The Difference: Living Well vs. Doing Well

(Credit: h.koppdelaney)

“From all your herds, a cup or two of milk,

From all your granaries, a loaf of bread,

In all your palace, only half a bed:

Can man use more? And do you own the rest?”

— Ancient Sanskrit poem

Total post read time: 5 minutes.

Living well is quite different from “doing well.”

In the quest to get ahead — destination often unknown — it’s easy to have life pass you by while you’re focused on other things. This post is intended as a reminder and a manifesto: keep it simple.

This is written by Rolf Potts, author of my perennial favorite and heavily highlighted Vagabonding. In the below piece, I’ve bolded some particular parts that have had an impact on my life.

Enter Rolf.


In March of 1989, the Exxon Valdez struck a reef off the coast of Alaska, resulting in the largest oil spill in U.S. history. Initially viewed as an ecological disaster, this catastrophe did wonders to raise environmental awareness among average Americans. As television images of oil-choked sea otters and dying shore birds were beamed across the country, pop-environmentalism grew into a national craze.

Instead of conserving more and consuming less, however, many Americans sought to save the earth by purchasing “environmental” products. Energy-efficient home appliances flew off the shelves, health food sales boomed, and reusable canvas shopping bags became vogue in strip malls from Jacksonville to Jackson Hole. Credit card companies began to earmark a small percentage of profits for conservation groups, thus encouraging consumers to “help the environment” by striking off on idealistic shopping binges.

Such shopping sprees and health food purchases did absolutely nothing to improve the state of the planet, of course — but most people managed to feel a little better about the situation without having to make any serious lifestyle changes.

This notion — that material investment is somehow more important to life than personal investment — is exactly what leads so many of us to believe we could never afford to go vagabonding. The more our life options get paraded around as consumer options, the more we forget that there’s a difference between the two. Thus, having convinced ourselves that buying things is the only way to play an active role in the world, we fatalistically conclude that we’ll never be rich enough to purchase a long-term travel experience.

Fortunately, the world need not be a consumer product. As with environmental integrity, long-term travel isn’t something you buy into: it’s something you give to yourself.

Indeed, the freedom to go vagabonding has never been determined by income level, but through simplicity — the conscious decision of how to use what income you have.

And, contrary to popular stereotypes, seeking simplicity doesn’t require that you become a monk, a subsistence forager, or a wild-eyed revolutionary. Nor does it mean that you must unconditionally avoid the role of consumer. Rather, simplicity merely requires a bit of personal sacrifice: an adjustment of your habits and routines within consumer society itself.

“Our crude civilization engenders a multitude of wants… Our forefathers forged chains of duty and habit, which bind us notwithstanding our boasted freedom, and we ourselves in desperation, add link to link, groaning and making medicinal laws for relief.”

— John Muir, Kindred and Related Spirits

At times, the biggest challenge in embracing simplicity will be the vague feeling of isolation that comes with it, since private sacrifice doesn’t garner much attention in the frenetic world of mass culture.

Jack Kerouac’s legacy as a cultural icon is a good example of this. Arguably the most famous American vagabonder of the 20th century, Kerouac vividly captured the epiphanies of hand-to-mouth travel in books like On the Road and Lonesome Traveler. In Dharma Bums, he wrote about the joy of living with people who blissfully ignore “the general demand that they consume production and therefore have to work for the privilege of consuming, all that crap they didn’t really want…general junk you always see a week later in the garbage anyway, all of [it] impersonal in a system of work, produce, consume.”

Despite his observance of material simplicity, however, Kerouac found that his personal life – the life that had afforded him the freedom to travel – was soon overshadowed by a more fashionable (and marketable) public vision of his travel lifestyle. Convertible cars, jazz records, marijuana (and, later, Gap khakis), ultimately came to represent the mystical “It” that he and Neal Cassidy sought in On the Road. As his Beat cohort William S. Burroughs was to point out years after his death, part of Kerouac’s mystique became inseparable from the idea that he “opened a million coffee bars and sold a million pairs of Levi’s to both sexes.”

In some ways, of course, coffee bars, convertibles and marijuana are all part of what made travel appealing to Kerouac’s readers. That’s how marketing (intentional and otherwise) works. But these aren’t the things that made travel possible for Kerouac. What made travel possible was that he knew how neither self nor wealth can be measured in terms of what you consume or own. Even the downtrodden souls on the fringes of society, he observed, had something the rich didn’t: Time.

This notion – the notion that “riches” don’t necessarily make you wealthy – is as old as society itself. The ancient Hindu Upanishads refer disdainfully to “that chain of possessions wherewith men bind themselves, and beneath which they sink”; ancient Hebrew scriptures declare that “whoever loves money never has money enough.” Jesus noted that it’s pointless for a man to “gain the whole world, yet lose his very self”, and the Buddha whimsically pointed out that seeking happiness in one’s material desires is as absurd as “suffering because a banana tree will not bear mangoes.”

Despite several millennia of such warnings, however, there is still an overwhelming social compulsion – an insanity of consensus, if you will – to get rich from life rather than live richly, to “do well” in the world instead of living well. And, in spite of the fact that America is famous for its unhappy rich people, most of us remain convinced that just a little more money will set life right. In this way, the messianic metaphor of modern life becomes the lottery – that outside chance that the right odds will come together to liberate us from financial worries once and for all.

“Henceforth I ask not good-fortune, I myself am good-fortune,

Henceforth I whimper no more, postpone no more, need nothing…”

— Walt Whitman, “Song of the Open Road”

Fortunately, we were all born with winning tickets – and cashing them in is a simple matter of altering our cadence as we walk through the world. Vagabonding sage Ed Buryn knew as much: “By switching to a new game, which in this case involves vagabonding, time becomes the only possession and everyone is equally rich in it by biological inheritance. Money, of course, is still needed to survive, but time is what you need to live. So, save what little money you possess to meet basic survival requirements, but spend your time lavishly in order to create the life values that make the fire worth the candle. Dig?”

Dug. And the bonus to all of this is that – as you of sow your future with rich fields of time – you are also planting the seeds of personal growth that will gradually bloom as you travel into the world.

* * *

In a way, simplifying your life for vagabonding is easier than it sounds. This is because travel by its very nature demands simplicity. If you don’t believe this, just go home and try stuffing everything you own into a backpack. This will never work, because no matter how meagerly you live at home, you can’t match the scaled-down minimalism that travel requires. You can, however, set the process of reduction and simplification into motion while you’re still at home. This is useful on several levels: Not only does it help you to save up travel money, but it helps you realize how independent you are of your possessions and your routines. In this way, it prepares you mentally for the realities of the road, and makes travel a dynamic extension of the life-alterations you began at home.

“Travel can be a kind of monasticism on the move: On the road, we often live more simply, with no more possessions than we can carry, and surrendering ourselves to chance. This is what Camus meant when he said that “what gives value to travel is fear” — disruption, in other words, (or emancipation) from circumstance, and all the habits behind which we hide.

— Pico Iyer, “Why We Travel”

As with, say, giving up coffee, simplifying your life will require a somewhat difficult consumer withdrawal period. Fortunately, your impending travel experience will give you a very tangible and rewarding long-term goal that helps ease the discomfort. Over time, as you reap the sublime rewards of simplicity, you’ll begin to wonder how you ever put up with such a cluttered life in the first place.

On a basic level, there are three general methods to simplifying your life: stopping expansion, reining in your routine, and reducing clutter. The easiest part of this process is stopping expansion. This means that – in anticipation of vagabonding – you don’t add any new possessions to your life, regardless of how tempting they might seem. Naturally, this applies to things like cars and home entertainment systems, but this also applies to travel accessories. Indeed, one of the biggest mistakes people make in anticipation of vagabonding is to indulge in a vicarious travel buzz by investing in water filters, sleeping bags, and travel-boutique wardrobes. In reality, vagabonding runs smoothest on a bare minimum of gear – and even multi-year trips require little initial investment beyond sturdy footwear and a dependable travel bag or backpack.

While you’re curbing the material expansion of your life, you should also take pains to rein in the unnecessary expenses of your weekly routine. Simply put, this means living more humbly (even if you aren’t humble) and investing the difference into your travel fund. Instead of eating at restaurants, for instance, cook at home and pack a lunch to work or school. Instead of partying at nightclubs and going out to movies or pubs, entertain at home with friends or family. Wherever you see the chance to eliminate an expensive habit, take it. The money you save as a result will pay handsomely in travel time. In this way, I ate lot of baloney sandwiches (and missed out on a lot of grunge-era Seattle nightlife) while saving up for a vagabonding stint after college — but the ensuing eight months of freedom on the roads of North America more than made up for it.

“Very many people spend money in ways quite different from those that their natural tastes would enjoin, merely because the respect of their neighbors depends upon their possession of a good car and their ability to give good dinners. As a matter of fact, any man who can obviously afford a car but genuinely prefers travels or a good library will in the end be much more respected than if he behaved exactly like everyone else.”

— Bertrand Russell, The Conquest of Happiness

Perhaps the most challenging step in keeping things simple is to reduce clutter – to downsize what you already own. As Thoreau observed, downsizing can be the most vital step in winning the freedom to change your life: “I have in my mind that seemingly wealthy, but most terribly impoverished class of all,” he wrote in Walden, “who have accumulated dross, but know not how to use it, or get rid of it, and thus have forged their own golden or sliver fetters.”

