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le 14 juillet 2003
Rolf Potts' tome of vagabonding is an inspirational work rather than a practical guide. While the same practical information is contained in other books, this book shines in the area of travel philosophy. Travel is like a religion, where some people are incredibly fervent about it, while others just don't understand. This book makes you realize that long-term travel is not only possible, but desirable and worthwhile.
I particularly liked the section on working for travel. As a 9-to-5 worker planning a long-term trip, I needed the inspiration to keep going. I liked being told that working will actually make me appreciate travel more. After all, to afford travel, I have to be here anyway.
Throughout the book, there are great little excerpts from famous travellers, philosophers, and explorers, as well as anecdotes from ordinary travellers. Rolf has a particular liking for Walt Whitman, and I may just have to go pick up some Walt poetry now. The literary references in this book let you know that world travel and a simple life aren't new concepts.
The only problem I see with this book is that it may soon become dated with its references to specific websites.
The book is of a small and convenient size to take on the road.
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le 29 janvier 2003
This is an earnest if somewhat dreamy primer on the subject of extended long term independent travel. It most closely resembles, in both spirit and content, Ed Buryn's classic sixties book Vagabonding in Europe and North Africa but without that author's now dated "groovy" countercultural musings. Potts indeed graciously acknowledges Buryn's contribution (unlike the shamefully disingenuous Rick Steves.)
The practical advice Potts offers is solid but also a bit sketchy. For the nitty-gritty of travel technique and practicalities I far prefer a book like Rob Sangster's The Traveler's Toolkit. Still, Potts does provide a very thorough listing of (mostly web-based) resources that will do much to fill in the gaps.
In the more contemplative sections on traveling "vagabond"-style, Potts writing is charming and mercifully free of the tendentious ideological dross that often characterizes writing about travels to what were once called "Third World" destinations. My special congrats to him for gently mocking the "traveler/tourist" dichotomy for the silly supercilious parlor games it often engenders.
Still, there is a somewhat moony, disembodied feeling to the book. Instead of all the gaseous quotations from the famous and unfamous (used as filler) I would have appreciated some more attention to hazards, dangers, and risks. These can be substantial: from wild auto-rickshaw drivers to leaky, overcrowded boats, from rabid animals to exotic diseases, and (last but not least) from rickety to downright pathological political regimes. The world can be a wild, wonderful place but it can also provide a cornucopia of nightmares for the ill-prepared and underinformed. Potts does his aspiring vagabonders a serious disservice by not leveling with them about the seamy and potentially hazardous underside of "shoestring" travel in exotic lands.
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le 31 janvier 2003
Rolf Potts does a valuable service to would-be vagabonders who haven't quite made up their minds to take the big leap and head off into the great wide world. I can imagine such a person, sitting in a cubicle watching their life tick by, quietly pondering the what-ifs of international travel, yearning for the freedom of the open road but not quite convinced to head out, hesitating...until they read Vagabonding. One quick read of this book and they'll be on the next flight to Bangkok or Cairo or wherever. Vagabonding isn't as much a nuts and bolts guide to backpacking as it is a shot of inspiration for potential travelers. I wish this book would have been written when I first began my travels several years ago. Regardless, it's an interesting read for novices and experienced travelers alike.
One drawback of this book is that it is written like a script for a formal debate, packed with quotes from travel writers and dreary-eyed idealists to justify the author's arguments. Potts is a good writer and experienced traveler; he doesn't need to shroud his writing in clouds of quotes from the likes of Whitman and Thoreau.
I look forward to reading Potts' future travel writing, especially after he ventures off the beaten tracks in the more remote parts of Africa and Latin America.
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le 26 août 2015
Travel is alluring to so many, myself included. We dream of a life of experiencing other cultures and sitting in cafe’s talking all day with no attachments. Vagabonding doesn’t quite shatter that dream, but puts it in a more realistic context.

It starts with the thoughts that your trip truly starts and is truly earned with the work you do up front to make it happen. Those extra hours at the office, the things you don’t purchase so you can save more. All that sacrifice makes the journey better.

After that Vagabonding talks little about specific’s for an area and much about the general philosophy required to have a great trip where ever you go.

My only warning to those reading this and dreaming of travelling is that it may make being at work now even harder. You’ll read this and just want to travel now, not wait. It will prepare you and make the call stronger at the same time.
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le 20 août 2006
This book offers those of us the information that we need to trek the earth. The tips and small bits of info that Potts offers up are amazing and applicable if you are a serious traveller. Not someone who takes holidays but someone who takes months off to explore.
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le 23 janvier 2016
Very good content and ideals, sometimes a little lacking in idea development, lots of great direct resources.
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le 4 février 2010
Fantastic book. I wish I read it before I went backpacking for a year. I definitely would have gotten more out my trip. Don't read this for a guide to the best museums in Paris. Read this to learn how to slow down and get the most out of where you are; to take away from a place more than just pictures, but understanding and appreciation.
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