When I first started to plan on travelling the world, I came across a book that many travellers have read, Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel by Rolf Potts.
I highly recommend Vagabonding as a must read for the first time traveller as it opens your eyes and answers the majority of the questions dwelling on the mind.
I’ve just finished reading Rolf Potts Vagabonding for the 2nd time and it’s one of the best travel books available to inspire you do ditch you desk, drop everything, pack your bags, and hit the road. Even for the experienced traveller, or those who have read similar books, Vagabonding is a great motivational top up.
According to his website, Rolf Potts has reported from over sixty countries for big names such as National Geographic Traveller, The New Yorker, Slate.com, Outside, the New York Times Magazine, The Believer, The Guardian, Sports Illustrated, National Public Radio, and the Travel Channel.
His travels have witnessed him explore six continents, with adventures such as directing a fishing boat 900 miles down the Laotian Mekong, hitchhiking across Eastern Europe, moving across Israel on foot, cycling across Burma, driving a Land Rover across South America, and six weeks around the world challenge of no luggage or bags.
Rolf Potts philosophy in Vagabonding revolves around the art of long term travel.
For the majority of the population, our travel trips are ideal short holiday vacations, 1-2 weeks in a resort or place of choice from home. If lucky, some of us can bargain with the employer (or purse holder!) for a little extra time off work and cram in a ten country trip across Europe for four weeks.
However what I like is Potts agrees that these things shouldn’t be rushed and we should slow down the pace, taking the time to explore the country, people and culture.
Once you read Vagabonding, you notice it does contain lots of practical advice, but yet its core focus is more on inspiring.
This is not a practical guide book or about packing lists.
While I have ready many travel books crammed full of useful information, Vagabonding’s main difference is the amount of content, travel philosophy, and motivation. After finishing the book, you almost get the sense Potts views travel like others view religion.
The vibe of the book is clearly to encourage and allow people to travel more.
The book does an excellent job in removing imaginary financial barriers that most have installed preventing them from leaving the comfort and familiarity of home.
An additional subject I liked is most of Rolf Potts travelling was done solo, with friendships being shaped on the road.
The book then also goes on to explain how being consumers gives us an unhealthy mindset of material investment in exchange for temporary happiness. Don’t get me wrong I’m a big believer on spending in return for durable gear that serves a purpose where needed. A big problem in society, however, is we tend to overspend on material things we don’t actually need.
Mostly we spend to keep up with the latest trend or to give us worth, rather than spending the same money on experiences.
Personally, I’d recommend Vagabonding to anyone who is considering taking an extended trip
If you haven’t done much travelling before the book is a worthwhile purchase. It will encourage you to travel more and help guide you into making things happen.
It could be your planning a few weeks in paradise, or at the other end of the scale hitting the road for the long haul – either way, this book will give you a head start and point you in the right direction.
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Some interesting quotes from the book are below: