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Vagabond Explorer Magazine Now Free

As promised, Vagabond Explorer Magazine will now be distributed free of charge. It is my goal to get this magazine in front of as many people as possible. This is the 2.0 era of media, and people want free. This is also a website that advises people not to buy anything they will not croak [...]

Support VBJ’s writing on this blog:

As promised, Vagabond Explorer Magazine will now be distributed free of charge. It is my goal to get this magazine in front of as many people as possible. This is the 2.0 era of media, and people want free. This is also a website that advises people not to buy anything they will not croak without, and, although I feel as if VEx is one good travel mag, I do not believe that it could be used to save a life in any literal sense.

Download VEx for free now!

Vagabond Explorer is packed full of stories and tips written by travelers for travelers. It is one part instruction manual — teaching how to live a full life while in perpetual motion, how to work remotely from anywhere in the world, and how to save and make money on the road — and one part travel narratives told by people who have gone out and really experienced their world.

Vagabond Explorer is truly a one of a kind  magazine which celebrates the vagabond/ itinerant lifestyle, striving to entertain, instruct, and fascinate all at once. If you have ever dreamed about traveling the world, going wherever you want, living on your own terms, then this publication is for you. Download it, read, and get out there!

Download Vagabond Explorer for free now!


The only way I can continue my travels and publishing this blog is by generous contributions from readers. If you can, please subscribe for just $5 per month:


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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.

Support VBJ’s writing on this blog:

VBJ is currently in: New York City

13 comments… add one

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  • Jack September 1, 2011, 8:07 pm

    I knew if I waited long enough things would turn my way… 😉 Thank you Wade!

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  • LAbackpackerChick September 1, 2011, 8:49 pm

    i love your website and this is an amazing magazine! I’m definitely sharing this with others! Is it okay if I link to it somehow on my new blog? i’m new to the blog world so still don’t know what ok and not ok? thanks! 🙂

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    • Wade Shepard September 2, 2011, 8:46 pm

      Hello LAbackpacker,

      It would be great if you could make a mention of the mag on your blog! Thanks!

      You can link to the magazine’s landing page if you would like, which is http://www.vagabondjourney.com/magazine/ Thanks!

      Let me know if you make a mention of it and I will FB and Tweet it, and include excerpts in the promo material. Thanks again.

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      • LAbackpackerChick September 14, 2011, 3:52 pm

        That would be awesome! I’m including it on my blog within the next week 🙂
        Will keep you posted, thanks!

      • Wade Shepard September 14, 2011, 10:18 pm

        Sounds great! Give me the link and I will SM it up! Thanks.

  • david September 2, 2011, 2:42 am

    Where do i get my refund??


    Just joking off course! 🙂

    Looking forward to the next issue! And yes yes… I even managed to read some or most of volume 1. It is excellent.


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    • Wade Shepard September 4, 2011, 3:31 pm

      Haha, when I get to South Africa I will buy you a beer.

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  • Alex September 2, 2011, 10:48 am

    I hope you don’t plan to always distribute the magazine for free and that this is only for the first issue. I’m one of those who bought the issue this summer, and the idea I had was that the price was too low, and should have been a few dollars more. That first issue was already very well made, and I was impressed by the quality of it’s content, as well as the graphic layout and thought that Craig did an amazing job with it!

    I don’t know how many you sold exactly, but in my opinion the first run of almost everything on the market usually sell very few copies. I find the fact that you decided to throw the towel so early a bit disheartening.
    There’s already so much info on your website already for free, I thought the magazine was a good idea to help finance you and your family on the road a bit more, and having select articles would have been a great incentive for people who want to help you but are not really into donations…

    Giving away the first issue should be a marketing ploy, and then… maybe the likes of Jack would shell out for the next issue now instead of waiting as freeloaders. hehehe
    (and no, I’m not feeling bad picking out on Jack as he (shamefully) proclaimed that he waited to freeload. An nice example of why this magazine on the internet thing will take time to catch on – everybody want it for free on the web.)

