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No Travels This Month (Unless You Count Buffalo)

Where to invest this month?

ASTORIA, New York- I decided to invest in equipment rather than travel this month. I’m starting to add a little more structure into my operating procedures — progressing on this path demands it — and it’s now all about enhancing my “work” rather than tallying up days on the beach. Maybe if I get old my priorities will change and life on the beach will seem more attractive … but, right now, I want to do something.

I started out doing this work to get the money to travel, but at some point something shifted and I realized that I’m traveling to be able to do this work. It’s a flip-flop of objectives, but really the same game I’ve always played: do what you want, wherever you want. That’s all there is to it.

So I sat at a bit of a crossroads this month. I wanted an EDC camera — something that takes pro-level video but is also weather sealed, rugged, and has in-body stabilization. I have a couple cinema cameras — my Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4k is my workhorse — but they are not exactly very adequate everyday-carry cameras. So I picked up a recently marked down GH5. More about this later.

I also became overtly aware of the fact that my laptop — a mid-2015 Macbook Pro simply doesn’t cut it when doing heavy video editing. As I now have a work table I can get a desktop that can sit upon it. I’ve never, ever had this option before. So I took advantage of it and picked up a late-2018 Mac Mini and self-installed 64 gigs of ram in it. I still need to add an eGPU to make it the super computer that I envision, but I’m getting there. As it is, the thing can handle a load, and definitely increases my potential as an editor / colorist.

Having proper equipment is essential to the work. Gone are the days where equipment doesn’t matter — I’ve squandered so much of my earning potential over the years by going cheap on equipment. I can’t get those experiences back, but I can alter course going forward. Without skill equipment is irrelevant; without equipment skill is wasted. The trick is being able to do pro-level work as cheap as possible without cutting corners — the goal is to have the skill and equipment to maximize the earning potential of each journey.

Next month I’m getting back on track: Armenia for a conference / research trip and Florida for football to do a … research project on … uh … write an article about … no, no, shoot video for…

Like equipment, travel is also an investment. You add up the expenses and the potential earnings and decide accordingly. This month, it made more business sense to go for some new equipment. Next month, it’s more prudent to get back out there to collect some more content.

Filed under: Digital Nomad, New York City, Travel Strategy

About the Author:

Wade Shepard is the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. He has been traveling the world since 1999, through 90 countries. He is the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China, and contributes to The Guardian, Forbes, Bloomberg, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3548 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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Wade Shepard is currently in: Astoria, New York

11 comments… add one

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  • Rob September 13, 2019, 5:44 pm

    No travel but Buffalo? Buffalo has an honored place in the world of travel! I refer of course to the famous lines from the Grateful Dead song “Truckin”.

    “Truckin’, up to Buffalo. Been thinkin’, you got to mellow slow
    Takes time, you pick a place to go, and just keep truckin’ on.

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    • Wade Shepard September 13, 2019, 7:55 pm

      That’s right!

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  • Trevor September 14, 2019, 11:27 am

    1 more week then country #91 and #92 with my TZ70

    am in the market for a super lightweight laptop. i need to be able to run desktop again… using apps and desktop programs on android devices infuriates me… i dt need to edit videos…. any advice?

    do u really travel 400miles to go to a game? thats like London to Glasgow…

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    • Wade Shepard September 14, 2019, 3:18 pm

      Amazing! Have fun.

      I’m going to have to catch you now.

      Yes, 400 miles actually seems close. A few years ago I was driving from Bangor, Maine to Buffalo for games. I flew out to Minnesota last year. Will probably fly to Miami this year. The farther away the crazier everybody gets, it seems!

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    • Wade Shepard September 14, 2019, 3:19 pm

      I noticed you switched to protonmail. Good call!

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  • Jack September 20, 2019, 6:07 pm

    I take it you’re not all excited for the 11 Pro? 🙂 sounds like a good choice with the upgrade. The 2015 MacBook Pros just aren’t powerful enough to keep up and worse Apple throttles them. Geekbench scores for the 2018 iPad Pros are 50% higher than it.

    I bought an iPad Pro a few weeks ago and I’m incorporating it into my workflow. And yes I’ll buy an IPhone 11 Pro in the next few weeks when I get time to get into the store. I’m trying to experiment with a new workflow but I really don’t know if everything will be up to. Basically take photos and videos(loving the idea of multiple simultaneous recording cameras) with the iPhone and then air drop them over to the iPad Pro for editing with Lumafusion and Lightroom. Archive them off the iPad to an external drive. It’s kind of an experiment so we will see the results and if it is up to the task. I really think that an iPad with a pencil can do so much but it requires rethinking and reworking my workflow. I may decide it just isn’t worth it.

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    • Wade Shepard September 21, 2019, 1:22 pm

      I like it! Those cameras in the 11 Pro are actually … adequate. Or so the reviewers say. I probably won’t be wouldn’t like to use it as it will probably have programs which alter the image and make it difficult to grade… but if you want to to just ground and pound, it seems amazing.

      I just wish someone would make a phone that shoots RAW. Give me that and I will be excited. Being able to shoot with a phone sometimes is a big advantage.

      Let me know how that workflow goes!

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      • Jack September 23, 2019, 11:48 pm

        A matter of fact, the Pixel 3 does shoot in RAW for photos. The Pixel 4 should be a jump forward and probably will surpass the iPhone 11 Pro but I’m not heavy into editing for color so I went with the 11 Pro.

        And yes I will let you know how the workflow goes. Im always looking for the holy grail lol

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        • Wade Shepard September 24, 2019, 10:13 am

          Cool. Let me know how that goes.

          I need the RAW for video. I don’t mess with stills too much — just shoot jpeg and publish. It’s kind of funny though that I view nicely graded video as art but enhanced still images as manipulated, fake, Instagram crap. I’m not sure why I feel this way.

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        • Wade Shepard October 1, 2019, 8:22 am

          Hey Jack, I came across this: https://nofilmschool.com/iphone-11-pro-footage Man, you can do some cool things with that phone. Interested in hearing how your tests are coming?

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          • Jack October 5, 2019, 10:34 am

            I haven’t been able to do very many tests on it yet. My wife’s job had her doing training for 7 weeks(living out of a hotel while I take care of the kids) and then following it up with a move. When you try to stay light, you still accumulate way too much.

            It does have beautiful footage in that link. I went with the 256gb iphone Pro Max. I’m waiting for the FilmIC update to come out.

            If you a) need to upgrade your phone and b)have the extra money then I’d go with one. Whether you get the max or not doesn’t matter because the cameras and the internals are the same on either 11 Pro.

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