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What Blogging Is Really For

A new format is coming soon.

Support VBJ’s writing on this blog:

You may want to unsubscribe to this blog. I’ll be taking it in a new direction over the coming weeks.

A blog is about daily interaction, it’s about telling a story in easily consumable daily digests. A blog isn’t a place for articles — that’s a different form of writing. A blog is something that is unique unto itself: it’s a place for journaling about a topic. It’s a place to show a mind in motion, a platform to ruminate over something you’re interested in.

This blog? It’s about being a traveling chronicler of culture and global transitions and everything that goes into that. It’s the background story behind my articles and books and other products of big media.

However, the wheels often come off at various junctions throughout the year. I blog for a few weeks or months straight and then I get caught up on a post and go on an extended hiatus. I’ve looked back over the history of these obstructions and it seems as if they usually come when I’m on a post that I want to do especially well or otherwise demands a heightened amount of attention and time. Unfortunately, these are, obviously, some of the more interesting, complex posts on this blog — the stuff worth doing well.

The problem with this is that these posts are like a tractor trailer jackknifed on a highway: the block the flow of everything else.

Blogs need to be somewhat linear — you can’t really jump around too much in time or else everything gets confusing. So when I have a post that takes an additional amount of time the works get clogged up: new drafts pile up behind and, before long, I’m staring down a mountain of posts that will take a large amount of time and effort to process.

I have other things to do throughout the course of a day than blog. I make money on here — I believe this blog brought in around $7,500 last year — but it’s not my main stream of income. This is the money that I buy cameras with. It’s extra cash that I keep on the side to play with. I have a generally overwhelming amount of other work to do, so when I have a 20-draft-pile-up on this blog to do it’s easy to look the other way.

Basically, I have to chuck my pretenses and give up writing article-type blog posts. While I enjoy having an outlet for stories that don’t fit in on the other publications that I produce content for, they just take way too long.

They take too long and result in the complete dismantling of the blog’s broader narrative.

Why is this important?

Primarily, because this blog is where I keep everything straight. Where I am, what I’m doing, what I’m feeling, who I’m with, what I’m working on. This is the only record of this that I have.

This is important to me because I am prone to extreme detachment and can become a little out of touch with day to day reality. I go into my cycle of content collection and production that I forget about all else. I usually have no idea what day of the week it is, I have to think hard about what month it is, and I easily lose track of, well, just about everything. A couple times a week I wake up and I have to throttle my memory to come up with what continent I’m on.

…The long term side-effects of perpetual travel, I suppose.

I either work on my own platforms or on projects. I have no regular job. I don’t wake up each day and go into work for the same company with the same boss and the same co-workers. I don’t have a regular schedule… I don’t have any schedule at all. I really have no framework. I have little sense of chronology. My life feels like that scene in all those movies where the astronaut helplessly floats away into space.

So this blog is pretty much the only framework that I have. I’ve been doing it since 2005 — since I was just a kid. It’s the nervous system of my adulthood — it just kind of extends through everything. It’s the tracks that I leave in the snow. I can look back along them and see where I’ve come from and take waypoints on where I’m going. Without this I’m like a f’cking astronaut.

I also have a fear of forgetting. The only thing a traveler has are memories. I want mine ordered, filed away, and easy to recall. I think of this blog as my memory jar. So it’s format is going to start resembling more of a daily diary than a place for artfully assembled articles and stories.

Yeah, you may want to unsubscribe.


Walk Slow,



Filed under: Blogging, Vagabond Journey Updates

About the Author:

I am the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. I’ve been traveling the world since 1999, through 90 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 3689 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

Support VBJ’s writing on this blog:

VBJ is currently in: Papa Bay, Hawaii

12 comments… add one

Leave a Comment

  • Rob September 13, 2018, 4:48 am

    When you come up with a format that will do what you need, do what you want and if you come back here with it I’ll be here. I enjoy your writing. Being subscribed to something is easy.

    Good luck!

    Link Reply
    • Wade Shepard September 13, 2018, 2:44 pm

      Hello Rob,

      Thank you very much. This is extremely encouraging. Very much appreciated.

      Link Reply
  • David Jacobs September 13, 2018, 11:09 am

    Nice – just have a menu link to your more formal articles as well.
    Would love to see more of the easy flowing and interesting updates that gives us srtuctured, boring, office job people a window on the outside world!

    Regards from South Africa!

    Link Reply
    • Wade Shepard September 13, 2018, 2:45 pm

      Hello David,

      Excellent to hear from you again! It feels good to know that you’re still out there and still reading. Thank you.

      Link Reply
  • Trevor September 13, 2018, 6:52 pm

    always excited to see people take on a new direction. with U and MRP, u never know whats gonna turn up on the http://www.. …

    too bizzy delivering mail the old fashioned way, to write stuff electronically..

    Link Reply
    • Wade Shepard September 13, 2018, 7:22 pm

      Man, that job sounds fun. Do you go door to door?

      Link Reply
      • Trevor September 14, 2018, 4:57 pm

        yup. letters, parcels. drive to our zone, deliver to a hundred houses, carrying it all then drive to next area.. and repeat. keeps me im shape.

        am interested in the new format….

        Link Reply
  • Where Is Bob L September 14, 2018, 9:25 am

    It is funny that you wrote this right now. Now that I am a vagabond as well, I have been trying to keep the family and friends back “home” informed of what was going on. I am quickly learning just how difficult a task that is.

    I just wrote a post, not published yet, that says that I will be posting shorter updates on my Blog, trying to keep them current, then occasional links to longer articles of things in the past.

    I find that with longer things, people tend not to bother, but shorter posts everyone reads.

    I have a stack of your posts I have not yet read. Now, with shorter articles, I will read those as they come, and save your longer ones for when I have more time.

    Link Reply
    • Wade Shepard September 15, 2018, 6:05 pm

      “I will be posting shorter updates on my Blog, trying to keep them current, then occasional links to longer articles of things in the past.”

      That’s truly the way to do it. Anything else demands making blogging a full-time obsession — and even then it’s still tough. I will probably do something similar.

      I’ve been enjoying your posts! Really, you’re living an interesting story.

      Link Reply
  • BUBBA September 14, 2018, 10:37 pm

    I wake up and throttle my memory about what continent I am on and I ain’t even travelled nowheres

    Link Reply
    • Wade Shepard September 15, 2018, 6:09 pm

      Sweet. Yes, I think this is a symptom of living full throttle …

      Link Reply
  • Trevor September 16, 2018, 12:27 pm

    hi Wade

    how about a post about the stats. how many a day r u pulling in .. comparing 2018 to all the other years

    and as a % where does the income come from, via mediavine or other, on vj

    and what interests me is on how vloggers commission works. ie on youtube with ads.

    when u have time of course…


    Link Reply