Vagabonding around the world
July 15, 2018
“This book is a meditation on the joys of hitting the road for months or years at a time. It’s also a primer for those with a case of pent-up wanderlust seeking to live the dream.” USA TODAY
“Vagabonding-n. (1) The act of leaving behind the orderly world to travel independently for an extended period of time. (2) A privately meaningful manner of travel that emphasises creativity, independence, realism, self-reliance, and growth of spirit. (3)A deliberate way of living that makes the freedom to travel possible.” FROM ROLF POTTS AMAZING LIFE CHANGING BOOK-VAGABONDING. Vagabonding book
This is how Rolf Potts inspiring book, Vagabonding begins, it is a book that has literally changed my life.
When I was about 10 years old I lived in Brighton on the South coast of England and one day I was travelling on a bus with my family on a day trip to a farming festival. I clearly remember, despite my young age, looking out of the bus window as we passed a densely forested park on the outskirts of the city. I suddenly felt a deep draw towards that forest and I started to create a fantasy in my mind of running away from home with just a backpack on my back and exploring that forest before setting off on a grand adventure around the world. My wanderlust for travel had begun.
Over the years I have travelled far and wide and have had many adventures. I have worked as a teacher in a remote jungle school in the Gambia, Africa, I have ridden a horse through the swamps of the Pantanal in central Brazil and I have danced with hippies at the night market in Goa, India. But all of these trips were only for a few weeks (except the teaching job which lasted just under a year) and were basically extended vacations from my life in the UK. The real dream is to have the vagabonding experience, months or even years on the road.
I dream every day of just putting on that backpack and leaving, no plan, no itinerary, just travelling the globe.
But what is Vagabonding? As well as Rolf Potts amazing book there are also some great blogs out there that are all about this subject, one such blog is Vagabondinglife.com by Greg Rogers: here’s how he describes vagabonding:
What Is Vagabonding?
“Are You a Professional Bum?
Not entirely. Well, maybe. A vagabond is homeless by choice. I have been vagabonding — living and working on the road — since 2006. Rolf Potts, author of the book, Vagabonding, describes this lifestyle as:
“The act of leaving behind the orderly world to travel independently for an extended period of time…” and “…a deliberate way of living that makes the freedom to travel possible.” In other words, you can choose to accumulate things, a fancy car, and a big house, or you can spend a fraction of that money to travel the world gaining life experience and new friends along the way!
YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE RICH!
The Vagabonding Mission
“Vagabonding is a mindset.
How Does Vagabonding Travel Feel?
Imagine waking up and every day is Saturday. What will you do today?
You are alone in a strange place far from home. Your senses are busy trying to sort out all the new smells, sights, and sounds. Even basic tasks such as getting something to eat require much more effort. The new challenges present stress. But the more of the culture that you unlock, the more confident you become. It feels amazing to speak new words and be understood in the local language.
You are “rich” by local standards and no one knows who you are. You answer only to yourself and your own moral compass. This is a true test of who you are as a human being. You can reinvent your personality. You have the power to be anyone. You can manifest anything you like. If you were shy at home, you can now be the life of the party. You are free to experiment without judgement.”
Eventually, you will return home to what feels like normality…
“Telling stories feels like bragging, so you wait on people to ask. They rarely do. As the excitement of being home fades into frustration, you find yourself parked in front of the computer. It is the magical link to your lost travel friends. You take in their reports from the field. After a short time at home, you find yourself wishing you were back out there.
You spend more and more time online. You think about ways to earn money while travelling. Is it possible? You check email and Facebook many times a day. You know flight prices by heart. You crave news from that magical world that was left behind a couple of months ago. You spend time looking through journal entries and pictures. The rift between you, family, and dear friends has widened. You are very different now. All that you want to talk about is travel.
Your old daily life will never be the same; discontentment grows. All you can think about is getting back to that magic place, stepping over the snakes, and dancing the night away with those strangers. You would do anything to smell the ocean again. It never even occurred to you that backpacking travel would change your life so much. One day, even though you can’t afford it, you sit down and book another ticket. Relief and exhilaration rush through your body.
Once again, you find yourself alone in a strange place far from home …
Sound frightening or inviting?”
www.vagabondinglife.com Greg’s blog is great and I strongly recommend taking a look.
Today’s post about vagabonding should have a warning on it because both Rolf Potts book and Greg’s blog (and hopefully my blog as well) will leave you wanting to pack that backpack and go.
I I have previously written about how my discovery of the hippie scene in Goa has changed my life forever. The draw to go back there and to other extraordinary places is now uncontrollable. I am working hard to place myself in the position to go vagabonding for months at a time.
The dream of putting on that backpack and just setting off is drawing closer every day and I know I cannot fight it. It has been the same for many of the characters I have met on my travels, such as Larry Crouton who retired at the age of 65, donned his backpack and just started walking.
