Petra - Wandering Earl

The Future of Wandering Earl – I Need Your Help!

Derek Everything Else 71 Comments

Petra - Wandering Earl

The Past

It’s now been 18 years of nonstop travel since I took off for what was supposed to be a 3 month trip to Southeast Asia back in 1999. I really can’t believe it myself as I clearly remember that first day in Bangkok so long ago, and I definitely didn’t see this coming at all.

It’s wacky, I tell you.

In 2009, I started WanderingEarl.com after my good friend Ben told me I should start a travel blog one day while we were hanging out in Sayulita, Mexico. I actually just caught up with Ben in Miami last week and we had a good laugh about how this was all his idea.

Of course, like most travel bloggers that started back then, I never did expect my blog to be anything other than a platform for me to write some quick updates about my travels and for my family and friends to leave some comments until they eventually got bored.

Eight years later and I’ve now written over 400 blog posts, received over 40,000 comments and even more emails, made videos, been active on social media, been a guest on over 100 podcasts and interviews and even started organizing tours to various countries.

That’s all even wackier to me.

The Present

Of course, that’s all great stuff. However, I never have viewed this blog and everything it encompasses as a one-way street. It’s far more than me just writing posts about my experiences.

The blog and social media have become a real, and constantly growing, community.

Of course, without the blog, there would be no community. But without the community – and this part is far more important in my eyes – there’s a good chance I would not still be traveling and as a result, there wouldn’t be any blog.

I certainly don’t underestimate the role that every visitor to the site, every reader, everyone who has liked a Facebook post or left a comment, everyone who has sent me an email and so on, has played in creating all of this as well as in keeping me motivated to continue traveling the world. I ain’t joking.

And as another not-to-be-underestimated bonus of this community, how can I not love the unfathomably huge amount of travel assistance and knowledge that I’ve gained from others. It happens all the time.

For example, if you haven’t seen already, when I announced on Facebook the other day that I’m going to Africa in February (oh yes I finally am!), the comments started pouring in and I now have a massive collection of useful information and great contacts to help me plan my trip. Even better, so does anyone else looking to visit Africa, just by reading that post and the comments!

A big thank you to those who left comments! Your assistance does not go unnoticed.

The Future

Okay. I know that Wandering Earl isn’t your standard travel blog and at times I can be all over the place, but my goal has always been to present an honest and real account of my life and travels. The idea is to give you the best possible understanding of what it’s like to travel, what opportunities exist out there and how you can achieve your own travel goals as well.

And now, as 2017 continues to roll along, I want to make sure I’m on the right track. I want to make sure I’m giving you exactly what you’re looking for and I’d like to ask for your assistance in doing it.


One simple question:

What do you want to see on Wandering Earl?

I’m open to anything, whatever allows me to use my 18+ year adventure around the world to help (or entertain) you in some way, shape or form. Certain posts, video series, a podcast, life challenges, more tours, personal travel consulting, travel to offbeat destinations… the possibilities are infinite.

General, specific, creative and even the craziest ideas are all welcome!

From here in Delhi, India, I’m all ears and looking forward to hearing your answers!


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Comments 71

  1. Pingback: 10 Awesome Tactics For Engaging Readers & Increasing Blog Traffic

  2. Raymond Carroll

    Hi Earl,
    I have a travel blog – thai-nomad.com – I have been browsing through your blog for a few months since finding it and have commented on a few of your posts. I like your writing style and your content – it’s always very informative and inspiring. I’m not sure what I would add content wise to your blog, just wanted to say well done for managing to stay on the road for 18 years. The first time I went to Bangkok was in 1999 too!

