Vagabonding Case Study: James Clark

James Clark

Age: 39

Hometown: Melbourne, Australia

Quote: “ For me, I have created my dream lifestyle. I get to travel around the world while working on a business I love.

How did you find out about Vagabonding, and how did you find it useful before and during the trip?

Vagabonding is like a familiar old friend to me. I can’t remember when I first discovered the site, probably when I was living in Dublin in 2002. I was happy to find a site about long term travel and articles I can relate to.

How long were you on the road?

My first long term trip was on a working holiday visa to the UK from 1999 to 2001. I then did one year in Dublin in 2002/03, and I have been working online and traveling since April 2003.

Where all did you go?

When I was based in London I got to travel around the UK, Europe and USA. Since that time I have been to 40+ countries.

What was your job or source of travel funding for this journey?

I saved up before I left, then I did temp work in London between trips.

Did you work or volunteer on the road?

When I started out I was working to travel, saving up everything I could to go on the next trip. Now I work while I travel, running my web design and marketing business while on the road.

Of all the places you visited, which was your favorite?

Ahh favorites. I can’t say I have favorites, I tend to think more along the lines of influentials. For example living in London and Dublin proved to be the most influentual periods of my life. More recently spending time in Chiang Mai in Thailand has also been a good influence on my life.

Was there a place that was your least favorite, or most disappointing, or most challenging?

I’m aware that an opinion of a place can be determined by how you are feeling at the time or who you meet. For example when I first went to Munich didn’t like it, but that was because I just came from an overnight train where I didn’t sleep, and the weather was terrible. I spent half a day there walking around in a miserable state of mind. The next time I went back it was in Summer during the 2006 World Cup. The city had an electric atmosphere and I had a great time. Still the same city, just different circumstances. For that reason I am always reluctant to tell people what my least favorite place is, as everyone will have a different experience.

I try and find a redeemable feature out of every place I visit, no matter how seemingly horrible the place is.

As far as challenges, my greatest challenges are finding places to work that are comfortable and well connected. In this regard India (where I am doing this interview) is the most challenging place to be a working vagabond.

Did any of your pre-trip worries or concerns come true?  Did you run into any problems or obstacles that you hadn’t anticipated?

On my first extended trip away I was concerned about money. I ended up running low on funds by the time I got to London, which meant I had to find work fast.

I have run into visa issues a couple of times In Europe. Before the EU Schengen Area expanded I arrived at border posts thinking an Australian passport would get me into Latvia and Romania and I was denied entry.

Which travel gear proved most useful? Least useful?

My laptop and phone are the most used gear in my possessions. Much of my travel planning is done online. Having a phone and getting a local sim card is good for connecting with local contacts rather than giving out an international number, which is expensive for everyone involved to call/text to.

What are the rewards of the vagabonding lifestyle?

For me, I have created my dream lifestyle. I get to travel around the world while working on a business I love. I have met a lot of like minded people in terms of travel and work as well.

What are the challenges and sacrifices of the vagabonding lifestyle?

Challenges are working productively while on the road. Constantly looking for wifi enabled accommodation and a comfortable office space is time consuming if you are constantly moving around.

Sacrifices are not having quality time with friends and family, as well as leaving behind new friends.

What lessons did you learn on the road?

I hope that I am constantly learning something. Being on the road has made me aware how good my life is. I knew that before hand, but I am confronted with this fact everyday. Every day I need to remind myself to practice patience and tolerance. Some days are better than others. When I want to yell at a persistent rickshaw driver to jump off a bridge, I have to remember he might be living under the bridge.

How did your personal definition of “vagabonding” develop over the course of the trip?

My original definition of a vagabond would have been one of someone with no home or income. That was me at the start. I was working dead end jobs to pay for travel. I now run a business, but have no office. I own 2 homes (or the bank does), but I am of no fixed address. Today I define vagabonding as long term unconventional travel.

If there was one thing you could have told yourself before the trip, what would it be?

Say yes to invitations – you never know where they will take you.

Any advice or tips for someone hoping to embark on a similar adventure?

It’s not as hard as it first seems. Immerse yourself in the online long term travel community and find out tips and tricks while you are planning.

When and where do you think you’ll take your next long-term journey?

As I am on the road full time I am just heading to wherever the adventure takes me. I attend a few work related conferences every year, usually in the UK/USA, so I usually plan my travels from where I can go from there.

Twitter: nomadicnotes Website:

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Posted by | Comments (2)  | July 13, 2011
Category: Vagabonding Case Studies

2 Responses to “Vagabonding Case Study: James Clark”

  1. Shannon O'Donnell Says:

    Yay for a great case study this week! I had the fortune of meeting James when he passed through Chiang Mai on his recent Asia travels and have yet to meet a more friendly and open traveler! 🙂

  2. Lily Leung Says:

    Great case study for aspiring vegabonders. Like Shannon, I also had the good fortune of meeting James in Chiang Mai.

    I completely agree with the point on the laptop and phone being important possessions – that’s how I’ve been planning my current round-the-world trip as I go! I can’t imagine not having my MacBook or having Google Maps on my iPhone to help me navigate through the city.

    Great interview!
    – Lily