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4.0 out of 5 stars
Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel
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72 of 72 people found the following review helpful
on 18 October 2005
Though there are many books out there to help you plan long-term and "gap-year" travel, Vagabonding stands out in its unique blend of philosophical inspiration and straightforward planning advice. If you've ever harbored a desire to take a few months or years off to travel, Potts' book will stoke your wanderlust and fill you with newfound confidence to hit the road.
The philosophical core of Vagabonding revolves around the idea that time -- not money -- is the truest form of wealth. How you spend your time is more important to true living than accumulating "things" -- and travel is a deep resource for acquiring rich life experience. A flexible and open-minded attitude, Potts insists, is the best travel tool you can acquire -- and this attitude starts before you ever leave on your journey. In other words, be prepared to take your travels slow. Don't over-plan your travels in advance. Learn as you go and be open to new experiences. Don't obsess about how others travel; just find your own way.
Beyond inspirational matters, however, Vagabonding is a great resource for the practical issues of travel planning -- offering a nice mix of print and online resources without being laborious or redundant. The book is not encyclopedic or exhaustive in this regard, but in the age of the Internet and Lonely Planet-style guidebooks, it doesn't need to be. Potts' resources point you in the right direction, advising and informing your online and guidebook research without presuming to do it for you -- a nice, intuitive information-age touch that (unlike other travel-planning guides) keeps the book from bogging down in superfluous and outdated information.
On a final note, I'll confess I probably wouldn't have written this review had it not been for the misleading two-star review below. With all due respect to the reader from Kent, Vagabonding is in absolutely no way philosophically rigid or closed-minded ("Research your own experiences for the truth," says Potts in the introduction, quoting Bruce Lee. "The creating individual is more than any style or system."). Moreover, having read the book several times, I've found that Potts' evenhanded approach "ridicules" nothing (save perhaps the idea of spending too much money on your travels, or of micromanaging your itinerary in advance) and his quotes from other thinkers dovetail seamlessly with his own ideas.
In short: If you choose only one book to plan a year abroad, this is the one to get. (It's worth a re-read when you get home, too.)
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36 of 36 people found the following review helpful
on 19 March 2006
I read this book before I set off travelling through Europe with my husband and 7 year old daughter, at the time I was concerned that I had not organised enough of our itinerary and we were walking into a disaster. What I find now, looking back, was that this book gave me the confidence to take the journey as it came rather than intensively plan it. That doing that gave us a lot of the highlights of our travels, although in all honesty we walked into a few problems because of it also. That said - had it just been adults travelling the problems would have been adventures but with a child we had less freedom to be flexible on some things. But it can be done and it doesnt have to cost the earth. This book inspires you to live with a different attitude to life, one that I have willingly integrated into, and that at times has nothing to do with travel. Potts is non-consumerist to the point of being almost anti-consumerist, and that attitude is like a relief in comparison with the market messages that we in the west inevitably live in the middle of. As others have said, this is not just a travel book it is a philosophy of travel book. If you want to travel freely without being tied down in your mind to the obligations of a 'gap year' or your 'OE' then this book encourages that freedom. You should read it!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 3 January 2010
I found vagabonding a must-have for anyone who is a philosophical traveller ie someone who isn't a consumer of tourism as a product, but is in sync with the age-old philosophy of travel as a way of educating oneself. It tackles even your mentality about travelling by keeping an open mind, going with the flow and not worrying about the cost of travel or letting that limit what you want to see in this world. Also useful for those who need to learn how to travel light in life and find the confidence and motivation to do so. It includes some practicalities behind travelling like security issues, who to trust etc. which are useful for any kind of traveller and not just the philosophical one.
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58 of 62 people found the following review helpful
on 29 August 2003
Anyone who has ever thought about travelling, this book will make you go! Anyone who has ever been travelling, this book will make you want to go again and anyone who is travelling whilst reading this, this book will make you that bit more adventurous when ordering food in a cafe where a squat toilet is another eating area! It's definitely a case of, if he can do it then so can I!
Of course if your not a travelling type then the book will mean as much to you as a tin of baked beans to a kipper, but for those who yearn for life as one of the wandering nomads of this world, this book will seem like the travel bible in as much as it suggests a life less ordinary!
This book is about working to live and not living to work!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 27 October 2008
Vagabonding is an inspiring and well written book about independant travel. The book covers the basics of travel, focussing mainly on the philosophical aspects, and provides a detailed bibliography at the end of each section.

It would therefore make a good starting point when one is considering a long trip abroad. However, it is certainly not a definitive all encompassing guide but is probably the book I would read first when planning my first trip.

I have, however, been travelling before and some of the information in the book wasn't particularly new or revelationary. I found that it definitely whetted my travelling appetite though, inspired me, and gave me a good foundation for further research.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on 9 April 2004
This book was truly fantastic. It was inspirational without preaching at you and gives invaluable advice. It shows the way on how to get the most out of your travels and gives numerous other books and online information if you seek further reading. There is advice and stories on all topics throughout the book from all kinds of people, not only the author. Another plus is it is not just geared towards Americans. This book is for everyone unlike other similiar books available. Unquestionably 5 stars!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 4 September 2010
IF YOU ARE CURRENTLY DELIBERATING WHETHER YOU SHOULD JACK IT ALL IN TO GO AND DISCOVER THE WORLD BUT YOU'RE STILL UNSURE, BUY THIS BOOK.

IT WILL HELP YOU ASSESS YOUR FEARS, REALISE THAT YOU COME OVERCOME THEM AND ALSO TRUELY BRING IT HOME THAT LIFE BEGINS WHERE YOUR COMFORT ZONE ENDS.

I GOT THIS BOOK 3 HRS AGO AND I'VE JUST FINISHED IT, NOT ONLY AM I NOW DEFINITELY GOING BUT I'LL TAKE THIS BOOK WITH ME, FOR WHEN IT ALL SEEMS A LITTLE DAUNTING.

HAPPY TRAVELS!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
This book didnt really teach me anything new but it did motivate me and remind me what i love so much about this kind of travel. As with so many people who have been travelling and intend on going again but some how get caught up with the usual baggage which ties us down this book reminds you to get going again and that its JUST THAT EASY.

i wouldnt say his way is the right way and he can be a little one eyed about things but every traveller gets like that about somethings.

if your just tied down with a job and a mortgage read this book to inspire. if your tied down with a kiddie then prob best you dont read it as you will more than likely resent the little one for stopping you buying a plane ticket
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
I readt a lot of reviews about rolf potts vagabonding, but until you realize that in stead of buying a guide you are acquiring an inspirational book for travel on your own. I recommend this book for people who have a lot of doubts about going into an adventure of travelling by themselves. at the end of the book im pretty sure that you will do it.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 12 May 2008
Potts' Vagabonding isn't so much a travel guide as a lifestyle guide, an attempt to inspire people to share one man's philosophy on how to live as an independent, mobile anti-consumer. The author preaches a balance of tourism with adventure, seeking friendship with going it alone, planning ahead with being impulsive. Balanced in all ways except perhaps his constant insistence on down-sizing one's life.

Peppered with anecdotes, quotes and common-sense tips, the book has varied ways of communicating but feels like filler at times. Most people who already have an open-minded idea of travelling the world and some experience under their belt will probably find much of the book simply backs up what they already know. Personally I found some small inspiration from the personal stories and general feel of the book, but ultimately was left unfulfilled. Certainly it's a short guide that can be absorbed in one afternoon. It's the younger and newer readers, about to embark on their first flight into the unknown, who will gain the most from reading this book.
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