  3. Howard Huxter

    With more and more mass tourism its getting harder to avoid the masses. You can’t check out the places in Guide Books any more because they will be heaving. For us real ‘travellers’ we need to share the lesser known places or even unknown. And with places that we really have to go to then its important to know ‘when’ to go to avoid the crowds. Just good tips on travelling the lesser known routes. Here’s an example: I live in China and go to Japan quite often. I take the boat from Shangahi to Osaka – its cheaper than flying especially if you buy a return – and its basically a 2 day uncrowded boat trip. I have met people who have given me good info. Much more sociable than flying. The only challenge is finding the ferry terminal in Shanghai!

  4. Cathy

    I plan to start traveling more in the near future. On some past traveling experiences I have been alone. As a shy introvert I am completely (maybe too) comfortable with not interacting with others. Future experiences I would like to increase my interaction with the locals to have a more authentic educational experience. Can you discuss interactions with locals, are they planned, street vendors etc? Also tips to overcome language barriers would be helpful. Thanks

  5. Ivan

    Hi, Derek.

    First, let me say “thank you” for this post as it gives so much food for thought.
    I know how complicated running a website might be, let alone maintaining a forum. But the tool like forum makes readers’ life easier.
    Apart from it, I think personal stories and off the beaten track destinations are great, while “top X places to visit” articles give more clear reception of information. So these shouldn’t be abandoned and complement your own opinions IMHO.

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  6. Victor

    Simple suggestion: post more often. The essay posts I come out once per month are great and I love them, but you can still share valuable content in shorter form posts that don’t take as long to create.

  7. Amira

    Hi Derek I would like to know why you went back to India after Romania? I have moved so many times to different continents and there are usually reasons why I do but I often go back or think if I had stayed what would have happened.

    Many thanks
    Amira

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      Derek

      Hey Amira – I actually went back to India because I was leading one of my Wandering Earl Tours in that country. I didn’t go to India to live, only for the tour and after it ended, I left India and continued traveling.

      1. Amira

        Hi Earl yes I thought you may have gone back to India to base yourself for your fantastic tour series. Where are you travelling to now and are you going to base yourself in a new country?

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          Derek

          Right now I am in Kenya and will be in Africa for a couple of months. At the moment I don’t have a base so that I can enjoy this part of the world for a bit!

  8. Cam

    I’d love some more practical advice / ideas about how to work yourself around the world.
    I bought a copy of your ebook a few years ago, trying to break into the cruise ship world as a nomadic job idea (tough crowd!) but some more advice on how you and others have worked while traveling, where / how to find work as a traveler, that won’t get you chopped into bits, would be great – especially for those of us too broke to just go on holiday! Beyond WOOF?

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  9. Julie

    I am sharing my experience so far… I applied for a working holiday visa for Canada. I arrived last May to activate the visa and met someone and fell in love so unexpectedly, so I went home quickly got my stuff together came back out and we met up again, I saw him more and it was amazing, I moved to a town in Alberta to be near to him, then he ended it, out of nowhere. I have wasted all the months since last summer being sad and unable to get myself out of thinking about him. He ruined and wasted so much of my time here in such a beautiful place. I tried to help myself and I moved onto British Columbia but still don’t feel happy when I should be, I have booked a flight home and go next week and with the aim of getting my head together and realising I still have a year of my work permit and should make the most of it. Now I fear going home (where life was pretty bad) is going to make me feel worse. I really tried hard out here in Canada to make it work but its been so hard when having a broken heart. So now I just hope I can find the strength to go home, face it, and fly back out here again 🙂

  10. Brenda

    First I wanted to tell you that I really truly enjoy your blog. I found it 5 years ago and it’s because of you that I started traveling (local travel mainly but hoping to expand this year overseas).

    I agree with everyone else on the forum idea. Also I would like to read more travel stories about people you meet and cuisines from around the world.

    Keep doing what you’re doing!!

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      Derek

      Hey Brenda – That’s really cool to hear and any travel is rewarding travel as far as I’m concerned, local or international! And thanks for the vote for the forum, it is something I will be looking at!