Many years later I stumbled upon him in India and he shared his amazing vagabonding stories with me.: hippiekushiwakinguptolife.com/larry-crouton
Another great vagabonding blog: Foreverroamingtheworld.com writes about the way your journey will evolve over time:
How your backpacking life will evolve.
First few days and weeks of Long-term budget backpacking life:
“The first few days, excitement will be bursting out of the seams, you’ll want to see and do everything all once. The adrenaline will be pumping and you literally will be bouncing off the walls. Those first few days are the days when you go from one adventure to the next without giving your budget a thought. Everything will be brand new, you’ll be wide-eyed and everything will feel surreal. Those first few days, you’ll be trigger happy with your camera to make sure you don’t miss a thing and you’ll be so excited to upload them to show your friends and family back home.”
After a few weeks…
“Things start to sink in, you’ll start to adjust to long-term budget backpacking life, things start to feel normal and you become more conscious. You’ll still be doing a lot of trips and activities but you might give yourself a couple of days to rest in between to re-cooperate.
After a few weeks, you will understand how to be a backpacker and how things work. You’ll understand backpacker dynamics and how hostel life works. You’ll gain a better knowledge of local costs as opposed to tourist costs and in turn, learn to budget better. With the knowledge you’ve picked up you’re also more likely to cook for yourself rather than eat out, friends will be made and you’ll start turning from tourist mode to backpacker mode.”
As weeks turn into months…
“Your pace will slow down, there will be days you’ll just lounge around your accommodation or just hang around with friends you’ve made. You may find by now you’ve started to stay in places longer, you’ll be known as a ‘long-termer’ in hostels. You’ll be more methodical and conscious with your budget, like really stringent. So, there will be less needless spending and trips will be prioritized, skipping ones you don’t feel are worth the money. With that, you’ll have figured how to be a backpacker and will make things cheaper, haggle and take advantage of any free things on offer. If you are in one place for a prolonged amount of time, locals will even start seeing you as a local and not a tourist, which really helps the longer you travel.”
When the Months turn into years…
“Well, travelling becomes normal life, it’s just what you do now. You’ll move at a snail’s pace, taking as long as you can in one place. Those days when you can’t be bothered to do anything will turn into weeks and even months in some cases. Your everyday life will be just living in a foreign country, and moving on or doing activities when you can be bothered to.
Truth is there are only so many touristy things you can do and more than likely be fully immersed in local culture. You will have more fun hanging around with locals, going way off the beaten track.
Other travellers will be gobsmacked when they find out how long you’ve been travelling for and to some, you will be an inspiration. The budget you started with will have evaporated by now, so you’ll work as and when you need to. You’ll be an expert on finding things for free and you will just see life from a different perspective. That wide-eyed novice backpacker you started out as will be a distant memory, in-fact reality and the normal life you once left will also be a memory.
You need rest days for Long-term budget backpacking life.
“Well, it’s as simple as saying you’re only human and not a machine. You cannot physically be on the go all the time, you need rest, you need to recuperate, you need time to take in what you’re doing. You’ll be surprised at the number of long-term travellers I meet who come armed with pack itineraries. They get burnt out within weeks of travelling or look so stressed out because they didn’t give themselves time to enjoy the moment.
These are people who have every minute of every day planned out. Now, let me just say, if people are travelling just for a few days, weeks or even a month I understand why they would want to cram as much as they can in; they are on a time frame. However, if there is no time-frame, remember this – Long-term budget backpacking is not a sprint; it’s a full-blown marathon. Between big trips and activities – chill out! Soak in what you’ve just experienced…Enjoy the moment!”
Everything I do now, around work, my living arrangements, my mindset is all based around my search for Freedom, peace and happiness.
For me this involves three things: (1) eventually living on a canal boat, (2) spending long months in Goa living my hippie dream and thirdly (3) achieving my destiny of vagabonding around the world while I still have the strength to do it (I am 53 years old).
This is what Rolf Potts says about vagabonding:
“Vagabonding involves taking an extended time-out from your normal life-six weeks, four months, two years – to travel the world on your own terms. But beyond travel, vagabonding is about using the prosperity and possibility of the information age to increase your personal options instead of your personal possessions. Vagabonding is about looking for adventure in normal life, and normal life within adventure. Vagabonding is an attitude-a friendly interest in people, places, and things that makes a person an explorer in the truest, most vivid sense of the word” ROLF POTTS-VAGABONDING: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel-Villard Books, 2003
“Vagabonding is not a lifestyle, nor is it a trend. It’s just an uncommon way of looking at life-a value adjustment from which action naturally follows. And, as much as anything, vagabonding is about time-our only real commodity-and how we choose to use it.” Rolf Potts
Along the way you will discover some amazing experiences. I wanted to finish this post with some links to one of the most amazing places I have experienced, the Arpora Saturday night market in Goa, India. I hope on your vagabonding travels you too will experience such delights: