5 Travel Lessons You Can Use at Home

Rolf Potts is one of my favorite writers, and his book Vagabonding was one of only four books I recommended as “fundamental” in The 4-Hour Workweek. It was also one of two books, the other being Walden; Or, Life in the Woods, that I took with me during my 15+-month mini-retirement that began in 2004.

The following is a guest post from Rolf on the art and lessons of travel, all of which you can apply at home.

Enter Rolf:

Last fall I spoke at the excellent DO Lectures, which brings innovative thinkers from around the world for a series of talks in rural Wales (Tim was a speaker in 2008). My talk, which is available in full via the video link above encourages people to make themselves rich in time and to become active in making their travel dreams happen.

The talk itself contains essential advice and inspiration regarding travel — but what struck me on re-watching it was an improvised moment at the beginning of the talk, when I pointed out how “these aren’t really travel-specific challenges — these are things that can apply to life in general. Think of travel as a metaphor for how you live your life at home.”

Indeed, travel has a way of slowing you down, of waking you up, of pulling you up out of your daily routines and seeing life in a new way. This new way of looking at the world need not end when you resume your life at home.

Here are 5 key ways in which the lessons you learn on the road can be used to enrich the life you lead when you return home…

1) Time = Wealth

By far the most important lesson travel teaches you is that your time is all you really own in life. And the more you travel, the more you realize that your most extravagant possessions can’t match the satisfaction you get from finding new experiences, meeting new people, and learning new things about yourself. “Value” is a word we often hear in day-to-day life, but travel has a way of teaching us that value is not pegged to a cash amount, that the best experiences in life can be had for the price of showing up (be it to a festival in Rajasthan, a village in the Italian countryside, or a sunrise ten minutes from your home).

Scientific studies have shown that new experiences (and the memories they produce) are more likely to produce long-term happiness than new things. Since new experiences aren’t exclusive to travel, consider ways to become time-rich at home. Spend less time working on things you don’t enjoy and buying things you don’t need; spend more time embracing the kinds of activities (learning new skills, meeting new people, spending time with friends and family) that make you feel alive and part of the world.

2) Be Where You Are

A great thing about travel is that it forces you into the moment. When you’re celebrating carnival in Rio, riding a horse on the Mongolian steppe, or exploring a souk in Damascus, there’s a giddy thrill in being exactly where you are and allowing things to happen. In an age when electronic communications enable us to be permanently connected to (and distracted by) the virtual world, there’s a narcotic thrill in throwing yourself into a single place, a single moment. Would you want to check your bank-account statement while exploring Machu Picchu in Peru? Are you going to interrupt an experience of the Russian White Nights in St. Petersburg to check your Facebook feed? Of course not — when you travel, you get to embrace the privilege of witnessing life as it happens before your eyes. This attitude need not be confined to travel.

At home, how often do you really need to check your email or your Twitter feed? When you get online, are you there for a reason, or are you simply killing time? For all the pleasures and entertainments of the virtual-electronic world, there is no substitute for real-life conversation and connection, for getting ideas and entertainment from the people and places around you. Even at home, there are sublime rewards to be had for unplugging from online distractions and embracing the world before your eyes.

3) Slow Down

One of the advantages of long-term travel (as opposed to a short vacation) is that it allows you to slow down and let things happen. Freed from tight itineraries, you begin to see the kinds of things (and meet the kinds of people) that most tourists overlook in their haste to tick attractions off a list. A host of multi-million-dollar enterprises have been created to cater to our concept of “leisure,” both at home and on the road — but all too often this definition of leisure is as rushed and rigidly confined as our work life. Which is more emblematic of leisure — a three-hour spa session in an Ubud hotel, or the freedom to wander Bali at will for a month?

All too often, life at home is predicated on an irrational compulsion for speed — we rush to work, we rush through meals, we “multi-task” when we’re hanging out with friends. This might make our lives feel more streamlined in a certain abstracted sense, but it doesn’t make our lives happier or more fulfilling. Unless you learn to pace and savor your daily experiences (even your work-commutes and your noontime meals) you’ll cheating your days out of small moments of leisure, discovery and joy.

4) Keep it Simple

Travel naturally lends itself to simplicity, since it forces you to reduce your day-to-day possessions to a few select items that fit in your suitcase or backpack. Moreover, since it’s difficult to accumulate new things as you travel, you to tend to accumulate new experiences and friendships instead — and these affect your life in ways mere “things” cannot.

At home, abiding by the principles of simplicity can help you live in a more deliberate and time-rich way. How much of what you own really improves the quality of your life? Are you buying new things out of necessity or compulsion? Do the things you own enable you to live more vividly, or do they merely clutter up your life? Again, researchers have determined that new experiences satisfy our higher-order needs in a way that new possessions cannot — that taking a friend to dinner, for example, brings more lasting happiness than spending that money on a new shirt. In this way, investing less in new objects and more in new activities can make your home-life happier. This less materialistic state of mind will also help you save money for your next journey.

5) Don’t Set Limits

Travel has a way revealing that much of what you’ve heard about the world is wrong. Your family or friends will tell you that traveling to Colombia or Lebanon is a death-wish — and then you’ll go to those places and have your mind blown by friendliness, beauty and new ways of looking at human interaction. Even on a day-to-day level, travel enables you to avoid setting limits on what you can and can’t do. On the road, you naturally “play games” with your day: watching, waiting, listening; allowing things to happen. There’s no better opportunity to break old habits, face latent fears, and test out repressed facets of your personality.

That said, there’s no reason why you should confine that sort of freedom to life on the road. The same Fear-Industrial Complex that spooks people out of traveling can discourage you from trying new things or meeting new people in own your hometown. Overcoming your fears and escaping your dull routines can deepen your home-life — and the open-to-anything confidence that accompanies travel can be utilized to test new concepts in a business setting, rejuvenate relationships with friends and family, or simply ask that woman with the nice smile if she wants to go out for coffee. In refusing to set limits for what is possible on a given day, you open yourself up to an entire new world of possibility.

Naturally, this list is just a sampling of how travel can transform your non-travel life. What have I missed? What has travel taught you about how to live life at home?

###

If you’ve ever fantasized about taking time off to globe-trot, I would highly recommend Rolf Pott’s Vagabonding. It is one of only two books I took with me when I traveled the world for 18 months. Outside Magazine founding editor Tim Cahill calls Vagabonding “the most sensible book of travel related advice ever written.”

I recently partnered with Rolf to release the exclusive audiobook for Vagabonding. For more on this incredible book, click here.

Footnote from Tim: Are you planning, in the middle of, or returning from a long journey? If so — and if you’d like your travel blog or lifestyle-design website to be featured as one of Rolf’s Vagabonding Case Studies — drop him a line at casestudies [at] vagabonding.net and tell him a little about yourself.