  11. Dan Perry

    I can’t speak for everyone (or even most), but I’m interested in hearing travel stories. I don’t care so much about posts like “Top 10 Things To Do In Rome”; I’d rather hear about your personal experiences in Rome (or wherever). You’ve done a great job at this and I hope you can continue. On that note, I know you run small group tours; surely some interesting stories have come from them. Telling those stories would keep long-time readers like me loyal, and it would promote your tours to boot.

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  12. Ben Morris

    Hi Derek

    Back in Old Delhi eh. Smog hitting the back of your throat yet? So on to the future of your blog. What I like to read about is stories. Stories about your travels, places, events, happenings however mundane if told with a writers talent makes a very enjoyable read. So…despite the fact that I think your blogs are a very good read…2017 might be the year to look into travelling to a writers “boot camp” if you will. It might just allow you to add that panache to your stories while making it easier and quicker for you to write them.

  13. Jae

    “The Future of Wandering Earl” The title was alarming enough I had to read the post! Sometimes, when people start talking about “the future” of something, they talk about closing down the something and “moving on” to other endeavors. I’m so glad it’s not like that! Congrats on the 18+ years!

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  14. Glenn I

    I like reading accounts, stories about what you see and hear and who you meet. It’s a big world, you’ve been a lot of places, but you are only in one place at a time, only in one skin. Incidents of travel, I like to read those.

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      Derek

      Hey Glenn – I appreciate that feedback and thank you for reading! The incidents of travel is a good focus, I agree, as that’s not something that a lot of people talk about on blogs. Definitely helps me show the true reality of this lifestyle!

  15. Ashley

    Honestly, Keep Doing What Your Doing…

    I just discovered your Blog (the other day) actually, I can honestly say, Derek, your blog gives me hope & especially inspiration for the future. It gave me the push to: A) Take a Risk B) Traveling by Myself (As a Female) — is NOT outlandish C) Try New Things/ Meet More People etc.

    I think a lot of people can relate to feeling ‘stagnant,’ at one point in their lives. Which is why your posts are so important! I was reading your Maldives/ Yemen posts, it’s because of you, my bucket list keeps getting longer and longer.. 🙂

    So, thank you.

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      Derek

      Hey Ashley – That’s super kind of you to leave that comment and I’m just really happy that you’ve found the blog useful in some way! And that’s so excellent that you’re knocking down those barriers and inching closer to getting out there to do some traveling. You’ll be out there before you know it!

      Keep growing that bucket that list and again, thank you for what you wrote!

  16. Vicki

    Your blog is a joy and a delight, Derek. The only crazy thing I would love to see: graveyard photos from around the world. People are infinitely creative in the way they bury their dead.

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  17. Andrei

    Personally, what I always admired about your blog is how sincere and optimistic it is; and how it doesn’t sound like it’s selling anything :-).

    Another huge reason I like your blog is because of the off-beat locations that you share with us, unlike many travel blogs spewing out “yet another guide for Amsterdam” etc…

    About the format, I realy like reading your travel stories, complimented by a few pictures, opposed to wathcing a short vlog…

    Anyway, that was MHO, hope it helps .

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      Derek

      Hey Andrei – It certainly does help and I do appreciate the response! I definitely want to maintain that core vibe of the blog that you described so that’s always a top priority no matter what. No top 10 guides to Amsterdam over here!

  18. Lewi

    To be honest, all I really want to see is more great blog posts like you’ve been doing. You have a great storytelling ability and I love how you can turn an informative post that helps others, into a story that is so interesting.

    Might also be cool to have some meet-ups every now and then.

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  19. Ron

    Hey Earl, I would be curious about any info on costs and standard of basic dental care there in Goa? May go into slow travel retirement mode in near future and spend some time there. Thanks for any info you can gather. Ron

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      Derek

      Hey Ron – I don’t know too much about dental costs in Goa but I do know one dentist in the village of Palolem. He’s actually from Pune I believe (a bigger city near Mumbai) but he spends half the year working out of his state of the art dental clinic in tiny Palolem. He’s super nice, very well trained and is very affordable. I don’t remember exactly what his costs were (I only had a cleaning, which cost less than $10 USD) but I remember them being super inexpensive. He’s basically the only dentist in town and everyone knows him!

