long time, but I kept at it because I enjoyed it.
I enjoy writing words. But it is unbelievable how much time I spend pushing buttons rather than writing words. If my enjoyment is found in writing then way do I spend more than half of my time pushing buttons and formatting pages — I am not even writing most of the time that I am on the computer.
I don’t like this anymore.
I feel sick when I look into my computer screen, I feel sick when I open my email and find a dozen emails from people who want something from me, I feel sick when I skip a day of writing to walk in the mountains and feel overwhelmed with double the amount of work the next day. I suppose this is a sign of success. VagabondJourney.com is bringing in nearly 2,500 unique daily visitors, we are ranked 220,000 in Alexa. I am getting to the place that I set out for all those years ago, and I realize that I do not really want to be here.
I seriously feel nauseous as I type. I miss my family and I hate the time that this f’cking website takes away from them. I hate that I feel like I have to write rather than be with my wife.
The internet is a taker’s market, and I am sick of giving. I am sucked dry. The internet is candy for people who want something for nothing. (I want something for nothing, too, so I use the internet. I am not going to pay for something online — Are you crazy?)
I have “suggested donation $2” written all over the travel help portion of this website, but nobody contributes. Instead, they ask me the same questions that I have answered a dozen times over and just expect me answer them again. The internet is for people who take.
But it takes a lot of time, effort, and inertia to publish this travelogue everyday. Seriously, readers, I put in over 5 hours a day into this site. Why?
I don’t know anymore.
The well is dry.
About the Author: VBJ
I am the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. I’ve been traveling the world since 1999, through 90 countries. I am the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China and have written for The Guardian, Forbes, Bloomberg, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. VBJ has written 3657 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.
VBJ is currently in: Astoria, New York
October 13, 2009, 12:09 pm
Nooo! Wade i love reading all your blogs!! I get excited when a new tweet pops up from VagabondJourney. It’s very exciting reading about your journey and experiences. It gives me a chance to live through you until i develop the means to travel for myself!
Thank you wade for this blog and all the time you put into it! 🙂
Also i promise i’ll donate more when i get the means
October 13, 2009, 2:25 pm
You do what is best for you. You might want to listen to Chaya though, women are smarter and MUCH more perceptive than men.
In my opinion, everyone needs a hobby. This may be a great hobby for you, and maybe if you stop thinking about it as work, and stop treating it like work, you will feel better. A hobby can be ignored easier for a while if you don’t feel like doing it.
Sometimes a man just needs a vacation from his hobbies.
October 13, 2009, 4:08 pm
Sounds to me like you just need to take a break. I’ve been reading you for awhile, at least a year, maybe a little longer, and I’ve noticed a pattern with you, that you seem to quit, or drastically change course (as in changing blogging platforms, or URLs, etc) just when you’re starting to make some progress. You seem to set your sights too high, expect too much, too soon. Building up a profitable website takes time, you have to have patience. I think you’ve actually accomplished a lot and made huge amount of progress since I first started reading. Just think how far you’ve come from two years ago, when you had less than 100 visitors a day and were making zero money from your blog, I’d say making $200 a month from your blog is pretty darn good. Sure its not enough to retire on, but its a pretty good start. From what I understand it took Andy the hobotraveler years to be making a steady income from his site, and I would even venture to say that his travelogue is probably the least profitable of all his web projects. You’ve got to diversify, don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
If you want my advice, and I know you didn’t ask for it, but I would suggest taking a break, explore other ideas, perhaps work on your book, and continue to post here whenever you feel like it, just don’t knock yourself out over it, post just enough to keep your readers coming back, and then when you finish your book you can advertise it on this blog and hopefully make a million bucks from it.
October 13, 2009, 7:20 pm
Too bad ,but if you werent doing this you would be doing something else.every since you were little you always were into something, you would master the subject ,invest every ounce of time doing it ,and have fun doing it.looks and sounds like you enjoy writing soooooooo….write and take care of the family and screw everything else
October 14, 2009, 12:16 am
I like to travel first, writing or making large websites is how I pay for travel. Most people who write books do not make money either, so maybe the archeology thing is better. We can all give you depressing advice, say change your life, you will not listen, we will not listen, we all will go off and think about our self-absorbed life.
I like to travel, if I had a million dollars, I am not sure I would Blog, because the first goal would be accomplished.
There are hundreds of ways to promote a Travel Blog, and I will say it again and again, the best would be to walk into Newspaper, give them a ready to do article about yourself, a CD Rom with videos and many photos.
My Blog does not make the most money, it is the directory of HoboTraveler.com, but if I only had a blog, I would have to make myself famous in newspapers and TV.
October 14, 2009, 2:46 am
Wade, If that heading read”Quit Blogging…”, I might have had a heart attack… Well, my heart would be sore anyway, as we say here.
Please keep at it. You have something here. You just need to explore further.
If all this blogging was starting to work out for you, would you have thought about quitting? Make it work, damnit. Some of your readers are seriously holding their breath…
Personally – I don’t like donating. And I just don’t need gear at the moment. Even though I have been taking from you for years now. I would love to contribute though. So I still think the time is ripe for a paid content/ subscribe section… Some of your best stories you have not told. Cheap, entertaining and playing right in the corral of this huge loyal following, you’ve worked so hard at obtaining.
Anyway – good luck and thanks, once again.
October 14, 2009, 9:17 am
All good advice Wade. You really worked hard and have a great looking website. Maybe now, kick back and let it slide a little. Shorter blog entries and less well written would give you more time. I still think it’s important to blog daily to keep your readers.
About all those numptys writing to ask you questions that are already answered in your blog. IGNORE, you don’t owe everyone an answer. You owe yourself an answer!
Greatness is measured in infinate ways. I think being creative, adventurous and above all treasuring your family as signs of a great man.
October 14, 2009, 12:25 pm
Wade you have received some good advice above; the question as andy puts it will you listen or ignore? We humans are self absorbed. If you want to quit then definitely quit. You know what is best for you. If you wish to continue you could do it as a hobby as bob suggests and only do this as the muse strikes you. If you want it to be a business then cym is right on. You have to have modest expectations, give priority of long-term aspirations over short-term desires (realize it will take many years not months to really make this thing lucrative), and keep regular hours. Communicate how often and when you will post; then make good on that promise. That is really what sets andy’s blog apart from all the others including yours. Andy runs his like a business, you can count on the guy to keep regular hours. Finally, accept that self-help really means hard work. If you want to succeed you have to work harder than 99% of your competitors. You have to keep going when they decide to throw in the towel. The question is what do YOU really want?? g.
October 14, 2009, 5:01 pm
I’m so sorry to hear that you’re losing momentum. Perhaps a little break is in order? You certainly do a lot of good, hard work on this site and that’s a pace that’s hard to keep up forever. I read other blogs where the person posts only once a month, sometimes there’s even longer gaps.
If it’s money that concerns you, you could always try out those paid content websites like constant-content.com or associatedcontent.com. I’m sure your work would get published/purchased very easily on both and I’m also sure it would be very popular. If you like, you could try grabbing a bunch of your earlier advice articles, stick ’em up on associated content and enjoy a little bit more revenue. Essentially, double your buck because you’d take advantage of associated content’s audience also. I’ve never tried these sites myself, but I hear they do the trick fairly well and some extra money could only be a copy-paste away.
I suppose you’ve really got to think of the future, also. I believe you’ve already got one other writer creating content on vagabondjourney.com? That could be the right direction. A ship can’t sail with a captain alone. Perhaps volunteers or other travel bloggers whose sites are small and largely unnoticed could publish some content on vagabondjourney.com and thus bring in their own audience as well as benefit from your already quite large readership. Win-win for everyone. Vagabond Journey could become a larger travel magazine somewhat like Brave New Traveler, but better and with Wade.
There’s also YouTube as a means of making some money. Considering how far and wide your travels have been, I’m sure some videos could capture a large audience on YouTube. Interviews with the likes of the cross-carrying pilgrim and any other odd folk you encounter could become especially popular if captured on video and professionally edited. I know of one travel vlogger whose trips have only taken him as far as Japan alone, and yet he already has 20,292 subscribers and is partner with YouTube. One of his videos involves simply shopping in a supermarket which just so happens to be in Japan. I know for a fact that you do much more exciting things than that.
Anyway, those are just a few options I can think of off the top of my head. Though publishing a few books is an option too. I know I’d buy ’em.
October 15, 2009, 6:57 am
Wade, I hope this is one of those tester posts to see the feedback 😉
You must also be tired of people saying you are burned out!
Might i suggest you use your old content. 90 percent of people skim content and wont even notice. Theres also a plugin that can do this for you.
Also you post a lot. Try posting once every two weeks for a while and see if your traffic changes for better or worse. I reckon it continues as is. Your faithfull following will know what you are doing. Meanwhile the masses wont know any different.
Hope this helps a little. And always feel free to drop me a mail if you want to let off steam 🙂
October 15, 2009, 2:01 pm
fruugal wrote: *About all those numptys writing to ask you questions that are already answered in your blog. IGNORE, you don’t owe everyone an answer.*
True, but if you really want to answer them, and don’t want to spend too much time, create a standard e-mail with a list of links to FAQ’s, or a link to one FAQ file on your site. Might even get more people looking at your site that way. Or you could just quit, get a nice Government Job and spend the rest of your life trapped in a cubicle. You already have a nice dark suit……….
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