It was a rough year for us as we prepared to move from Morocco to the USA, worked through the visa paperwork, and tried to build a life in the United States. We started in Sacramento where not a single landlord would rent to us because I run my own small business and then we came North to the Oregon Coast where we settled in tiny Reedsport, Oregon.
All of that didn’t leave much room for travel and adventure but we did manage to explore the Golden Gate City of San Francisco, Sacramento, Portland, Seattle, Bellingham, and the Oregon Coast. We also got to go through Dubai and early in 2013 I was able to take some time to explore Dali’s Spain.
All of that didn’t leave much space for writing and travel as I struggled to put a life together for us in the USA. I became an American Picker while we were in Sacramento and put together a fairly successful eBay business. It’s a super competitive field now with shows teaching people how to get rich and the reality of hundreds of people looking for any hidden gold in yard sales, estate sales, and thrift shops. Still, I was able to earn about $7000 from August onwards by selling on eBay. I had thought that my awesome blogging and social media skills would land me a job with a hot start up in San Francisco – but what I found is that start ups don’t want 42 year old self employed guys who aren’t household names – they want hot 22 year old college graduates or people who have worked for Fortune 500 companies – I was told that I was over qualified for every interview I went to. Disappointing? You bet your ass. That and the refusal of Sacremento land lords to rent to me based on my income statements on Paypal. Ouch.
The move to Oregon went pretty well but we had some issues right away as my wife took a low paying job at a hotel to try to help pay the bills and didn’t understand that by doing that, she left me as the sole care provider of a two year old and I could neither pick, write, travel, network, or list 500 things on ebay while taking care of a two year old. Plus, it made her grumpy to work and left us with no time to explore our new home and then the nice weather was done. Ouch again.
It became such an issue that the only way to get her to quit was for me to take a job at an insurance company – which by the way – was an absolutely awful mistake. In three months of working for them, I was trained how to manipulate and scare the crap out of old people – but I just couldn’t force myself to do all these scare tactics and manipulative techniques on seniors and so in three months I spent about $1200 in gas and training for licensing and earned just $79. By the time I quit – I knew it was a churn and burn scam on both my end and the end of the insurance companies. I’d rather dumpster dive than rip off nice old people.
And what carried us through financially? Travel blogging and more specifically Vagobond. I suppose the biggest lesson I learned in 2013 was that when you build something, you should never give up on it. I wasted at least six months trying to get social media jobs, picking, and working for an insurance company when what I should have been doing was working on and improving Vagobond and my other sites.
This was the first year in five years I didn’t write a novel because I was studying for an insurance exam. However, I did put together a website for our new hometown Reedsport, Oregon. And at the end of the year, we did have a very nice Christmas morning and I’m still the father of the world’s happiest 2-year old.
And to add to that – I was just notified that Vagobond was listed as one of the top 25 Travel Blogs of 2013 by Wanderu.com – which is a pretty nice way to end the year. Thank you!
Still – even though I gave it minimal attention this year. Vagobond attracted 160,000 visitors from all over the globe but mostly from the USA, UK, and France.
These were the top 5 posts of the year.
- 1 10 Incredible Things to See in the Louvre – Cultural Travel
- 2 Whore Watching in Kuala Lumpur
- 3 History of Travel: Travel During the Renaissance
- 4 Italian Witch Hunting in Naples
- 5 10 Largest Cities in the World by Population
All in all – 2013 was a rough one, but we made it. Already, things feel like they are headed in the best possible direction. Happy New Year World! Bring on 2014!