Rolf Potts Podcast Summary

I am pasting this here due to the amount of content and depth they go into.

Rolf Potts- Author of Vagabonding. This is a dangerous podcast, I could probably write a whole blog post on this. What I mean by “dangerous” is that it pushes me toward a trip vagabonding around the world. When Erika and I went to Chile for two weeks we met tons of people from around the world that were traveling for 4-6 months. We kept talking about how we had no idea how this would even work. I found out a couple of weeks ago a friend mentioned that The 4 Hour Workweek was the inspiration behind my friend’s trip around the world (read about their trip here: Vagabonding is basically long term travel: at least 6 months. He talks about how you need to view your money as a resource for the experiences. There are travel bloggers out there with several kids and a low to medium paying job. “war is god’s way of teaching Americans Geography.” If you look at Mexico and realize the drug violence is isolated and there are a lot of safe areas. You can travel there for very little money and have a great experience. There are a lot of great traveler communities: they create community and support for people. is one of these online communities- helps talk you through and gives resources for people’s fears, they are happy to help. I should go through the exercise to lay out: how much money would it take to survive per day, how much would it cost to go for one year. Couch surfing, AirBnB: 15 years ago, you were going to walk in, see the room, haggle the pricing (physically leave if the owner doesn’t give a price you want). It is easy to go online and know exactly where you are staying every night, but it takes us away from the serendipity of being able to find things by surprise. Loneliness and boredom force you to get off the phone and get out and meet people, forces you to be an extrovert. The cheapest place isn’t necessarily going to be a hostel. hostels, AirBnB, couchsurfing, Dwellable etc. are good resources. There is now a virtual hostel room where you are talking to hundreds of travelers that are online. The concept of “time wealth” and that we can get swept away from our idea that we want to optimize everything for efficiency: would you want to optimize an authentic Italian dinner for efficiency? Serendipity is at risk when we cannot unplug, it is the unexpected good experiences that change you to the core of your being. You are making an optimized efficiency and you will be selling yourself short if you are optimizing for efficiency. Throw yourself open to the travel experience. Focus on appreciation vs. achievement, focus on slow, long meals with larger groups of friends. Do not rely on self discipline- do not bring your laptop: if you want to use your laptop, use an internet cafe: make it inconvenient to engage in “masturbatory computer use”. If you have access to the internet you will use it. Concept of “staycation” – you want to introduce yourself to a “beginners mind” –  which is the most emotionally daunting and exciting things. When you are traveling you are like a 5 year old: you can hardly read, its dangerous to cross the street, etc… its the wonder of childhood that allows you to engage in a new way. Talks about the importance of even just a vacation: how your creative mind needs vacations in order to see the most growth. TF’s habit was to go for a walk on a small island wave down someone to tell him where to find a cafe/bakery. Listen to the old men talking and try to have a conversation with them to help learn the language: seek out uncomfortable situations. For the old men, a foreigner coming in and talking to them is the most exciting thing that has happened to them all week. when in doubt, just walk until your day becomes interesting. Being a flaneur- someone who is “just wandering” break out of your tourist habits, break out of your normal habits, etc. For example, Paris is the most Touristed city in the world, but if you just wander around you will find something that catches your language. Towards the end of the podcast he talks about Dave Chappelle and John Hughes as examples of people that have hit a pinnacle of “success” and turned it down because they are going after what is truly important to them and makes them happy.


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