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The Internet Travel Business

The Internet Travel Business
Tokoradi Ghana
Saturday, August 12, 2006

I think about too many things, too often, I have multiple projects in the hopper all the time from purely philanthropy to designed to make big money. They both seem to be the same in the end, I try my best to create something or do something that I am proud of, and hope it make money.

West Africa so far is an internet disaster zone for me, the life of internet, solving problem, blogging, playing on the internet was easy, now it goes back to about nine years ago when I started traveling.

I believe for a business to thrive it has to make windfall money, which enables persons to work very inefficiently, however still make good progress. The world is not full of wonder boys and girls. The average person is average, like their job, put in their time, figures out ways to read blogs like mine while their employer is paying them. This is all normal, a business needs to thrive and still allow all the workers to do this type of thing.

My traffic on either is having a big season drop in traffic or is slowing. I can normally spend time, analyze the variances, and then see if there is any problem. Drops in traffic are seasonal for certain types of internet sites; I believe I get a lot of traffic from student doing research for high school classes. I have a drop in traffic, I am not in a good place to analyze this and it is not possible to just delegate to someone.

The internet is some abstract mystical business toy, that fortunately for me, I can understand. Unfortunately, for about 999 out of 1000 person who actively work IN the internet business, they do not understand. It has become easier, not more difficult over the years to make money. Selling a product on the internet like on is still the easy way to make money on the internet. However, really this is very close to a normal storefront business. Many ways they are making a lot less, working very intense, the service requirements to do the support of their business is horrible. A person has to live, eat, and drink the system or some reader will give you a bad reference and you could be killed. I personally am not going to be on the internet answering emails 24 hours per day. This is not life, providing answers to millions of questions.

I suppose my business model is to pose travel and cultural questions, then give a forum where readers can comment, then hopefully we can continually derive the best answers. While the reader reads this online magazine of sorts, once in an awhile a person clicks on something that makes me money.

Travel Writers that write articles I do not think make money; they do get kickbacks from Hotels and Tour Companies and can travel free. A travel columnist in a newspaper has money, but really is not a traveler. A person like Paul Theroux that writes books does make money and does make money by writing about the subject travel. I on the other hand can see, after just finishing his book - The Mosquito Coast - he can make money writing anyway or time he wishes.

He is a good writer; he has interesting perspectives on life. He is enjoyable for me to read because I like to hear him talk. I hope often this is why people read what I write, but I admit, the pictures often carry the story, not the story carrying the pictures. I am lead by photos, not by stories. I have some hard core wanna travel persons and I know some travel writers that sincerely are focused on learning to travel. Both wish to surmise my tricks of the trade that allows me to travel safely, comfortably and maintain the website as I move around the planet.

I have many travel writers ask,
- How do you afford to travel? -
Many of these people have websites that are not making money, or they would know. I suppose if they are not making money writing, then maybe there is a problem with their writing. I on the other hand think a person that write should like to write more than they like to earn money or become famous, then maybe the will explain their story interestingly enough that others may wish to read.

I read the Lonely Planet West Africa, the seven-year-old version I have in my possession daily. It is enjoyable to me to empathize with how the travel writers for each country traveled. Was it by car, or bus, or did they live in the country and travel around collecting information. I speculate that many travelers contributed to create the digested information for the countries.

I am studying Ghana, you would think the top two thirds of the country, and maybe the most interesting cultural parts of the country did not exist.

The business I am in, requires me to have an internet connection at least I feel or think about once every five to ten days. I want one daily, I made this trip to Africa premature, as I really would like to have the BGAN Imarsat Satellite Internet connection now, I need it, I do not need it later, and I need it now. An NGO really does not need this, but for me to do a daily blog, where the person in the office plugs in and reads daily, I need to do daily, I have about 50 post in the queue ready to post, and hopefully I mass post today. On the other hand because of the RSS feed thingy, I make about zero dollars from the daily post; it all comes from searches.

I think travel writers go on holiday or vacation, drink a lot, enjoy themselves, and go home and work again. Write a suck-up-to-the-resort and city, country article and pay back the place for their free accommodations. This is not writing while they travel, probably taking notes while traveling. A journalist is closer to what I do; they go to places, write the story and send home. I think TV journalism is massively easier than a newspaper writer who also has to be a good writer, but probably a loss leader for the newspaper. Picture sell the TV journalist story, the action there are covering, the controversy and anger they manufacture sells the story.

I know how to increase my readers by 10 times of my blog; I just start to write controversial fantasy and myths. Create problems in countries where they do not exist, get NGO’s to kick in Advertising dollars. I think CNN is now making stories specifically to sell advertising to NGOs. A good famine, a good disaster makes a lot of money for an NGO.

I am a business traveler like a journalist, which never goes back to the office, the art of travel then becomes to live in the business hotel, sort of the life of Susie Wong with William Holden lifestyle. Keep focused, a world of distractions, never get to stop, however transform a flophouse into a five star hotel.

To do business here in Africa:
- I have hot water dip showers, while all other have cold.
- I have a reading light, while all others have dark dingy rooms. -
- I have many books to read, PDF files to read, a computer, etc in my room. -
- I have a secure, safe, worry free room because of experience in safety. -
- I can walk around in so-called dangerous cities because I have working in dangerous places training. -

I see the skill sets I have enabling me to thrive in Africa as a traveler, now I need to increase my level of skill sets double on internet access and technology to enable me to go to the next level. Work anywhere, in the middle of the desert on a camel, in the middle of a jungle in a hammock with a swamp below my feet, in the middle of the ocean, hundreds of miles from land.
I am in Ghana, an island in the middle of nowhere, on the other side of the planet from all the other travelers and backpackers. I do not see other travelers. Hmmm, two German girls came, I think they are doing a sex-with-blacks trip, and for sure, there are German here for Lumber and old business ventures that seem to be all drying up. The two German girls are very standoffish and I cannot yet get them in a conversation. I think they are very afraid of anyone that would just randomly talk.

Ok, so I found my first something travelers, the first in the last 20 days, I do not think they are on a multiple country traveler tour. I see missionaries with cars, houses, and living in one location. I see old business people, working the way of life here and hanging around, when I would think they would go home. A few business owners that are owners, in a business that is no longer thriving. It feels like there was a hay day, but is past. Niger was full of white man, it has more Business NGOs than you could shake a stick at, and it was full of white man.

My internet business is on a curve in the road, I need to hug the middle line, stay the course. Talk to myself, introspect, derive solution, implement and continue to hang around enjoying countries or not enjoying these Island Countries isolated from the world, they do not think that….

The Internet Travel Business