  20. Carla

    Hello Derek,

    You could do a regular short vlog post where you answer common questions you receive. People could submit questions via Twitter or other social media. I’d like to see more info on how you earn money to travel, and how to be a digital nomad. More photos of the places you travel and the foods you eat there would be good to see here, or on your Instagram. And of course, I like the travel posts with funny anecdotes (like the time you got kidnapped – the way you described that was hilarious). I would not really be interested in seeing guest posts or a forum. Take care and thanks for this inspiring blog. 🙂

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      Derek

      Hey Carla – I like that vlog idea, thank you! And I’ve taken note of the other ideas too, all of which do make sense. I just hope I don’t need to get kidnapped again to find another funny tale to tell 🙂

  21. Dmitriy

    Although, I have not read many of your posts yet but I would like to Thank you for sharing your personal travel experience with the world for so many years.
    I would like to share what I do during my world travels and that is what I am looking while reading other’s travel blog posts. One of my main goals while traveling (especially for the first time) is to talk to locals as much as possible in attempt to learn about everyday aspects of their life like where they work, where they live, what they eat, what they do for entertainment, what they think about the future of their country, hobbies, holidays, and much much more. For example Eiffel Tower in Paris and Burj Khalifa in Dubai are arguably the most iconic world-famous structures and it is absolutely breathtaking experience for every tourist to go to the top, but at the same time, while visiting those cities I truly enjoyed learning about local people’s lives who dwell around those famous attractions.
    Again thank you for doing such a great job on your blog for such a long time.

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  22. Rebecca Rosenthal

    Hi! As a teenage reader with a colossal fervor for travel, this blog has been quite wonderful. I am constantly inspired by your stories and often find comfort reading about your moving and positive experiences with the people and places of this world. With that in mind, would you be able to write about tips for younger travelers and ideas how a younger generation can continue to sustainably benefit the world through travel?
    Many many thanks!!

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      Derek

      Hey Rebecca – That’s great to hear and I can definitely work on posts geared towards a younger generation. I’ve made a note to work on such a post! And thanks for following along!

  23. Mart

    Vlogs will be nice to get a feeling about beautiful places you visit. What about dating around the world in general and your experiences.

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      Derek

      Hey Mart – The vlog idea seems to be popular so I’m definitely going to look into that some more. Glad you like the idea too! And the dating topic is interesting. I’ll have a think about that one.

  24. Catia Whitmore

    What it’s like living on the road: the joys and sorrows, the learning opportunities, what you miss, what you gain. We’re starting our nomadic life in June, you’ve been a shining inspiration to make this happen.

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      Derek

      Hey Catia – Congrats on starting your travels soon! I wish you all the best with your adventures ahead! And thank you for the post ideas too. I’ll see what I can do!

  25. Alyson

    I’d love the answer to this question too. It seems that no matter what I do, they just get harder and harder to reach. Each audience is different of course, the subscribers, the FB followers, the Pinterest crowd, all want different things.
    Good luck, and we’d love to see you here in Romania one day 🙂 Yours is one of the very few blogs I still read from time to time, so you must be getting something right.

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  26. Dee Sticco

    Next should be the Pearl of the Indian Ocean : Sri Lanka a truly a Paradise, the warmth and the natural hospitality of the people and culture of 2500 years, rich heritage in food culture as well!
    Congrats on world travel! What a way to enrich your life! ☮

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      Derek

      Hey Dee – Thanks for the suggestion. I’ve been to Sri Lanka once before, on a short visit though. I’ll make it back there at some point I’m sure!

  27. Can'tSay

    Oh, I dig Barret’s idea about the forum.

    General/personal life musings.
    Questions you ask yerself, things you think about.

