Book Notes: "Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel" by Rolf Potts

Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World TravelVagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel by Rolf Potts

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


This is the book I would carry with me if I had to sustain myself through misfortune. Frederick the Great carried the works of the Stoics in his saddlebags for the same purpose. I have read bits of this book for more than a decade and the words of Ralph Potts have inspired my blogging and my travel writing since I first left Old Girty's shores in 2006. There are so many quotes in this work, and so many pointers to other books to read, it is like a crystallisation of everything Potts ever read or learnt all jam-packed in a relatively quick read. For me, this book is nothing short of inspiring. Always has been, always will:
As Salvador Dali quipped, "I never took drugs because I am drugs." With this in mind, strive to be drugs as you travel, to patiently embrace the raw, personal sensation of unmediated reality - an experience far more affecting than any intoxicant can promise.
Potts has something special. He is the me I only hope I can be. I don't mean that I want to quit my job and become a vagabond. Far from it. Potts is a philosopher. Vagabonding is a 21st century philosophy book in the tradition of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values, only better. Potts has what I want, and ever since reading bits of his work all those years ago, I have been inspired by his philosophy. For me, education and travel make us free. Not politicians or political systems. If I had the option of returning to my youth (which I do not want!), I might consider becoming a vagabond. But I am the sum of my experience and rather blessed for it. So for me, the philosophy is key. But a practical philosophy. Think of tending your own garden, like Candide. Then read this book.



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