Vagabonding

A couple of days ago I finished reading Vagabonding which I just loved. It’s probably a bit hippy, trippy, spiritual questy and candy coated but still, it’s well written and fun to read. It details “taking time from your normal life—from six weeks to four months to two years—to discover and experience the world on your own terms.” and to do it repeatedly. Rolf Potts gives examples of people who work only a few months a year and leave for longterm trips year after year, living a basic life at home so they can get enough money to then leave for months living on a shoestring in exotic countries.

For many people, myself included, it seems like a great way to live and that’s the candy coated aspect I mention, I dont think everyone can actually do that but everyone might feel they can after reading the book. That’s not really the author’s fault though, he does bring things into perspective time and again, includes tips security wise as he does for a host of other subjects but he just makes it look so great by all the travel accounts he gives that I’m not sure we pay attention. Not necessarily a bad thing.

One surefire method to keep travel from getting too predictable is to occasionnaly acquire or improvise your own tranportation. In Laos, I bought a local fishing boat with some other travelers and drove it down the Mekong River for three adrenaline-filled weeks. In Burma, I bought a Chinese-made one-speed bicycle in Mandalay and pedaled it south for then days before trading it for a fistful of pearls. In Lithuania, I stuck out my thumb on the side of the road in Vilnius, and found myself four countries away (in Hungary) three days later. In Israel I did away with transport altogether and walked acros Galilee, Jesus-style.

Now doesn’t that sound like fun? But how many people actually have the guts and capacity to do it? Great fun to read anyhow, he includes many other books and websites as reference and at the end of each chapter there is a short portrait of a well known, sometimes legendary, vagabonder as well as quotes from many travellers he has met throughout the world. Possibly motivating and certainly fun.

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