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Vagabond Journey’s Top 10 Stories of 2014

The best stories on Vagabond Journey in 2014.

It’s time to put the cap on another year here at Vagabond Journey. It’s our 10th New Year’s Eve, and it’s time to look back and reflect a little upon the year that just paste before looking forward into the next one. Our team of traveling writers published 296 articles from six continents and dozens of countries on the site this year, making it one of our best yet. As we now have so many writers publishing many types of stories from many places, I decided to try something new and make a list of our top articles for the year. So, as the editor in chief, these are my picks for our top ten stories of 2014.

10. The Dream, Death, and Rebirth of Amboy, by Izaak Diggs

This is a story of traveling out into the “nowheres” of the southwestern deserts of the USA and finding something extraordinary.

9. The Yerba Mate Experience: Understanding Argentina’s National Habit, by David Fegan

The story behind Argentinian’s love of yerba mate, including a thorough breakdown on the customs that make up the tradition.

8. Kayaking Estonia’s Mother River (in an Inflatable Boat), by Tristan Hicks

Setting out down a remote Estonian river in an inflatable boat during a rain storm may not have been the best of ideas, but it was probably the surest way to test a long standing theory on Vagabond Journey that the inflatable kayak could be the ultimate travel vehicle.

7. Spanking the Children of Paradise, by Bad Mike

A merry romp on the beaches of Goa goes sour fast as India’s finest storm in wielding truncheons. The “spanking” part of this story’s title isn’t a metaphor.

6. What Life is Like in a Chinese Migrant Worker Village, by Wade Shepard

Throughout my Chinese ghost cities research I often found myself in the temporary camps and defacto villages of China’s floating population: the 200+ million migrant workers. This is what life is like there.

5. What Becomes of China’s Ghost Cities, by Wade Shepard

This story shows where my initial interest in China’s ghost cities began, as well as what these places eventually become.

4. Dark Times in the Land of Smiles, by Anonymous

An anonymous post from a Vagabond Journey regular provides an on-the-ground look at the violent mass expulsion of Cambodian migrant workers from Thailand.

3. Nightmare Travel in China, by Lawrence Hamilton

A brazenly honest, self-sacrificing look at what happens when travels don’t quite go the way they’re planned. We’ve all been here, though few have balls big enough to retell the whole story with such clarity and self-criticism.

2. Snakes and Satans, or the Perils that Befall the Modern Vagabond, by Bad Mike

This is real life vagabonding in the 21st century. Bad Mike finds himself adrift in the isles of Indonesia without a penny, hardly a hope, but with a fervent lust to experience the world in the raw.

1. Tea Time in the Sahara, by Lawrence Hamilton

The thirst for exploration and the drive to get far off the tourist map lands Lawrence in the deserts of Mauritania, where he finds that real adventure is definitely not what the tour companies are selling. Danger and raw humanity abound, and by the end he sees a fleeting glimpse of why we travel.

Filed under: Travel Writing, 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 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 3541 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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Wade Shepard is currently in: Astoria, New York

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