How you reduce your “dross” in anticipation of travel will depend on your situation. If you’re young, odds are you haven’t accumulated enough to hold you down (which, incidentally, is a big reason why so many vagabonders tend to be young). If you’re not-so-young, you can re-create the carefree conditions of youth by jettisoning the things that aren’t necessary to your basic well-being. For much of what you own, garage sales and on-line auctions can do wonders to unclutter your life (and score you an extra bit of cash to boot). Homeowners can win their travel freedom by renting out their houses; those who rent accommodation can sell, store, or lend out the things that might bind them to one place.

An additional consideration in life-simplification is debt. As Laurel Lee wryly observed in Godspeed, “cities are full of those who have been caught in monthly payments for avocado green furniture sets.” Thus, if at all possible, don’t let avocado green furniture sets (or any other seemingly innocuous indulgence) dictate the course of your life by forcing you into ongoing cycles of production and consumption. If you’re already in debt, work your way out of it – and stay out. If you have a mortgage or other long-term debt, devise a situation (such as property rental) that allows you to be independent of its obligations for long periods of time. Being free from debt’s burdens simply gives you more vagabonding options.

And, for that matter, more life options.

* * *

“It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after your own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.”

— Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Self Reliance”

As you simplify your life and look forward to spending your new wealth of time, you’re likely to get a curious reaction from your friends and family. On one level, they will express enthusiasm for your impending adventures. But on another level, they might take your growing freedom as a subtle criticism of their own way of life. Because your fresh worldview might appear to call their own values into question (or, at least, force them to consider those values in a new light), they will tend to write you off as irresponsible and self-indulgent. Let them. As I’ve said before, vagabonding is not an ideology, a balm for societal ills, nor a token of social status. Vagabonding is, was, and always will be a private undertaking – and its goal is not to improve your life in relation to your neighbors, but in relation to yourself. Thus, if your neighbors consider your travels foolish, don’t waste your time trying to convince them otherwise. Instead, the only sensible reply is to quietly enrich your life with the myriad opportunities that vagabonding provides.

Interestingly, some of the harshest responses I’ve received in reaction to my vagabonding life have come while traveling. Once, at Armageddon (the site in Israel; not the battle at the end of the world), I met an American aeronautical engineer who was so tickled he had negotiated 5 days of free time into a Tel Aviv consulting trip that he spoke of little else as we walked through the ruined city. When I eventually mentioned that I’d been traveling around Asia for the past 18 months, he looked at me like I’d slapped him. “You must be filthy rich,” he said acidly. “Or maybe,” he added, giving me the once-over, “your mommy and daddy are.”

I tried to explain how two years of teaching English in Korea had funded my freedom, but the engineer would have none of it. Somehow, he couldn’t accept that two years of any kind of honest work could have funded 18 months (and counting) of travel. He didn’t even bother sticking around for the real kicker: In those 18 months of travel, my day-to-day costs were significantly cheaper than day-to-day life would have cost me back in the United States.

The secret to my extraordinary thrift was neither secret nor extraordinary: I had tapped into that vast well of free time simply by forgoing a few comforts as I traveled. Instead of luxury hotels, I slept in clean, basic hostels and guesthouses. Instead of flying from place to place, I took local buses, trains, and share-taxis. Instead of dining at fancy restaurants, I ate food from street-vendors and local cafeterias. Occasionally, I traveled on foot, slept out under the stars, and dined for free at the stubborn insistence of local hosts.

In what ultimately amounted to over two years of travel in Asia, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East, my lodging averaged out to just under $5 a night, my meals cost well under $1 a plate, and my total expenses rarely exceeded $1000 a month.

“When I was very young a big financier once asked me what I would like to do, and I said, ‘To travel.’ ‘Ah,’ he said, ‘it is very expensive; one must have a lot of money to do that.’ He was wrong. For there are two kinds of travelers; the Comfortable Voyager, round whom a cloud of voracious expenses hums all the time, and the man who shifts for himself and enjoys the little discomforts as a change from life’s routine.”

— Ralph Bagnold, Libyan Sands

Granted, I have simple tastes – and I didn’t linger long in expensive places – but there was nothing exceptional in the way I traveled. In fact, entire multi-national backpacker circuits (not to mention budget guidebook publishing empires) have been created by the simple abundance of such travel bargains in the developing world. For what it costs to fill your gas-tank back home, for example you can take a train from one end of China to the other. For the cost of a home-delivered pepperoni pizza, you can eat great meals for a week in Brazil. And, for a month’s rent in any major American city, you can spend a year in a beach hut in Indonesia. Moreover, even the industrialized parts of the world host enough hostel networks, bulk transportation discounts, and camping opportunities make long-term travel affordable.

Ultimately, you may well discover that vagabonding on the cheap becomes your favorite way to travel, even if given more expensive options. Indeed, not only does simplicity save you money and buy you time, it makes you more adventuresome, forces you into sincere contact with locals, and allows you the independence to follow your passions and curiosities down exciting new roads.

In this way, simplicity – both at home and on the road – affords you the time to seek renewed meaning in an oft-neglected commodity that can’t be bought at any price: life itself.

# # #

Resources for lifestyle simplicity

[Note from Tim: I took Walden with me, along with Vagabonding, when I traveled the world beginning in 2004. Less is More came a few months later, and I still reread it every six months or so.]

Walden, by Henry David Thoreau

The philosophical account of Thoreau’s experiment in anti-materialist living. An American literary classic for over 150 years.

Less Is More: The Art of Voluntary Poverty: An Anthology of Ancient and Modern Voices Raised in Praise of Simplicity, edited by Goldian Vandenbroeck (Inner Traditions, 1996)

Quotes and essays on the value of simplicity, from the likes of Socrates, Shakespeare, St. Francis, Benjamin Franklin, and Mohandas Gandhi — as well as the Bible, the Dhammapada, the Tao Te Ching, and the Bhagavad Gita.

Your Money or Your Life: 9 Steps to Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence, by Joe Dominguez, Vicki Robin (Penguin USA, 2008)

A best-selling book that uses a nine-step process to demonstrate how most people are making a “dying” instead of a living. Practical pointers for achieving financial independence by altering your lifestyle.

Voluntary Simplicity: Toward a Way of Life That Is Outwardly Simple, Inwardly Rich, by Duane Elgin (Quill, 1993)

First published in 1981, this is a popular reference and inspiration for those looking to live a simpler life. Strongly themed toward environmental sustainability.

The Simple Living Guide: A Sourcebook for Less Stressful, More Joyful Living, by Janet Luhrs (Broadway Books, 1997)

Luhrs is the founder and publisher of The Simple Living Journal (and the companion website). Book contains tips for living fully and well through simplicity.

Budgeting and money management

The Pocket Idiot’s Guide to Living on a Budget, by Peter J. Sander, Jennifer Basye Sander (Alpha Books, 2005)

A concise guide to planning and abiding by a day-to-day budget.

The Budget Kit: The Common Cents Money Management Workbook, by Judy Lawrence (Kaplan, 2008)

Easy-to-use tips for managing your finances and getting the most out of your income.

The Complete Tightwad Gazette: Promoting Thrift As a Viable Alternative Lifestyle by Amy Dacyczyn (Random House, 1999)

Nine hundred pages of compiled tips for frugal living.

How to Get Out of Debt, Stay Out of Debt, and Live Prosperously, by Jerrold Mundis (Bantam, 2003)

This book helps you get out of debt, stay out of debt, and live prosperously.

Generation Debt: Take Control of Your Money, Carmen Wong Ulrich (Business Plus, 2006)

Personal financial advice for young adults.

The Dollar Stretcher

An online resource for saving money in day-to-day life. Weekly columns on thrift and simplicity.

Get Rich Slowly

A detailed blog with personal finance tips.

Vagabonding for seniors


The world’s largest educational and travel organization for adults 55 and over. Offers 10,000 programs a year in over 100 countries. A good way for traveling seniors to get a taste of other cultures before striking off on their own.

State Department Travel Tips for Older Americans

Posted online, this tip sheet is a useful primer for older independent travelers. Topics covered include trip preparation, passport and visas, health, money and valuables, safety precautions, and shopping.

Transitions Abroad’s Best Senior Travel Websites

Extensive rundown of links, resources and articles about senior travel.

Lonely Planet’s older travelers’ forum

An online message board for senior travelers.

AARP Travel

Products, services and discounts for travelers aged 50 and over.


Online travel resources for Baby Boomers.

Vagabonding with children

Lonely Planet Travel With Children, by Cathy Lanigan (Lonely Planet, 2002)

A practical guide to the challenges and joys of traveling with children, including trip preparation and kid-friendly destinations.

Gutsy Mamas: Travel Tips and Wisdom for Mothers on the Road, by Marybeth Bond (Travelers’ Tales, 1997)

Inspirational and informative advice on staying healthy on the road, traveling to third world countries (and close to home), and keeping children of all ages entertained and adults energized.

Your Child Abroad: A Travel Health Guide, by Jane Wilson-Howarth, Matthew Ellis. (Bradt Publications, 2005)

Accessible and practical health information for parents traveling with children to far-flung areas of the world.

One Year Off: Leaving It All Behind for a Round-the-World Journey with Our Children, by David Elliot Cohen (Simon & Schuster, 1999)

When David Elliot Cohen turned 40, he quit his job, sold his house and car and left to travel the world — with his wife and three kids (aged 8, 7, and 2) in tow. A first-hand account of how vagabonding exotic lands can be a family experience.

Take Your Kids to Europe: How to Travel Safely (and Sanely) in Europe with Your Children, by Cynthia Harriman (Globe Pequot, 2007)

A book of practical tips for traveling families traveling to Europe on limited budgets.

Adventuring With Children: An Inspirational Guide to World Travel and the Outdoors, by Nan Jeffrey (Avalon, 1995)

A classic book of advice on roaming the world with children, including preparation tips and adventurous family destinations.