    So… maybe an idea could be just to keep the price tag on the (next) magazines, yet add a small link to it that could say ” if you just want to try and see (or you are just too cheap), here’s a link to download the mag for free.” There’s nothing wrong with a veiled insult, and in some cases it can do wonders of introspection. As this is a personal website there’s no real harm done (you have the right to insult the cheapo) as opposed to a corporate thing where they couldn’t do that.

    Your “Walk Slow” motto should apply to this project also you know? It would have been unrealistic that the first issue sold thousands of copies.

    Well..you probably knew all this already but I felt like writing my mind on it.

    Good luck Wade, anyway you choose. 🙂

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    • Wade Shepard September 4, 2011, 3:28 pm

      Hello Alex,

      These are all good points. I would not say I threw in the towel on this project yet, but the change monetization strategies is a move to save it. There is pretty much two ways for a magazine to make money: paying users and advertisers. These two strategies are often mutually exclusive endeavors, as the more people you can get the mag in front of the more money you can charge advertisers, and if you charge per download 100X less people will read it. But if you don’t charge, you are not going to make any money from readers. So it is a Catch-22 of sorts. I tried charging at first to see if this model could hold promise, but downloads were so few that there was absolutely no indication that this model would ever be successful. Even many readers of this site who have been around for years and years did not shed $5 for a copy of Vagabond Explorer. My thinking is that if I can’t even sell this thing to the long term support base here, I can’t really sell it to anyone.

      There was also only a very weak connection between promotion and sales. This mag was being sold on Travellerspoint.com, Travelblogs.com, and other BIG sites, and the sales could be counted on one set of fingers. NBC LA even did a prime time TV news segment on one of the stories in Vol.1 — showing screenshots of the mag and linking to it on their website — and, again, the sales resulting from this could be counted on a single hand. This was a huge wake up call. If I saw some pattern of promotion leading to sales, for sure I would pay into promoting it, but that pattern is not there.

      I also believe that going from a “first issue free” to a paid system would just meant that I would get a lot of downloads for Vol.1 and nobody coming back for issue 2 haha. So I have to say here that the “reader supported, low advertising method” is not going to work — now or ever — for a pdf download travel mag. There is already so much digital information on travel out there that the “buy now” button is a huge stop sign.

      In point, there were more downloads on the first day of the mag being announced as being free than in the past two and a half months of it being sold. The strategy now is to distribute the mag as far and wide as possible, raise the download numbers into the thousands, then approach advertisers with the attempt to fund vol. 2.

      Actually, the amount of money that I need to keep this project going is not much. If I was able to sell 500 issues of vol.1, I could confidently do vol. 2 with the hopes of selling a thousand. But I did not come close to selling 500 — no way. But now that they are free, they are flying off the shelves, so to speak. It is my impression that there is interest in this mag, but 99% of the people who are interested are not willing to pay even a nominal amount of money for it.

      You, and a good handful of others, are rare people these days haha. There are not many like you who are willing to financially support such a project. I truly thank you for this.

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    • Jack September 5, 2011, 3:30 pm


      I am a cheapo, you’re right, but not a freeloader. I wasn’t waiting for the magazine to become free, I just hadn’t found the time to download and read it (I’m an active college student working on my busiest and last semester before graduate, however it is on my list.) I don’t mind paying for content, especially at $5. I still haven’t downloaded it and will get to it when I get to it. I was aiming for a lighthearted joke (hence the 😉 )but I guess it was received as an insult, and for this I apologize.


      Link Reply
      • Wade Shepard September 5, 2011, 6:40 pm

        No problem, Jack, I understand! When you get a chance to download, I look forward to you reading!

  • André Vieira September 2, 2011, 5:18 pm

    Thank you very much! 🙂

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    • Wade Shepard September 4, 2011, 3:12 pm

      No problem, enjoy!

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