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Thank You for Travel Answers

I found myself in a momentary  pit over this whole internet publishing fiasco. Is it worth the time? Do I really want to be spending my days inside ticking off words, manipulating code, and answering travel questions when my family is outside enjoying the sun and living real life? Should I try to dig myself [...]

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I found myself in a momentary  pit over this whole internet publishing fiasco. Is it worth the time? Do I really want to be spending my days inside ticking off words, manipulating code, and answering travel questions when my family is outside enjoying the sun and living real life?

Should I try to dig myself out of this hole?

“It is all or nothing with you,” a long time ago girlfriend once said to me before going her own way.

It is funny when you hear the truth about yourself spoken for the first time. She was correct, I am an all or nothing type of fellow. Either I bash my head against this brick wall each day, ever hoping for at least a crack in the foundation, or I sit back and wait for the wall to crumble on its own.

But today the wall was winning. . . albeit by a slight margin.

I found myself amazed that 8 out of 10 people that I answer travel questions for never write back . . . to say thank you, perhaps . . . or to even acknowledge the gesture.

I usually put a lot of time into publishing the best answers that I can, which often requires a good lot of extra research. Once the answer is published, I then send an email to the person who asked the question notifying them of where to go to read the answer.

8/10 of these people I never hear from again. Perhaps they think I am a lump toed, dispassioned sort of robot. Sometimes I think they may be right.

Maybe I have old fashioned tendencies, or maybe traveling has opaqued me to the modern etiquette of the USA, but this has always perplexed me.

But my confusion dissipated quickly when I opened my email today and found the following message from a reader who I answered a question for recently:

Thank you so much for taking the time to respond. It is much appreciated. At this point we have decided that she will take her changes. It takes time and money to get the visa and I’m unemployed so money has been beyond tight.  I believe in supporting good causes, so when I do get extra I will make a donation.
Thanks for all you do. I’m sure you have helped many.

My answer to her question:

How to plan for overstaying Schengen visa

This email dug me out of the muck I was momentarily trudging through. Perhaps I can stand back up and kiss this brickwall for another day.


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Filed under: Vagabond Journey Updates

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

10 comments… add one

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  • Bob L July 22, 2009, 6:40 pm

    “Do I really want to be spending my days inside ticking off words, manipulating code, and answering travel questions when my family is outside enjoying the sun and living real life?”

    The answer to this question should be NO!!!! But spending some of them, and maybe some of the nights? Sure. If you have to be an all or nothing kinda guy, maybe you should try to be an “All day tuesday, all evening thursday, all morning sunday kinda guy”. Limit yourself to some specific period, or something and fill THAT period completely. Family ALWAYS comes first, but that does not mean you have to spend ALWAYS with them. Everyone needs their own hobbies, activities or time alone. How you fill that time is your business. But don’t forget, Hannah will need some of that time also. Remember to make it easy for her to do her own thing once in a while too.

    As for thanks, if you are getting 20% back, you are doing good, I think. The internet is a weird universe. It is always easier to get criticism than complements. Maybe happy people don’t feel the need to respond?

    Bob L

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    • admin July 22, 2009, 7:16 pm

      Your last statement is pretty interesting, Bob. I suppose that is sort of what I was getting at . . . the mechanized sheen that the internet spreads over real people. Perhaps, having contact with so many different people everyday through the internet world, lessens the value of each encounter.

      I know that my jest is directed at the new etiquette of internet communication. This is a funny sort of world we are venturing into.



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  • Heidi July 23, 2009, 4:04 am

    Hi Wade,

    My theory is that the lack of face-to-face or vocal contact when communicating on the internet removes the normal social boundaries which otherwise would make people automatically say thanks and give you some feedback. And is the perfect ground for unpleasant comments and criticisms as those making them can’t be called to account for their position.

    Regarding charging people for answering their questions, I would say that this is an absolute necessity for you for the following reasons;

    1) Your knowledge has been gained with expense and study and as such is a very valuable commodity

    2) You have to give yourself the worth you deserve

    3) You will no longer waste time answering questions to ungrateful people who can’t even be bothered to say thank you (even more so when Number Three is born!)

    4) You need to make money from this site and get a return for the time you invest

    I know the above sounds somewhat mercenary, but I see it as the transition from a site which exists purely for pleasure to one which is more focussed on giving you what you ultimately want.

    You probably know all this stuff anyway, I’m just adding my two pence worth 🙂

    Get that “Pay Now” button up!


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    • admin July 23, 2009, 10:17 pm

      I agree with everything that you write here, Heidi. Right on, this is probably an issue of internet etiquette. It is different than face to face communication.

      I do know that I need to start making more money off of this website. The travel questions section is one part of the site that takes a lot of time . . . though I don’t really want to alienate anyone by charging a set fee. For now, I will just leave it for now with the suggested donation . . . but maybe when number three comes I will need to charge to justify the expense of time.

      I really appreciate your support, Heidi!



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  • Sean July 23, 2009, 9:43 am

    Well as someone who has never asked any questions but just enjoys reading the travelogue portion for your regular helpings of wit and wisdom, let me say thank you. Oh and bob’s right family has to come first this should be but a distant second. Thanks, Sean.

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    • admin July 23, 2009, 7:11 pm

      Thank you, Omalley, I really appreciate these good words. I really do.

      Happy to be going through this journey with you,



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  • Sean July 23, 2009, 9:52 am

    Wade, just wanted to let you know that there seems to be a problem with your travel shop. I clicked the image of the swiss army and went into the ‘store’. I saw links for the product reviews, but for the life of me could not figure out how a person could purchase any of that gear. I doubt you can make money from the store if readers can’t buy anything.

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    • admin July 23, 2009, 6:00 pm

      Hello Omalley,

      This is interesting. There should be little Amazon product links and photos next to each description that people can click on to go to Amazon to purchase. This is interesting that they are not showing up on your computer. What type of web browser are you using?

      I have only tried to open the page in Firefox, but I will try other ones, to see if this could be the problem.

      Thank you for telling me about this.


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  • sean July 25, 2009, 12:05 am

    False alarm about your store. I spaced out and completely forgot that I’d installed adblocker years ago. I’m sure that’s why I couldn’t see the checkout icon. Sorry.

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    • admin July 25, 2009, 9:56 pm

      No Problem, Omalley, Thanks for letting me know.


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