    I’d happy read slightly or less-then-slightly unrelated travel things.

    Really dig yer blog- it’d be cool if ya posted more but yer a busy individual so no pressure there.

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      Derek

      It’s definitely a good idea, the forum. I’m going to look into it and see how feasible it is. And thanks for the other ideas too. I’d love to post more too…working on finding that balance between writing and traveling and having time to do as much of both as I can!

  28. Sam

    Hi Earl,

    I’d like to see more videos of the places you visit and more blog posts with photos of what you get up to. Any unusual or off the beaten track places or interesting locals, food, traditions, ceremonies etc Anything that really brings a place to life for us readers who haven’t been to these amazing places yet and want an insight into what life is really like there. I also liked your Maldives on a budget post as that made me realise it could be possible without spending a fortune. I’m really looking forward to your Africa posts.

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  29. Ray

    Write more personal anecdotes when it makes sense. I believe this has become a “lost art form” with most travel blogs today. Instead of consistently writing about “Top 10 X Places to Visit,” I wish they would include some more personal stories from time to time that would be interesting to read. Sometimes it’s alright just to write personal experiences, like if you had an amazing overnight guest stay in a remote village or you discovered an animal sanctuary that is totally run and managed by a group of Nuns (or something quirky like that).

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      Derek

      Hey Ray – I agree with you completely. When I’m reading another site, that’s what I look for too…something personal instead of the same information that can be found on hundreds of sites. So I’ll definitely make sure I keep doing that as well! Thanks for taking the time to comment my friend!

  30. Melanie Essex

    I agree. It would be cool to have a “travel forum” kind of like TripAdvisor where we the travelers could share info but first and foremost have Wandering Earls input.

    And if anyone is on the fence about booking a tour with wandering earl, all I can say to you is BOOK THE TOUR! You will not be disappointed I promise!

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      Derek

      Hey Melanie – Another vote for the forum! I’m going to take a look at that idea more closely. And I appreciate the comment about my tours!! Hope to see you guys on another one in between all of your other adventures!

  31. sendaiben

    What I’d like to see from your blog?

    Blog posts. Written by you. About things you do, see, think.

    I like your blog. I’ve been reading for a while now. Came quite close to pulling the trigger on one or two of your tours. Might do so yet.

    (I don’t want to see podcasts, videos, guest posts from other people, etc, etc. -not that I feel I have the right to tell you what to do with your site, it’s up to you 😉

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      Derek

      Thanks for the feedback and your honest thoughts. It’s all good to hear. More posts from me will always be a part of the blog so no worries about that!

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  32. Humberto Rodriguez

    I’m also surprised that there is not a forum attached to this blog. Comments are difficult to search or request info.
    What I like about Womdering Earl blog is the enthusiasm it bring to travel. Even after this 4 flight journey there is an eagerness about the future. New places, old favorities, etc.
    Do a helpX stint, find new accomodations (diferent from hotels). That’s what I’m interested in reading. Thanks for the travels Derek.

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      Derek

      Hey Humberto – The main reason there isn’t a forum so far is that it takes a lot of effort and time to put it together and keep it running. But I will look into it some more now that it seems to be a popular idea in the feedback here. And thank you for your other ideas, all makes sense and I’ve jotted them all down. And of course, thank you for reading the site, awesome to have your feedback!

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  33. Barret

    As I saw the title of this post I had an instant idea. As you said you have a great many followers and people can read each others comments. What about creating a forum on the website? It would allow everyone to plan trips with new people, collectively come up with tips and tricks for traveling, and we could all new get ideas for new adventures. This could all be done in one central location instead of going back and trying to find a specific post and a specific comment.

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      Derek

      Hey Barret – Seems like you hit a popular idea! Thanks for sharing and I shall be working on that one, to see if it is something I can put together in the near future. Definitely would be useful and motivational to have such a forum. Thanks Barret!!!

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