Family Travel: The Farther You Go, the Closer You Get, by Laura Manske (Travelers’ Tales, 2000)

A collection of literary tales about family travel.

The Family Sabbatical Handbook: The Budget Guide To Living Abroad With Your Family, by Elisa Bernick (Intrepid Traveler, 2007)

Advice for families considering an expatriate stint abroad.

WorldTrek: A Family Odyssey, by Russell and Carla Fisher (Rainbow Books, 2007)

A family of four spends a year traveling the world.

Family Travel Forum

Online information on worldwide destinations for adults and children. Features discussion boards and advice for all manner of family travel issues.

Traveling Internationally With Your Kids

Online resources for traveling overseas with children. Features guidebook recommendations, trip preparation tips, and activity suggestions.

Delicious Baby

Ideas and stories about how to make travel fun for kids.

Families on the Road

For families who are on the road fulltime, on extended road trips, or are just dreaming about it.

Boostnall Traveling with Children forum

An online message board where family travelers can ask questions and share information.

Lonely Planet’s Kids to Go

Another useful online family-travel message board.

Pilgrims’ Progress

A Kiwi family with eight kids and a grandpa chronicle their pilgrimage from Singapore to London and beyond — overland all the way.

Traveling with Elliot

A blog documenting parent-child travel around the globe.

Six in the World

A family of six, ranging in age from 38 to 4, embarked on an 11-month round-the-world adventure in August 2006. This blog tracks their preparation, travels, and return to the US.

(A version of this post originally appeared as Chapter 3 in Vagabonding by Rolf Potts)

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225 Replies to “The Difference: Living Well vs. Doing Well”

  1. Tim,

    Wanted to thank you for the work you put into your book. I have been optimizing my business practices for years, but I’m not quite as close as I need to be. Your book has given me an unmovable target and I am driving hard to get there. I burned thru your book in a few days and am mid-way thru read two.

    Wanted to let you know..

    – I started a connection with Brickwork, but they didn’t give me much of an opportunity, with a prompt “We have gone through your request and unfortunately we will not be able to assist with your business needs,” with one mention of taxes out of several actionable items. We’ll see if I can salvage it, but do you have any other recommended companies?

    – I didn’t have any meetings on my schedule when I read your book, because I was following some tips from REWORK by 37signals. I was maybe a bit too aggressive though as I politely declined meetings in person via email and appended a link to “Meetings are Toxic” – – Oops.

    – I’ve been researching niche markets, but am a bit stumped on a product-based idea, I’ll persevere though. Any bones you want to throw to a random person?

    – I do believe that this will arrive in your inbox, and I do expect a reply, because while you are “unreachable,” you also wrote a book that lets me know that I can be confident in reaching the unreachable. lol – – because..

    – I do have an incredible social website idea that would create a deep social media niche while harnessing the power of current social tools. A recent patent search assured me that it is unsaturated for future development as well. If you’d like to contact me, you have my email. I am convinced this is a technology that would send you reeling.

    I am recommending the purchase of your audiobook to everyone I know. I have a clear goal in mind for my future now, thanks for guiding me to its discovery. BTW, I plan on racing acrobatic polar bears in a zero G jet while over the Atlantic in transit to .. [ this is where you add to the agenda ] with you sometime in August, 2024, so be sure to mark me down.

    A friend,


  2. It is hard to wrap my head around how this post and the visa concierge post could be on the same blog. I thought there was a real narcissistic bent to the previous post that contradicts the point of this particular post.

  3. Ultimately, you may well discover that vagabonding on the cheap becomes your favorite way to travel. I would like to make a trip to go to all the pro hockey arenas, there are some great ideas here.

  4. I was inspired by the poem Slowly Dance I read in the book fourhourworkweek. I would like to know the girls name who wrote it. Who is she and when did she write this beautiful poem? Thanks for helping me out!


    1. Hi Esther,

      It was actually originally written by David Weatherford, a child psychologist (if I remember correctly), as I found out after the book was published. This was added into the book after the first few printings.


  5. Boy ! this is such an great post !. I really liked those resources of simplicity links very much. Will keep visiting for some more wonderful posts here 🙂

  6. Tim,

    This post made me smile. In an era where houses are bursting at the seams and self-storage is booming business, it’s more important than ever to own less and do more!

    I have been making a huge effort to simplify my life over the past few months. The act of doing this has been very therapeutic. My small home now seems fresh & clear, with room for friends to stay. I now have room to practise yoga and martial arts – at home! It has made such a positive impact on my health and happiness!

    I even wrote to Rolf back when he was looking for case-studies, my e-mail was on these very topics! Mainly dealing with debt after University and removing belongings to which you feel responsible.

    I was doing all of this to prepare for my first mini-retirement however I have recently been accepted onto an 8 month business incubator/mentor programme to work on my business ideas. This is simply a dream come true! My first mini-retirement will be just a few months long now but that’s fine. There will be many more to come!

    Also I’d like to add a note to anyone here looking to visit the U.K on their travels please don’t just visit London or Edinburgh! There are SO many Couchsurfers in the smaller towns & villages who are willing hosts! Me being one of them! There are so many little gems that are so often missed in the hidden shires of England!

    Thank you!

    Helen. :o)

    “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” ~ Leonardo da Vinci

  7. FANTASTIC post Tim & Rolf! I couldn’t agree with you more!

    My only disappointment is you didn’t include us as a link as we are a family case study in the new 4HWW & we are a family STILL on an open ended world tour ( since 2006) with no plans on stopping! We’re trailblazing this lifestyle as a family and have learned a lot along the way:

    We LIVE this vagabond life as a family, love the freedom & have inspired many as we share the keys as we roam ( 4 continents, 32 countries so far) while also living large on little ( just 23 dollars a day per person) and building our nest egg as we explore the world.

    “neither self nor wealth can be measured in terms of what you consume or own.”

    So true! We lived this kind of mindful life at home as well before travel, but this travel lifestyle has helped us hone it to a higher degree. We have really embraced a minimalist lifestyle and love the freedom it gives us and what it teachers our child about what is important in life. Family bonding is so enriched through international slow travel.

    Vagabonding does have to be different for a family than it is for a single or couple, yet there are even more advantages. As a family with young children, it is easy to connect deeply with other families and integrate with other cultures and communities because of the common bond of children.

    The educational benefits are astounding and perhaps even more so for today’s changing world & new economy. As monolinguals we are raising a very fluent trilingual and tri-literate ( Spanish, Mandarin & English) who speaks many other languages as well. Knowing a language well means knowing a culture in a much deeper way, new ways of organizing concepts and new ways of thinking, thus it adds to creativity. Bilinguals from birth learn abstract thinking much earlier than monolinguals and have advantages in math and other areas because of that.

    Vagabonding as a family today also means being able to take advantage of tech advances like our child taking piano, violin and Mandarin Chinese online from teachers on other continents using webcams. ( Yet, we also spend much time unplugged and spend most of our time in nature which I think is also an advantage for kids). We homeschool all year, but also take advantages of local foreign schools for the language immersion. It’s also a great way to teach entrepreneurship in this new economy. I’m passionate about the advantages of slow travel with families and the educational advantages and write about it often.

    Today one can work and school ANY where, so there are no limits for families that are willing to think differently and want to live a greener and more enriched life.

    Thank you Tim and Rolf for educating so many about the advantages of thinking differently and starting a revolution for a new way of being!

  8. I really do not understand the purpose of vagabonding.

    Sure, it seems exciting to travel to foreign lands and to meet new people. But in the end, it seems pretty selfish and unfulfilling. What do you really build or gain from this lifestyle other than having a bunch of stories to tell?

    Also, you are going to want to reintegrate back into society. If you have not been connected to people in the real world, you are not going to be successful at gaining a firm setting once the jetsetting lifestyle is over.

    I do agree that reducing consumption and doing away with frivolous things is important. But I find it hard to do this without getting rid of certain people in life. I believe that having less friends is much more beneficial than reducing purchases.

  9. Yeah well, I wonder how much “living simply” and “caring about the environment” is just liberal posing and oneupmanship.

  10. I have recently been doing everything I can to simplify things. It’s working.. slowly but I need to stop hanging on to material possessions. I do hope to set off soon. Will be reading through those ‘Vagabonding with children’ links tomorrow.

    PS. On a separate note, I think I need to go back to practising those quick reading techniques. This used up all of my allotted 15mins today, is its just me that missed the 5min?

  11. Tim – nice work. Living and doing are not the same and I totally agree that while western culture worships “doing” there is another means by which accomplishment can occur. Being and Nothingness as well as Critique of Pure Reason shed some light on this.



  12. Excellent post, and it prompted me to post this plea for advice. I read 4HWW back back in May 2007. It inspired me to start my own business and to not defer retirement until I was 65. I pulled together $10k and started an online business selling high quality coffee equipment. Customers wanted great coffee with their equipment, so I started micro roasting coffee. 2009 was my first full year of business and I cracked $1.5M in gross revenue with just me and one full time employee. It wasn’t totally 4HWW style as I still had to work in my business and I certainly didn’t delegate or automate everything.

    My goal is to have time to do precisely what is described in this blog post. I did get to spend 3 weeks in Costa Rica sourcing micro lot coffees with my wife and 3 year old. I managed my business from my Macbook with the help of Google Apps, LogMeIn, MailTank, RingCentral, etc. I credit Tim for giving me the chutzpah to try this whole thing out.

