Praise for Vagabonding

This is just a small sample of reader and press praise for Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel.


I’m currently reading your book, “Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long Term Travel”, and I’ve never felt so inspired in my life! I’ve always had an intense desire to travel the world. I feel as though if I don’t travel, I won’t live. My wanderlust becomes worse with every passing day. And I never did think it was possible to set off the way I want to, to separate myself from the “tourist” image and take the path less travelled. Until I came across your book, that is. I heard about your book through a friend with a mutual desire to travel. He said he came across it by chance, and his life changed ever since. I knew then that I had to get my hands on a copy, and it was one of the best decisions I ever made. Your experiences and words of advice have given me so much hope for the future, and for that I want to say thank you! You really are an inspiration to countless people out there who need that “push” to go out there and chase their dreams.

I wanted to thank you for writing Vagabonding. Literally weeks after reading it I had put all my belongs (basically books) in storage and had quit my job. … I recommend your book to everyone I meet who has that itch just below the surface. Whenever I suggest it, I do issue a disclaimer that the book might be the most dangerous book the person will ever read… in a good way. Thank you again. The first time I read it, I received the spirit of the book and took off on pilgrimage. Who knows what will happens the second time? The best part about the book is that it has encouraged me to write the way I want to write, and for that I owe you immeasurable gratitude.

Having read, “Vagabonding”, I wanted to sincerely thank you for writing such an authentic and inspiring book. Although I had envisioned myself traveling for some time, your book reaffirmed my instincts and encouraged me to embark on my own adventure, the rewards of which are too great for me to describe. Having just returned from six months in South America, I want to loan your book to my friends in the hope that its messages will resonate with them as loudly as it did with me. However, my copy means so much to me that I’m reluctant to do so for fear of losing it! My experiences traveling created memories (good and bad) that I will never forget, and because of that I will lead a richer a fuller life. Your book helped create that. Thank you, and keep up the excellent work.

Just wanted to write a note to say your Vagabonding book was an inspiration to me (read it a couple of years ago now). It greatly encouraged me to fulfill my dream of traveling alone to Australia. On the evening of my 31st Birthday I was climbing the Sydney Harbor Bridge with a view of the sun setting on one side and the moon rising on the other. Amazing. As was sleeping in a swag in Kakadu park! My mindset changed from somewhat materialistic to adventurous, interested in experiences… and that has stayed with me. I have ‘the bug’ and now work for my holidays. So, thank you for writing a supportive, life changing book. My best friend also then read it.. She’s now living in Switzerland, living her dream!

I just finished reading Vagabonding, and I really enjoyed your advice and perspectives of long term travel. I love that you make an effort to break down every idealism that goes along with the fantasy of travel, and point out the

reality of the world and human experiences it can offer. I’m a 36 year old woman and plan to embark on my own solo adventure in July 2011 once all of my affairs are in order. I’m well aware that as a first time vagabonder, that the images of my impending adventure are nowhere near realistic. However, you were able to initiate a thought that hadn’t consciously occurred to me – to leave my habits, daily rituals, and general sense of American normalcy at home so that I can open-mindedly discover the world (and myself) as it truly is – not how I choose to see it. I think that with time and experience I will be capable, however I know it will be a challenge. As you are aware, living in the moment is an art that requires effort for the modern day American. Anyway, thank you for writing the book, it has inspired me, as well as reminded me that the glory of this experience will mostly be my own and the people I share it with.

I wanted to take a min to say thank you. I am in Mexico City awaiting my flight back home a changed man from travel. I am 38 years old and have recently sold my house and business to free myself to a life long dream of “vagabonding.” Your books calmed the waters of fear and apprehension that I’m not crazy and my desire to be free are indeed quite natural and important. You helped give me the confidence to sign my possessions over to business partners, real estate agents, and Craigslist.

I am not a rich man financially and never will be. I do, however, know the richness to life and the human experience. This current trip was just a sample to get my feet wet. I was only in Mexico for a short time to learn and observe. I’ve met some people that are just amazing and have been choked up with emotion more than once. At one point I had to ask my fellow (more veteran) travelers “guys, is it always like this, or is this group special?” because I’ve never laughed so much and had such a compatible group of strangers.

I just want to let you know that your book Vagabonding has inspired me unlike anything else I have ever come across. To make a long story short, I have always felt an urge to dedicate my life to traveling, but I never thought it possible to live a nomadic lifestyle. Reading your book has allowed my life-long dreams to become a pleasant reality. I also quit smoking the day I read your book (a task in which I thought impossible), the inspiration being live a life of simplicity. So, thank you for this book that has added a completely new, revitalizing and inspirational perspective to my life.

I’m not really the kind of person to gush (or write fan letters), but I just wanted to let you know how happy your book made me. Thank you for helping me stay motivated!

Reading this book has opened up my mind. …I can’t tell you how I feel energized to explore this world. I am telling you all this just so I can express my gratitude to for writing this book. It has had a huge impact on my life in the short time that I have had it and feel blessed to have found it.

I’ve given Vagabonding as a gift to many friends over the years and always recommend it to people I meet traveling. I left a copy in my hostels library in Wanaka, NZ. I wish I would of put my email in it to see where the book has traveled since then! Next time, I’ll try that!

Hi Rolf, Loved your books and I would like to thank you for bringing me back to my vagabonding “roots” as it were. When I was a 20 year old kid, my brother gave me Ed Byrne’s original vagabonding book and the rest is all history….Anyway, I thought I’d let you know you really “brought it back home for me” with the Vagabonding reminder. I do appreciate someone taking the trouble to lay it all out on the table for readers in a lighthearted, jokey yet informative way. Ed Byrne would be proud.

Your book has completely opened my eyes to a new way of life. I’ve always been fascinated with travelling and with discovering, as Modest Mouse describes it, “The World at Large.” I always assumed that after high school I would just grab a bag, board a train, and escape into the unknown. This book, however, has made me realize that at least some semblance of structure and planning is necessary. August 27th, 2009, I am leaving for Zambia to work on a farm with some friends of family for nine months. I will be a teacher, a doctor, and a laborer and I am very excited. After my nine months I plan on travelling around Africa for as long as my funds allow since I hace an open return ticket. I was there last year for two months and it changed my life and broadened my horizons further than I ever imagined. Thank you for your insight and willingness to write a book for people like me. I am nineteen and plan on taking advantage of the fact that I have my whole life ahead of me. Once again, thank you.

Your book is an incredibly written guide — not just a guide for traveling, but as a guide to perceive and/or live life in a different way. It really has been an inspiration for me, as I am in the works of pursuing my own travels.

I am sure you’ve gotten a variation of this email about 10,000 times since you wrote your book, but I am fairly new to the vagabonding experience so I wanted to add my voice to the choir: I loved your book. Thank you so much for writing it. I’ve been traveling on and off for the past couple years but I’d never heard of your book until a fellow blogger recommended it to me. I put it on hold at the library and finally last week received a dog eared copy. Obviously this thin volume had been well loved. I read the whole thing over Labor Day weekend and was astounded to hear all the things that have bounced around in my head for so long echoed back to me. Your book confirmed that my choices are as valid a lifestyle as any other. Right now I’m working a not unpleasant, but dull cubicle job and living at home to save up money to go exploring in Asia next year. I really appreciated what you said about “earning your freedom;” a spin which makes things slightly more bearable as I work towards my goals.

I just finished reading your book Vagabonding for the first time. I want to thank you for writing this; as I send this, I am exactly 3 weeks into what I consider to be my first true vagabonding adventure – leaving my country (USA) behind for more than 1 month, and following a loose agenda but living most days not knowing where I’m going to sleep the next night. I am presently in Guatemala, living with a local family while taking 6 hours per day of private Spanish lessons (total cost: $165 for the week). I *never *thought I would be here; I found out about it from an older couple, while boating through rivers in the Osa Rainforest of Costa Rica. I don’t want to take up too much of your time. Just wanted to write and say your book has been a useful guide for me to follow, as nobody I know has ever done anything like this (I’m getting a variety of reactions from my friends! Ranging from jealousy to awe to ‘Dude I always knew that kid was different’).

I loved your book, Vagabonding, I read it three times already, it’s becoming an inspiration to explore myself. And the world, of course. Thanks for having written it (sorry for my english, I’m italian…). Ciao

A great friend of mine once gave me your Vagabonding book, and the moment I opened it, I tore through it, and cannot possibly put into words how much it stirred that little warm feeling within my heart. Since then I dream about being a vagabond/world traveler/writer, which gives me (an extremely burnt-out waitress and 5 year college undergrad), a light as the end of that long dark dim, blue collar worker, college tunnel. As well as your book made me buck up, and take some writing classes, which I ignited the inner writer’s spark, which I’ve been neglecting for a while.


I just felt compelled to thank you for inspiring me more than you know. I’m finally going to take the leap and travel to Asia by myself after never having even left the country. I loved Vagabonding and will have it with me as it is such a wealth of information as well as inspiration. Look out world, here I come! (Cheesy but oh so true!) xoxo


Hello Mr. Potts! While perusing my local library i found Vagabonding,or should i say it found me. As i was walking by the non-fiction section(a section i never visit) Vagabonding was on the end of a display case and caught my eye. Guy walking across the dessert alone is quite striking. Checked it out and read it in a couple hours. To say it changed my thinking on travel is such an understatement forgive me for the statement! The last 5 years of my life I have scaled down my possessions and have put a much higher price on my free time and relationships. Instead of what i was wearing and/or driving. I got rid of my car and now bus and cycle. This has afforded me a much more intimate relationship with the people and area where i live(Columbus,Ohio). Your book showed me that it is possible to do this on a much more”international”level. In the process of planning my first trip(Uruguay)and would like to thank you for your help through your book! Its been by my side every step and will be making the journey. Thank you, sir!



“For all those that have the travel itch, this is the perfect book with which to scratch.”

— Outpost Magazine

“The book is a meditation on the joys of hitting the road for months or years at a time. It’s also a primer for those with a case of pent-up wanderlust seeking to live the dream.”

— USA Today

“Vagabonding is a crucial reference for any budget wanderer.”

— TIME Magazine

“Potts has synthesized more than six years’ worth of road experiences into an unusual travel guide that’s much more than a how-to manual for open-ended journeys. With wit, insight and flair, he has created an inspiring philosophical handbook about living life as an adventure. … Vagabonding is an inspiring read for anyone who has ever contemplated taking an extended break.”

— Globe and Mail

“I couldn’t put this book down. It’s a whole different ethic of travel. …[Rolf’s] practical advice might just convince you to enjoy that open-ended trip of a lifetime.”

— Rick Steves, “Travel With Rick Steves”

“Vagabonding [is] chock-full of tips and first-person accounts about how to journey frugally and well.”

— National Geographic Traveler

“Potts makes a valuable contribution to our thinking, not only about travel, but about life and work. And he leaves us with a prescription for making our lives more meaningful and more fun.”

— Boston Globe

“Vagabonding packs a serious philosophical punch and has a cult-like following among independent travelers. I’m warning you, though: This book may well inspire you to quit your job, sell the house and leave on an extended adventure.”

— The Oregonian

“Vagabonding gives inspirational insights and practical tips on how to make your dream journey viable and fulfilling. …[A] must-read for anyone thinking about hitting the road for longer than the usual two-week window.”

— Times Online (U.K.)

“Recommended reading.”

