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Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel Paperback – December 24, 2002


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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Veteran vagabond Potts regales readers with his mantra: anyone with an adventurous spirit can achieve the feat of taking extended time off from work to experience the world. In 11 short chapters that follow the same structure, Potts tells how to negotiate time off from work, prepare for travel, and get the most out of your time on the road. Each chapter contains a profile of a famous proponent of vagabonding (e.g., Thoreau, Annie Dillard), quotes from everyday people with extensive travel experience, and a tip sheet of print and online sources for practical travel advice on topics such as airline tickets and accommodations as well as safety concerns. Alternately warning readers about using drugs in foreign countries and entertaining them with anecdotes from exotic ports of call, Potts gives a thorough recounting of his outlook on traveling. This book seems squarely aimed at twenty- and thirtysomethings; anyone with decidedly nonvagabond accoutrements (e.g., children or career ambition) might be more skeptical of Potts' philosophy. For those with a bad case of wanderlust. Joanne Wilkinson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

From the Inside Flap

Vagabonding is about taking time off from your normal life?from six weeks to four months to two years?to discover and experience the world on your own terms. Veteran shoestring traveler Rolf Potts shows how anyone armed with an independent spirit can achieve the dream of extended overseas travel. Potts gives the necessary information on:

? financing your travel time
? determining your destination
? adjusting to life on the road
? working and volunteering overseas
? handling travel adversity
? re-assimilating back into ordinary life

Not just a plan of action, vagabonding is an outlook on life that emphasizes creativity, discovery, and the growth of the spirit.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Villard Books; 1st edition (December 24, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812992180
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812992182
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.2 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (217 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,131 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Rolf Potts is the author of two books, Vagabonding (Random House, 2003) and Marco Polo Didn't Go There (Travelers Tales, 2008). He has reported from more than sixty countries for the likes of National Geographic Traveler, The New Yorker, Slate.com, the New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, The Believer, National Public Radio, and the Travel Channel. His adventures have taken him across six continents, and include piloting a fishing boat 900 miles down the Laotian Mekong, hitchhiking across Eastern Europe, traversing Israel on foot, bicycling across Burma, driving a Land Rover across South America, and traveling around the world for six weeks with no luggage or bags of any kind.

Customer Reviews

Inspiring book for anyone who is willing to travel the world and just need a little push.
Nathalia de Andrade Veiga Tavares
He gives some websites that you can refer to for more specific information and he gives some helpful tips but there are apparently better books for specific advice.
taipan
We all like to share things that changed our lives with friends, and this is one of those times.
Clement Hovey

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

162 of 166 people found the following review helpful By Shannon B Davis VINE VOICE on July 14, 2003
Format: Paperback
Rolf Potts' tome of vagabonding is an inspirational work rather than a practical guide. While the same practical information is contained in other books, this book shines in the area of travel philosophy. Travel is like a religion, where some people are incredibly fervent about it, while others just don't understand. This book makes you realize that long-term travel is not only possible, but desirable and worthwhile.
I particularly liked the section on working for travel. As a 9-to-5 worker planning a long-term trip, I needed the inspiration to keep going. I liked being told that working will actually make me appreciate travel more. After all, to afford travel, I have to be here anyway.
Throughout the book, there are great little excerpts from famous travellers, philosophers, and explorers, as well as anecdotes from ordinary travellers. Rolf has a particular liking for Walt Whitman, and I may just have to go pick up some Walt poetry now. The literary references in this book let you know that world travel and a simple life aren't new concepts.
The only problem I see with this book is that it may soon become dated with its references to specific websites.
The book is of a small and convenient size to take on the road.
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91 of 93 people found the following review helpful By Heather Lowe on June 23, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The hardest part of world travel is acquiring the mindset that nothing else matters as much as the journey. Getting to a place where you reduce your consumption of unnecessary stuff, commit your time, and leave your daily routine behind takes a fair amount of work, and it also takes a major shift in priorities. Vagabonding serves as the kick-start that gets you to that mental place --the "I can do it, and I can do it soon" reply to the siren call of world travel.
This book is inspiring, clear, and helpful. I'd recommend it to anyone who wants to roam, but thinks they don't have enough money or time. I also recommend it for those, like me, who have gone vagabonding before, know what it takes, and just need a nudge of renewal in order to get back out there again. Great book!
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126 of 142 people found the following review helpful By Chris Luallen on September 19, 2005
Format: Paperback
Potential buyers should first be aware this is really a book of philosophical musings by Potts and his favorite writers, though at least he has good taste in literature with his numerous quotations from Whitman and Thoreau. But those looking for "nuts and bolts" information on how to prepare for a RTW trip or other long term international travel should buy Rough Guide's "First Time Around the World" instead.

As an avid traveller, I do agree with much of what Potts has to say, especially about getting off the tourist track and experiencing other cultures more fully and realistically. But I also believe that Potts' writing, while very passionate, is often marred by a lack of humility. His intention is to "inspire" people to travel - a worthwhile aim. But his constant insistence that every person should immediately start saving money then quit their job and hit the road often comes off as overbearing and "know it all", without any sense of understanding for other people's situations or priorities - such as work and children.

Personally, I begin "vagabonding" through the United States, Asia and Latin America at 18. Now, at the ripe old age of 37, I still manage to travel every year, also my wife is from Ecuador so we go there quite often. But my career obligations make my trips shorter than they used to be. Hopefully Potts will gain some maturity over time and begin to recognize that his way isn't the only way. Otherwise the guy is a pretty good writer with an intense passion for travel and some intelligent things to say about it. Just remember this is a book of philosophy and opinions rather than useful factual info. So those looking for a guide to travel planning should look elsewhere.
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45 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Tim Leffel on September 18, 2003
Format: Paperback
This book is essentially about the thought process behind taking time off from your regular life to discover and experience the world on your own terms. If you've been around the world a few times, you'll find it puts many of your fuzzy warm thoughts and ideals into words. If you haven't, it'll probably make you wonder why you haven't taken off already.
People who like to plan and be prepared should treat this as a companion to more nuts-and-bolts guides. Others may find this plenty since travel is all an adventure anyway. It depends on your personality and comfort with the unknown. The rarely expressed aspect of Potts' book, however, is the acknowledgement that both work and travel are admirable and that one complements the other. To travel, you must also be productive sometimes. But to be productive, you also have to continually learn and see other points of view. Traveling abroad on more than a one-week vacation makes this possible. An entertaining and inspiring read.
Tim Leffel, author of THE WORLD'S CHEAPEST DESTINATIONS
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Shawn Mansell on October 21, 2005
Format: Paperback
If you have even the slightest desire to drop all responsability and run around globetrotting this piece will only encourage you.

And if you don't have the means to do so this book will torture you with temptation.

Potts doesn't offer lots of cost-saving tips, he instead shares his philosophy of working your life to fit international travel.

If you are struck with wanderlust after reading this book- remember you were warned
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