    Here’s where I need help. Last week I got a call from Google. I almost didn’t take it because I don’t like unsolicited sales calls, but it was one of their PR people from their “Global Communications and Public Affairs.” Google is hosting media events in 10 cities to showcase small companies that have grown quickly with Google tools like Adwords and Analytics. The idea is to showcase Google helping local economies by growing small businesses. They chose my business, Clive Coffee, for Portland, Oregon. They’re inviting Oregon politicians (governor, mayor, city council) and press (newspapers, TV, radio, bloggers) to a catered event at my warehouse in southeast industrial Portland. It will be interesting to get all this attention in my somewhat ghetto digs, but this is how startups stay profitable.

    I don’t want to miss this opportunity to have such a big partner showcasing my business. I want to leverage this into blog posts, interviews, increasing Twitter and FB fans, etc. I would love input from people that have had experiences like this. I’ve read through the tips from 4HWW on becoming an expert and some of the media/PR resources, but I’m still not certain how to proceed. Should I hire a PR firm at this point, or try to do it myself? Should I let it all happen organically, or how much effort should I expend to keep this thing rolling?

    Thanks so much for any input!

  13. Walden and vagabonding seriously help in preparing for a big trip- I was amazed at the freedom I felt after selling/ getting rid of most of my possessions.

    Highlights from Chile: kiwi fruit and oranges, and crashing while hitchhiking down the mountain in the back of a pickup truck. Costa Rica: the delight then disappointment when I thought I got the food I had ordered (in MINIMAL Spanish) – then was handed a sandwhich bag full of white liquid. hmm. Ski season at Kirkwood, Lake Tahoe: Seeing my wife grinning then being buried in the endless snow.


  14. Well, a great post once again Tim…thank you. I have “long termed” traveled and will do so again. But, what I have noticed most with reaction from people is simply put….there must be something REALLY wrong with our society that would make people want to escape to a better experience. My response is always the same…”ones true reality may not always be able to be found within their surroundings, it has to be “sought-out”. This doesn’t mean you have to travel 5,000 miles to find it, often, it’s just a short jaunt- maybe to the next town or the next state. You’ll know it, when you get there. It’s a big planet and your time is limited——go out there and find it! I’m just having fun seeing new places, and that is what it’s really about!

  15. Ahh this post is perfectly timed. I’m leaving for Europe in August and have been obsessing over it to the point that my current situation has become mundane and stagnant. Living well can certainly be attained right here and right now thought…..I am sure of it. Business has become increasingly better while my social life has all but disappeared…

    ….and to top all of this off, after eating at a chinese restaurant in Boulder today – guess what my fortune cookie said? “The road to success is often a lonely one” Life is a trip!

  16. Great article – I have copied out a few quotes to hang around the desk and front of the fridge. Now I’m off with renewed energy to get decluttering!

  17. The beginning poem is beautiful. I find that as a Type A personality, I have a hard time “keeping it simple””. Thanks you for that.

    In my Psychology of Wealth workshop, I observe that my therapy clients began the course wanting “More Money” but by the end of the course, they almost universally realize they really want “More Freedom”. We can create freedom in our minds now–we have the power to create that sens of freedom at any moment. Often, creating that “vibration” brings financial abundance–added bonus!

    Sunny Strasburg MA, LMFT

    Depth Psychotherapist & Visionary Artist

  18. As always, a post to keep the fire burning and the life mentality of simplicity alive. I would say that I’m on step 8 of 10 of a true vagabonding life scenario. Downsized to literally 1 bag of clothes, a virtual business and what I like to call the party bus (Ford Explorer – that perfectly snugs a blow up air mattress just in case).

    The past 6 months have been an amazing experience creating this lifestyle and I have stumbling on this site after google searching travel the world with 10lbs (Tim, I have your SEO skills or your webmasters SEO skills to thank for that key phrase) 2 years ago. A process that takes time to implement and truly embrace, but as all life changes are, it’s a process.

    Thanks for the continued great content brother!

    Patrick Hitches

  19. Warning: some slightly critical questions following (i.e. only read after breakfast):


    So, like Doug mentioned, I also get confused about your ideology Tim. Sometimes you endorse and write posts supporting contradictory ideas. I personally don’t care so much about pushing the visa concierge boundaries, that was funny, even if a bit uninspiring to me.

    But, here, we read about simplicity and reducing the stuff we own to a minimum. Yet, in a video from a while back I saw you being excited about having purchased this super expensive… what was it, like a decorative wooden saddle, from your Asian travels? Something completely not functional that you’d put in your home to take up space and gather dust. A home where you presumably spend little time, since you mini-retire a lot.

    If we all need so little, and we should only buy what we need, and avoid getting suffocated by “stuff”, then why should we see you spending so much money on something like that?

    As a side note, it’s a bit ironic that on this very page, next to a post against consumerism, there is a huge banner ad “Gizmodo’s Best Gadgets 2009 – GoPro – the HD hero”. From what I gather, it’s an ad for a site that sells sports cameras.

    It’s okay, we all need to make money somehow. And I recently read that 70% of the American economy is built on consumerism. But what about consistency in the ideology that you support?

    My other thought is, why should we want to travel? Is traveling the most satisfying thing that life can offer? In the 4HWW you imply that the mini-retirements’ purpose is to live on less money so we don’t have to work that much and enjoy life more. But some people refer to traveling as THE thing that will give meaning to their lives. I don’t feel that way. I like living in one place. I LOVE living in America. It’s a privilige to live in a country that is structured and organized and everything is easy to do; a country that gives everyone a chance, and where people are open-minded, positive, practical and intelligent (compared to many other nations – and I too have had my fair share of traveling and living in other countries). I didn’t immigrate here for the need of something exotic. I immigrated here because it’s an amazing, intelligent, friendly place to spend your life, unlike so many places in the rest of the world. Where if I have to be honest people probably treat you nicely only because you’re American and to them you are rich. Not because they are all that warm as people. And I’ve been on the other side when I was younger, so I know what I am talking about.

    So what do you really think Tim? Do you really believe in minimalism to that much extreme as is described in this post? Is the constant traveling what everyone should want, and if so – why? And why the conflicting messages?


    P.S. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan. I follow you. I love your intelligence, free spirit and innovative ideas. I wouldn’t post all this if I didn’t care.

    1. Hi Lin,

      Thank you for the comment. The key here is whether your belongings own you or not. The question therefore is: how would you feel if you lost X, and how long would you be affected? The answer to the latter should be “not long.”

      It’s easy to be a consumer. It’s also quite easy to be minimalist. It’s harder — and often more worthwhile — to practice ownership of select items (I’d wanted the Japanese saddles since age 14) without letting them ever become essential to your well-being. Seneca was a good example of someone who mastered this. Being rich isn’t a problem either, for example, unless those riches own you.

      Hope that helps!


  20. What an amazing coincidence – I was pondering teaching English in South Korea, and this pops up, and how did the author finance his 18 months in Asia? Savings from teaching English in South Korea.

  21. Dear Rolf,

    Thank you very much for this post. It’s a great read! I have ordered your book, can’t wait to read about your adventures. I’m finishing my studies soon and can’t wait to make some money and GO. Somewhere, anywhere 🙂

    Kind Regards! Robbert

  22. Great post Tim. I think that living simply would probably make more people happy than owning more material possessions. However, it’s a big leap for most “westerners”.

  23. Great Post. I think of my self as a free spirit in a way but it is so hard to break the habit of hard work. I truly believe in what you speak of Tim with all of this but you worked long and hard to build a business that was great. You then once at that point turned it in to a business that ran itself.

    I still think that is an important part of life is to build that business and be your own man before hand.

    Vagabonding does sound Sexy though!

  24. I just came back from a short trip to Amsterdam meeting friends from another city. I stayed in a simple dorm hostel room; my friends in a fancy hotel. I ate simple bread and butter supermarket purchases; my friends went to restaurants. I drank beer; they drank cocktails. We saw the same things, listened to the same music, engaged in conversations and enjoyed the vibrant atmosphere. I think, we equally enjoyed the trip and made basically the same experiences. At the end of the trip, I suggested to meet in a few month in a different city. But unfortunately that is not going to happen, since my friends run out of their travelling budgets.

    It is hard to commit yourself to a simply lifestyle and reject consumerism, but it is even harder to convince your peers.

  25. Hi Tim,

    Just wanted to thank you.. your 4HWW book, changed the way I look at things. It truly changed my life. Think recession in a way is a good thing. It forced us to re-think about our priorities in life.. and about things in general. Living life to the simplest, and yet fullest.

    “A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.”

    Lao Tzu

    Life is a journey.

  26. Long story short, I’d rather live a simple life…I choose to do well first and live well after…

  27. Dear Tim,

    thanks for your inspiring book and inspiring life.

    we are living a very free life and we are part of the “new happy people” generation.

    We are living in Villefranche sur mer, a paradise in Cote d’Azur (between Nice and Monaco)

    We are going to Argentina for 2 months in Buenos aires to challenge ourselves to learn tango in november and december 2010.

    2 questions :

    1. Could you recommend 1 to 2 great teachers (the best) to learn tango in Buenos aires?

    2. Where do you recommend to live for this 2 months period in buenos aires?

    thanks a bunch, if you pass by buenos aires during this time , it’ll be a pleasure meeting you up for a coffee.

    email :

    All our best

    Maximilien & Hanna

  28. Man, love “Vagabonding”. After about a decade now of hitchhiking, professional travel and random walkabouts, I can honestly say that I look at physical possessions so much differently. You start thinking in terms of “how much is it worth it to me to store this when next I head out” … or, my current favorite, “who could I get this for, who it’s perfect for, and who would let me use/watch/play with it as well when I’m around?” Anyone can travel. It’s just putting one foot in front of another.

