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Retirement from Travel Blogging

Wondering why I am making this. Blog is what it is called I suppose. I do not really know why I care, or feel self importance, to the extent that I will post my doings on a computer. I suppose it is one, rather pliable, attempt to communicate..or perhaps I am simply feigning at self-importance. [...]

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Wondering why I am making this. Blog is what it is called I suppose. I do not really know why I care, or feel self importance, to the extent that I will post my doings on a computer. I suppose it is one, rather pliable, attempt to communicate..or perhaps I am simply feigning at self-importance. I could delete all of this at any minute and probably will. – From one of the introductory entries to the Vagabond Journey.com travelogue

Two years ago I made a proposition to myself:

I would work hard everyday for two years to see if I could make a living publishing a travel website. I agreed that I would put up five pages a day, everyday, to see if this work could stoke me with enough bean money to continuously travel the world.

Enough bean money meant $10 to $15 a day.

If I could not achieve this goal within two years, I would evaluate my position, call it a day, and put my energies into other projects.

I reached this two year evaluation point this May.

I was not successful.

I put up the pages, got the traffic, but the money was not forthcoming.

Last month, I made $80 off of ads — but I logged more than 80,000 page impressions.

The traffic is coming, but the money is not. Advertising is not a viable way to fund a travel blog or website, no matter how high the traffic count. If a website has good content, it will not make money off of advertisements.

I did not know this when I began this project — I could not have.

Ad money was clearly a poor criteria for evaluating success.

So I opened up the funnel to receive money to continue publishing and traveling through reader donations, and this worked to a certain extent. Many generous readers offered up a good amount of money over the years in contributions, but I still fell short of my mark:

No matter what way I cut this cube, I did not average $10 a day.

But I did find something in this internet publishing project that is worth far more than any amount of money:

I enjoy making websites and writing on the internet. Each and every morning during these past two years I have rushed to the computer to begin working for another day with a smile on my face.

Everyday I have been excited to publish new content, to check my traffic details, and to watch Vagabond Journey grow and evolve.

Two years ago when I made this deal with myself, I had no idea that I was beginning a project that I would grow to love so much, a project that has worked to define me nearly as much as I define it.

I have become “Wade from Vagabond Journey.com” — “Walk Slow


I horridly failed in this project as far as monetary lines are consulted.

But I feel as if the criteria upon which I based success/ failure were constructed upon errant lines. I did not take into account how much I would grow to love the rounds of online publishing.

This is far more valuable than money.

After two years of working on this project I must ask bluntly:

Can I make a Living off of Vagabond Journey.com?

Probably not.

Can I try to make a living off of Vagabond Journey.com?

Yes, I can try.

Would I have fun trying?


My lease is good for another three years. At the five year point, I will again ask myself:

Do I want to continue putting 5 to 8 hours a day – everyday – into online publishing?

But my criteria this time will be based on enjoyment rather than monetary gains.

Vagabond Journey.com has passed its first evaluation, and has been official granted life to continue on to May of 2012.

The goals and scope of this project have changed: I am no longer looking to make money off of this project — I have real work for that — rather, I am trying to create a powerful media soapbox from which I can fiddle in my pursuits as a journalist.

I want a website as powerful as those of a mid sized news outlet.

I am getting there:

Vagabond Journey.com is now bringing in 1800 unique, on-the-page, visitors a day. This is pretty good for a site that I started in the autumn of 2007 with absolutely no idea how to do anything with a computer. This is also pretty good for a site that started from a blog that had its URL changed four times in two years:

I began the travelogue in 2005 as “waderucksack.blogspot.com”
This eventually changed in 2007 to “canciondelvagabundo.blogspot.com”
Which was then transformed into “openroadsong.com”
And finally became “vagabondjourney.com/travelogue” in the summer of 2008.

Every time the URL of a website is changed, it basically has to start from scratch again — building links, getting rank, digging up traffic. I started over again four times in these two years.

. . . and to mention the two stints that I published the travelogue outside of blogging systems and I have a real mess of broken links, dead ends, and restarts that I have worked through.

After 2 years, 3,000 pages, 1,000 travelogue entries, 33 countries, numerous new friendships, and countless hours fighting for internet connections all over the world, this has been a long journey.

A long journey that can only continue.

Thank you to everyone who has continued reading throughout these two years of fumbling disaster as I perilously searched for my footing. I am of the impression that I have finally found my sea-legs, and am ready to take this project into its next phase.

Walk Slow,


The development of VagabondJourney.com
In Upstate NY visiting family. Wondering why I am …
Getting use to computers
Travels of Old/ New Website
Cancion del Vagabundo Website
The Trauma of Building a Website
Done Waiting for the Big Day
New Travel Blog
Raising a Travel Website Child

Vagabond Journey.com to Continue


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Filed under: Maine, North America, USA

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 3706 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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VBJ is currently in: New York City

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