The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 800 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.

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214 Replies to “5 Travel Lessons You Can Use at Home”

  1. Just watched the video for a second time and a flood of memories have come back to me.

    Travel is definitely an experience rich thing to do and the advice Rolf gives is spot on. From my travels it’s the times that I’ve let unfold by themselves that have been the riches for example; teaching English in a refugee camp in the jungle on the Thai-Burma border; discovering that I actually liked hiking in Nepal – after 17 days of it, I wanted more – and the list could go on.

    Also, just being open to people can make a huge difference. Yesterday, I went with my girlfiend and met a friend of hers. I wasn’t that excited about it but after she viewed my photography, she wants me to do some designs for T-shirts – cool.

    Even though I’ve been traveling on and off for 12 years, I’ve still got stuff to learn.

    Offering your skills is a great one. I’ve got English teaching experience but recently when I’ve travelled I tend to forgot about it. Next time I’ll do something like Rolf did.

    Also, ways to travel, buying a boat and sailing down the Mekong – MAGIC!

    Thanks Rolf and Tim for this.

    Great stuff.

    Time is Wealth!

  2. I love these ideas and I just ordered Vagabonding. The time equals wealth is meaningful in more than one way. I wrote a blog post about it (click on my name to go there) – while I’ve always thought of wealth as giving you options, I now think what it really gives you is the time to explore those options. My dad’s new book Payback Time is about generating wealth so you can get off the treadmill of financial dependence, and I think these ideas necessarily go to together. I plan to write more about it after reading the book.

  3. Hi Rolf,

    I totally agree with your opinion of expatriated experiences. I’ve lived in three foreign countries(for a relatively long period of time) and it never ceased to amaze me how much I learned (and am still leaning) from those experiences. I was hoping to go back to the journey but by watching your DO lecture, I think I’d better do it soon. Thank you.

    Hi Tim,

    Great post, as usual. Hopefully I am not the only one who associates Vagabonding with Bakabon.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tensai_Bakabon

    By the way, I watched your DO lecture as well and I finally understand why you were wearing DO lecture T-shirts on one of your random episodes.

    Again, thank you for your inspiration.

    Yukie

  4. Wow. I’ll echo the “great timing” thing.

    Rolf, just last week I was thinking of buying your book on my Kindle. For some reason, just reading the summary didn’t sell me. Now I got a taste of your philosophy and I’m getting back on my Kindle to order your book now.

    🙂

    Jeff

  5. This post blew my mind!

    Everything I’ve been experiencing for the

    past 4 months traveling here in Thailand

    were summed up here in this post brilliantly.

    I’m a changed man!

    I’m convinced this trip saved me. My mental

    health, love for life, interests…everything.

    Travel has become my top 3 favourite activities.

    I want to visit everywhere hot. If it’s warm there

    …I’m there!

    Oh and Tim, you were the inspiration for sure.

  6. Hi Tim and Rolf,

    I recall back in 2008 when I flew back into Dulles airport after spending 4 months backpacking through Malawi. I had spent the last four months with only the clothes on my back, my backpack, and a sloppy guide for the local language Chichewa. I couldn’t speak it (yet) and everywhere I went little children would run away from me yelling “mzungu” (white man). But after being in country for four months and living among the people, learning their customs, eating their food, and enjoying life with them, America was a shock to my system.

    The first thing I saw when I stepped off the plane was a Starbucks…and as happy as I was to smell a caramel macchiato I was physically sick at the indulgences we have here in the U.S.

    I know this comment may be a tad off-topic but when I consider the care-free, inspirational four months I spent in Malawi I wonder why I’m still here and not back there. I grew so much in those four months, and I was so content and genuinely happy, that I didn’t want to leave.

    There is a lot to be said for travel and I think this post is fantastic.

  7. Great video Tim!

    I have been traveling for 4 months now on a mini-retirement through: Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Colombia, and Argentina (actually for 2 weeks last March) and everything Rolf had said about traveling definitely mirror my own experiences.

    Thanks so much for the encouragement I have found in your book and on your blog to break the 9-5 routine, and I would definitely also like to encourage others to take the time in their lives to go where you’ve always wanted to go, because experiences in life are what matter…

    -Byron

  8. Loved Vagabonding, and love this post. Reminds me to re-read his book. Incidentally, I’m a bookworm and I spend far too much on books frankly (and I refuse to get a Nook/Kindle etc). Here’s to rereading the books we’ve loved in the past to reinspire us and to deepen our understanding of it. A great travel book is “The Conference of the Birds” which chronicles Peter Brook’s journey through Africa in the early 70’s with a band of actors, performing in villages, seeking the essential. I’m rereading it now and finding it to be very inspiring both creatively, and for my travel-ache.

    Stephen Nash.

  9. great post!

    congenial ideas and vivid metaphors.

    ‘ll show it to my English speaking club members this week 🙂

    thank you very much indeed!

  10. Coming late to this, but just couldn’t miss the opportunity to give a big “Woot” to Rolf & Tim for this post.

    Yes, it’s mostly young males that you touch with your wisdom & inspiration, but this 50-something mom (who still has the heart of a child & has always been an out-of-the-box thinker) just adores both of you and the messages you share!

    (Is it just me, or do you two look like you could be brothers or cousins? 😉 At any rate, you are wise beyond your years. The world so needs the messages that you give, so I get positively gleeful over your popularity!).

    I think I mostly have lived by those 5 keys, but even more so since we started our open ended world tour in 2006!

    Yes, @Idai & others who doubt, families with young children CAN vagabond around the world & CAN live a 4HWW and we have been living examples since 2006, THRIVING in 32 countries, 4 continents so far on just 23 dollars a day per person.(And we haven’t gotten to the far east or South America yet!). Living large well under our means allows us to build our nest egg as we roam the world (in a very green way).

    We’re thrilled to be featured Case Studies in the amazing new 4HWW and that plus these 5 keys from Rolf have enriched our lives profoundly. Time DOES equal wealth, so our primary reason to live this way was to have more quality & quantity time together and give our trilingual, violin & piano playing young daughter who was 5 when we began, the best possible education and foundation as a global citizen of the 21st century.

    So glad to hear that you will be doing Case Studies too Rolf. What is so great about them is how many unique ways people can make these principals work for them!

  11. Hi Tim – what website would you recommend for event planning – I’m organizing a group hiking expedition with packing list, agenda, etc. Trying to tie everyone together on this. Thanks for your help!

  12. Hi Tim,

    I would like to respond to a point you made in your own DO Lecture. You stated that you aim to double the number of math and science majors in the US within 10 years, with the goal of increasing scientific literacy and encouraging logical decision-making.