  29. My husband and I are reading your book and disagree on what age group your book is written for. He believes that the book is written for people before they have families and settle in early 20s-33. He doesn’t think that it is written for people in the early to mid 50s, as this group would be nearing retirement and a complete change in lifestyle now could prohibit being hired for any job in the future as we would be too old. In your book, you ask to come up with his worse case scenario. His would be that he wouldn’t get hired in the future, worked for 30 years and threw away his medical benefits, bonuses, etc. which doesn’t make sense to him. We are currently debt free, done paying for college, etc. Age 49 and 53.

    Can you comment??

    1. Hi J,

      It’s for both! The questions new college grads, mid-life crisis folks, and soon-to-be retirees ask themselves are the same 🙂

      Good luck!


  30. @Chris: Europe doesn’t have to be expensive at all! We have been traveling in Europe since 2006 & live really large on 23 dollars a day per person and could do it on less. We haven’t done any couch surfing, WWOOFing yet ( although they sound great) and rarely use hostels ( which are quite expensive in Europe, especially for families).

    We’ve done it when the euro and pound were ridiculously high compared to the dollar and when gas prices were much higher, so it is even easier now.

    You can see all the expensive cities like London, Paris, Oslo, Rome, but spend the majority of your time in the smaller cities, villages and rural areas where most of the authentic charm is anyway and live like a native. The mass transit, biking and walking makes Europe a real paradise for independent budget travelers.

  31. Anyone know of a good copyright or license infringement resource? I want to distribute a product but am not sure if I would be violating the university’s license to sell that existing product. A hypothetical… University of Florida sells Gator t-shirts. Can I sell anything that has the UF logo on it without prior permission? How do I know what is protected and what isn’t?

    Tim’s book has me pursuing every business idea I’ve ever thought of but was too much of a punk to initiate. Thanks in advance!


  32. Normally I wouldn’t toss a comment in here just to say “this is a great post’ … but, well … this IS a brilliant post. Thanks for sharing Rolf and Tim. 😉



  33. I agree with Nick. After having traveled a bit in several countries i always had the feeling that it was not really about finding myself but escaping from my own reality and condition. Of course I felt relieved traveling and seeing things my eyes could never look at back to my own country but I also always felt like it was just a coward way of using my time.

    I don’t despite vagabonding at all but i think it can be a dangerous thing. How many times have I seen people traveling around the world from backpackers to backpackers and coming back with pictures of 3world countries children and olders ppl and saying how amazing and life changing it was. But they didn’t get that much about the culture about the people about anything except few experiences that i reckon might have been interesting but those were few scattered around a 1year trip. Sometimes people make things better than they are or think they learned stuff that they don’t really understand. When I hear stuff like “Chinese are like…” “Indians are…” from people who stayed vagabonding 2 or 3 weeks in those countries I’m getting pretty confused. How to understand people and countries of thousands and thousands years of history in weeks moving place to place? I think you have to stay years. Live with the locals get insights within their culture, gaining understanding years after years then I agree with Nick it will be rewarding (even if i disagree on the fact that you will be integrated within the society).

    I’m assuming that every consequent amount of time you dedicate to something in life you have to learn something, from people, travels, vagabonding is not about quitting your life it’s about enhancing it and many people don’t understand that, they just do it because it’s cool, because they will have a lot of pictures on their facebook and will be able to date girls they weren’t able to date prior to having so many life experiences as a cool vagabond. It’s like people going to harvard mba’s they all have to climb some K2 or Himalayas to look cool. Vagabonding is the new average and as all trends if you’re just a follower you won’t get as much as other people.

  34. Living well to me is being happy, enjoying being alive, good nutritious diet, variety of hobbies, social life, friends and family and feeling content with who you are as a person. Doing well is more “bought” being measured in assets, possessions, size of pay packets, roles and titles held and keeping up with the Joneses. Whilst curbing material expansion we need to awaken emotional connection to the finer things all of which are priceless and can never be bought.

  35. Tim,

    I recently picked up your book at the local B&N after hearing about The Four-hour Workweek by a friend. I just finished reading Chapter 4 and I decided that I wanted to write because I can so identify with your message and your new life. I have found my own version.

    Since February 2007, I have been living life as a philosopher and writer. Each month, I produce one to two commentaries on business, political, social and spiritual matters. My following has grown to over six thousand contacts including attorneys, business executives, clergy, major foundations (John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur, Open Society Institute and the Soros Foundations Network, Pew Charitable Trust, Charles and Helen Schwab and the Turner Foundation), state and federal lawmakers, media and Washington DC policy institutes of which fifty-seven hundred are PhDs teaching at more than sixty colleges and universities in ten countries — the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, France, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

    Included are nine nationally top-ranked university professors — Emory University’s Patrick N. Allitt, PhD (Berkeley), University of Toronto’s Kenneth R. Bartlett, PhD (Toronto), University of Pennsylvania’s Thomas Childers, PhD (Harvard), University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill’s Bart D. Ehrman, PhD (Princeton), University of Oklahoma’s J. Rufus Fears, PhD (Harvard), University of Virginia’s Gary W. Gallagher, PhD (U.Texas @Austin), Emory University’s Luke Timothy Johnson, PhD (Yale), University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill’s Lloyd Kramer, PhD (Cornell), University of Georgia’s Edward J. Larson, PhD (U.Wisconsin @Madison).

    Among these schools are twenty-eight world-class universities with over four thousand professors at Harvard College, Harvard Kennedy School (Government), Harvard Law School, Harvard Business School (over 750), Yale, Yale Law School, Stanford, Stanford Law School, Stanford Graduate School of Business, Berkeley, Princeton, Columbia, Columbia Law School, Chicago, New York University School of Law, Duke, Penn, The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management, MIT Sloan School of Management, Cambridge, Cambridge Faculty of Law, Oxford, Oxford Faculty of Law, London School of Economics, Trinity College Dublin, École normale supérieure, Paris (ENS-Paris), École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS), Universiteit Leiden, ETH Zurich, Freie Universität Berlin, Toronto, McGill, British Columbia, Australian National University, Melbourne, Sydney and Auckland. Among the fifty-seven hundred professors, my retention rate exceeds 99.8% (as of 5/10)…

    All this was impossible for well over 30 years of my life, I was unable to write and speak effectively due to a learning disability. Writing was an impossible burden for me. I was an underachiever, both, in school and at work. In 2002, at the age of 32, I had a nervous breakdown, or breakthrough, costing me everything as I was forced to face confinement in jails and mental institutions. It was a real death and rebirth. I lost old friends, my cherished reputation, my career and job, home, marriage and finally, I was kicked out of graduate school.

    Out of the desert sprung some beautiful flowers, I became a new man, a free and a happy one with a burning desire to sit down and to finally write out my story (60k words). I haven’t stopped writing since and I couldn’t be any happier. Who knew what my talents were? Nobody ever said it was writing.

    What did I do this week, I made a second pass through the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge (U.K.) adding more professors from four programs including the entire Faculty of Law at both schools. For me, the sky has become the limit after I, first, broke through my own. That’s so critical.

    Not too bad for a “C” student.

    That’s what you’re talking about, isn’t it? Free to live each day as you see fit.



  36. I just read a guide on how to live tax-free, vagabond lifestyle, and it gave a mention to 4-Hour Workweek:

    “Expatriation is perfectly suited to the lifestyle possibilities outlined in Tim Ferriss’s best-selling book, The 4-Hour Workweek. For Americans who have the goal of earning their income online – and of course for those who are doing it already – expatriation opens the door for you to earn your income tax-free while you travel and enjoy the world.”

    The guide was super useful for me, so I wanted to pass it on. It’s available for free here:

  37. A very well written piece. This article reminds me of Annie Leonard’s “The Story of Stuff” which tells about how much consumerism has taken over the important answers to the questions ‘Why do we live?’ and ‘What do we live for?’. You can find more here: It’s a helpful wake-up call for everybody.

    Van Gogh speaks his mind: “How difficult it is to be simple.” Difficult, especially at first… but not impossible.

    Thanks for sharing, Tim!

  38. Great post, love it. I’m curious though Tim how this elimination, vagabonding, and simplistic life line up with your beliefs though. I mean in you book you talk about time management, and getting more out of your time but this is something else entirely. Isn’t it?

  39. Tim,

    I read the first edition of your book after discovering your blog and was so impressed, I’ve bought the second edition both in print and Kindle formats. Ideas have flowed naturally since reading but, unfortunately, so has fear. I recently quit a job working in the Middle East to come back to the United States. For some reason, I felt safer playing the stock market rather than throwing it in an idea that could provide residual income with little maintenance. Now, I’m down to my last couple thousand dollars.

    I’m in the process of getting rid of everything unnecessary (of which I have a lot), starting one of the businesses I have had in my imagination for months, and setting off on foot across North America with a backpack consisting of a few pairs of clothing, a flashlight, my iPad, a cell phone, and three books: Vagabonding, 4HWW, and Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. I’m also starting a journal, which I’ll attempt to turn into a book if I’m successful: “How To Turn $2000 Into $2 Million….And Not Care”.

    I’m aware that what I’m doing may seem drastic to most, including my friends and family. I’m also aware that I’ll be a walking cliche’ if I don’t go all-out. Being a 28 year old ex-Marine, I feel strong enough physically to undertake the journey. I only hope that my mental strength doesn’t fail me.

    Either way, if I reach my goals of freedom from finances and the ‘rules’ of society, I owe a lot of it to you. Thanks for your willingness to break the rules first and your consistent positive attitude.

