Vagabonding Book Summary - Vagabonding Book explained in key points
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Vagabonding summary

Rolf Potts

An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel

4.3 (69 ratings)
17 mins

Brief summary

Vagabonding by Rolf Potts is a travel guide that encourages taking long-term, immersive trips to gain experience around the world without breaking the bank. It offers advice on savings, preparation, and mindset for those who seek to travel meaningfully.

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    Vagabonding
    Summary of 9 key ideas

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    Key idea 1 of 9

    Before leaving home to start vagabonding, you need to be independent.

    Are you the vagabonding type? Well, before you answer that, first ask yourself “Am I independent?”

    Being independent means being free of the notion that long-term travel is a dream accessible to only a lucky few.

    Many of us believe we need to be rolling in cash to enjoy travel for an extended period of time. Take the cult movie Wall Street. In one scene, Charlie Sheen’s character, a young and ambitious trader, explains to his girlfriend how he plans to make a pile of money before he reaches his thirties so he can fulfill his lifelong dream of riding his motorcycle through China. The thing is, most of us fail to realize the same thing as Charlie Sheen’s character does: we’d probably make enough money to do it by working as a janitor for six months!

    We Westerners often think of travel as being outrageously costly. Most of us consider it a mere accessory to our lifestyle, rather than an experience that helps us grow. In fact, some of us buy vacation packages with the same mindset as we might a new car or outfit. This kind of travel is limited to short vacations with tight schedules that leave no room for the unexpected. The problem is: typical ten-day trips can’t really set us free from our lives back home and often end up failing to give us the rich experiences travel is capable of providing.

    Ultimately, this attitude has much to do with our relationship with money.

    To so many of us, our daily activities come with a price tag. In other words, money controls such a huge part of our lives that we convince ourselves we’re too poor to be free. For this reason, you likely consider long-term travel to be a privilege restricted to hippies, college students or rich people.

    But, as we’ll see in the following blinks, you couldn’t be more wrong.

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    What is Vagabonding about?

    A vagabond himself, Potts details his travel adventures in Vagabonding (2002). Informed by firsthand experience, he outlines what to do and not to do in order to get the most out of hitting the road for the long haul.

    Vagabonding Review

    Vagabonding (2002) is a fascinating book that explores why long-term, international travel can be a transformative experience. Here's why this book is definitely worth reading:

    • Packed with insights and practical advice, it provides a roadmap for anyone interested in embarking on a journey of self-discovery through travel.
    • By sharing anecdotes and stories from his own travels, Rolf Potts brings the experience of vagabonding to life, inspiring readers to embrace a new way of living.
    • The book challenges societal norms and encourages readers to question their own assumptions about success, happiness, and what it means to truly live, making it an eye-opening and thought-provoking read.

    Who should read Vagabonding?

    • Anyone seeking a life less ordinary
    • People looking for an alternative approach to traveling
    • Anyone interested in the accounts of a long-term traveler

    About the Author

    Rolf Potts is a traveler and the author of Marco Polo Didn't Go There. His travel stories and articles have been published by National Geographic Traveler, Slate.com and The Guardian.

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    Vagabonding FAQs 

    What is the main message of Vagabonding?

    The main message of Vagabonding is to embrace long-term travel as a way of life, allowing for personal growth and valuable experiences.

    How long does it take to read Vagabonding?

    The reading time for Vagabonding varies depending on the reader's speed, but it typically takes several hours. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Vagabonding a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Vagabonding is a worthwhile read for those seeking a new perspective on travel and life. It provides inspiration and practical advice for long-term adventurers.

    Who is the author of Vagabonding?

    The author of Vagabonding is Rolf Potts.

    What to read after Vagabonding?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Vagabonding, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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    • How to Travel the World on $50 a Day by Matt Kepnes
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    • Deeper Dating by Ken Page
    • The Meaning of Marriage by Timothy Keller with Kathy Keller
    • Travel as a Political Act by Rick Steves
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    • Come Together by Emily Nagoski