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Travel Blogging Business Man

ZIPOLITE, Mexico- I have become a business man, this travel blog is my operation, but what is it that I am selling? Information, entertainment, inspiration. The three elements that make up the front end of writing. This travelogue began in 2004 as a writing exercise, I had no intention of making money from it or even [...]

ZIPOLITE, Mexico- I have become a business man, this travel blog is my operation, but what is it that I am selling?

Information, entertainment, inspiration.

The three elements that make up the front end of writing.

This travelogue began in 2004 as a writing exercise, I had no intention of making money from it or even of doing it as a continuous hobby, let alone a profession. I blogged simply as a mechanism to polish my wit, sharpen my edges, and add some teeth to my written words — all in the name of someday writing for the newspapers, the magazines.

Then in 2007 two things happened: I began publishing articles in print and I realized that I do not really enjoy publishing articles in print. Sure, being able to physically pick up and shake around something that had Wade P. Shepard stamped upon the byline was pretty cool for around twenty seconds, but then I realized that I had done is contribute to world’s collective store of toilet paper, fire starter, and gerbil bedding: my articles would be read and then tossed in the garbage. I quickly spent my paychecks from these pieces of writing and realized that I was not left with much for my effort.

Who can call one single modern print journalist by name?

I was ramrodded with a university education in journalism and even I can not.

How many of you know my name?

Surely, if you have visited this travelogue more than a few times you know that my name is Wade Shepard.

In the process of doing online writing exercises I’ve constructed an identity for myself.  I am Wade from VagabondJourney.com. This sounds way better to me than AP. Nobody.

I also realized that I enjoy the process of blogging far more than pasting together articles. I am free here, I use these blog posts as the propelling impetus to investigate my world, what I write remains my property and is here on one website for anyone to find at any time, I have my own source of media, and people read: over a million times a year my writing is read. Isn’t this the prime directive of any person who writes?

I then needed a way to make blogging profitable, and this past year the income that I generate picked up many fold. I can now say that I 85% make a living from blogging — and I support a family of three. If I were still a solo traveler, I would have strode into the glory land of self-sufficiency long ago.

During the process of trying to make a living off of VagabondJourney.com I realized that I have become a business man: I’ve constructed a product (information, experience, advice) and I vend it openly. I also realized that my perspective also needed to change. I am not longer a grubbing artist toiling nameless in the gutters and ditches of planet earth, but I have slowly started to construct public face — I have appeared on television, on various radio programs, and on numerous websites — and this face needs to be one that I can spin a profit from.

In point, I need to be on 100% of the time. I have three cell phones with SIM cards from three different countries, I carry computers, cameras, a digital voice recorder, a Blackberry, all the devices and gadgets of modern business: where did the bohemian wanderer with a small satchel of books and not even a change of clothes go?

He became a business man. I sit in WIFI cafes and listen to the other international business men talk on their super data phones, I take out mine to optimize my time with two internet connections. I have found frightening similarities between them and me, we nod to each other as we pass: location independent business solidarity, you could call it.

But this new role is often incongruous with perpetual travel.

A couple of weeks ago Randy Sharman, who does a morning travel show for AM770 CHQR Radio in Calgary, invited me on as a guest. I accepted the offer, we set up a time, I gave him my phone number. When the time of the interview came, my phone did not ring.

What?

I checked my email, there was mail from him saying that my phone did not work. I tried a few things to tweak it, nothing worked. We indefinitely postponed the interview. I took the phone into a mobile shop, was told there was nothing wrong with it. I fumbled, then found out that there is a quirk to calling Mexican cellphones: you need to dial a 1 in between the country code and the area code.

I dropped the ball, I was not prepared to do business, I lost a sale.

I have always seen myself as some sort of underground traveling writer, not until recently have I had any real incline that I would — or could — peak my head above the surface. My head is sticking out of my hole now, and the coast is clear: I am going to step out and have a look around.

Wade Shepard | VagabondJourney.com INC.

I am a gruff talking farm boy from the sticks in a profession littered with squeaky clean suburban white kids and slick white collar aficionados. Can I be marketable? Will my limiting factors of character and writing be my charming grace or too much for polite society to bear?

There are two ways towards publishing success:

1. You do the same thing as that everyone else is trying to do, put it in a posh package, either do it better or get the most friends to say that you do it better — you play to the audience that sits before you.

2. You do something that is out in right field, over the wall, out in the hills, do just what you want without regard to the hoard, work hard, sit back, and wait for “them” to come — you create your own audience. –Vagabond Journey to become a geographic magazine

Filed under: Blogging, Mexico, Traveling Webmaster, Vagabond Journey Updates

About the Author:

Wade Shepard is the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. He has been traveling the world since 1999, through 88 countries. He is the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China, and contributes to Forbes, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3396 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

Support Wade Shepard’s writing on this blog (please help):

Wade Shepard is currently in: Rochester, New York

2 comments… add one

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  • Andy Graham December 31, 2010, 9:10 pm

    It was satisfying for me to read,
    “I have become a business man.”

    I listen to many Blogger say, I do this for my friends and family and I have not plans to earn money. There is a little game going on their head, they are giving it a try, if they succeed, then they take responsibility, if they fail, they just say they were not really trying to make it a business, they was doing it for friends and family.