    1. Thank you for the comment, Robert. Ex-Marines are tough. I have no doubt you can pull it through. Just test small and inexpensively. There is no need for big risk in what I suggest.

      Good luck!


  40. Tim,

    Great post man…as usual you put things in perspective….ha!

    I have spent way too much time not knowing the difference between the two…as most probably have!

  41. Love your writing, Mr. Ferriss, I really do. But this article would have been more meaningful had it been written prior to you becoming rich and famous. Unless you’ve taking some kind of vow of poverty that I’ve missed in the interim, this smacks of condensation considering your own personal financial circumstances.

    Maybe I’m just bitter, having fallen into the trap of possessions that I can’t seem to unload.

  42. What a fabulous post, it’s great that you are inspiring so many people.

    I started living as a vagabond in 1998 and haven’t looked back.

    Recently, I lived for FREE on a 5 million dollar yacht for 4 months, in a house on a gorgeous Caribbean Island for 5 months and in a beautiful home near the beach in Florida.

    All of these opportunities came to me because I was open to meeting new people and HELPING them. In each case I helped people in exchange for a place to stay. It was a win/win situation.

    As the post says, it doesn’t cost a lot of money to live this way, you just need to be thoughtful and open minded.

    I’ve had fun and adventures far beyond my wildest dreams. Yes, there were challenges but through it I’ve learned resilience, compassion and the biggest lesson of all – we each create our own reality!

    Albert Einstein once commented that the most fundamental question we can ever ask ourselves is whether or not the universe we live in is friendly or hostile. He hypothesized that your answer to that question would determine your destiny.

    Thanks Tim, you’re a star!

  43. Is it just me or do I simply think differently? After 3-4 months of travelling no matter how much you like visiting sites and beaches it gets bit dull for me. Just like eating chocolate. You can only have this much of it. The idea of vagabonding somewhere for 2 years would simply drive me mad I think. What exactly do you do on your travel all this time? People are social animals and most of us need some kind of routine, that you oppose. You also forget that it is actually quite difficult not having friends travelling with you (if you are doing it alone).The random people you meet on the trips will never usually become real friends as you will never see them again as you leave one country and go to the next. Waking up at 9 and going home at 5 is something people like to hate but actually most of us cant “live well” without it.

  44. @Alex – It’s not just you, as I’ve met plenty of others who grow bored with travel as well as a few who are not interested at all. However, I would suggest trying different ways of traveling than the ones that you’ve grown bored with in the interest of creating a different experience thru experimentation. You asked some questions and posed some conundrums. While I don’t speak for everyone, I’d love to chime in.

    Q: What exactly do you do on your travel all this time?

    A: People, study, exploration. People are generally those you rideshare with, stay with at hostels, meet at coffee shops, etc. Some of the best of these you network with online and often meet up in multiple places across years and countries. A few of these become family and you end up rooming with ’em when you bunk down somewhere for an extended period. Study can be learning the local history, learning a new language (hours and hours of talking to myself while learning), memorizing maps or at least landmarks, etc. Exploration doesn’t even require a city, as it can be climbing, hiking a mountain chain or exploring your own mind in meditation… but a city can be just as fun.

    Conundrum: People are social animals and most of us need some kind of routine, that you oppose.

    Reply: Many people do prefer a routine, although “need” is a strong word. Many other people are not routine-oriented. Travel can be adapted to either personality, although tourism caters more to the routine while vagabonding caters more to the spontaneous. Both routine and spontaneity are native to our organism and can are learned with earnest effort (although one of the two will almost be the “left hand” of the pair).

    Conundrum: You also forget that it is actually quite difficult not having friends travelling with you (if you are doing it alone).

    Reply: If you have adapted to one form of travel that includes traveling with others, then this statement is true for the way you know. In reality, however, neither group or solo travel is more difficult (although I’d love to say solo is easier). A group can’t easily rideshare, and a group has to look for a hostel or other place of lodging that can support their numbers, and a group often gets stuck doing what “everyone wants to do” while individual members often miss out on their personal desires. They’re just different difficulties.

    Conundrum: The random people you meet on the trips will never usually become real friends as you will never see them again as you leave one country and go to the next.

    Reply: After a decade of travel now, only a handful of my friends from before my traveling days still remain. The many I now surround myself with–my family; my friends; my tribe–are other travelers that I’ve met along the way. Although it’s come a long way, the Internet has been key in this. Nowadays, we update our Facebook/Twitter with where we are and where we’re going. You see someone you love going your way and you hit ’em up and connect a few cities down. You’ll find seasonal work somewhere and let others in on it, or someone tips you off and you end up migrating countries (sometimes continents) to not only work a great gig but with people you love. On extended downtime, we room with each other. Eventually, there’s just too much trust for them to be anything other than family (and, yes, with plenty of that family drama thrown in for spice).

    Conundrum: Waking up at 9 and going home at 5 is something people like to hate but actually most of us cant “live well” without it.

    Reply: There are always more negative voices shouting out than positive, so mad props for standing up for the nine to five. Some people are definitely daybreakers. I have a hazy memory of that shift and remember not liking it, but I think it’s just the schedule our schooling trains us for and it’s a form of conditioning that is easily undone (otherwise people couldn’t work evenings and graveyards with ease). To say most can’t “live well” without it may be applicable to some, and even preferable to those, but it shouldn’t be assumed that it applies to “most”.

  45. Great advice. Once resource left out under budgeting is anything from Dave Ramsey, He is strait to the point; love him or hate him, he is on point.

    The section on kids is awesome. One of my so-called obstacles is vagabonding with kids. Great resources once again.

    FYI: Post read time 5 min. I must read SLOW! LOL

  46. Your link to the simple living website should be taken down. The web site is closed to new subscribers, so content isn’t accessable.

    Like your idea, would love to live a life more like yours. I’m feeling trapped by massive student loan debt that I’m not able to generate enough income to pay on. Most people view student loan debt as “good debt”. I’ve come to disagree.

  47. I learned something from this article….I am now a senior ………….I never knew that 55 was the year.

    Seriously, a good article and worth the read.

    I’m off to check out all those senior websites!

  48. I enjoyed the book, “Voluntary Simplicity”, based on similar ideas and principles. Add it to the reading list?

  49. Thanks for posting this, Tim. I needed it, both as a reminder on the value of travel and to help move its financial support back to the top of the priority list. Everyone should start moving their 401k, SARSEP, and other investments into Vaga Bonds. JSJ

  50. Unconditional happiness. That’s what I’m all about. The ego loves stuff. The ego loves ANYTHING outside of itself, when all the happiness we really need is already available to us. Much like the Schwartz ring in the movie “Spaceballs”, the stuff we have is the key to our true selves, but we don’t really need the stuff. All the stuff does is open up a path to that unlimited joy that is in us all the time, but if we can learn to find a new way to get to that source, our lives will become exponentially incredible every time we look. Well, mine has anyway…

  51. This was a great post. I have been reflecting on these very points the last few days. I first read 4HWW a couple of years ago and made a plan to get outta my day job, did that but now find myself working as hard and worrying about it. I didn’t get the time back I wanted… These points will help me get back on track along with some self reflection and writing I think.

  52. Very inspiring. I’m already picturing a few items that I could do without. Thankfully, I go to school in a VERY cheap area of upstate NY. I may stay there after graduation and work virtually / locally and save up money to travel Europe and Asia.

  53. Tim F,

    Fabulous post. I’ve got no idea why you write about the subjects you do; whether it’s for other people’s benefit – to educate and open minds; or whether it’s to stimulate thoughtful conversation with like-minded people; or maybe it’s something completely different. Either way, I’m glad you do. Why? Because, once again, as I sit here reading one of your articles and the clever, informed, comments it has generated, I’m reminded (again) that going out to work to ‘earn a living’ (particularly in the manner I do) is so, so far from really ‘living’ that it is laughable. And for these (constant) wake-up reminders, I cannot thank you enough!

    Keep it up.


  54. Help! Have you ever taken on the challenge to help a mother of three? I’ve read both of your books and don’t know what to do when I grow up. I was in real estate and real estate was my obsession (until my husband told me to take a new job). Obviously, there is no future career in real estate. I have taken on another job that I know is not exactly where I want to be but pays the bills. I need help. I can’t settle for average.

    I do wish I could have provided you with a “success story”.

    Any ideas, suggestions, advice….


  55. I’d have to agree with the skeptics on the reading time. 3000 words in 5 minutes == 600 wpm. More typical is 250 wpm, or 12 minutes. 600 is quite fast, and for a post that’s supposed to be though-provoking, doesn’t leave much time for thinking.


  56. Great Great Article. Thank you for this.

    I would like to also recommend a book to you if I may that guides me on the path less travelled. It really should be on the list above. The title is “Free Parking” written by a Canadian named “Alan Dickson” who describes himself as a recovering financial planner.

    “Earn Less – Live More” is the subtitle.

    Needless to say I read this book cover to cover regularly to keep focused moving forward when choosing life over making a living.


  57. Personally this quote sums it up for me.

    “Content makes poor men rich; discontentment makes rich men poor.”

    Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) American statesman, scientist and philosopher.

  58. I think a lot of people spend their lives on autopilot, always pursuing more than they need or even want, without understanding why, instead of just achieving what’s necessary to express their personalities and their own desires, and to live the way they genuinely want to live.

  59. Tim:

    Thanks for sharing this- it took more than five minutes since I have not yet mastered your speedreading but it’s a great investment!


  60. Awesome post, but I do have a question. I don’t doubt that the beach huts can be found at great prices compared to living in a US city, but does anyone have any information on where to get these deals? I Tried googling a bit, but haven’t come up with much.

    I think debt is my big thing, but reading this post makes me want to take action and enjoy life. I feel very tied down at the moment with big car payments and student loan bills to pay each month. I’m thinking I will try selling my car and freeing up some income so that I can some day set out and travel as well.

    When you think about it, we really do accumulate a lot of useless crap over the years.

  61. Great post. I move every three to eight months and still add Uni into the mix. I am currently living in Bangkok and fluttering around the region heading back to study too soon. Here is my advice/insight into being a minimalist or enjoying extended travel (or just being away from Homebase):

    –To keep it cheap– It’s less costly to travel in the off-season of a country (i.e. Not tourist season) hotel prices are down and there are a lot more deals and specials available (or at least made noticeable) to tourists. Ex. I came to Bangkok right after the Red Shirt Protests (and while I do live with family that moved here long ago) hotel prices have been cut dramatically (some 50%) and there was No traffic!! Now things are almost back to normal, but prices are still down. Fyi. Even if there wasn’t a crisis prices are still low in the off-season in lots of countries.

    –Think about what you value about your home routine, you can tie it into your travel lifestyle– I value a good workout because it sets the pace of my day and keeps me healthy physically and mentally. The hardest part for me when I move is adapting my workout routine to my new lifestyle. But, once you realize you need to find a way to incorporate that valued routine into your life, wherever you are, it can make the whole experience much more enjoyable.

    –Take Baby steps– You don’t have to give up your life at home if you don’t want to. Especially if you are older and have lived somewhere for a long time, doesn’t mean you have to give it all up (but it may be necessary to downsize). Take baby steps, if you do this you will learn if and how you want to incorporate these travel experiences into your current life. I’m currently helping my dad do this. My sisters still live in the house and it is not time to move yet, but every time I go back I clean out a room and go through all of our stuff and either give it away or prepare them for a yard sale (I don’t stay long) As for me all my belongings fit in my car and I usually just borrow a bed and dresser from family or friends nearby wherever I am (in the US). Not many people are minimalists, so you could have many options. –to start.. what are you doing this weekend? Oh nothing? Well pack ONE bag and get the hell out of town! (go to the mountains, on a boat ride, to another state nearby, you don’t have to get on a plane yet if that is a big step)

    –Learn your pace— What do you enjoy doing when you travel? Do you just want to relax on a beach? Do you want to immerse yourself in a culture? Do you just want to see the sights? Do you want to travel from place to place and not stop? Any of these will work, as long as you are happy doing them. The purpose of these experiences is not to come ‘home’ and compare where you’ve been and how much you know with someone else, the purpose is to add happiness and value to your life. I’m still figuring this out and I know what I don’t want and slowly figuring out what I do want and how I get the most out of where I am. Tim is a great example (if I understand correctly): He has learned that he enjoys learning about other cultures and the activities within them and he is willing to invest his time into doing this. The book, blog, etc. are byproducts of his experiences, and he seems to enjoy passing along what he has learned to anyone willing to listen (just like everyone else whether family, friends, or strangers). Lucky us!

    Although long that was my brief two cents on the traveling/minimalist lifestyle. Hopefully helpful to those who think they’ll leave the vagabonding to the “professionals”. Just remember where the professionals began!


  62. Developing and living a set of core values will de-clutter your life in astounding ways. It’s ok to “have it all” but your core values will allow you to determine what is important to you and your life. Simple but effective way to live. Here’s some great core values to get started, keep your list about to about 10 or 12 core values. Appreciation, humility, valor, understanding and forgiveness.

  63. That’s an amazing article to read and it’s very inspirational. For a long time I dream of traveling the world and I have no problem with simplicity, sleeping in hostels or taking buses and trains at all. I would give up a lot to be able to travel for months.

    The think that sadness me is that all of the articles of this type are write from American point of view and as much as I love this article this advices just can’t help me in my situation. For example: “and my total expenses rarely exceeded $1000 a month” maybe sound cheap for an average American or someone from Western Europe, but I’m from Bosnia and my month income is around 500 dollars, so no matter how much I simplify my life, I am still far away from being able to travel, even the way described in the article.

    Is there any advice for someone like me?

  64. I seriously loved this blog, thank you so much! I’ve always been good at letting go of ‘stuff’ and feel even more determination to let go of what’s left. I think decluttering your home and life frees up so much energy for pursuing your dreams.

  65. Hi, everyone!

    I’ve been living out of my suitcase for the past two months and have worn the same clothes during this time. Luckily, I’ve been doing laundry along the way! My sweety and I have been able to visit Australia, Nunavut (Canada), Yellowknife, NWT (Canada) and Indiana as well as Winnipeg, Manitoba.

    It’s very, very easy to keep in touch these days via Facebook and webmail to stay on top of business and connect with friends and family.

    At 38, I’ve never been happier. This morning I cooked a meal for my sweety and a dear friend who checked his nets at 1 am with the tides last night. Our friend donated his catch to us and our crew for tonight’s feast. It’s marinating right now for supper. After, we’ll have a cake in the shape of an ulu for a friend’s birthday. Then for 5 dollars, we’ll be able to attend a community music festial for a few hours before heading up the hill to our tent.

    As I write this, I’m amazed at how much I’ve accumulated over the past 4 years living in one place. Most of it I do not need. I’m so happy to be moving next month as I’ll cull a lot before I go and give all of my furniture away.

    I think one of the quickest ways to cull your stuff is to move. When your movers are charging you by the pound things become clear very early about what you really need and want in your life.

    I’ve read Tim’s book and love it so much. Even just looking at the cover fires me up for business and starting scholarships for my communities who’ve always been there for me. Thank you, Tim!

    It is a joy to wake up every day and know the basics are covered (food, warmth, a quick check of the Internet, laundry if we need it, visiting with friends and elders and some serious cuddling every single night) at a very low cost.

    My question is about renting versus owning a home. I’ve always rented and find that landlords are fabulous when it comes to looking out for you if you are respectful of them and their property. I find so many friends who own a home are cash poor and usually have an excuse for not doing a lot of things.

    Mind you, I do not have children and having children and becoming a home-owner usually go hand in hand.

    Is there a book or movement out there that suggests renting is the way to go? I have investments and many ways of generating money on the road, but it seems to me that renters have a bliss they keep to themselves.

    Anyhow, please respond and let me know what you think about renting vs. owning. Tim, you’ve created an international movement for this generation and please come out with more books, etc.

    You’re a man on the move and you remind us all of our dreams and what’s important: health, time, friends and family, adventure, spontenaity and not knowing what will happen next. There’s a joy in this. I feel it every day.

    Take care,


    1. Hi Richard,

      I just sold a home at a six-figure loss because I decided home ownership wasn’t for me. I prefer the flexibility of renting and have no plans to purchase homes in the near future.

      Congrats on the wonderful travels!!!

      All the best,


  66. Hi Tim,

    This is just to thank you and The 4-Hour Workweek for providing me with the tools and encouragement to take a 2-month “mini retirement” overseas earlier this spring. It took a lot of budgeting because I chose not to work while traveling and still had to maintain certain expenses at home, but the experience was tremendous! I volunteered, rented an apartment in a city I’d always wanted to visit, unleashed a long-suppressed creative streak by keeping an online travel and photo diary, made some beautiful friendships and returned home without a job but incredibly satisfied and rejuvenated to continue to make future choices about “living well” instead of “doing well.” To anyone reading this, you really can do this too!

    P.S. I think we were in Amsterdam (for Queen’s Day) and Istanbul at the same time!

    Best wishes,

  67. Thanks Tim! Inspiring as always. Got my goals set on not just living well, but doing well at the same time still. I think you’ve proven that both can be done if your focus is right.

    Aaron Gaily

  68. After falling into the trap of a job which I worked from dawn until dusk to pay for my 1/4 of a million pound mortgage on a 5 bed house, and material possessions such as TV’s and entertainment systems, I decided enough was enough. I sold EVERYTHING and quit my job, 6 weeks from making my decision – with a couple of suitcases I bought a plane ticket to Egypt and I never looked back. I started my virtual business, which I established in Egypt (it’s a great place to go if you want your money to stretch a long way) where I was for over 2 years, since then I have lived in the UK, France, Spain and soon off to Italy. I have no desire for anything other than as little as possible – it makes it so much easier to move around 🙂

    I met my husband along the way too and had 2 children both born in different countries – it’s so much fun!

    Great article Tim, thank you…

  69. Dear all

    just a quick message and question, I recently read The 4 Hour Work Week from someone who brought it to my Filipino Martial Arts class. It really touched on the many anxieties and concerns that I have as I find myself in a situation where I am stuck in a job I never wanted and “dying a slow spiritual death” as you put it. After reading the book however it seemed that Tim and many of the NRs already came from an entrepreneurial background and past work history in the private sector. So I suppose one of the questions I had was, is an NR necessarily always an entrepreneur/business type person? How does Tim’s book apply to a lowly public sector worker such as myself, or even a bartender, gym instructor, teacher, accountant or unemployed person? In fact the latter five are friends of mine who have all purchased the book after I recommended it to them as they are in the same situation as me. I don’t really have a business mind although I am taking the concepts in the book very seriously and I am willing to learn the workings of entrepreneurial initiatives and outsourced business. If anyone can answer this question I would be grateful.



    1. Hi Adam,

      Thanks for the comment. I believe business building is a learnable skill. Take heart! The “Automation” section should help you develop some entrepreneurial critical thinking, and then it’s all about experimenting and trial and error. I just had a slight head start, that’s all.

      Good luck!