— Washington Post

“Liberally spiced with quotes from Whitman, Henry David Thoreau, John Muir, Lao-Tzu and other great authors and thinkers, Potts’ book is meant to inspire readers. …[It] is tailored for people who have always dreamed of travel but aren’t quite sure how to do it. It’s packed with Internet resources and travel tips, including how to negotiate time off work, ways to adjust to life on the road, and solutions to common mistakes all travelers make. Potts wants to make sure no one is left with any excuse not to travel.”

— San Francisco Examiner

“Vagabonding offers inspiration, practical advice and philosophical musings that can enrich even the most seasoned wanderer and be particularly helpful to inexperienced travelers. It features one of the best lists of travel resources, such as books and instructive Web sites, that we’ve encountered anywhere.”

— Minneapolis Star-Tribune

“For those who just want to enjoy the journey, Vagabonding combines practical tips for getting happily lost with a genuine love for life on the road.”

— Toronto Star

“Potts’ advice about ‘earning to live, rather than living to earn’ could be applied to many life goals. In Vagabonding, he mixes meditations on travel with bits of philosophy and considerable doses of encouragement for those who would like to get their show on the road but don’t know how.”

— Sacramento Bee

“Practical advice and poetic musings on long-term travel.”

— San Francisco Chronicle (Bestseller list, winter 2003)

“This is a book about how to earn your freedom — how to change your life so that it allows you to travel to each corner of the world for as long as you see fit. Despite worries about work and money, it encourages you to free your thinking and invest in life’s most valuable commodity: time. …Vagabonding could almost be called a self-help manual, since it promotes a broad worldview and suggests travel as a way to mindfully examine how best to live your life.”

— La Repubblica (Italy)

“If you’ve ever fantasized about taking a substantial amount of time off to globe-trot, then Vagabonding is a must-read.”

— (Editor’s Pick)

“Tired of clinging to that guidebook like it’s a security blanket? Try reading something that tells you how to appreciate the art of travel rather than how to spend money. [Vagabonding] will inspire rather than dictate.”

— Robert Young Pelton, in National Geographic Adventure

“Potts encourages us to think about travel in a way that has been almost lost. He wants us to wander, to explore, to embrace the unknown and, finally, to take our own damn time about it. I think this is the most sensible book of travel related advice ever written.”

— Tim Cahill, founding editor of Outside Magazine

“World-class vagabond and journalist Rolf Potts answers the burning questions on how you can travel to far-off destinations.”

— Peter Greenberg, Travel Today Radio

“Potts’ type of travel is a throwback, and a welcome one.”

— Surfer Magazine

“[Vagabonding] is a very inspirational read, one that had me ready to pack my bags after the first chapter.”

— Go Budget Travel editor Rob Meyer in the Los Angeles Times

“A wonderful book.”

— Pauline Frommer, The Travel Show

“An inspiring immediate classic…Vagabonding expands on virtually all the views we have presented in our magazine over the past 27 years.”

— Transitions Abroad

“Have no fear. There are plenty of options for vacationing on the cheap while still being able to get everything you might have hoped for from your journeys. Rolf Potts’ Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel … provides readers with an extensive outline on how to organize travel while not stifling all-important cultural experiences.”

— Columbia Missourian

“Forget the books on how to have the perfect vacation. In Vagabonding, author Rolf Potts tells readers how to prepare for long-term travel by negotiating time off from your job or school, simplifying your life, living on a budget and learning to handle travel adversity. …Vagabonding [is] a how-to book for adventurous souls.”

— Colorado Springs Gazette

“This book will become a travel classic, and belongs in all travel collections.”

— Library Journal

“Veteran vagabond Potts regales readers with his mantra: anyone with an adventurous spirit can achieve the feat of taking extended time off from work to experience the world. … For those with a bad case of wanderlust.”

— Booklist

“A book for everyone, it is particularly useful to those who haven’t quite found the courage to strike out on long-term travels, and are open to the unexpected experiences that can transform a banal tourist into an authentic traveler.”