    This is a great and admirable goal, but your methodology is…….sub-optimal.

    May I suggest an alternative? Actually, 2.

    1. Improve the communication of scientific progress in the popular media. Scientific literacy is poor in North America because science is not communicated in an exciting and accessible manner. Science is thought of as something intangible, even sinister, going on in the ivory tower. This is pure crap.

    2. Change the way science is taught in school, so that it is considered as essential for everyday functioning as reading and writing. We don’t need more science students – there are quite a lot of us already, and good jobs are scarce enough as it is. What we do need is for the public to have an eleventh-grade level understanding of basic math, biology, physics, and chemistry. Ok 11th grade is high….I’ll settle for 8th.

    These changes would bring about more good than doubling university science enrollments.

    Cheers,

    Janet

  13. No problems with Chrome here either.

    Great post Rolf! I’m in KS too, Wichita. Soon to be relocating to Phoenix, but you’re right, this is a great place to be. I’ve been here 20 years and have done a lot of traveling here and abroad from the center of the country. The cost of living is a major factor.

    @ Jennie We have 11 rentals and we’re going to keep them through our mini-retirement and after we relocate to Phoenix, an 18-hour drive from here. We have some friends who are going to manage the properties for us, but we also found several well-qualified management companies to do the job too. Sure, they might not do everything just like you would, but look around, ask other investors if they have suggestions for management companies in your area. I’m sure this is something you can outsource and not let it hold you back from traveling.

    @ Tim You are the MAN! Thanks so much for your book. Just finished up the 2009 edition on Saturday. I have already cut my workdays down from 12-18 hours to 4-7 hours a day, I’ll get it down lower, I’m sure. I just wanted to thank you for the great blog and all the super ideas in your book. You have inspired me and helped me to understand there’s much more to life than possessions and “goals”. Taking steps to the goals is just as important as having them.

    Best wishes to all and your muses.

  14. I’ve never traveled before these last five months in China. I have not been back home yet but as I read this article I can’t help but think of a small Mexican bar in Pomona California where I quickly used the restroom and left. I had been working on the road at my side job, process server, and found myself in dire need of a restroom. I can’t believe how many places at home I would have spent more time now that I’ve become so accustomed to being places where I “don’t belong.” By the way, it was the 4hww that lead me here at 42 years of age, never having owned a passport before. I am having the time of my life. I’m so glad I did not wait until retirement. I am sure I will never be the same even if I ever return home.

    1. Keep it up, Bill! Once you get the very worthwhile travel bug, it’s hard to go back. Thankfully 🙂

      Pura vida,

      Tim

  15. Tim-

    Another awesome and inspirational post (even if it is a guest post, it is on your site!). Since reading your book I left my job, moved to England, was able to live there for 2 years, was able to work for myself doing what I love to do (business skills training).

    I have just moved back to America (time for my British wife to experience America!) and even have managed to publish a book on Lulu.

    Keep up the posts, looking forward to your next book Tim (and yes, you are mentioned in mine!)

    It is called Think Like A Salesman, you can find it on Lulu…if you want a copy, I’d be happy to send one to you in thanks for all you’ve done.

    Cheers!

  16. Excellent article. I enjoyed the emphasis on experiences and not personal possessions. I find that it’s very easy to get into that mindset while traveling, the problem is what happens when I return home. Western consumerist values, make it more difficult to lead an experience filled life. Maybe I’m just making excuses.

  17. Hi Tim and Rolf

    Thanks for another great read. I like Rolf’s application travel benefits to life right now. Planning my own lifestyle design adventure and decided to apply those tips right now.

    Start to get into the mindset now and not wait. What I like about this post suggests people can start to develop a 4HWW long term travel mindset while still in their present lifestyle.

    Naturally, this list is just a sampling of how travel can transform your non-travel life. What have I missed? What has travel taught you about how to live life at home?

    For my non travel life I am using these suggestions to prepare my mind for the near future exit into the 4HWW lifestyle.

    Thanks to you both

    Leonard Irwin

    Kingston Ontario Canada

  18. I’ve been living the vagabond lifestyle for a couple of years myself now, having extricated myself from the rat race. I must say, while all five principals really resonated with me, the first one has been what has transformed my life. Time is all we have, and all we’ll ever really have.

    Our big-screen TVs, homes, and cars often have a dollar value attached to them – but has anybody considered the “time value” that comes with them as well? How much does your car cost in time? Maybe 3 hours and 30 minutes a month in maintenance, logging online to pay insurance and waxing the body? It’s one thing if you love cars, but another if you are trading your time for your possessions.

    The big screen TV.. well… don’t get me started on the time per year it takes to find the remote 🙂

    Richness comes from experiences.

  19. Great tips and advice here.

    Something I think people need to watch occasionally after long term travel to not fall into the fast paced western lifestyle too quickly. I find time as wealth a bit difficult as the amount of time we have isn’t measurable until it’s all over. Although I am trying to change my mentality to it. I guess that comes from a ‘more is better’ background though.

    I emailed Rolf about being a case study after travelling for the past 12 months (I’m still out here trying to get by without any more savings), hopefully I’m on his list 🙂

  20. Great point about keeping it simple. Packing less not only saves money on the trip but also makes for a better experience. I have lugged two 60 pound suitcases as I hopped public transporation trying to get to the hotel. Next time I’ll pack less.

  21. Hi Tim,

    Just thought you’d like to know that the “Walden; Or, Life in the Woods” link in this blog post does not link to a book, but instead back to this blog post it self.

    Cheers

    Jody

  22. I agree with number 5. I went to Caracas and Bogota. Every one said I would get kid napped or killed. I had a great time and met tons of people. I have also been to Mexico city many many times ie the kidnap capital. Had a great time every time I went. Never had any trouble.

  23. Hey Rolf –

    Wow, explosive presentation. I too enjoy flying solo. I commend you for such wonderful insight.

    As noted in your video, Vagabonding is not an escape to life (as with so many other things). Very true.

    I also agree with you about life not rewarding us with free time after a lifetime of hard work. Thus, it is imperative to reevaluate the concept of time and create opportunities.

    By the way, I dig your house. I’m happy your home in Arkansas offers you genuine satisfaction. It’s your humble perspective which matters most.

    Best wishes to you and much success on your speaking ventures.

  24. I totally agree with all of these lessons. My motto is ‘The More I Learn About Other Countries, The More I Learn About My Own!’

    That’s why travel is so damn addictive!

  25. Tim, you are – by far – one of the best authors on lifestyle design. Hands down.

    And speaking of travel, I have a brief travel-related question I would like to ask you via email. Could you please shoot me a quick email? It would be greatly appreciated!