  70. Hi Tim

    Thanks for that, in fact Ive already started outsourcing, been hiring assistants to re-work my CV and do my application forms, more time to have fun!! My other question was would VAs from companies such as Brickwork and YMII also conduct research on niche markets and re-sale techniques let alone set up my webpage for my business? I just dont have the time to do all that or study too much about the workings of business, economics etc although once I leave my job then I will.



  71. Great article. A couple of years ago my sister and I moved to Tokyo to work and travel. We basically moved with nothing and then found jobs and traveled around Southeast Asia. We were in Asia a year total. We only let ourselves take regular school backpacks, not those huge traveler backpacks when we arrived in Bangkok. We never needed more and loved living with less. We also decided to take only the local methods of transportation which made for some crazy interesting adventures in the north of Thailand and Laos, that included hitchiking some 300 miles. Our best memories are when we took the local way. It wasn’t always comfortable but we got to slow down and live in each moment and we met the sweetest people.

    If you really need it, you can find it on the road. Just pack some bug spray and sunscreen and have an adventure!!!!!!

  72. From someone who grew up in the Philippines, lived in the US (Los Angeles and Vegas), and then moved to Thailand in my late 20’s, this article surely hits home.

    Thank you for introducing us to Rolf’s work.

    Simplicity and freeing up time for meaningful activities- like engaging in one’s passion and spending time with loved ones- should be top priorities.

    My parents gave us a comfortable yet simple and laid-back upbringing. After moving to the States and having lived there for over 5 years, I experienced expensive dining, fancy car rides, fancy hotel rooms etc. Was I happier there than my previous stay in the Philippines and my current stay in Thailand? A resounding “No!”.

    Great blog. I can’t wait for your future work and Rolf’s as well. 🙂

  73. This is:

    1. Precise

    2. Actionable

    3. Counterintuitive

    All of which are the new way of seriously kicking ass. Love your stuff Tim, this is absolutely it!


  74. Don’t forget that the United Nations predicts, accurately I believe, that the population of earth by 2050 will be 9.3 billion souls. Question: who is going to feed, education and care for these people. Yep, you guessed it. All of us. That takes a lot of work, creativity and peace to keep earth a sane place to live. A loin cloth, bowl of rice, reflections, and donkey will not help anyone. We need approximately 9.3 billion pair of shoes, pants, shirts, hats, glasses, band aides, books, computers, hamburgers, coca colas, carrots and a few other things.

    Get real, ladies and gentlemen, if you don’t work hard and creatively, the global village will falter and descend into one of the biggest hell holes you can ever imagine, and recent history (you don’t have to go back far, Cambodia’s killing fields will do) proves it.

    See you Monday on the 8:00 a.m. bus.

  75. Tim,

    2 Things: 1) You lied. Or are an incredibly fast reader. Total read time (not counting the book recommendations): 11:36, timed on my Android. 2) Great post, very inspiring! I have not read Vagabonding yet but it sounds awesome. Also, I humbly appreciate the book recommendations on money management. I think we can all use a little more advice in that life quadrant.



  76. The marketplace seeks to interlock with our human makeup: emotions, insecurities, desires. In our society, virtually impossible to escape. With two young boys, I see them being drawn into it…and we not about to go live in the woods. I make them aware that when they feel that desire it’s because the marketing has put a deliberate hook in them. It’s fun to watch them realize the feeling of that hook. When they are teenagers we intend to vagabond to bring about the full feeling that you don’t need all this stuff and that a rich life is truly about experiences with other living creatures.

  77. I love it! this is how I travel. People constantly ask me how I can take as much time to travel as I do. I do it by adjusting myself and excellent savings habits. Here’s a video from one of my recent escapades where I got to meet Frank Kern.

  78. The man who has made up his mind to win will never say “impossible “.

    (Bonaparte Napoleon ,French emperor )

  79. This is an amazing blog post!!! I’ve read so many things like this before, but never expressed with such beauty and clarity. Thank you!

    Sharing immediately 🙂

  80. Since discovering 4HWW, I’ve been under constant inspiration from your posted content, this being no exception. Traveling for a higher perspective is so in alignment with my purpose <3

  81. thanks @tferriss, interesting observations. i felt some interesting things while reading and wanted to share:

    1) clutter is not stuff – it’s a state of mind. i have seen tinkerers live among mountains of machine parts yet they glide among the piles to reach into one and pull out the part. my wife would have detested to live there but the tinkerer happily lived among “his” garden. i do have a lot of objects around me but I always recycle (sell) the things I don’t need. whenever i leave with my family for a road trip, i close my garage door knowing that something could happen and i never see this stuff again and i am AOK with that!

    2) vagabonding is an extreme – pioneering, thought not as extreme, is just as fun. I was so excited to get my wife to start road-tripping with my boys (11 yrs and 7 yrs). we have started over the last couple of years seeing the USA in a minivan. our last trip covered 6 states, 2K miles in a week and we got to hang out for days with my uncle and aunt in a lake cottage where three city boys did nothing but fish. I also saw the gravesites of many of my recent ancestors and let some ghosts rests. she no longer fears these trips into nowhere which is cool. I will admit, there is nostalgia when i hit my driveway that is quoted in “Time” by Pink Floyd “Home, home again

    I like to be here when I can

    When I come home cold and tired

    It’s good to warm my bones beside the fire”

    where on a cold, raw, wet fall day, I do long to sit by a hearth with my feet warming (and steaming) and a glass of wine when you think that if death appeared at that moment, you’d smile and take his hand knowing you passed happy and content

    3) in pioneering, i do enjoy some planning but more importantly, i enjoy calling the audibles that make the trip. In our last trip mentioned in (2) above, while in the hills of West Virginia, we stopped at a hotel later in the evening (around 8 pm) because we were still 6+ hours home and asked the staff where to eat. When they mentioned Muriale’s (, we said we’d go which we did as we love italian food. now, dont get me wrong, i live about 15 miles from NYC (in NJ) and i know Italian and i’ll admit our expectations were low. It was like the whole town was there and we ate among them and had so much fun that made it magical. We laughed so hard when my wife’s “barpie” showed up and it was a large pizza, that we all teared up – i bet my sons will remember this day after i pass. before we left, we met the owner which completed the evening. none of this would have happened if we weren’t open to change plans on a dime.

    so, Tim, keep vagabonding in your search. i’ll keep pioneering in mine and maybe we’ll meet somewhere in the middle

  82. Nice read but why just restrict it to travelling or why depend on the notion of vagabonding to infuse minimalist tendencies into our being? Minimalism is a way of living life that can be applied anywhere and any time, and not just to our physical possessions but mental clutter too.

  83. Thanks for sharing this post Tim. Very inspirational to know that many people feel and practice this Vagabonding-type lifestyle.

    I just moved to Houston from South Florida for a decent J.O.B. so that I can pay down my debt from school. My plan is to keep living a simplistic lifestyle to help myself become debt free so that I can travel more in the future (instead of 3-5 day trips) and eventually become financially free.

    One aspect in this blog post that really stood out to me was that “Vagabonding is, was, and always be a private undertaking – and its goal is not to improve your life in relation to your neighbors, but in relation to yourself.” Many of my new friends in Houston spend all their time and money on unnecessary, uneventful things such as drinking at bars, eating out almost every night, expensive cars, expensive apartments or houses, etc. I am the exact opposite in that I spend the least amount of money as possible on materialistic investments (sometime I don’t even go out because I don’t feel like spending $20 on 2 beers) so that I can use the money I do save for personal investments such as surf trips to California or Central America, investing and to pay down my debt so that more life options open up for me. In doing this, socially I come off as cheap which I have learned to completely ignore since I find ways to have way more fun than sitting at a bar playing corn hole drinking beer after beer.

    All your posts are very insightful in the way I want to live my life. I look forward to learning more from you Tim and reading the 4 Hour Work Week (again).


  84. Super interesting how we strive to make more and more money sacrificing time, and at old age we would give all that money away in exchange for more time. I definitely believe in a clutter free life, hopefully one day I will gain the courage to Vagabond

  85. I very much like the idea behind this post, but the practicalities are another thing altogether. Tim, let’s be clear about this, is not short of money. He has multiple best-seller books, runs some side-businesses, probably makes a lot of money from referrals, product endorsements, and ads. And, best of all, this money comes mostly without him needing active involvement, afterall, that’s the whole point of his book, The Four Hour Work-Week. If he wants to go vagabonding for a year, he can do it without stress or worry, and of course he has fun, if it ever gets hard he can go eat at any restaurant he wants or stay in a 5* hotel. Hell, if I was him, I’d “vagabond” all the time!

    However, most people are not in such a luxurious situation. I live in the US but require a Visa to stay here. If I simply quit my job I would have to leave the country in two weeks. I would lose my dwelling, possesions, and friends. Then, assuming I vagabonded for a year, I wouldn’t be able to return to the US (no Visa). I would have to start from scratch again somewhere else. Because I had no income I would be stressed, anxious, nowhere to live, not sure of what I would do next. Basically, I would be a few steps away from being homeless and in a very bad situation.

    I think vagabonding is great if you have a large cashpile, rich parents, passive income, or a job which will take you back after a year. However, this doesn’t really apply to most people. If living well involves reducing stress, then I can think of no worse plan than quitting my job and leaving country, potentially leaving myself homeless.

  86. Great stuff as always.

    I have read quite a bit of your stuff and I am curious how you go about saving and organizing all these great refrence materials you seem to have. I come across so many great quotes and other such tidbits in my constant reading, but I can never seem to store it in an easily retrievable way, especially while I am traveling.

    Any advice you have would be appreciated.

    Also if your feeling frisky check out my WordPress blog and leave a few suggestions for improvements. I’m still new to this whole thing.