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Showing 1-10 of 20 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 31 reviews
on January 21, 2016
Rolf writes in such a way that is believable, that is to say he doesn't take on airs of being a professional - bragging about the number of countries visited and looking at them in the same awestruck manner, rather he makes mistakes and suffers the consequences and allows that to be seen. It's a real book written by a man who has expectations about what travel should be like (as we all do) but allows the experience of the adventure to happen despite his ideals. If Rolf is Luke Skywalker then travel is his Yoda. He attempts at certain times to change his path and force something that he thinks should happen (like studying Buddhist monks in India or hitchiking across Poland), but the country and its people have different ideas. It's a great book and companion to his other book "Vagabonding" and illustrates the points made in his other book in vivid detail.
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This book makes me want to travel. TODAY! I just interviewed Rolf Potts for our Inspire Nation Show, his stories are amazing, he makes you want to get out and see the world. He's right, it's often the challenging moments we look back on (and laugh about) the most.

If you have a travel itch, I think you'll love this book. And I'd recommend getting his Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel book as well. I found it incredibly helpful for figuring out how to travel on a dime, and how to build the life you desire. I love it!

Thank you Rolf for your amazing books and sharing your uber-fun adventures! Keep up the great work, and thanks for inspiring us!!!
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on January 14, 2014
Rolf writes a travel story well and has a gift for telling the parts that matter. I liked the notes at the end of each story that showed what he left out and sometimes how he "massaged" the facts a little to make a better story but never really strayed from telling the truth. He also has a gift for taking sometimes mundane details and making them interesting simply because it is a mundane detail in a far-off place most people will never visit. A cup of coffee might be a cup of coffee , but if you are drinking it in a place most English speaking people have never been to, or maybe even heard of it can seem very exotic. Potts also has a gift for self deprecation and showing his failures in a positive way that never sounds like pandering. He also seems to be a nice guy. I exchanged a couple of emails with him about travel writing several years ago and he gave good advice and actually responded to my mail. My only complaint about the book is that he left out some of his best stories that are on his web site.
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on April 22, 2011
I can't recall enjoying a book more in a long time. Detractors could point out that this book is just a bunch of his short stories, previously published in travel magazines, thrown together with a few comments. My response would be that this makes it a great book. The original stories were very good, and the commentary pulls away the veil to reveal how things really worked out, the rest of the story, if you will. The short story format makes this a great travel companion, because you can read a chapter during a flight, and put the book down for a day or two without losing a plot thread. When you put all the stories together, you realize that the book is actually about the art of travel and finding joy in life, making it much more than a group of unrelated travel tales.

There's been a rash of so-called memoirs lately being revealed as partially if not fully fiction. One of the hallmarks of the genre is that the author writes himself in as a hero. Rolf, however, exposes himself as just an ordinary guy who likes to travel and see the world. He tells us how the facts would get mangled or trimmed down in order to fit the travel magazine format. He admits to being the victim of thieves, or that several versions of Shangri-La were not as nice in reality as they were in anticipation.

People don't get halos and places don't get gold-plated in this book. Rolf hates to write negatives, but if he didn't enjoy a country or a place, he is straight up about it and explains why. Whether writing about the good, bad, or ugly, it's all told with a dry sense of humor and self-deprecation.

You can't go wrong with this book or his other titles.
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on December 18, 2014
As someone who has traveled a lot, and is still fascinated by the variety of cultures and the experiences they allow, I loved this book! The author takes the time to delve into specific experiences in many different areas of the world. I have been to some of the places mentioned, but not all by any stretch of the imagination, and it was a treat for me to be able to experience the new areas through someone else's eyes. It also brought back memories from the place I have been to, and reminded me that I'd like to revisit several of them. I recommend this book to any real or armchair traveler who is curious about this world we live in.
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on March 20, 2015
I read Potts' Vagabonding in the mid-2000's and have been a fan ever since. I'd read some of the stories in Marco Polo Didn't Go There on Salon, however I enjoyed them just as much the second time around, in addition to the many more that were new to me.

The notes after each story offer insights into the writing and storytelling process, making this an educational as well as entertaining read.
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on December 2, 2008
Just the other week, I dropped a copy of Rolf Pott's new book, "Marco Polo Didn't Go There," into my Amazon cart, and it arrived in time to be devoured before Thanksgiving. Like any work of art, there is both dark meat and light meat; whatever your preference. It includes essays he posted on [...] like "Storming the Beach," about crashing the set of a Leonardo di Caprio movie in Thailand, and pieces from other magazines, like [...]. One of the best stories, "The Art of Writing a Story About Walking across Andorra," is both a travel essay and writing tutorial. (Rolf teaches each summer in Paris). Witty, urbane, and philosophical, Potts pops up everywhere these days and pens down elegiac pieces. No wonder he is considered the Jack Kerouac of the Internet Cafe Age.

John M. Edwards
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on June 7, 2009
This is a really great book, both for those wanting to write travel stories, or those who just want to lose themselves in a good story of a far away place.

Rolf Potts is a very talented writer, and in this book he writes a little bit about how he does it, and a lot about his journeys.

I really wish he had written more on the "how-to" aspects of the writing, but the parts he did include were very valuable.

If you have not hear about Rolf Potts, this is a good place to start. His other book "Vagabonding" is also a very nice read for those who have caught the travel bug! Both books are highly recommended by me to all my friends.!
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on December 16, 2011
If you plan to, or desire to travel sometime in the future this should be required reading. Or on the other hand if you are like myself and have at one point in your life taken an extended period out to go and see the world you will enjoy this book. Its very much along the lines of vagabonding, in that it is full of the same take it or leave it travel musings and self depreciating humour. Probably what I enjoy most about Rolf is that he is very good at both writing AND storytelling. I would add that he is proabably one of the best postmodern travel writers today.
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on January 25, 2017
Couldn't put it down if I tried. I have one chapter left and I'm scared to read it because the book and the adventures that come with it will be over
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