If there's one question that you folks contact me with the most, it's this, “How do you support yourself? How do you make money? What on Earth are you doing to be able to support this [apparent] life of indefinite travel!?”
As I do with most things I find myself responding to in emails over and over again, I've decided to write a post on the subject to (hopefully) take the load off my inbox.
However, although the most basic answer to the question “How do I make money?” may be short and digestible, I feel it necessary to return to the origins of Halfway Anywhere to accurately convey to you how exactly I came to be where I am today.
I will be making a separate companion post to this one detailing how it is I've managed to maintain my lifestyle until this point and how I plan to continue in the future (aka all about the monies). For now, let's get back to the story of Halfway Anywhere.
It all began back in 2011 – in Brazil.
My final year of college (or university as it's often referred to outside the US), I studied abroad in Rio de Janeiro (that's in Brazil) because I figured it would be the only opportunity in my life to live (relatively) carefree in another country – and I desperately wanted to learn another language.
It was my first time living in another country, and at the time I thought it would be a good idea to start a blog. What would I write about? All of the things I found to be silly in Brazil, of course (it turns out there is no shortage of silliness in Brazil).
I called the blog Fryer Brazil, and it was hugely successful with approximately five of my closest friends and immediate family members. For most of my time abroad, I continued writing about everything I found interesting, silly, or different from what I had grown up with (like how to be on-time, how students spend their days, and that time I got robbed).
At the end of my year in Brazil, I had written a lot about my experiences in the country (or at least it was a lot compared to any collection of words that I had voluntarily written down before). I was pleased with the evolution of my blog since making a website with actual content was something I had always wanted to do (since I was a kid back in the nineties making HTML web pages with lots of marquee tags and gifs).
However, as the name suggests, Fryer Brazil did not have much vision beyond the largest South American country. When I returned to the States, I only had so much time and so much stored Brazil information to draw upon before Fryer Brazil fell by the wayside.
But after just four months of a 9-5 in California, I packed up my things and moved across the country to Fire Island (in what might have been one of the best decisions of my life).
When I moved to Fire Island (a small 31 mi / 50 km long strip of sand off the southern coast of Long Island, New York) in May of 2012, I thought what any logical person in my position would have thought, “Hey, ‘fire' sounds a lot like ‘fryer'!” And so Fryer Island was born.
My second blog, FryerIsland.com, followed in the footsteps of my first and was really more of a writing exercise than something I expected people to find interest in (because the number of people interested in, let alone the number of people who know about, Fire Island is quite small compared to a place like the Brazil).
At first, I didn't know if there would be much to write about, but after just one weekend of work on the island, I found myself with a serious case of culture shock – far outweighing anything I had experienced in Brazil. This led to my documentation of common Fire Island activities including digging up a septic tank, making and drinking Rocket Fuel, getting naked at the beach.
As my first and final summer on the Island of Fire came to a close, I found myself with more money in the bank than I had ever had while working a “real job” in California (i.e. I had some money in my bank account). It would appear that making tips on an island where you're essentially trapped and have nothing to spend your money on isn't a bad way to save.
Next on the agenda was an all-expense-paid trip to Israel courtesy of the “Government of Israel, the Jewish Federations of North America, the Jewish Agency for Israel and Keren Hayesod as well as philanthropists around the world” (if you're thinking to yourself, “Wait, what the hell is he talking about?” then you can find out more here).
But this was going to be a shorter trip, not months of living in a new place. I couldn't just start a new blog called Fryer Israel (note to self: start a blog called Fryer Israel). I needed something to unite all the fryers into a single being. I needed an umbrella that would give me the freedom to write about whatever I wanted. I needed a new domain (aka a URL aka the thing that comes after “www.”).
Southern California, early 2013, I sit alone in my dad's house as I spend an entire night thinking of and searching for available domains. Of course, should you discover one of the coveted available domains, you also need to check the appropriate social media accounts to see if they're available. It can be a very frustrating process.
Eventually, I landed on the name “Halfway Anywhere”. Website available? Check. Social medias? Check. Something I was willing to commit to for the rest of time? I guess so? At the very least it wouldn't be tying me into just one country or region (because it would be weird to be reading about the Pacific Crest Trail on a blog called Fryer Brazil, right?).
I felt as though (and still feel) the name “Halfway Anywhere” did/does a good job of conveying where I was/am at a given point in my life – I'm never quite sure what the future's bringing and I'm never quite sure where I'm going to end up; but the destination is not what's important (because we all know that the ultimate destination is death) – so was born Halfway Anywhere.
The first iteration of Halfway Anywhere looked very different from the site you see today (the most recently I've written about this was when I switched to the Genesis Framework). Unfortunately, I don't have screenshots of what the site looked like over time (I guess I never anticipated the writing of this post).
I spent many hours over many days migrating the contents of both Fryer Brazil and Fryer Island to Halfway Anywhere (if you're interested, you can still find my Brazil and Fire Island posts), and when it was all done I finally had a place to write about my next adventure: the Pacific Crest Trail.
THE PACIFIC CREST TRAIL
The Pacific Crest Trail was what really transformed Halfway Anywhere from something that only my grandma and close friends read (or at least some close friends read – if you're reading this right now, friend, I love you) to something that my grandma and strangers on the internet read. I saw the opportunity to make the blog less about “travel” which is an incredibly vague and nebulous topic and to make it more about travel and hiking (a slightly more specific topic).
From there, Halfway Anywhere has really grown rather organically. I started writing about Japan, and then Nepal, and then Australia, and have really just continued to write about wherever I happen to be and whatever I happen to be doing.
In the beginning, I had no real direction. I figured that if I found something interesting enough to invest hours of my life writing about, then someone out there would find that something interesting enough to spend a couple of minutes reading about. So if you're reading this, so far, so good!
My focus now is making all of the adventures I find myself on more accessible to anyone willing to put in the effort to get outside and do awesome shit. That being said, I will still be sprinkling in my own nuggets of “whatever I feel like writing” from time to time.
Right now my main objective is content creation as I have an enormous backlog of information to send out into the ether. I honestly feel that if I spent the next four or five months working on the blog every day, I would only just barely be finishing up with everything I've done up until now.
Better start writing!