What Is Vagabonding?
Rolf Potts, author of the book Vagabonding, describes it 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 freedom to travel possible.”
So, simply put, vagabonding is the act of choosing experiences and travel adventures over working away your life for material things.
What Is the Difference Between Vagabonding and Vacation?
A vacation is an attempt to squeeze a year’s worth of enjoyment, relaxation, and adventure into a two-week or 10-day package. What often results is an expensive distraction, and then an unsatisfied return to reality, which is always waiting at home. In fact, after vacation, you find yourself worse off than before you left, playing catchup with work, mail, chores, etc.
Someone who is vagabonding never really returns completely from their trip. They may be home, earning money at work, etc, but they are always in the mindset to leave again. They prioritize experience over accumulating objects. A vagabond works to provide the fuel for travel and adventure, not to build a lifestyle of fashion and toys in an attempt to impress others.
Why Not Wait for Retirement to Travel?
Because it may be too late!
There is no guarantee of a future, or health later to do the things you really want to do.
What do a majority of wealthy people want most? Time.
Sure, you do need to prepare some for the future. But try not to get stuck in the cycle of working to buy things to distract you from working in the first place! Don’t sell all of your time, and ultimately your happiness.
What About Money for Travel?
Vagabonding travel doesn’t cost as much as you may think.
Do you really need 300 cable television channels? Do you need that new car when your old one still runs fine? How often will you watch those DVDs in the huge collection you are building? Financing vagabonding is simply a way of adjusting your priorities so that saving for travel comes first. More than a majority of vagabonds I met were poor university students who had managed to stay on the road for years!
You don’t have to be rich to travel extensively.
Budget destinations such as Asia, Africa, and South America are full of adventure and culture. Many destinations cost a fraction of what you spend to live at home daily. For the cost of one average dinner and movie night in the United States, you could eat, sleep, and play for a week in Thailand!
People are shaped by their experiences. When you only make time for experiences on weekends, it can take a long time to grow into the person you should be. What better way to get to know yourself than to accept the challenge of the road?
The benefit of extended vagabonding travel will carry over into all parts of your life, work, relationships, and general enjoyment of life. Vagabonding creates new reference points and causes life at home takes on an entirely new context. How can you be upset about a traffic jam after having experienced daily life in a country still plagued with landmines?
How to Get Started Vagabonding
Making the decision to escape the Rat Race is the first and most important step. Next, cut bogus expenses, begin saving, and use our site as a personal guide to get started on the path to adventure. Anyone can start a new life of vagabonding. Stay positive, don’t let naysayers “talk sense into you” — go make your dreams come true!
To help you stay motivated, read books, look in forums, and check out the vagabonding blogs of other people who are living the life. The more that you see how many people have escaped the Rat Race, the more you will realize that world travel is not just a dream or something that belongs to the rich!
Visit Rolf Potts’ website for more about his inspiring book.
Follow our Vagabonding Facebook Page for updates, tips, and weekly inspiration for escape.
I will see you on the road.
Greg Rodgers is the editor of Startbackpacking.com and the Asia travel expert for Tripsavvy. He left Corporate America to begin traveling in 2005 and has been happily living from a rucksack since!