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My Stomping Ground – 2023 Edition

My range to roam. Where I can employ the spokes of the wheel travel strategy from NYC.

Stomping ground
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ASTORIA, NYC- I like my work here in the city. I like my life here. The day will come when I liquidate my position here, but for now I’m good.

However, I only need to be in New York City one day a week. Everything else is open-ended and determined by whatever freelance arrangement I care to make. This means I often have six days a week that I can literally be anywhere. The “pandemic” is over, even authoritarian Canada has given up on their Covid restrictions. The world is again open and I can go back to business as usual.

Business as usual for the previous three years before the “pandemic” meant the spokes of the wheel travel method. This is where you have a central location where you are established that you can travel out of in all directions on shorter trips and then come back … like the spokes of an old wagon wheel. I believe Andy coined this phrase.

This type of travel allows you to have a life and travel too … it allows you to have more gear than you’d want to carry all the time (necessary for filmmaking), it allows you to keep a continuous abode (an apartment, hotel room, house), and it allows you to streamline the travel process, as you always have a place that you can come back to and get right to work without needing to search for accommodation, food, and fun. This strategy provides you with the perks of both the traveling and sedentary lives … without many of the drawbacks. It’s kind of like a travel safety hub with more of an applied focus on being able to get to other places quickly and cheaply.

I finely tuned this travel strategy when I was based in Xiamen, shooting out on short trips to the Philippines, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Cambodia, Thailand, Kazakhstan, and all over China.

However, there are limitations …

  1. You generally go for limited amounts of time. You don’t want to be paying for an apartment that you’re not going to be in for three months.
  2. You generally don’t go too far away. You don’t want to spend the bulk of your time in transit. I aim to set the travel time to a half day, or no more than eight hours.
  3. You generally want to go to where / when the flights are cheap. The biggest cost in travel is flying, and the shorter the duration of a trip the larger the average daily expense (ADE) is going to be. As you’re usually only traveling in short bursts with this travel strategy, you don’t want to be dropping bricks of cash on flights. I aim to spend less than $300 round trip, however will sometimes stretch to $500. But no more than this.

So using the above parameters what is my current stomping ground?

Stomping ground

It’s looking like the US, half of Canada, Scandinavia, Western Europe, the Caribbean, Central America, and the very north of South America. Not bad. I can also get to most of these places rather cheap … LGA is just down the road from where I live in Astoria and JFK is a half hour away. I set up a base of operations in NYC for a reason.

There is also the added benefit that there are 32 countries within this realm that I’ve never been to before. I am particularly looking at the Caribbean … many islands of which I can access rather cheaply if I go outside of their prime tourist seasons.

Caribbean map

Virgin Islands, Anguilla, St. Martin, Antigua, Guadeloupe, Dominica, Martinique … Look at all of them. So many places I’ve never been, that I have no idea about …

I scanned roundtrip flights today:

$491 to Iceland

$345 to Copenhagen

$428 to Amsterdam

$390 to Lisbon

$304 to Berlin

$287 to Oslo

$121 to San Juan

$441 to Trinidad

$346 to Mexico City

$299 to Antigua and Barbuda

$334 to the Bahamas

$392 to Havana

I sometimes drop the cost of many of these flights on one night out in NYC with my wife.

I think I’ll start out with Puerto Rico. I’m not sure why. It’s cheap — I imagine I could fly there and back and stay for six days and not spend $500. I’ve been there before but only took a look at a sliver of it … maybe I will just go to some random spot for no reason just to see how it is. Old time travels.

Filed under: New York City, Travel Plan, Travel Strategy

About the Author:

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. has written 3654 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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VBJ is currently in: Astoria, New York

9 comments… add one

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  • Rob November 19, 2022, 8:28 am

    “Old time travels” 🙂
    Good luck!

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    • VBJ November 19, 2022, 9:14 am

      Thank you!

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  • Bob L November 19, 2022, 10:47 am

    Welcome back to the traveling world. Your wife is a genius.

    You are getting back into travel, and I am looking to find a place to settle in. I won’t stop traveling, but I am thinking shorter trips, then back to a home base. I just need to find one that is warm for the winter.

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    • VBJ November 19, 2022, 3:35 pm

      Thank you, Bob. Yes, she probably is 🤣

      I don’t really see you as a Texas kind of guy, but some places there may check your boxes: warm, nice highway connections, incredible airport if you’re within range of DFW. There’s something to be said for places where you can go from the middle of nowhere to the center of everything fast and easily.

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  • Trevor Warman November 19, 2022, 11:06 am

    Glad to see Guyana is within ur limits. It’s on my radar for next year. Plenty of content possible i think

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    • VBJ November 19, 2022, 3:37 pm

      Hmm … it is within range. I actually drew that line through there for a reason. There’s actually direct flights there for $398 round trip, 6 hours each way. Very much within range.

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    • VBJ November 19, 2022, 3:41 pm

      Scratch that … they still require the snake oil to get in. How can countries still be requiring something that even the manufacturers say doesn’t work? So absurd.

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      • Bob L November 28, 2022, 7:35 am

        No bureaucrat has ever gotten in trouble for leaving a bad rule in place. As a former bureaucrat, I can say, you get in much less trouble sitting on your butt than actually thinking and changing things.

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        • VBJ November 29, 2022, 6:05 pm

          Haha, yes, how can you get in trouble or do a bad job if you just do nothing 🤣 Changing things is a risk. The system keeps going … just because it does.

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