    I believe the desire for intimacy and live is the number one motivating factor, super business people try to earn large sums of money so they will be love and respected. We believe if we are successful, we will find the love or life, we will be happy and content.

    I am not to hung up on that last paragraph, although I am sure Facebook is selling fame, they are making little people into famous in their minds, even though none of them are famous, it is delusional in their mind.

    Bloggers want to be famous, there is a misconception that if we are famous and rich we will be loved, happy, and respect. I think the opposite, everyone will be jealous and we will need to hide, there is little respect given to highly successful people, mostly jealousy and patronization.

    Whey am I satisfied to read you are a businessman.

    Gee whiz Wade, you to a wife and kid, we must man up and say, we are working for money, we need money, it is natural to need money, the is zero guilt in needing money.

    Travel is so romanticized, I truly despise reading travel writing, it rings of crap, it is cliché, it is not authentic and make me ashamed to know travel writers, even though I am probably technically a travel writer.

    No, I am business man, and I started my newsletter and website for one reason, to earn money to travel, so I did not have to go home and listen to the dribble, I wanted a life less special, I wanted to step out of the box, to end my life knowing I was true to myself.

    People that denigrate and make fun of business people are idiots, it is like say, you should be ashamed for making money to feed your family.

    But there is balance in life, and when a person goes from earning money, to unbridled greed and want, when conspicuous consumption rules their life, they lost the plot.

    I have lived in a small hotel room now for almost 13 years, I have what I need, because I first accepted I am a businessman who uses money to pay my daily hotel bill.

    “Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.”
    — W. Clement Stone

    This is what you are saying to me, this is how I interpret it, I believe you have conceived an avocation, you believe in it, and you will achieve your dreams. This only comes after you own and accept who you are, and what you are doing. Many a man never puts down their childish ways, and spend their whole life dreaming they are going to be a rock singer, or football star, they spend their life as armchair quarterbacks, want someone like Wade Shepard play.It was satisfying for me to read,
    “I have become a business man.”

    I listen to many Blogger say, I do this for my friends and family and I have not plans to earn money. There is a little game going on their head, they are giving it a try, if they succeed, then they take responsibility, if they fail, they just say they were not really trying to make it a business, they was doing it for friends and family.

    I believe the desire for intimacy and live is the number one motivating factor, super business people try to earn large sums of money so they will be love and respected. We believe if we are successful, we will find the love or life, we will be happy and content.

    I am not to hung up on that last paragraph, although I am sure Facebook is selling fame, they are making little people into famous in their minds, even though none of them are famous, it is delusional in their mind.

    Bloggers want to be famous, there is a misconception that if we are famous and rich we will be loved, happy, and respect. I think the opposite, everyone will be jealous and we will need to hide, there is little respect given to highly successful people, mostly jealousy and patronization.

    Whey am I satisfied to read you are a businessman.

    Gee whiz Wade, you to a wife and kid, we must man up and say, we are working for money, we need money, it is natural to need money, the is zero guilt in needing money.

    Travel is so romanticized, I truly despise reading travel writing, it rings of crap, it is cliché, it is not authentic and make me ashamed to know travel writers, even though I am probably technically a travel writer.

    No, I am business man, and I started my newsletter and website for one reason, to earn money to travel, so I did not have to go home and listen to the dribble, I wanted a life less special, I wanted to step out of the box, to end my life knowing I was true to myself.

    People that denigrate and make fun of business people are idiots, it is like say, you should be ashamed for making money to feed your family.

    But there is balance in life, and when a person goes from earning money, to unbridled greed and want, when conspicuous consumption rules their life, they lost the plot.

    I have lived in a small hotel room now for almost 13 years, I have what I need, because I first accepted I am a businessman who uses money to pay my daily hotel bill.

    “Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.”
    — W. Clement Stone

    This is what you are saying to me, this is how I interpret it, I believe you have conceived an avocation, you believe in it, and you will achieve your dreams. This only comes after you own and accept who you are, and what you are doing. Many a man never puts down their childish ways, and spend their whole life dreaming they are going to be a rock singer, or football star, they spend their life as armchair quarterbacks, want someone like Wade Shepard play.

    Note, telling readers you are a business person is not going to endear you to the ones who want to read a cliche, which is 99 percent of them.

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    • Wade | Vagabond Journey.com January 1, 2011, 10:37 am

      Thank you, Andy,

      What you say is all very true, and highly pertinent. In my generation in the USA there is this mocking attitude shown towards a person who has ambition, a person who works hard for something by choice rather than playing all they can and only working when they have to. These people jest at great effort while working each day in quicky marts, in cubicles, or some other menial task that they call a job. Then when someone becomes successful, this group will call them lucky or say, “why couldn’t this happen to me?”

      I find it completely onerous when someone tells me that I am lucky because I “get to travel.” This is how this is phrased. I am lucky because I was born in the USA to parents who made sure I worked hard at whatever I did, the traveling part comes from sheer effort and work. I am not lucky because I travel, I am lucky because I was taught the value of working hard towards something: I am lucky because I was born into a family that values ambition.

      We no longer come from a country where great effort is praised, but jeered at. It is impossible to explain to most people that I am going off to interview someone or am going to sit in my room and write rather than playing around on the beach — they just don’t get it. I am totally uncool haha.

      I also really appreciate your regards, Andy, they truly mean a lot. I must say that I learned 90% of what I know of this occupation from you.

      Thank you,

      Wade

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