Vagabonding, and the art of world travel

by Paul Goodchild on March 16, 2010

Vagabonding- the only book you need to bring on your journey.

I’ve been re-reading, as I tend to mention many times on this blog about books I really enjoy, the book Vagabonding by Rolf Potts.  It’s short little book, and wouldn’t take even the slowest of readers very long to get through, but it is jam-packed with so much good material I’ve had to stop underlining passages because it just takes too long to get through otherwise.

If any part of you wants to engage in some travelling anywhere, I highly recommend grabbing a copy of this book before setting off, and then bringing it with you as a reminder on the road.  I first read this book a year ago, in Koh Samui, when I came here to detox and to provide a space to think about what I wanted to do in the next phase of my life.  This book sowed the seeds on very fertile ground and it’s no understatement to say it greatly influenced me to get up and go with this travelling spree I’m on right now.  Not the only influence by any means though.

Today I read a section called “Keeping it real”, a phrase that many who know me will have heard me use quite a lot. 😉  It touches upon many points, one of which is actually what I’ve been talking about recently as well, the whole tourist versus traveller.

Get this, for a great line.  It’s simple and yet a point missed by many:

In many ways, embracing reality is daunting – not because of its hazards but because of its complexities. Thus, the best way to confront reality is not with a set method of interpretation (which will allow you to recognise only patterns you already know) but with a sincere attitude of open-mindedness.

Even if you’re not interested in travelling abroad, this is still a great to read since travelling doesn’t necessarily mean exploring the outer reaches of Mongolia, but what is being presented here is a mindset/approach about engaging with the world, a world that you don’t know and haven’t met yet.  And that can also be, and very likely is, right around the corner from where you live.  CNN and BBC news are not worthy substitutes.

I leave this article with just one more quote that lends itself to one of my previous articles

In reality, travel is not a social contest, and vagabonding has never represented a caste on the tourist/traveler hierarchy … the main conceit in trying to distinguish travelers from tourists is that you end up witha  flimsy facade of presumed insiders and outsiders.  By the vacuous standards of fashion, insiders and outsiders are necessary, but in the realm of travel (where, by definition, you are always a guest in foreign places) such a distinction is ridiculous.

Have a wee think on that one.  I’m off on my motorcycle…  🙂

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Bunny April 11, 2010 at 04:50

i LOVE this book


Paul Goodchild April 12, 2010 at 13:38

Me too! One the best I’ve ever read =)


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