Sunday, September 21, 2008

Vagabonding by Rolf Potts

Recommended on Amazon and by a few friends, but...

Rolf Potts had nothing new to say. The only interesting parts in his book were the quotes from other, smarter people, who had already laid down the philosophies he so clearly ill-understood. The quality of his writing was poor, and there was little to no substance. Dr. Seuss managed to capture the core spirit more succinctly in “Oh The Places You’ll Go!”

Potts was mighty proud of himself for being a person who had done some wandering, had a bunch of experiences seemingly at random – (yeah, okay, I get it, you scored with a Hungarian girl one time on the road – good for you) --and seemed to have drawn few useful conclusions from them. (“When you get home, your friends won’t understand you.” Being about the most profound— better summed up by Wilco a decade earlier.) His constant looking down his nose at others who are doing the EXACT same thing as he was irritating (see the section on “Trustafarians” and “Tourists” for examples). Aside from being a good refresher on “Common Quotables: From Thoreau to Muir”, I just didn’t see much in the book. In short, it was self aggrandizing without substance.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t have anything against “vagabonding” as a way of spending some time. I just don’t really see either capital-T “Travel” or capital-V “Vagabonding” as an actual lifestyle or philosophy; just a way of making the act of seeing new places both more and less profound at the same time.

Four Hour Work Week was a far better look at similar topics.

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