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‘Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-term World Travel’ by Rolf Potts

April 24, 2012

Some say life is travel – a long journey for life. In this book, ‘Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-term World Travel,’ the author Rolf Pott shows us how truly you can turn your life into a journey. ‘Vagabonding’ is the name of this life style, which today is also called ‘Nomad.’

As the title says, this is a guidebook of travel as an art. Let’s turn the page and see what the world offers to the fellow travelers.

Go Lighter, Be Freer

Getting out of one’s comfort zone is one major benefit of travel, as it forces you to see the world (and yourself) from a different perspective. When traveling, building a fortress around you with all the goods – clothes, books, gadgets, and travel accessories – does not help you experience the world, but rather prevent you from fully embracing it. The same may be true for life. Building material wealth around you will definitely comfort you, but at the same time will pull you back from fully living the life. You can call it minimalism, simplism, or zen. Less is more.

Expect The Unexpected

A couple of days ago I went to the Chennai International Airport to pick up my friends from Beijing. They arrived on time, but their luggage did not make it to the turntable. We spent an hour or two to locate the luggage (they were at Singapore) and had to come back to the airport on the next day. A lost luggage, flight cancellation, a strike, food poisoning – there are many things that can mess up your travel plan. How do you cope with such things?

According to the author, travel is a process, not a destination. Unexpected events along the way are a part of the travel. You’d better enjoy them. Putting check marks on the must-see tourist destination list is not travel, but just tracing someone else’s travel experience. Be open to surprises. Expect the unexpected. That’s life.

Let It Be

While the checklist travelers see the world from someone else’s eyes, others travel to confirm their value. They expect ‘how Venice should look like’ and ‘what Indians should wear.’ If the reality doesn’t meet their expectations, they feel angry or disappointed. But what can be truer than the reality? Venice is what you see there and Indians wear what they waer. Don’t let your expectations spoil your travel.

The same is true for life. You may get angry or disappointed because the government doesn’t do ‘what they should do’ or your spouse don’t understand ‘what he should understand.’ Don’t let your expectations spoil your life. Let it be, and you will enjoy life.

Today’s Quote

‘The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.’ – St. Augustine

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 24, 2012 9:18 pm

    I enjoyed that book too! Very thoughtful. He had an essay published in the Best American Travel Essays series, which is full of brilliantly insightful commentary on travel.

    • May 24, 2012 11:41 pm

      Elizabeth, the book was dangerous. OK, will check out his essays, too.

      – Shinobu

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