  26. Tim, I wanted ask you for a long time what are your favorite travel blogs?

    Well, actually I think it’s better to ask what are your TOP-10 / TOP-20 blogs overall?

    I think this would make a perfect post, as many wonder like me what other blogs of the same quality as yours are out there 🙂

    Thanks a lot!

  27. Darling Tim

    FYI:

    Hey Rolf

    My name is Shunit (Shushu) Cohen. I’m a 32 y/o Israeli woman.

    I traveled the world and lived in different continents.

    Respecting your time (and being an Israeli), I will come straight to the point:

    My story

    I read the 4 Hour Work Week (I refer to the book as my “bible” and to Tim as my “God”)

    One night I was doing the exercise “Fear setting and escaping paralysis” from the book.

    Little did I know where an exercise like this would take me…

    “Samba station” Case Study

    My dream: going to Salvador, Bahia, Brazil to study dance

    The challenge, well, one of many: I am broke!!!

    At that time I was working and living in NYC for a good few years, and going on a long term journey seamed impossible and inappropriate. Life was complex.

    Then it “hit” me:

    “Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose” (Steve Jobs).

    “Flip Flop nation” here I come!!!

    But how???

    I don’t know anyone or speak Portuguese, nor do I have the funds to get myself there.

    What am I going to do???

    From this moment on I produced a chain of what I will call “miraculous” and unexpected events. This wasn’t easy and I was “sweating” a LOT.

    1st

    A job, I will find a place to work in Salvador-and I did:

    A receptionist at the “Nega Maluca” guesthouse.

    This job alone provided all of my basic needs and self confidence to start anew.

    2nd

    Garage sale, selling my belongings, for 2 reasons:

    1. I need the money so that I can realize this dream.

    2. I’m taking a backpack. One backpack that’s it.

    The rest I will donate. Salvation Army here I come…

    Done deal!!!

    3rd

    Air fair

    1200$ WHAT??? Hell no!!!

    Tim says “there are always lateral options”.

    Here was mine:

    Flying from NYC to El Salvador to Peru to Sao Paulo and finally after 46 hours arriving at Salvador da Bahia Brazil.

    The beauty is?

    It cost me 650$

    Sweet!

    To be continued…

    “And when the samba played the sun would set so high” (Madonna)

    Hope to here from you so that I can dispense the rest of my story…

    Thanks in advance

    Shushu

  28. Darling Tim

    FYI…Read the following

    I love you, and owe you everything.

    Hey Rolf

    My name is Shunit (Shushu) Cohen. I’m a 32 y/o Israeli woman.

    I traveled the world and lived in different continents.

    Respecting your time (and being an Israeli), I will come straight to the point:

    My story

    I read the 4 Hour Work Week (I refer to the book as my “bible” and to Tim as my “God”)

    One night I was doing the exercise “Fear setting and escaping paralysis” from the book.

    Little did I know where an exercise like this would take me…

    “Samba station” Case Study

    My dream: going to Salvador, Bahia, Brazil to study dance

    The challenge, well, one of many: I am broke!!!

    At that time I was working and living in NYC for a good few years, and going on a long term journey seamed impossible and inappropriate. Life was complex.

    Then it “hit” me:

    “Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose” (Steve Jobs).

    “Flip Flop nation” here I come!!!

    But how???

    I don’t know anyone or speak Portuguese, nor do I have the funds to get myself there.

    What am I going to do???

    From this moment on I produced a chain of what I will call “miraculous” and unexpected events. This wasn’t easy and I was “sweating” a LOT.

    1st

    A job, I will find a place to work in Salvador-and I did:

    A receptionist at the “Nega Maluca” guesthouse.

    This job alone provided all of my basic needs and self confidence to start anew.

    2nd

    Garage sale, selling my belongings, for 2 reasons:

    1. I need the money so that I can realize this dream.

    2. I’m taking a backpack. One backpack that’s it.

    The rest I will donate. Salvation Army here I come…

    Done deal!!!

    3rd

    Air fair

    1200$ WHAT??? Hell no!!!

    Tim says “there are always lateral options”.

    Here was mine:

    Flying from NYC to El Salvador to Peru to Sao Paulo and finally after 46 hours arriving at Salvador da Bahia Brazil.

    The beauty is?

    It cost me 650$

    Sweet!

    To be continued…

    “And when the samba played the sun would set so high” (Madonna)

    Hope to here from you so that I can dispense the rest of my story…

    Thanks in advance

    Shushu

  29. Tim, I’m a 21 year old kid from Denmark.

    I’ve seen and experienced some crazy things through out my life, thinking it was because I was such a free soul, nonsens.

    I realized a couple of months ago that I have been scared all my life.

    Of what I do not know.

    The most simple things, even mandatory things for survival could pass me by in form of days wasted on the couch.

    I read your book (4HWW) and I’m not scared any more.

    I understood what it all was about when a read your example with the student who were proposed with the challenge of contacting stars.

    I told my self I could get a star to personally write me back. I chose you.

    I have never contacted anybody before, not even my idols.

    I look forward hearing from you.

    PS: My life just started, thank you,

    1. Ivan! Congratulations on taking the steps to push outside your comfort zone. Now you can mark me as having responded 🙂

      Good luck with all!

      Tim

  30. Tim and Rolf,

    One of these days with enough of us forward thinking-travel hungry-seize the day-live in the moment-minds, we are going to change the American ideology of waiting until retirement to start living. It always blows me away that so many people don’t grasp the idea that we don’t have a someday, all we hold in our hands is the present and if you have a desire to do something, like travel in India or learn how to kite surf, well than why not!

    I grew up in a town of less than 1,500 people (we didn’t even have a traffic light) and went from a small town girl to globe trotter. In the past nine years I have participated in a 3 month exchange in Italy, a year long study abroad in Australia, 2 months of traveling in South America, an 8 month (10 country) around the world trip, and for the last year have been living in Italy and am in the process of renewing my visa for another 4 months-1 year.

    One of the biggest lessons that I have learned over this span of time is how fast things are changing–from technology to culture to nature—and how lucky we are to be able to experience the world while traditions, customs and natural beauty still exists.

    Technology masques traditions, globalization transforms cultures and nature is an uncontrolled force that is constantly changing. I feel truly sorry for those who are planning to wait to experience the world, because by that time so much of the natural and simple beauty that we have the blessed opportunity to experience today may and probably will be gone.

    So, great work on spreading the word of how important it is to travel NOW, and I look forward to helping out on this global mission of awareness!

    -Cindy Swain

  31. Hi Tim,

    I’m one of your students. Thanks for setting an example of ‘Going against the flow’,

    and ‘Living the life you want’….phenomenon.

