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On Doing The Right Thing

The other side of freedom.

PRAGUE, Czech Republic- The right thing is to go to my sister’s wedding reception in Montana.

The right thing is to travel back to the USA with my wife and two kids to make the trip easier and not put my wife in any awkward, precarious, or potentially expensive situations (as they fly from Prague to NYC and then up to Rochester to get her car and then driving back to Maine).

The right thing was to watch my two kids for the month so my wife could go to school in Prague.

The right thing was to visit my parents for two weeks when I had the chance after unexpectedly going back to the USA in May.

The right thing was to return to the USA from Bulgaria when my wife’s grandfather died.

But doing all of these “right things” means that I am not able to fully engage my work, which means a loss of jobs, projects, speaking engagements, other deals, and a precipitous decline in article production, which in turn means a lack of income for my family to live and travel off of.

Is that really the right thing?

***
I used to be ruthless with my work. Nothing came between me and the goals that I was trying to accomplish. Nothing. My parameters were clearly stated, and in an odd way this made things easier. But lately I’ve been going soft — I’ve prioritized the stuff that really matters (family) and I’ve gotten distracted from chasing the whale.

Partially, this problem is the result of me working for myself or as an independent contractor. I have no insolation. I have no excuses. Everybody knows that I don’t have a boss. Everybody knows that I make my own schedule. Everybody knows that I decide where I go and when. That means that when family things come up they could say “Wade could be here if he really wanted to be” and they’d ultimately be correct.

However, I do real work that pays real money and opportunities don’t wait for me while I’m off doing “the right thing.” There is no safety net, there is nobody to go to and deliver a sob story about my situation. It’s either I do the work, do the travels, and get paid or I don’t. That’s all there is to it.

I really enjoy my work. I love how I have everything set up. But it’s no longer working as the family ecosystem becomes more complex. I’m going to start looking for a staff position — a real job with a real schedule and real people to answer to. Then I will be able to say, “Sorry, can’t do it, boss won’t give me the time off” … like everybody else.

***
I decided to back out of the New Silk Road Project — the Jeep expedition from London to Yiwu. My sister is having a wedding reception and I should be there. It’s the right thing to do …

Filed under: Family, Perpetual Travel, Work

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

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