— Donna Moderna

“Vagabonding is the cult Bible of the independent traveler. … Rolf Potts presents us with idealistic (yet sensible) answers on how to leave the habits of home and travel the world for long periods of time. The notion of “vagabonding” has been presented before, but here our postmodern Kerouac transforms it into a kind of philosophy that – while not rigidly definable – can change the way you see the world.”

— Turismo Magazine (Italy)

“It is a handbook for the globetrotting species — a guide for people who want to wander the world with intelligence and serendipity, avoiding specific itineraries and too much baggage.”

— La Stampa (Italy)

“Nothing short of pure brilliance… Not only is Vagabonding a quick and fun read, it is also a philosophical treatise, a how-to guide, and a technical manual, all rolled into one. If a long-term sabbatical from the daily grind is in your future, this is one item you can’t afford not to add to your shopping list.”

— Young Pioneers

“Potts extols the virtues of vagabonding, deftly weaving inspiration and how-to advice with a genuinely uncommon exploration of serious travel issues.”

— World Hum

“As much a philosophical treatise as a how-to guide, Vagabonding offers basic pointers on preparing for the road ahead and is an excellent reference to numerous other books and periodicals on long-term travel.”

— North Bay Bohemian

“Like few other travel guides, Vagabonding does not give advice on finding hotels or list reliable travel agents. Instead, it attempts to provide a framework from which travelers can create their own adventures. Potts’ constantly repeated message is that travel gives one the opportunity to live deliberately and experience life more fully.”

— Motionsickness

“Whether its a trip for two weeks or two years, Potts paints a beautiful picture of our world… Vagabonding does not contain all the answers, but gives you the tools you need to go out and find them.”

— Student Travel Blog

“Simply the best travel book of the year — the ultimate inspiration for just quitting it all and venturing out on the road. 5 Stars plus!”

— Independent Publishing Review (Editor’s Pick)

“Potts’ research is impressive. The book is engaging enough because of his writing style, but with the addition of his factoids, traveler biographies, hints, and resources, it’s also capable of engaging those long-held dreams of long-term travel that have lingered solely in fantasy-land for too long. …Vagabonding is the type of travel book that is kept in a reference collection instead of being tossed through a train window once its destination is met.”

— The Bookshelf (Canada)

“For a traveler feeling jaded from seeing one too many tourist traps, or for a newcomer trying to get a feel for what travel is, Potts has welcome advice.”

— Student Traveler

“A wonderful and much-needed addition to the world of travel guides.”

— Reader’s Club

“Travel, Potts points out, is a metaphor for life. … You can’t get through the book without the urge to live deliberately. To think. To plan. To find your path, wherever it may be.”

— F5 AltBooks

“A great inspirational guide for those who follow the siren to explore extended travel.”


“Rolf Potts has produced an engaging book that does what few, if any, other travel guides do: make readers aware of how accessible the experience of long-term travel really is.”

— Jeffrey Tayler, author of Glory in a Camel’s Eye, Facing the Congo, and Siberian Dawn

“In a compelling compendium of anecdotes and advice, Potts combines hard-won on-the-road tips with comprehensive resource lists and wanderlust-tingling tales from his and others’ worldly adventures. Vagabonding brings to inspiring life both the how’s and the why’s of life on the road.”

— Don George, Global Travel Editor, Lonely Planet Publications

“Digging into Rolf Potts, one encounters real issues about travel, issues that most other travel writers overlook…”

— Joe Cummings, author of Lonely Planet Thailand, Lonely Planet Laos, and Moon Handbooks: Mexico

“The graying geezers of travel writing had better scooch over and make some room — a new kid just tossed his pack up top of the bus. His name’s Rolf Potts…”

— Brad Newsham, author of Take Me With You: A Round-the-World Journey to Invite a Stranger Home

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