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What is Vagabond Explorer Magazine?

What is Vagabond Explorer Magazine? Vagabond Explorer is a pdf magazine that you download directly to your computer. After you download, it is yours to keep, share with your friends, do whatever you want with it — just like a print magazine. Vagabond Explorer can be read on your desktop computer, your lap top, data [...]

Support VBJ’s writing on this blog:

What is Vagabond Explorer Magazine?

Vagabond Explorer is a pdf magazine that you download directly to your computer. After you download, it is yours to keep, share with your friends, do whatever you want with it — just like a print magazine. Vagabond Explorer can be read on your desktop computer, your lap top, data phone, tablet, Ipad, and, soon enough, Kindle. If you do not like reading publications digitally, it is very easy to just print it out on paper (use landscape view).

Vagabond Explorer is formatted with the reading experience in mind, it is intuitively laid out to fit the dimensions of a standard computer screen or tablet to minimize scrolling: just click the next/ previous page links or enter a page number into your pdf viewing program to easily navigate the magazine.

Vagabond Explorer is not an online magazine, you do not read it on this website, it is not published anywhere on the internet.

Vagabond Explorer Vol. 1 features a photo essay on flooding in the Philippines

Vagabond Explorer, and publications like it, are the future of media. I fear that once digital reading becomes more convenient and conventional, most paper publications will soon be a thing of the past.

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Vagabond Explorer recognizes that people are creatures of habit — we read things in the genre of what we claim to like, we seek out only what we already support, we look for the “colors” of our own tribe as we navigate the seas of life. Part of the mission of this publication is to show the world from a scrambled perspective, to kick you out of your comfort zone, your ideological niche, and, hopefully, open up a wider field of opinion, rendition of fact, and creativity to play upon. Jenna Makowski very poignantly reviewed Vagabond Explorer as follows:

People travel for all sorts of different reasons, and the goal of Explorer is to give voice to this range of experience. I loved some of the articles, and some I didn’t. I agreed whole-heartedly with some, and not completely with others. But, as the editor states, that was the goal: “Some of these stories may entertain you, while others may make you weep, some may even disgust you, while others may leave you inspired.” Either way, all voices presented lend another nuanced layer to the question, how do we experience as we travel? My boundaries were pushed. -All the different ways to travel

I read that review and said to myself, “Yes, perfect, that is the way I want the reading audience to feel.” Vagabond Explorer is not a magazine designed to leave you feeling comfortable, it should not be read easily, it should be stimulating, opinion provoking, and inspiring in the deepest sense. The strength of this magazine will also be its undoing — this is not an industry publication, it is not designed to sell you a vacation, the articles are not bridges between ads, rather they are brick walls that must be fought through. I believe in the intelligence of the reading audience here, and I will not dummy down to the standards of easy to digest, dreamland, lying, bull shit, contemporary travel media.

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I am not going to sell you a vacation — not on Vagabond Journey or in Vagabond Explorer — but I will attempt to dig below the surface of a place, break out of the tourism bubble, and show a view of the world that is rarely shown, and then help you to get there for yourself. This is the intent of the Vagabond Journey project, and this mission is intensified in Vagabond Explorer magazine.

How to hop passenger trains

But I find the project hung up at this point: inertia has not yet been acquired as far as sales go. Vagabond Explorer is selling, and I am pleased at that, but many readers here seem hesitant to drop the $5 to check it out. Some seem more willing to spend endless amounts of time explaining to me all of the reasons why they won’t buy it rather than just supporting a site they read daily with a small contribution. While some don’t seem to know what Vagabond Explorer really is.

What is this thing? A flower, a lobster? 

No, it is a 52 page digital magazine.

Part of the Vagabond Explorer mission is to encourage you to accept a new form of media, a new way of reading a magazine. Try it, it is not that bad. The form here is a part of the function, we urge you to try something new, to take a leap, to break from your preset pattern, and try reading a publication that is set up a little differently than what you are use to.

I realize that people tend to define themselves very rigidly by what they do and do not do. “I like beer, I don’t like asparagus, I watch romantic comedys, I don’t buy pdf magazines.” Some have written to me, “Sorry bud, but I don’t buy such things.”

Well good, now you have the opportunity to try something new.

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I realize that it is difficult to read a longer length publication on a computer screen. I know that the upright bodily positioning necessary to use a laptop or desktop is sort of arduous if engaged in the passive act of reading. I also know that Vagabond Explorer and current digital publications are around a year or two too early for mainstream acceptance.

Once tablets like the Ipad become more readily used, then the digital publication will flourish. Such devices provide the reader with a way to find physical comfort why reading — you can curl up with a tablet just like a book or magazine. The screens of Ipads and tablets are easy to read on, and, once doing so becomes habit, I am confident that this digital method will be preferred to paper media.

I understand that if you only have a computer and are not in the habit of reading pdf publications if you are hesitant to purchase Vagabond Explorer. But we do requests that if regular readers do not want to make a biyearly $5 purchase to read this magazine, to make a general donation to the website by clicking on the “donate” button in the sidebar. Selling our own digital products — Vagabond Explorer and books — is the future of VagabondJourney.com. Your purchase supports the site and ensures that free content will be offered daily.

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Thank you.

Filed under: Journalism, 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 3703 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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VBJ is currently in: New York City

2 comments… add one

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  • Scott August 3, 2011, 8:30 pm

    Wade and Family,
    Hey I can vouch for the pdf Vagabond Explorer Magazine rendering really nice. I have a 12 inch screen on my computer and the magazine looks excellent. Now I’m an old school paper book reader and prefer real paper over screen, but Wade is right about this being the future. Plus the main reason you are going to buy this magazine is supporting this website! Now drop the small change and show some support! This is a high quality publication and is a steal at 5 bucks. Paypal makes it easy and you can purchase sitting in your underwear in Peru (not that I would know?) Thanks Wade and crew for busting your ass and giving us some real travel reading!!!!


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    • Wade Shepard August 4, 2011, 8:57 am

      Thanks Scott,

      This feedback is like gold. It was what I needed to hear at this juncture, much appreciated.

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