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Showing 1-10 of 27 reviews(3 star). Show all reviews
on September 19, 2005
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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on January 21, 2008
Potts is very good travel writer and this book will serve as inspiration to travel. What it lacks is more the specific and practical aspects of how do the long term travel, such as to secure apartments, good places to go etc. His travel examples are mostly from his teaching job in south korea and seems to have less relevance for those who are travel vagabonders. After reading the book, I felt inspired, but didn't feel more informed about the vagabond travel process.
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on March 10, 2011
I bought the Nook version. It is great for offering inspiration and for encouraging less-intrepid individuals to take the plunge. It offers little advice for actually achieving means or for obtaining in-country work. Also, the "For Women" is woefully under-researched compared to the rest of the book (perhaps because the rest of the book is from his own experiences).
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on July 17, 2013
Vagabonding is an interesting and somewhat helpful book to traveling abroad for extended periods of time. The author has a great deal of experience traveling and some of his advice could be quite helpful to some. I do like how he encourages the reader to do some extended traveling and gives some examples on how this can be done in expensively. However, much of what is in these pages is not ground breaking information.
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on November 16, 2013
If Mr. Potts accomplishes nothing else, inspiring readers to hit the road and explore other cultures and peoples will be enough. Travel and cultural exchange is the road to peace and brotherhood, indeed the survival of the human race as a species, for once you've traveled to another country and met its people it is impossible to hate them, impossible to wage war on them. Their hurt is your hurt--their need, your need.

Peoples' philosophies on travel all have a common thread but I think that, in general, individual qualities such as compassion, love and the thirst for knowledge and experiences in foriegn lands is in the DNA. Either you have it or you don't. What Mr. Potts is suggesting is that if you are one who has this particular strain of DNA you must find a way to let it loose--free yourself, at least temporarily, from your chains and get out their in this big old magnificent world of ours. Theres so much to see--to experience. Don't let life pass you by without immersing yourself in it and all its wonderful diversity.

Of course, the big, often insurmountable, barrier is the need to make a living and provide for yourself and your family. Therein lies the rub. There are many ways to do that, not all so practical or easy. I will tell you mine.

I am a degreed professional and throughout my career had to work long and hard to nurture it. But I had the blood of a vagabond and was torn between two worlds that seemed incompatible. I was 38 years of age before I discovered a way to both have a career and be a vagabond.

I did it by taking a long trip of two to three months every two years. In between I worked hard, made myself valued at work, saved all my vacation and sick leave and arranged my travels in December when my employers often shut down for a few days during Christmas. This worked well because in December the seasons were right for travel on the other side of the world. If necessary, I tacked on leave-of-absence. Often times my employers didn't like the idea of me being gone so long but I always got away with it by either begging, pleading or threatening. Sometimes I just informed them I was leaving and let the chips fall where they may--it always worked out.

I spent one year preparing for my journey and when I returned, another year to recover and plan my next destination.
Over 25 years I racked up almost a dozen long incredible journeys. I found that 3 months was about right for me--as any veteran vagabond will tell you, one day on the road is the equivalent of a month at home in terms of experiences and stimuli.

At home I always felt I was just living filler--passing dead time--while awaiting my next journey. I never felt alive unless I was on the road. Travel is like that--gets in your blood--grabs you by the throat and won't let go.

I never burdened myself with a camera but always kept a journal and now all of my experiences are chronicled in a nine-volume series entitled "And There I Was" by DH Koester. Therein you will find inspiration aplenty for becoming that most noble of occupations--a vagabond.

DH Koester--"And There I Was' And There I Was, Volume I: A Backpacking Adventure In Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia
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on January 23, 2014
If you've look at tips offered by Nomadic Matt, Nomadic Samuel, Adventurous Kate, Young Adventuress, and others then you don't need this book. I picked it up because so many people raved about it being this epic, life-altering travel manifesto. So, after hearing all the praise, I went in expecting to be wowed.

The overall story is solid, Rolf writes well but a lot of the book is made up of Tip Sheets which are just lists of websites to check out.

I think when it was published in 2002/3, it might have been more useful. Now, if you want up-to-date, relevant information travels blogs are the best way to go.

I think Rolf would do better writing a travelogue, that would be interesting.
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on December 22, 2010
I bought this book because I was about to set up on a backpacking trip again and wanted to read about more reasons as to why I should embark on my journey. I was hoping for powerful inspiration and motivation. But I felt that I read things that I already know, and the quotes and motivation not as powerful as some reviews claim them to be. But I am an experienced traveler and have backpacked for years and in different parts of the world, often alone. Perhaps this book will work wonders for those seeking to understand why this less traveled road should be more traveled. For those already on the road less traveled, I'm not sure if you will learn much that are new.
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on November 21, 2011
The book is fairly common sense.. the general idea is be open to things and not rush the experience. The book does have a few good links to websites, but chances are if you've been researching enough on your own you've probably ran into a good amount of the suggested websites in the book. I found the random quotes throughout the book distracting and not really that inspiring. Overall I'd say get the book if you haven't done much research on the topic otherwise I'd pass.
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on January 13, 2016
This book is for run-of-the-mil tourists who might consider more simple, unencumbered, immersive travel. After the first chapter, I realized this is not for those who are already seasoned, adventuresome travelers (and the author does a good job in defending the ridiculousness of discerning 'tourist' from 'traveler'). Good, easy read but not for everyone.
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on August 9, 2013
I enjoyed reading this book, but did not give it more stars because I did not actually use any of the websites or info in it. It seems like these things get outdated very quickly and I gained more by talking to other travelers than I did in any books.
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