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New Travel Strategy Works

New times require new measures.

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I think that these past three months of traveling were the most personally enjoyable that I have had in a long time. I am now reflecting on this summer and am realizing how formative it was.
Wade from Vagabond Journey.com
in Brooklyn, New York City, USA- September 14, 2008


Wade at work

For 7 of my first 8 years of knocking about the world I would return to the USA and travel around the country working on archaeology sites. I would often work 60 hour weeks and save every possible cent so that I could leave the country in the autumn and wander for the rest of the year. This was a good way of earning my bean money, but it was a way of life that jumped between extremes. For three months I would not do much of anything but work, and my traveling was generally great road trips from archaeology project to archaeology project across the USA. Then when I put away a good trunk of cash I would hop a flight abroad and not work for the rest of the year. This work/ travel /work/ travel way of wandering alternated between wearing me out and leaving me idle. It was one extreme or another.

This year I set out to change this. I did not return to the USA to work the summer archaeology season. This was a gamble, and one in which I knew that I could find myself belly up without a dime. Rather than digging in the dirt I decided that I would dig into happenstance, intuition, and the internet as I worked each day on the Road. Mainly, this was an experiment to see if I could travel the world continuously on the strength of my own grit, wit, and determination. So I continued working vigorously on Vagabond Journey.com, I began trading hotel pages on Hobohideout.com for free accommodation, and I took on any little job that presented itself: I translated a brochure for a geology museum, I painted oil pipes, I wrote an article about a celebration in the Czech Republic, worked on Andy’s Hobohideout.com hotel website, and I finally took a job as a receptionist in a hostel in Hungary. In all, I think this summer proved to be a success. I am unsure if I am any more gritty or witty for my efforts, but I know that I can now live well in travel without relying on archaeological fieldwork for booting my bean money.

My grandmother would always say that you can do anything in the world if you just set your mind to it.

I say that you can do anything in the world if you just do it.

It became evident to me that I can continuously travel the world without wearing myself dry in contract archaeology; that I can obtain what I need to survive from writing, trading, and working on various projects and short term jobs.

I exchanged one set of wings for another though trying to make up a living as a traveling writer is perhaps the most time consuming job that I have ever had. I am at work from the time that I wake up until the time I go to sleep. Everything that I do in a day is done through the lens of writing about it. This is a very good way to go insane.

But I am hearing a small tap at the door, and I am beginning to suspect that this is working.

Not counting the amount of money that I put into buying plane tickets, I think that my European travel expenses just about broke even – I somehow very nearly earned as much money as I spent. A large part of this was because of the Hobohideout.com trades which kept my expenses low and funds raised from my websites.

I am happy. I set out in this internet writing journey in May of 2007 with the intention of giving myself a two year trial run to see if I could really travel on the strength of the written word. I think when the two year point hits next year there is a good possibility this could work.

For me, success is nothing more than $15 a day doing something that I love.

I am falling in love with this work.

New Travel Strategy Works
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Filed under: New York City, Travel Writing, Work

About the Author:

I am the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. I’ve been traveling the world since 1999, through 91 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 3720 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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VBJ is currently in: New York City

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