Book Reports · Personal Development

Vagabonding – A Certain Kind of Travel?

This post cover’s the book by Rolf Potts, “Vagabonding, An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel.” To be honest I found the book a little disappointing, after reading it on a recommendation from Tim Ferriss. It seems a bit dated to me, having been written over 10 years ago now (in 2003). A lot has changed between then and now, especially around remote work and living/working abroad.  At any rate, here are some tidbits I picked up on my first read:

  1. p. 4: “For some reason, we see long-term travel to faraway lands as a recurring dream or an exotic temptation, but not something that applies to the here and now.”
  2. p. 5: “The more we associate experience with cash value, the more we think that money is what we need to live. And the more we associate money with life, the more we convince ourselves that we’re too poor to buy our freedom.”
  3. p. 12: “…the question of how and when to start vagabonding is not really a question at all. Vagabonding starts now. Even if the practical reality of travel is still months or years away, vagabonding begins the moment you stop making excuses, start saving money, and begin to look at maps with the narcotic tingle of possibility.”
  4. p. 17: “…Thoreau was able to meet all his living expenses at Walden Pond by working just six weeks a year.”
  5. p. 18: “A vacation…merely rewards work. Vagabonding justifies it.”
  6. p. 64: “…pack a dozen or so visa-sized photos of yourself, just to avoid the hassle of getting mug shots overseas [for visas]”
  7. p. 66: “minimum: a guidebook, a pair of sandals, standard hygiene items, a few relevant medicines (including sunscreen), siposable earplugs (for those inevitable noisy environments), and some small gift items for your future hosts and friends. Add a few changes of simple, functional clothes and one somewhat nice outfit for customs checks and social occasions. Toss in a good pocketknife, a small flashlight, a decent pair of sunglasses, a day pack…”
  8. p. 69: “Your traveler’s checks and passport…should be hidden in a money belt under your clothing.”
  9. p. 98: “Keep a journal from the outset of your travels, and discipline yourself to make a new entry every day. Feel free to be as brief or as rambling as you want. Keep track of stories, events, feelings, differences, and impressions. The result will be a remarkable record of your experiences and growth.”
  10. p. 142: “…you should view each new travel frustration – sickness, fear, loneliness, boredom, conflict – as just another curious facet in the vagabonding adventure.”

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