Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil in Rosedale, Mississippi

Last month, while I was driving down the Mississippi River on a magazine assignment, I had a curious experience in Rosedale, Mississippi. As I was eating lunch in a place called Leo’s Market, a waitress mentioned that Rosedale is the place where the legendary bluesman Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil in exchange for musical genius (an event alluded to in — among other places — the Cohen brothers’ movie Oh Brother, Where Art Thou). As if to prove it, the waitress handed me a wrinkled, typewritten transcription of a “vision” about Johnson’s fateful moment that had appeared to bluesman Henry Goodman as he was traveling the road from Rosedale to Anguila. For the sake of posterity (and because I have never seen it elsewhere), I am publishing Goodman’s “vision” in full below, as well as a postscript by Rosedale’s Crossroads Blues Society.

3165774023_dbd90e8b9e_o-300x300 Interestingly, there are other contenders in the myth of Robert Johnson’s devil-purchased soul — and the crossroads of US 61 and US 49 in Clarksdale is where most blues tourists pay their respects (the newest Romantics album is called “61/49″ for this reason). Of course — as with ancient Roman tourists setting off to find “sites” from Greek myths — the location of Johnson’s crossroads is not exactly something that can be proven. He was born in Hazelhurst, and his supposed grave is in Quito (near Itta Bena) — but Rosedale did figure in the lyrics for one of Johnson’s most famous songs, “Traveling Riverside Blues”.

“Lord, I’m goin’ to Rosedale,” he wails, “gon’ take my rider by my side.”

“Traveling Riverside Blues” had a huge influence on rock-n-roll, and was remade as “Crossroads” by Eric Clapton — which mentions Rosedale with the same phrase Johnson uses. It was also covered by Led Zeppelin (whose more well-known “Lemon Song” famously steals a lyric from that same Johnson tune: “You can squeeze my lemon ’til the juice runs down my leg”).

None of this proves much about Robert Johnson’s crossroads, of course, but I for one like the notion that it happened in Rosedale. The text of the “vision” follows…

Meeting with the Devil at the Crossroads

A “vision”, as told by Henry Goodman

Robert Johnson been playing down in Yazoo City and over at Beulah trying to get back up to Helena, ride left him out on a road next to the levee, walking up the highway, guitar in his hand propped up on his shoulder. October cool night, full moon filling up the dark sky, Robert Johnson thinking about Son House preaching to him, “Put that guitar down, boy, you drivin’ people nuts.” Robert Johnson needing as always a woman and some whiskey. Big trees all around, dark and lonesome road, a crazed, poisoned dog howling and moaning in a ditch alongside the road sending electrified chills up and down Robert Johnson’s spine, coming up on a crossroads just south of Rosedale. Robert Johnson, feeling bad and lonesome, knows people up the highway in Gunnison. Can get a drink of whiskey and more up there. Man sitting off to the side of the road on a log at the crossroads says, “You’re late, Robert Johnson.” Robert Johnson drops to his knees and says, “Maybe not.”

The man stands up, tall, barrel-chested, and black as the forever-closed eyes of Robert Johnson’s stillborn baby, and walks out to the middle of the crossroads where Robert Johnson kneels. He says, “Stand up, Robert Johnson. You want to throw that guitar over there in that ditch with that hairless dog and go on back up to Robinsonville and play the harp with Willie Brown and Son, because you just another guitar player like all the rest, or you want to play that guitar like nobody ever played it before? Make a sound nobody ever heard before? You want to be the King of the Delta Blues and have all the whiskey and women you want?”

“That’s a lot of whiskey and women, Devil-Man.”

“I know you, Robert Johnson,” says the man.

Robert Johnson, feels the moonlight bearing down on his head and the back of his neck as the moon seems to be growing bigger and bigger and brighter and brighter. He feels it like the heat of the noonday sun bearing down, and the howling and moaning of the dog in the ditch penetrates his soul, coming up through his feet and the tips of his fingers through his legs and arms, settling in that big empty place beneath his breastbone causing him to shake and shudder like a man with the palsy. Robert Johnson says, “That dog gone mad.”

