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Echoes of Laughter: Reflecting on a Vagabond Existence

Is the house on fire? Are we at war? Is there an earthquake? Quick, what do I do first, grab my work laptop or wake my girlfriend? As I chide myself for thinking that (what can I say, protecting one’s words is a writer’s knee-jerk reaction) the nails-on-chalkboard sound comes again.

It shreds the last cobwebs of sleep. With a groan, I slump back onto my pillow.

It’s just the Colombians returning. You’ll always know when that happens. The older sister will always unfailingly remind you how funny she thinks everything is. She greets even the most mundane pronouncement with pearls of laughter.

Don’t get me wrong, that’s a great attitude during the day. It is a great deal harder to appreciate at 3 o’clock, though, when behind closed eyelids you were having tea with the Mad Hatter.
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How to Launch a Successful Freelance Writing Career

I’m not going to pretend I’m raking it in as a freelance writer. Of course, that doesn’t mean it won’t do so. I’ve only been doing it full-time for a little over a year. Who knows what the future may hold? More importantly, I have achieved one thing. I’m making enough money for my girlfriend and me to see the world.

In this year we’ve gone from barely scraping together enough to live, to being able to travel across three continents (If you want to know more about that kind of life read my article 8 things you need to know about travelancing). Most months we break even and some we even end up ahead.

The best part? I’ve become a better – and faster – writer because of it. That means that for the most part I only work around four hours a day. So we’ve got plenty of time to see the sights. So I’d say I’ve succeeded at my attempt to launch a successful freelance writing career.

So how did I do it? And, more importantly, how can you?
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6 Fantastic Reasons Why Travel Is Good For You

You don’t have to tell me how hard it is to take the plunge and throw yourself out there. I know all about that! There are so many reasons not to. These include your job, your family, your security, not knowing what to take, or what is out there and the fear, of course. For those reasons and others, millions don’t pursue their dream of seeing the world. Heck, they almost kept me from getting back out there on many occasions.

That’s a shame, because – as you no doubt know by now – I’m an advocate of the open road and what it can do for us. I believe travel is good for you, and I don’t just mean that for us as individuals, either.

I’m convinced that travel is a natural antidote to the surge in nationalism we’re seeing today.

(For those hit by the latest demonstration, check out my article about how to get out of the US of A)

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WTF? He Won! Quick, How Do I Get Out Of Here?

No doubt you’re halfway to packing your bag and booking tickets to Canada. It doesn’t look like you’ll be alone. Many have said they’ll get out of here with a Trump victory. And why not Canada? It’s a beautiful country.

At the same time, there is a lot more world than just Canada. Have you considered seeing more of it? After all, plenty of research shows that travel is good for you and this might well be the perfect opportunity. After all, the inconceivable happened. Donald Trump won. The world as we know it as irrevocably changed.

So why not use this as an excuse to make a change in your life? Heck, at least you leaving has a chance to work out for the best. What’s more, it’s a lot easier than you may think. I’ve given up the steady life for a life on the road on three separate occasions and never found it all that hard.

The biggest problem with heading off into the wide open world? That’s the fear, plain and simple.
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Freelance Abroad From Coroico, Bolivia

Much like Sucre, where we spent a month and a half, we ended up in Coroico almost by accident. We heard about it while having a few beers in a bar. Some Scandinavian guy was singing its praises (or maybe he was just speaking, I can never tell with Scandinavian English). As it was only three hours away, we decided to give it a try.

And boy, are we glad we did!

It was an absolute gem. What’s more, as I’ve explained in Slow Travel, when you hear about a place like that it might be the real deal. Why? Because it hasn’t yet been advertised in ever magazine and website. That means they aren’t as likely to be overrun by tourists. Nor are the locals as keen to gouge you.

Like I’ve said before, on the road a place is a lot like a lover. You don’t want too many people to have gone there before you.
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My Struggle to Overcome the Fear of Traveling

Today we have Vagabond Writer’s first guest post! Our guest poster is the fabulous Gaia Mori and she talks about her fear of traveling and how she overcame it. She spent most of her adolescence moving around the world. Aside from her studies and work in Marketing, she loves practicing yoga, reading, and essentially anything that requires her to reflect abstractly.

We’ve all seen those movies that light a fire under our butts and make us dream of a life of adventure. You know the ones, where the protagonist rides on elephants in Thailand or swims with dolphins in Australia.

After I watch such movies I always imagine myself doing the same thing.

I rush home, flip open my computer, and spend the evening Googling my brains out trying to see how I could make it work. But when morning comes rolling around, I always find myself brushing those dreams aside, or burying them under a mountain of “should’s”. I should have a steady job. I should own a house. I should be there for my family.
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3 Actually True Travel Stories That Will Astound You

You know how they say that truth is stranger than fiction? That’s even truer on the road. Just like you’ll meet some amazing people, you’ll see some crazy stuff.

I’ve experienced all these travel stories or heard about them first hand. No ‘a guy in a bar told me’ here. All I’ve done is changed the names and told them in the third person.
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Write Engagingly 303: The Secret Sauce

Sure, if you want to engage your audience, it helps if you’ve got the mechanics of writing down. For example, as discussed in Write Engagingly 101, spacing, punctuation and having a strong opinion make your articles more readable. And since ease of reading relates to how engaging text is – you need the former for the latter – that’s important. Similarly, as covered in Write Engagingly 202, storytelling, senses and similes will engage your reader on different levels and draw them in. And let’s not forget about the importance of experimentation.

At the same time, you can use all those strategies and still have a text or story that falls flat on its face. Equally, you could use none of them and have a story draw your audience in like a whirlpool of emotional intent.

That’s because of the element I’d like to talk about in this specific entry of the series. With it, you’re going to be able to connect with and move your reader. Without it, your texts and stories will always remain mediocre and unmemorable.
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Lonely in Paradise

Anybody that’s traveled for a while knows the feeling. You arrive at some stunning location that should have you slack-jawed in wonder and you find it barely moves you. You meet yet another fascinating person with great stories to tell, but you can’t muster the interest. You feel lonely in a bar full of friendly people who are just dying for a conversation.

You get somewhere new and all you can think about is the place and the people you left behind.
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Road Interview: Phil Buck, Professional Adventurer

On the road you see some beautiful places, but really it’s the people you meet and the stories they tell that really stay with you. I thought I would immortalize some of the best ones I come across here on VagabondWriters.com. We’ll begin with Phil Buck, who I met in La Paz, Bolivia, where he is building a reed boat and plans to sail it from Chile to Australia.

“I wasn’t going to climb that mountain in Nicaragua,” Phil tells me, “But then I found this guy who specialized in landmine removal and he said he could take me to the top. He still had all his fingers and his toes, so I followed him. He set out a route with red flags but I still made sure I put every foot where he’d placed his. Man, that was scary.”
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