Tribute to Vagabonding

Vagabonding Book

As much as I didn’t want it to end, I finished Vagabonding this morning. Don’t be fooled, it wasn’t a literal adventure, but a literary one written by Rolf Potts. Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel is a must-read for any wanderlust-stricken soul, whether or not you have traveled before.

I have never overloaded my Kindle with so many highlights than with this book, and I’d love to share some of my favorite excerpts with you. Rolf Potts, along with many contributors whom he calls “Vagabonding Voices” as well as quoted writers of earlier texts, are able to capture travel with words in an incredible way. So much of this is as if it came directly from my heart and life. Here are what I thought were the best quotes from Vagabonding:

Best Inspirational and Motivational Quotes From Vagabonding

In reality, long-term travel has nothing to do with demographics – age, ideology, income – and everything to do with personal outlook. Long-term travel isn’t about being a college student; it’s about being ┬ástudent of daily life. Long-term travel isn’t an act of rebellion against society; it’s an act of common sense within society. Long-term travel doesn’t require a massive “bundle of cash”; it requires only that we walk through the world in a more deliberate way.
Vagabonding is not merely a ritual of getting immunizations and packing suitcases. Rather, it’s the ongoing practice of looking and learning, of facing fears and altering habits, of cultivating a new fascination with people and places. This attitude is not something you can pick up at the airport counter with your boarding pass; it’s a process that starts at home. It’s a process by which you first test the waters that will pull you to wonderful new places.
At a certain level, the idea that freedom is tied to labor might seem a bit depressing. It shouldn’t be. For all the amazing experiences that await you in distant lands, the “meaningful” part of travel always starts at home, with a ┬ápersonal investment in the wonders to come.
We do not take a trip; a trip takes us.
quotes from vagabonding
Many vagabonders don’t even maintain a steady job description, taking short-term work only as it serves to fund their travels and their passions.
Vacation, after all, merely rewards work. Vagabonding justifies it.
Whereas working a job with the intention of quitting it might have been an act of recklessness a hundred years ago, it is more and more often becoming an act of common sense in an age of portable skills and diversified employment options. Keeping this in mind, don’t worry that you extended travels might leave you with a “gap” on your resume. Rather, you should enthusiastically and unapologetically include your vagabonding experience on your resume when you return. List the job skills travel has taught you: independence, flexibility, negotiation, planning, boldness, self-sufficiency, improvisation. Speak frankly and confidently about your travel experiences – the odds are, your next employer will be interested and impressed (and a wee bit envious).
Don’t wait around. Don’t get old and make excuses. Save a couple thousand dollars. Sell your car. Get a world atlas. Start looking at every page and tell yourself that you can go there. You can live there. Are there sacrifices to be made? Of course. Is it worth it? Absolutely.
Travel is Worth it
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The hardest thing about travel is deciding to go. Once you’ve made that commitment, the rest of it is easy.
This notion – that material investment is somehow more important to life than personal investment – is exactly what leads so many of us to believe we could never afford to go vagabonding… Fortunately, the world need not be a consumer product. As with environmental integrity, long-term travel isn’t something you buy into; it’s something you give to yourself. Indeed, the freedom to go vagabonding has never been determined by income level; it’s found through simplicity – the conscious decision of how to use what income you have.
As with, say, giving up coffee, simplifying your life will require a somewhat difficult consumer withdrawal period. Fortunately, your impending travel experience will give you a very tangible and rewarding long-term goal that helps ease the discomfort. Over time, as you reap the sublime rewards of simplicity, you’ll begin to wonder how you ever put up with such a cluttered life in the first place.
Very many people spend money in ways quite different from those that their natural tastes would enjoin, merely because the respect of their neighbors depends upon their possession of a good car and their ability to give good dinners. As a matter of fact, any man who can obviously afford a car but genuinely prefers travels or a good library will in the end be much more respected than if he behaved exactly like everyone else.
To allow for travel, we spend less money on things at home (new cars, clothes, stuff in general). We have no debt, including credit card debt – in order to remain financially free to leave… Most Americans don’t live this way… Any of us do what is fundamentally most important to us.
The discoveries that come with travel, of course, have long been considered the purest form of education a person can acquire. “The world is a book,” goes the saying attributed to Saint Augustine, “and those who do not travel read only one page.”
My family and friends often say to me, “I’m living vicariously through you.” Don’t ever live vicariously. This is your life. Live.
Don't live vicariously
Simple courage is worth far more than detailed logistics, and a confident, positive, ready-to-learn attitude will make up for any travel savvy you lack at the outset.
Those who visit foreign nations, but associate only with their own countrymen, change their climate, but not their customs. They see new meridians, but the same men; and with heads as empty as their pockets, return home with traveled bodies, but untraveled minds.
When speaking English to confluent listeners, remember that loudness is not what will make you understood.
Adventure is wherever you allow it to find you – and the first step of any exploration is to discover its potential within yourself.
All foreign travel is an adventure for me. It’s about opening the mind and challenging the soul.
quotes from vagabonding
It’s important to remember that what passes for cultural open-mindedness at home won’t always apply wholesale to your travels. Indeed, you might live in Chinatown, dance to Fela Kuti tunes, wear a sarong, practice the didgeridoo, date an Estonian-American, and eat enchiladas in New York – but that doesn’t necessarily mean you know squat about how the people of China, Nigeria, Thailand, Australia, Estonia, or Mexico live and think.
Often I feel I go to some distant region of the world to be reminded of who I really am… Stripped of your ordinary surroundings, your friends, your daily routines, your refrigerator full of your food, your closet full of your clothes, you are forced into direct experience. Such direct experience inevitably makes you aware of who it is that is having the experience. That’s not always comfortable, but it is always invigorating.
He who stays at home beside his hearth and is content with the information which he may acquire concerning his own region, cannot be on the same level as one who divides his life span between different lands, and spends his days journeying in search of precious and original knowledge.
People say that what we are all seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think this is what we’re really seeking. I think what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive.
Had enough? Get Vagabonding for your Kindle or in paperback. Your life just might change.