    Now, i’m practicing on all of the fun tasks given in your book, and what i’m working on at the moment is ‘Contact any famous people’…. and i want to do it with you first, of course, an idol. ^^ If there s any response from you, i d be gone madly happy.

    Thank you in advance.

    Take care,

    Maverick dude,

    Thailand

  32. Great article and great advice! My wife and I have been slowly applying that to our own lives and it’s defiitely starting to pay off in the every day experiences we have. I’m planning a week long motorcycle trip around Lake Michigan this summer in preparation for longer trips in the future and I’ll definitely keep these points in mind on my trip. Thanks again for the great article.

  33. @Daniel: Good luck with everything in Korea! My experiences in that country over 10 years ago had a huge impact on me, and deepened my instincts as a traveler. It’s not always easy to live in Korea, but it’s almost always rewarding.

    @Erin: I love it that you’re investing your train-commute into personal edification! I think it’s great that (instead of stressing out over the commute) you’re protecting that time and making it your own.

    @Dave: Glad to hear you’re approaching NYC dining at a mom-n-pop level. I was in Queens last summer and I found myself in a neighborhood where all the signs (and menus) were in Korean. The hwe dup-bap I ate there was one of the least expensive lunches I’ve had in NY — and the best Korean food I’ve had outside of Korea.

    Also, I agree that a dog can be a great window into a city or neighborhood. When I’m couch-crashing in NY my friend Anna’s dog has led me into some places and experiences I might otherwise have missed.

    @soultravelers3: Thanks for spreading the word that “family vagabonding” is doable and affordable and rewarding!

    As for physical resemblance between Tim and me — the one time we met in person in SF, the first thing the waitress asked when we sat down to dinner was if we were brothers — so you might be on to something (but as far as I know we have no family in common).

    @Dustin: You’re right that the cost of living in a place like Kansas makes the place very affordable and livable. Plus you’re never more than a $300 flight to any major American city. Naturally, this cost-of-living advantage can be applied even more readily to other parts of the world. Any place that is “off the beaten path” is likely to be exponentially cheaper than the well-known metropolises. There are some gorgeous parts of Thailand, for example, where you can live for almost nothing.

  34. Tim said:

    “Hi Idai,

    Search this blog for “Cold Remedy Case Studies” and you’ll see a bunch of families who travel and also handle schooling overseas with no problem.

    Hope you like them,

    Tim”

    Idai said:

    “Thanks Tim”

  35. Phenomenal video.

    Totally changed how I think about wealth, Rolf Potts did.

    You’d think The Four Hour Workweek would have been enough to do so, but no. I needed an extra push.

    I suppose it’s not for nothing Tim put this on his mandatory reading list.

    I completed my first and only two overseas trips in the last few years. The experiences, while less outright adventurous than some, will last me a lifetime. To me, it was about the people (and the stunning locations with totally different climates helped too).

    Whether I’m gallivanting about the world or around town, being able to control the majority of my time seems a highly worthy goal.

    I may do many things with my time — including work — if I so choose. I like work and I like creating a whole lot more than ploughing away at someone else’s list of tasks.

    Thanks for posting this.

  36. “Slow down” and “Keep it Simple”! I have been preaching/teaching and living this for a long, long time! I always try to live in the moment and really experience the present moment, it truly is the only way to enjoy what is going on at the moment! and….This can’t be achieved easily unless you keep things simple! …it is that simple! I am on “automatic” in a lot of areas in my life, so I can focus on the things that are important to me. Keeping it simple means keeping it real, if I don’t need it, I don’t own it.

    By the way: Reading some of the other comments, I would have to say Cindy Swain said it best! There is no time like NOW!!

    Planning another journey…soon!

    -Marty Vornkahl

  37. @Rolf

    There are some gorgeous parts of Thailand, for example, where you can live for almost nothing.

    You can’t make a statement like that without giving some examples, can you? 🙂

  38. Hi Tim,

    I’m looking at doing a Thought Leader series on my blog. I was hoping you’d be willing to answer 5 quick questions related to the social media sphere? I know you’re busy living, but this would be greatly appreciated 🙂 Let me know if you’d be keen to answer them for me. Shel Israel has just helped me out.

    Cheers

  39. I don’t know which I like better 1 or 5.

    As an 80’s child who struggled with these notions without having the right tools to investigate, it is so exciting to see young brilliant minds creating a new lifestyle model. I guess there was enough dysfunction revealed with talk and reality TV to getting people looking for a different approach. Very exciting times ahead.

    Jak

  40. Not sure if someone already posted this, but number five reminds me of one of my favorite quotes by one of my favorite writers, Aldous Huxley: “To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries.”

    We haven’t been to nearly all of the places I want to see, but whenever I get advice about being murdered in Mexico (we’re talking Yucatan, too, not even border towns) or how all Europeans hate Americans, I just smile.

  41. All points resonated deeply with me, especially time = wealth. I’m currently planning a two-month trek around Northern Argentina slated for April/May. I chose to enrich my experience with little jewels like working on an estancia in trade for accommodation not only to save money but also to take my time to get to know people of the country and get passed the touristic pony show….no pun intended gauchos. My bank account numbers may be dwindling, but in all reality I feel everyday like a millionaire for the things I have that I could never buy. Thanks Tim and Rolf …

  42. “Spend less time working on things you don’t enjoy and buying things you don’t need; spend more time embracing the kinds of activities (learning new skills, meeting new people, spending time with friends and family) that make you feel alive and part of the world.”

    The above part really stood out for me. It sounds so simple and obvious after reading it, but it’s something I never think about or work at really applying in my life. I’m going to work on that now. Thanks for the inspiration!

  43. If you cant observe the fallen tree in your backyard with the same awe and wonder as when observing a Mongolian sunset then you’re missing the whole point. “travel” is in the mind.

  44. Thanks, Tim.

    Yeah, I’ve always found travel useful for breaking out of ruts.

    In fact, interrupting any of our daily “habits” is a very effective way of breaking egoic patterns and starting something new.

  45. I love ‘walden’, I remember picking up a book about Thoreau by his contempories, apparently he used to pop home for dinner sometimes, very practical and kept his mum happy.

    I usually travel with a small rucksack, I find hiking clothes best, you can easily wash them in a hotel sink and by morning are dry.

    I was recently in Italy, I noticed that the hotel lobby had free wi-fi, working online seems a good idea. Was great to meet a guide who told me she moved there from the near big city just because she liked living in the mountains, freedom, we are all free, but one has to exercise free will, to embrace it.

    On that point, if you check the bbc radio 3 website, you can find a play about Thomas Pain ( you can listen online until next sunday ), it is very interesting stuff.

    Computers are for listening to the radio 🙂

  46. Traveling teaches me to remain open and flexible, leaving room for the unexpected. At times, those moments reveal my character because I have to think and act at the moment.

    To enjoy where you are at that moment is invaluable.

    Inspiring! Thanks Rolf & Tim!

  47. This is some great information. I like the tip to slow down. I find myself rushing all over the place all the time. I need to learn how to slow down when I’m at home.

  48. 3) Slow Down = Mindfulness

    Recommended reading: Miracle of Mindfulness by Thich Nhat Hanh. ISBN-13: 978-0807012390.

    When I rush through everything in my attempt to be productive, those moments in time are meaningless and now gone, as if I’m running towards life’s finish line. The following quote sounded silly to me at first, but eventually I found it profound.

    “To my mind, the idea that doing the dishes is unpleasant can occur only when you are not doing them. Once you are standing in front of the sink with your sleeves rolled up and your hands in warm water, it really is not so bad. I enjoy taking my time with each dish, being fully aware of the dish, the water, and each movement of my hands. I know that if I hurry in order to go and have a cup of tea, the time will be unpleasant and not worth living. That would be a pity, for each minute, each second of life is a miracle. The dishes themselves and the fact that I am here washing them are miracles!” – Thich Nhat Hanh.

  49. Hey Tim,

    Rolf’s guest post is inspiring and useful, thanks for allowing him to share. So, how is your dead lift coming along? I’m at 320Ib and pushing! My goal this year is also to lift 500Ib for five clean reps. Don’t forget to keep us posted.

    -Miguel

  50. Love the post by Powers – I think it is important to try and find beautiful mindful moments in the mundane. It keeps are energy ripe for when the big rushes come in.

    Jak

  51. I was in Italy recently, my girlfriend took me on a ski trip, I gave up on the ski lessons as I was no good and it was a pain ( remembered the bit from the book about giving up on stuff your bad at ), I had a AWESOME TIME, going on walks, pretending to be a ‘grand tourist’, walking in the alps etc. etc.

    One day, i was up at a remote abandoned watch tower and I could hear the birds, cocks crowing in the distance and then the church bells, all with lovely snow around, it was like being Mahler !!!!

    I am off back in the summer, I think, with a tent, travel is great, I just prefer short breaks at the moment, though going to spend a lot of July in the english lake district with my dad.

    life…is…short, get those mini retirements in now

  52. Thank you Tim for the post.

    Always in such timely fashion you tap into my chords and beautifully expand my resources for knowledge, action tools and motivation.

    I recently becamea daily follower of Ted.com. Among my favourite speakers are Dan Ariely, Phillip Zimbardo, Dan Gilbert and…well you may know this guy: Tim Ferriss??

    Just yesterday I was listening to Carl Honore eloquently advocate “Slowness”. Here is a link to his lecture: http://www.ted.com/talks/carl_honore_praises_slowness.html

    Interestingly, Rolf Potts makes subtle references to slowness which intuitively made me link the two together; and also seemingly and ironically with you. I say seemingly ironic because on the surface it may appear contradicting, as you have mastered the fast track path to obtaining what most consider “against the odds” goals. (And you kept no secret in your book about your earlier adventures on speed reading). Which btw – all admirable in my mind.

    I interpreted the link between the three of you on an introspective life style aspect. I see all choices relating to savouring what life meaning is all about: Living your life for what your heart desires.

    And commonly, all three of you link to my core beliefs and thus far recent life choices after spending most of my 20s living a taxing race. I am currently working towards severing my ties to my current place I call home, beautiful British Columbia, Canada. I recently sold my house & furniture, separated myself from forced and unfulfilling relationships, and donated many of my cloths (well… I still have a lot – I am a fashionista at heart).

    While I am going through this extremely liberating purging process, I intend in the next few months to embark on a spontaneous unplanned nomadic lifestyle and world travel journey while welcoming the adventures and opportunities that will spark me. Just me and my beautiful Golden Retriever, Bela. Well…and the fabulous people I know I will meet on my way… which I certainly hope one day includes you.

    Thank you for being there.

    Keep living passionately, keep inspiring, Keep spreading knowledge… 🙂

    Orlee Forest

  53. Thank you Tim for the post.

    Always in such timely fashion you tap into my chords and beautifully expand my resources for knowledge, action tools and motivation.

    I recently becamea daily follower of Ted.com. Among my favourite speakers are Dan Ariely, Phillip Zimbardo, Dan Gilbert and…well you may know this guy: Tim Ferriss??

    Just yesterday I was listening to Carl Honore eloquently advocate “Slowness”. Here is a link to his lecture: http://www.ted.com/talks/carl_honore_praises_slowness.html

    Interestingly, Rolf Potts makes subtle references to slowness which intuitively made me link the two together; and also seemingly and ironically with you. I say seemingly ironic because on the surface it may appear contradicting, as you have mastered the fast track path to obtaining what most consider “against the odds” goals. (And you kept no secret in your book about your earlier adventures on speed reading). Which btw – all admirable in my mind.

    I interpreted the link between the three of you on an introspective life style aspect. I see all choices relating to savouring what life meaning is all about: Living your life for what your heart desires.

    And commonly, all three of you link to my core beliefs and thus far recent life choices after spending most of my 20s living a taxing race. I am currently working towards severing my ties to my current place I call home, beautiful British Columbia, Canada. I recently sold my house & furniture, separated myself from forced and unfulfilling relationships, and donated many of my cloths (well… I still have a lot – I am a fashionista at heart).

    While I am going through this extremely liberating purging process, I intend in the next few months to embark on a spontaneous unplanned nomadic lifestyle and world travel journey while welcoming the adventures and opportunities that will spark me. Just me and my beautiful Golden Retriever, Bela. Well…and the fabulous people I know I will meet on my way… which I certainly hope one day includes you.

    Thank you for being there.

    Keep living passionately, keep inspiring, Keep spreading knowledge… 🙂

    Orlee Forest

  54. Great stuff, everyone — thanks!

    @Michael: As for examples in Thailand where you can live on almost nothing — examples abound! When I was writing Vagabonding I lived in a town of about 30,000 people on Thailand’s border with the southernmost tip of Myanmar. I don’t think I ever spent more than $200 a month, all expenses included, and I was living in a big and comfortable apartment and eating fantastic Thai food every day. The town I was in, Ranong, isn’t the prettiest town in the world (it’s kind of a grungy border town), but it borders some of the best rainforest in Thailand. For quainter villages, go up to northern Thailand. There’s a town up there called Pai, for example, which as of ten years ago was a perfectly blissful little respite from the rest of the world. I think Pai has been “discovered” and has since become the San Miguel de Allende of Thailand (nothing wrong with that; it just means more artsy expats and higher prices) — but Pai is just one example of what’s out there. My advice would be to just wander around northern Thailand for a month until you find an off-the-beaten-path town you fall in love with. In small-town, non-tourist Thailand you can rent a house for about $50 a month and eat fantastic food for about $1 a meal. And of course Thailand isn’t the only country where this lifestyle is possible. Just keep your eyes and ears open as you travel, wherever you are!

  55. Point Break – A Perfect Bar Experience in NYC

    A local friend recommended and took my Cali group to this amazing bar. He said that mostly locals came here so I didn’t really know what to expect ambiance wise… but screw it, the view at this bar was absolutely breathtaking! No joke. I felt like a celebrity w/ superstar treatment as the staff are friendly and amazing to say the very least.

    I don’t know who the house DJ was but he definitely was playing music right up my alley. It would’ve been my dream for people to start dancing, but it’s all good.

    It’s a bit sceney for my taste, but it really didn’t bother me much. the bartenders knew their stuff, although their 1st cocktail was a little weak, when he saw i understood cocktails the next 2 were stronger. I also liked that even though the place was really hopping the bartender remembered what i was drinking when i came to order another. (he also understood how good a gin hendricks is, and not to overpower it with the mixer). It was amazing to see their “das boot” which is shaped like a boot filled with beer. Don’t get me wrong, I am not drunk…it’s an actual boot shaped beer container ready to be emptied..try it ..you will love it!! Oh..how can I forget, they even have a wheel o’ shots where you just have to spin it and have to drink whatever shot it lands on!! Now call that bar creativity at its best!!!

    We ordered the Veal and Fish Tacos. They were delicious. Mm! We ended up asking for spoons to polish off whatever remained in the platter. (Faux pas? Who cares as long as it gets in my tummy.) The fries were crispy, but not overcooked, just the way that I like them.

    So take in this scene: You walk in to what seems like an overly crowded place, but soon fine an empty table. Time seems to stop and the only indicator of the night moving on is the moon and your brain cells slowly going to bed forever. The music is not to loud and the people around look good, the only thing left for you to do is to enjoy that drink you paid ridiculously low for and laugh at the joke your co-worker just told.

    The vibe of the place just never seems to die out and if you happen to spot some NYC socialite, sports player, or star, don’t let it get to you… because for that moment, this night they are no long more important than then you. In fact go up to them and introduce yourself!

    All in all just a great place to meet new people, or just have drinks with people you already know. I’ve been to numerous bars in the city but i would say this place is just great. Very welcoming staff, very laid back ambiance. I’ve been here twice after my first visit with my Cali group . I would say its worth the every penny you spend!!

  56. Hi to SoulTravelers3 and others,

    We are a family who are on their way to start living similar to soultravelers3 family. We are happy to have found another who thinks family traveling is a priority. And that the same run of the mill traditions should be continued. We think differently and we are glad that Tim agrees with us and many others on this blog.

    We are finishing up our turn-keying lifestyle, we have about 6 major projects to get done before we can do it. But what we will have at the end is not only freedom to travel but high automated income. We have 6 months before leaving to Egypt so we are planning on its completion by that time.

    We are curious what type of professions soultravelers3 had and what type of homeschooling program do you use.

    Other questions are: What is a typical day for your family while in different countries? What types of hobbies do you have? What types of idealogy do you have in regards to raising children?

    My personal email is april1009@gmail.com. Contact me.

    Mikayla

  57. I told my boss about my plans for a one year sabbatical after returning from Cambodia. I want to take a break from work to experience life and pursue personal interests which i always wanted to but have not much monetary returns. I was told that i will be wasting the 10 years of working experiences i had built and the credibilty and track records i spent efforts building during few years with my current company. Told him life path is not linear and what is important is that i have a happy and fullfilled life, not what people perceived from outside, such as how much you earn, or how successful or rich you are. I want to experience life, learn new things, see new things, take the road less travelled, spend time with my loved ones, working on meaningful projects. Is it really silly and naive for me to just take the plunge and take my break?

  58. Hey Tim,

    Just wanted to drop a line and let you know that my family is living the 4 HOUR WORK WEEK!!

    We left 18 months ago with our daughter, who is 3 now and have been traveling the world working our mobile business.

    Thanks for the inspiration! I posted a video I cut about Mini Retirements on your Facebook page.

    Cheers, Rhonda Swan

    !

  59. Sigh. Love it.

    Rolf: I read your book in 2006. I quit my ABC TV Producing job and left the country to travel in Oct 2006 and traveled for 15 months solo around the world. Then I came back to NY and Chicago…then I left again. I’ve been traveling and living out of a bag for 3 1/2 years now.

    Tim: I read your book in between ‘world tours’ and also really liked it. I felt lucky in a way b/c I felt like I was (and still am) living what I love.

    Great post.

    Question for both of you:

    I’d like to re-post this gem on my blog. Is that possible with links back and ‘courtesy’ of course?

    Thanks!

    Lisa

  60. Hey Tim, Thanks for the great post! I have really been trying to come up with a way to travel this summer. Im not exactly sure where to start though and being at the age of 18, I dont have very much money to spend. Im also thinking about getting a job this summer to help me save up. Do you have any suggestions on how to travel very cheaply and save a lot of money? Im also thinking about getting “Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel”, he had very many points in the video. Once again, thanks for the post!

  61. ““Value” is a word we often hear in day-to-day life, but travel has a way of teaching us that value is not pegged to a cash amount” I completely agree with this and everything that this article says. Live life to the fullest but keep everything in perspective. Money isn’t everything, but it allows you to travel! So if you can’t travel, go ahead and find new experiences in some other form.

  62. i have one month to see south america and have already booked a flight into bogota in july. any suggestions for obtaining/purchasing a south american discount air pass? i need to travel at minimum to ecuador, uruguay and paraguay. individual point to point flights appear expensive. what is the best, most cost effective ways to fly in south america?

    thanks for any/all suggestions!

    jeff

  63. This is really good stuff. Going home at the end of a trip or a journey is always something I look forward to, but at the same time, I’m always itching to go on another adventure. What you said about keeping it simple, that’s one of the best lessons I learned from traveling. You realize how little you actually need to live a full and happy life and it’s one lesson I know I’ll keep.

    I also liked when you wrote; “Travel has a way revealing that much of what you’ve heard about the world is wrong”. This is so true, traveling has shattered so many preconceived notions I had about people from different nationalities. It definitely has a way of opening your eyes to different realities in a way that makes you more understanding and accepting of people.

  64. you talked to a guy about how to monetize a blog and you mentioned a search engine friendly hosting site. it that site Media Temple? incidently, yeah your blogs are useful and durable. thanks Susanne Jerome

  65. Tim & Rolf,

    finally got around to reading Vagabonding and pretty much didn’t put it down. I don’t know if the other readers of your blog know it Tim, but Rolf has his website http://www.rolfpotts.com as well and the stories there are a lot of fun to read.

  66. Great post! I’m trying to perfect my travel by incorporating online social media! Couchsurfing.org is great for finding accomodation with random (kind) strangers and my personal favourite (cause I built it. ha), liftsurfer.com is great for finding lifts to the said couches.

    Keep on vagabondin’ folks!

  67. I love it-great tips to live life by. It is so true that we get caught up in life and forget to live in the moment. Travelling with my kids has been such a great bonding experience and has created great memories. I am a single mom with 3 kids and I was able to take each child to a different destination (France, Italy & Morrocco) for a few days each. And of all the places we have traveled to, each one of my children has said their favorite spot was the one we went to just the two of us.

  68. I’d far rather wander Bali undisturbed and at peace, for an entire month. These travel lessons do make good sense when applying them to everyday life. Being able to stop and smell the roses, or even better, play in the garden, when it suits you has got no price tag that can beat it. We tend to rush though our lives, from event to event, without enjoying the journey, and there is no heart in that path.

  69. I have tried to catch the travel bug, but so far with no luck. Yes there are a few places I would like to see just once,,,L.A. and New York, just for the scale of them, and because they are such American cultural icons, maybe Ireland because my ancestors came from there and it is pretty (but of course so is my home Kentucky), maybe something in Europe (what’s good that hasn’t been “Americanized” and tourish trapped?), but…? So the theme of being travel minded at home works for me…I have found little parks, local lakes, local cultural sites, that has been fun. But travel further away than a couple of hundred miles usually leaves me tired and disappointed unless there is a specific event to see. But I am not giving up, I am still trying to catch the bug…

  70. Thanks for the post! I feel better about myself, because I have a ton of time but not a lot of money 🙂 YAY! I’m wealthy! Much of this past year has been about slowing down, cutting back and living passionately. I ended up reading 4 hour work week to figure out how I can continue this lifestyle!

    As a holistic therapist, it’s nice have multiple reference points for people to understand the importance of those 5 principles. One of my favorite quotes from Swami Prabhavananda is “We shall do better to remember that every human being is searching, however confusedly, for meaning in life and will welcome discussion of that meaning provided that we can find a vocabulary which speaks to his or condition. If we approach conversation from this angle and conduct it with charity, frankness, sincerity and a serious interest in the opinions of others, we shall be surprised to find how much tacit spiritual interchange can result from apparently casual talk about everyday events, science, art, politics or sport.”

    S

  71. I absolutely love this line … “By far the most important lesson travel teaches you is that your time is all you really own in life.” For me the more I think about it, the more it makes me think about it. As I’m actually just returning from a long overseas trip wish I had read this article before my journey. However, what it has done is made me start thinking about my next trip. Huge, huge thank-you. Has made my day.

  72. cool is cool!

    TIM… SO GLAD I FOUND YOU

    AND BTW

    WISH I HAD >3 FRIENDS TO EAT WITH WEEKLY

    WISH I WAS PART OF THE ZEN GROUP

    WISH MY DARLING HUSBAND WAS STILL ALIVE

    WISH I WASN’T ALONE ON THIS ROCK

    LIVE..LOVE..LAUGH…!

  73. Welcome back Tim! Way to go. I just have to think of those 5 mentioned above. You’ve done an excellent job in giving advices about travelling. Might have to write that in my handbook whenever I will travel.

  74. Your ideas about travel and lifestyle are highly rewarding, have you thought about writing a book or could you recommend any? Sometimes I need a little help from someone to actually show me what I enjoy in life, yet when I read something like the article above I just sought of go “Oh yes” and it’s all so clear to me. Sometimes I feel like there’s to much going on in my life (and head) for me to easily pick out the things that bring me happiness.

    Glen

  75. I just read Vagabonding and I have to comment here about it because you introduced me to him: He’s a phenomenal writer. I don’t mean pretty good or okay or adequate or that the subject is amazing so it carries his writing… I mean his voice, vocab, meter, metaphor; the whole package, as good as anything I’ve read.

    I’m a minor classics geek (mostly American, though I’m reading Ulysses with Strauss right now) so when I hear a voice like Potts I get excited.

    So if you avoid the “how to”, dry, amateur voice that most travel writer are limited to, read Rolf Potts for a very well spoken change of pace. Then pack a very light bag and get the hell out of town.

  76. I liked the video and you also provided some great tips. I travel pretty frequently and I’m thinking about vacationing somewhere in either Central or South America this year, perhaps Costa Rica.

  77. I agree, traveling solo is simpler and it makes you more open to meeting new people and new experiences.

  78. Beautifully written Rolf and as Tim pointed out in his first book… you are The Man!

    I particularly like the below part:

    “Travel naturally lends itself to simplicity, since it forces you to reduce your day-to-day possessions to a few select items that fit in your suitcase or backpack. Moreover, since it’s difficult to accumulate new things as you travel, you to tend to accumulate new experiences and friendships instead — and these affect your life in ways mere “things” cannot.”

    It is so true! Many years ago I used to pack multiple bags for any international trip. My approach has changed though. Currently, it takes me max 1 hour to pack for any trip and I am usually satisfied with one backpack. For example, a few months ago I travelled across South America for a month and took only 15 kg worth of luggage. My friends thought that I was crazy, but the truth is that I truly enjoyed the sense of freedom, which could be easily deprived by an additional bag to carry. It is just like having too many possessions at home – they become a mental burned whether we are aware of it or not.

    I know that the post is old, but if you see it thanks again for great content.

  79. I awaited this book with regulation visits to the bookstore and the local library reservations page (yes, I know this is potentially less valuable for the author, but it was in need!).

    I have always been happy and successful travelling, usually staying in a foreign location for at least three most in order to service a professional contract. Staying in this way really allows a deeper connection with the spot. I was eager to pick up as many new tips as I could.

    As it turns out, I was initially disappointed and had to read some chapters more than once. But, after ompleting the whole book, I saw what I believe to be the “hidden” message:

    If we need to adjust our value sets to appreciate the difference between travel and tourism, then this can be done as an armchair exercise. By extension, the whole concept of travel and appreciation of its rewards rather than the vicarious thrill of bending plastic in tourism can be done without leaving the sitting room at all. Fait accompli, as they say in Quebec.

  80. I happen to travel a lot for work which is a little different from the feeling of traveling for pleasure but so many points hit home for me. Especially keeping it simple. I live out of a suitcase for most of the week and when I come home, I use the little time I have to surround myself by people and things that are most important to me. One thing I’ve noticed is that I’m a lot less afraid to eat out alone. I’ve used that lack of fear back home and now explore a lot more even if friends and family are busy.

    Thanks for the article.