The man laughs. “That hound belong to me. He ain’t mad, he’s got the Blues. I got his soul in my hand.”

The dog lets out a low, long soulful moan, a howling like never heard before, rhythmic, syncopated grunts, yelps, and barks, seizing Robert Johnson like a Grand Mal, and causing the strings on his guitar to vibrate, hum, and sing with a sound dark and blue, beautiful, soulful chords and notes possessing Robert Johnson, taking him over, spinning him around, losing him inside of his own self, wasting him, lifting him up into the sky. Robert Johnson looks over in the ditch and sees the eyes of the dog reflecting the bright moonlight or, more likely so it seems to Robert Johnson, glowing on their own, a deep violet penetrating glow, and Robert Johnson knows and feels that he is staring into the eyes of a Hellhound as his body shudders from head to toe.

The man says, “The dog ain’t for sale, Robert Johnson, but the sound can be yours. That’s the sound of the Delta Blues.”

“I got to have that sound, Devil-Man. That sound is mine. Where do I sign?”

The man says, “You ain’t got a pencil, Robert Johnson. Your word is good enough. All you got to do is keep walking north. But you better be prepared. There are consequences.”

“Prepared for what, Devil-man?”

“You know where you are, Robert Johnson? You are standing in the middle of the crossroads. At midnight, that full moon is right over your head. You take one more step, you’ll be in Rosedale. You take this road to the east, you’ll get back over to Highway 61 in Cleveland, or you can turn around and go back down to Beulah or just go to the west and sit up on the levee and look at the River. But if you take one more step in the direction you’re headed, you going to be in Rosedale at midnight under this full October moon, and you are going to have the Blues like never known to this world. My left hand will be forever wrapped around your soul, and your music will possess all who hear it. That’s what’s going to happen. That’s what you better be prepared for. Your soul will belong to me. This is not just any crossroads. I put this “X” here for a reason, and I been waiting on you.”

Robert Johnson rolls his head around, his eyes upwards in their sockets to stare at the blinding light of the moon which has now completely filled tie pitch-black Delta night, piercing his right eye like a bolt of lightning as the midnight hour hits. He looks the big man squarely in the eyes and says, “Step back, Devil-Man, I’m going to Rosedale. I am the Blues.”

The man moves to one side and says, “Go on, Robert Johnson. You the King of the Delta Blues. Go on home to Rosedale. And when you get on up in town, you get you a plate of hot tamales because you going to be needing something on your stomach where you’re headed.”


From the Crossroads Blues Society, Rosedale, Mississippi

People say that the crossroads where Robert Johnson made the pact with the devil is in Clarksdale where Highway 49 intersects with Highway 61. But, as can be seen from the events described above, that’s not the case. The crossroads, the one and only crossroads, where the Delta Blues emerged as a manifest entity in the person and music of Robert Johnson is at the south end of Rosedale where Highway 8 intersects with Highway 1. This will be disputed, as some people will dispute that Robert Johnson ever even made a deal with the devil. But the preacher man, Son House, knew. Even though he wasn’t a preacher. And, if Son House were alive today, he would set the story right.

Truth is, nobody was there when the deal went down but Robert Johnson and the devil. This statement will likely cause some people to say ‘well, just where in hell did the events described above come from if nobody was there to witness them?’ A reasonable question about a spiritual event. Realms must be observed. Or, at least, felt. The events described were witnessed in a Vision. With a capital “V”. Not just any vision, but a visual spiritual experience more real and true than the reality and truth encountered on a day to day basis in the everyday physical world in which life goes on. A spiritual Vision about a spiritual event. Both in the same realm. Plus, the devil hangs close to the Mississippi River, and putting down his “X” as far away from the River as Clarksdale is simply something that would not happen. Voodoo oozes from New Orleans for a reason.

There will be always naysayers and doubters. But most of these can be counted among those people who would have you “define” the Blues. Well, you can’t define the Blues. You feel the Blues, you are seized by the Blues. You are possessed by the Blues. The Blues is music like a Cadillac is a car, There’s just more to it than that, a transcendence, an essence unmeasurable, unspeakable. The essence of Rosedale is the essence of the Delta Blues. Rosedale is not just a delta town. Come on down and see.

The Crossroads Blues Society is headquartered in Rosedale at Leo’s Market, sitting alongside Highway 1 where Highway 8 intersects. Right across the Highway from where the log was so many years ago. Right at the spot where the Devil put the “X” and sat to wait on the soon-to-be Great Robert Johnson. Where else could such a Society be headquartered except here? The Crossroads Blues Society is dedicated and devoted to celebrating and experiencing the Delta Blues. There is no understanding or defining the Delta Blues, but experiencing the blues, feeling the blues, theorizing about the blues, discussing and talking about the blues, and listening to the blues – all spiritual experiences of differing decrees of intensity – is the mission of the Society. This occurs in Rosedale. And when this occurs in Rosedale, you are riding in a Cadillac, top down, with Robert Johnson at your side.

The source of the Delta Blues is this crossroads in Rosedale. Rosedale is the City of the Blues. The Blues have been in the Mississippi Delta forever, hovering over the land like an ether, a vapor. The Blues ware here before Hernando DeSoto, before the planters and their slaves, even before the Indians, who were indeed floating down the Great River when DeSoto “discovered” the Mississippi. How so, Hernando? DeSoto discovered the Mississippi the same way John Handy discovered tie Blues before jumping on a train for Memphis in Tutwiler. The Blues and the River were already there. And people still don’t and never will understand either one nor the essential connection between them. Both can be experienced in Rosedale.

Image: Neal Wellons (flickr)

Posted by | Comments (85)  | June 26, 2015
Category: Rolf's News and Updates, Travel News

Cuba – Forbidden fruit, no more

Vagabonding-07-Cuba-Havana-classic-convertibleI stepped from the dimly lit terminal into the parking lot at at Havana International Airport. Blinking to let my eyes adjust to the brilliant sunshine, I marveled at row upon row of classic cars, their rounded silhouettes a chorus line of humpback whales. I knew about Cuba’s classic cars, but had not expected to see so many. On the broad boulevards, our tour bus was surrounded by 1950’s era Cadillacs with gleaming chrome grilles and ostentatious fins, painted in gaudy colors designed to make the most ambivalent pedestrian take notice. It was just the first of many surprises during my eight-day tour of Cuba with Discover Corps.

A short while later I got up close and personal with one of those classics at Revolution Square, a 1957 Chevy Bel Air taxi, its black paint polished to a mirror surface. The driver lit up when he learned I was from the U.S.. “Can Americans travel to Cuba now?” he asked excitedly. I explained that American citizens are allowed to travel to Cuba on people-to-people cultural exchange tours that are approved by our State Department, but added that restrictions were gradually easing and I felt sure that free travel between our two countries would soon be allowed. “I hope so. We want you – no, we NEED you!” Despite having suffered for decades under the embargo imposed by the U.S. government, Cubans welcome Americans with open arms, and my friendly taxi driver was no exception. When I raised my camera to take a photo of his car, he stopped me, insisting that I allow him to take a photo of me sitting behind the wheel.

Vagabonding-07-Cuba-Havana-classic-car-at-Revolution-SquarePeople-to-people tours are required to create itineraries that provide interaction with Cubans in order to learn about their culture and, conversely, to provide Cubans an opportunity to learn about the American way of life. As a result, my tour prohibited us from visiting Cuba’s reputedly gorgeous beaches. Instead, it focused on music, dance, art, education, and food. We met with an economics professor from the University of Havana, who revealed startling information about the extent to which the U.S. government has meddled in the Cuban economy. Another day we visited a polyclinic, where doctors and nurses discussed the Cuban health care system, reputed to be one of the best in the world. We were all surprised to learn that Cuba has one of the lowest infant mortality rates in the world, far better than that of the U.S.

Per the Cuban Constitution of 1976, all Cuban citizens are guaranteed the right to free education and free health care

Providing free education and health care for all Cubans takes 70% of the government’s annual budget and much of the remainder is used to subsidize housing and food. With precious little funding available for other social programs, the arts have stepped in to fill the gap. Habana Compas Dance is among the non-profit organizations in Havana hoping to effect change. Focusing on Afro-Cuban heritage, they teach percussion and performance art to more than 400 inner-city kids. I sat spellbound as the dance troupe beat out rhythms with drumsticks on wooden chairs, accompanied by bata and conga drums.

In a suburb of Havana, where the attitude was once “every man for himself,” another art-based group, Muraleando, has used mural-painting classes to foster a new-found sense of community pride. Not only do murals now cover the walls around the neighborhood, sculptures have been created from the piles of trash that used to litter the streets and empty lots.

Vagabonding-07-Cuba-Muraleando-sculpture-from-trashIf art is the backbone of Cuba, music and dance are its heart and soul. After dinner one evening, I picked my way over cobblestone streets, searching for the source of music that echoed through the narrow lanes of Old Havana. Not far from Cathedral Square I found La Bodeguita del Medio, a bar and restaurant that Ernest Hemingway frequented for their famous Mojito cocktails. The ebony doorman smiled, his pearly whites glowing like a giant Cheshire cat in the dimly lit street, and waved me inside. I shouldered through the crowd to the back bar, where I caught a glimpse of the live trio set up in one corner. All across Havana, music seemed to offer a respite from the harsh reality of everyday life. Salsa (Son) clubs dotted the broad boulevards and nightclubs featured live jazz bands. Folk musicians sang in public squares and stilt walkers sashayed down streets to the rhythm of the conga. In Cienfuegos, a performance by the Cienfuegos Chorus brought me to tears when they broke out in a spine-tingling rendition of Shenandoah.

Vagabonding-07-Cuba-La-Bodeguita-del-Medio-bar-in-Old-HavanaFor many years I considered traveling to Cuba illegally via Canada or Mexico, but chose not to because I would not have been able to write about my experience, nor did I wish to risk prosecution. This intriguing island, located just 90 miles south of Key West, Florida, remained forbidden fruit. My lifelong dream of visiting Cuba finally became a reality when, in January 2015, President Obama eased restrictions on travel to Cuba and I joined the Building Bridges tour with Discover Corps. Once all Americans are allowed to travel freely to Cuba, more than a million of us are expected to do so each year. It remains to be seen what impact this massive increase in tourism will have. Will the classic cars gradually disappear? Will the welcoming attitude of Cubans become a tad less enthusiastic as an already strained infrastructure is tested? No one knows for sure, but it is safe to say that it is better to go sooner rather than later.

When Barbara Weibel realized she felt like the proverbial “hole in the donut” – solid on the outside but empty on the inside – she walked away from corporate life and set out to see the world. Read first-hand accounts of the places she visits and the people she meets on her blog, Hole in the Donut Cultural Travel. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

Posted by | Comments (0)  | June 17, 2015
Category: Female Travelers, Senior Travel

Top 5 travel apps to stay organized on the road

It’s hard to be organized constantly.

It’s hard when you’re at home. It’s more difficult when you’re on the road, trying to remember where exactly you put that super-important sticky note with the really-super-important booking confirmation number for your hotel.

Thankfully there’s an app for your troubles. I rounded up the top five travel apps I regularly use to stay organized, both on the road and at home.

1. Evernote

iOS // Android // Free

Imagine if your brain could immediately access every website, memory or note you ever encountered. Imagine if you eliminated your wagging Post-It notes, your notebooks crammed with places to see, scribbled recommendations passed along by friends, or the couple last night at the table next to you.

Imagine if you could search those notes by a single word. Or organize them according to a simple yet effective filing system.

Welcome to Evernote: a virtual library of your must-sees and must-dos nicely organized in one place.

Install the app on your phone that automatically syncs to the website. Should something indescribable happen to your phone, panic not. Your entire precious database is secure and easily accessible via the Internet.

Save pages from the web, forward special emails, input notes, capture thoughts and pictures, record voice memos and share all your goodies with friends with a click of the button.

Evernote is my favorite. He keeps my mind organized and clutter-free while planning my greatest adventures.

I used this bad boy to plan multi-city trips, plot our route through Europe, and dream up new adventures. I also use it daily to record recommendations on what to see and where to stay on my next trip.

It serves as my highly organized personal assistant who even prods me to complete my daily to-do list. So I can never forget to check into a flight again.


Posted by | Comments (0)  | June 12, 2015
Category: Travel Tech

5 places to vagabond this summer

Warm sunshine and the open road never fail to ignite wanderlust. Long days stretch ahead, beckoning to be filled with adventure and explorations. Distant points on the map are ripe with possibility.

Before you, the entire world opens up. And it’s waiting for you to find it — to “tramp a perpetual journey” as Walt Whitman says. The imagined prospects thrill your blood. You have to hit the road and, by vagabonding, find yourself. But where should you go? Perhaps a few of the corners less traveled.

1. Dubrovnik, Croatia

Home to one of the 10 best preserved medieval walled cities in the world, Dubrovnik will charm you with its ancient, narrow streets and scenic outlook on the Adriatic Sea.

This city, with origins dating back to the 7th century, has the taste of old-world Europe, but still tastes undiscovered. I love its history, and legend has it that Richard the Lionheart landed on the wooded island in Dubrovnik’s bay after being shipwrecked in 1192.

But what intrigues me most are the abandoned hotels along its coast. Travis Sherry of Extra Pack of Peanuts says,

“Take an abandoned hotel tour. Croatia was fighting for it’s independence from 1991-1995. During this time many five star hotels were destroyed and then abandoned after the war and fell into even more disrepair. However, they make for a very fun day of exploration. We went to two different hotels: the Belvedere and the Kupari resort.”

2. North-Western USA

Welcome to the land where Big Foot still roams, mountain goats clamber up steep rocky cliffs, and the Big Sky yawns overhead. This area of Montana, Idaho and Washington are ripe for slow travel and discovering hidden nooks around the next bend.

Soak in the serenity of Chico Hot Springs outside Bozeman, Montana. Or explore the remnants of the red light district of one of the largest and most infamous boomtowns in the West: Butte, Montana. This small town tucked in the nook of three mountains thrived during the late 19th century mining boom.

Wind up the twisting roads into Yellowstone National Park to watch for Old Faithful’s geyser.  Try to time your visit during the week to avoid the majority of the crowds and enjoy wolf-watching in seclusion.

Wander west through Idaho’s white-capped mountains, and Washington’s flat prairies before hitting her lush green mountains. If you get thirsty during your vagabonding, check out Butte’s Quarry Brewery (try Galena Gold).

3. Nicaragua, Central America

Meander through this beautiful country that was once hardly visited due to its frequent earthquakes and political unrest. But the shakes have settled, and Nicaragua is open for business, explore to your heart’s content.

Check out Nicaragua’s three distinct regions to find out what life feels like in each:

–Pacific lowlands: heavily populated, Managua (the capital), was 90% destroyed by a volcano in 1972

–North-central lowlands: explore agriculture of this county and coffee farms in this area

–Caribbean lowlands: mostly rainforest, English is widely spoken in the city of Bluefields

Matt of recommends volcano boarding as a different activity:

“Cerro Negro, a young and active volcano, offers tourists a chance to board down its gravely slopes through an organized tour. You will have to hike up to the top, which takes around an hour, so be prepared for a climb and to get dirty!”

4. Australian outback

Brilliant blue sky stretches over arid red soil stretching for miles and occasionally dotted with meteor impact craters.

Welcome to the Outback. It’s a beautiful world that’s dangerous for the ill-prepared. (Don’t travel in rainy season.)

Check out Ayers Rock Climb, hike Kings Canyon inside Watarrka National Park, and canoe down Katherine Gorge. Wait for the sunset to paint the red sandstone cliffs in golds. Or rent a 4W and set out for the bush.

5. Romania

Ah, the country of craggy castles perched on jagged cliffs, murky forests, and this darkly romantic allure it cannot shake.

This is the county that Bran Castle (a.k.a. Dracula’s Castle) calls home. No evidence exists that Bram Stoker knew about this castle, and some say he placed Dracula’s castle on an empty mountain top in the Transylvanian Alps. But that shouldn’t stop you from climbing its turrets, imagining a woman held in chains in the dank basement.

Laura Lopuch waxes philosophical about books and travel on Waiting To Be Read blog, and she’s always plotting her next trip. 

Posted by | Comments (0)  | June 10, 2015
Category: Central America, Destinations, Europe, Oceania

Vagabonding: How adventurers and stories inspire the modern traveler

Vagabonding-wholeToday, there’s a Facebook group for just about everything. Full-time families, digital nomads, long-term travelers, family travelers, solo travelers and everyone in between have a footprint in the digital world. Just how drastically the Internet has changed a traveler’s adventure we will never know, but, whether you are a traveler of the WIFI generation or one from those that came before, the art of adventure hasn’t changed. Location independence may be the catchphrase of today, but explorers and vagabonds have been journeying the earth’s surface for centuries finding their own way in the world, having and sharing those all encompassing life-changing experiences.

Vagabond: a person, usually without a permanent home, who wanders from place to place

Some of us crave travel from the minute we wake to the last time we blink our eyes shut at the end of the day. But what is it that we crave in those moments? Is it truly the get up and go and the process taken to get from place A to destination B, or is it the magic in the middle when travel forces us out of our comfort zone, to reach down deep inside and experience something new or grant us that opportunity to find something new in ourselves? What if there’s a little vagabond in each of us and we’ve only to find a way to set her free? Life is a series of experiences and choosing to travel explodes the possibilities.

Digital Nomad: someone who uses technology, especially a laptop and a wireless network to work remotely from anywhere in the world (Macmillan Dictionary)

Perhaps we are all descendants of nomads and explorers who came before us. Ernest Shackleton journeyed to Antarctica while Sir Edmund Hilary scaled the peaks of Everest. Freya Stark explored the Middle East while Captain James Cook mapped the Pacific region. Marco Polo spent time in China while Ernest Hemmingway found time between his writings to continue his own exotic adventures. Writing about it or living it, or doing both at the same time, wanderers have existed for centuries. Their experiences changed their lives and their writings changed ours. They took the time to travel, to really see what was in front of them and somehow found a way to convey the depth of their experiences to an audience. Their journeys opened their minds and for us and opened doors. Those who came before us wove the paths on which we wander today. Their twists and turns, and bumps and bruises showed us the possibilities.

“Vagabonding is an attitude – a friendly interest in people, places, and things that make a person an explorer in the truest, most vivid sense of the world, 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, Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel

Travel has changed over centuries. Having its beginnings in long walks and ship expeditions, those who choose to seek a different way of understanding have always had a place. The uncommon, off the beaten path vagabonds have been circling the globe for decades prior to the ability to post their every discovery on Instagram. They kept logs, journals and diaries of daily thoughts, dreams and interactions, similar in nature to what’s found on today’s web-blogs. Some set a course and stayed on it while others veered off finding things greater than they ever could have expected. They all returned changed. Perhaps they looked a bit weathered or haggard, but life happened in those weeks, months and years of journey and the person who left was very different from the one who returned.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” –Mark Twain

Having seen other cultures, lived amidst other peoples and discussed, eaten and worked among other accents, religions, and histories, the explorer came alive. Dreams changed, minds opened and possibilities seemed endless on and after this journey. The traveler is left wanting more. More to see, more to explore, more to do, more to dream, more to change, more to impact, more to listen to, more to understand, more to learn and more to teach – the traveler is forever changed.

“Having an adventure is sometimes just a matter of going out and allowing things to happen in a strange and amazing new environment – not so much a physical challenge as a psychic one.”

– Rolf Potts, Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel

Exploration is not new. Travel is not new. Vagabonding is not new. Desire to take a journey (whether real or within) is not new. Change can only happen when our comfort zones are broadened, when desire overrides fear and when the heart and mind are ready. It can be new decisions, changes in routine, interactions with new ideas or plunging deep into the unknown of a world very different from your everyday – not all travel is the same, yet it all has merit.

“Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.”

– Ibn Battuta

-Today’s world-schooling families traipse across the globe introducing their children to the world at large. Small only in years, their daily education is filled with people, sounds, aromas, ideas and interactions with many different than themselves.

-Digital nomads work from anywhere with a computer and Internet connection while exploring the new and different everyday.

-Thousands, nearly millions, speak daily about work-life balance and how carpe diem moments are not to be dismissed.

-Staggering numbers of millennials, baby boomers and all in between leave the traditional for that of the unknown and a chance to experience a world where time trumps deadlines and experience is teacher.

“How’s your thirst for adventure?…Unquenchable!”

–Tin Tin

Society has always had its outliers. Kerouac, Twain, Thoreau, Emerson and so many more taught us to grab life by the horns, explore, dream and live. Outsiders may think those digital nomads or vagabonds are on a permanent holiday or running away from the traditional confines of society for some strange reason. We know better. We’ve found a way to quench our souls from the inside. We’ve found a way to honor those explorers who came before us and continue our own quest for adventure in a way that works today. Short term travel, off the grid travel, long term travel, location independence, world-schooling, or whatever it’s being called today-life and travel meld together in a way that works for countless individuals. Channel those authors from your youth who challenged you to choose your own adventure. “Not all who wander are lost” (JRR Tolkien), in fact, it just may be the act of seeking that helps us find that for which we had no idea we were even looking.

Happy travels.

For more of Stacey’s travel musings, check out her blog.

Image: View Apart (Shutterstock)

Posted by | Comments (1)  | June 3, 2015
Category: Travel Writing, Vagabonding Life

Is the Paradise Pack for me?

Paradise Pack Banner Ad

We see these types of promotions all the time:

One time only sale!

Make your dreams come true now!

Travel for free!


Short marketing statements that almost seem to good to be true. Most often times, they are.

But let me tell you why the Paradise Pack is different.

What is the Paradise Pack?

In short, it’s a package of 18 resources – ebooks and online courses – designed around travel, long-term travel, and location independence. This collection includes the world’s top bloggers and experts on topics like travel blogging, travel hacking, long-term travel, and living a location independent lifestyle.

If you went to each individual’s site to purchase all 18 products, it would cost you over $2000. From now until June 7, 2015, you can get them all for $197. (more…)

Posted by | Comments (0)  | June 2, 2015
Category: Lifestyle Design

A couple ways to avoid travel burnout.

Traveling the world long-term rewards people with unforgettable adventures, timeless memories. However, long-term travel often comes with a price in the form of travel burnout. \

Long-Term travel means that you are most likely moving consistently. It is a wild experiencing jetting around the globe immersing yourself in vivacious cultures, colossal temples, and unmatched landscape.

However, after months or years travelers can start to get tired of the road, seeing temple after temple, packing and unpacking every few days can become a burden, and the passion that was once reserved and awe that once drove your love for travel is lost.

Travel Burnout is real and if people are not careful it can ruin traveling for you. Throughout my travels I have learned how to avoid travel burnout to keep my travels feeling fresh and my passion for life on the road strong.

Here are a few ways that I have learned through personal experience on how to avoid travel burnout.
Travel slower


traveling slower does wonders for a nomadic soul. When I first started traveling it was not uncommon for me to switch cities every few days and countries every few weeks. After months of this I was exhausted. I couldn’t take making new friends and have the same conversation every three days. I was sick of packing and unpacking my backpack.

I soon learned that slower travel is better travel. Staying in the same city for least a month lets people make lasting friendships, and discover all the little unique things that make the city special.

The good thing about traveling slower is that it can be mixed and matched with fast travel.  Sometimes I travel fast for a couple months and when I find a place I connect with I slow down and stay for a while.

Traveling slower lets you reenergize your love of travel and relax for moving at a fast pace.

Travel creatively


Traveling creative is something I have been striving to do for years. Taking insanely cheap flights, overnight buses, and long distance trains have their place traveling the world. However, thinking outside the box and being creative on how to get between places can restart your wanderlust if constantly moving is starting to grow trying. It is one reason I drove 1/3 the planet in the Mongol Rally, and right now I am on the Oliver Hazard Perry, a full rig ship, sailing between destination around the east coast of America.

Traveling outside the box is adventurous and lets you see the world in new and exciting ways. It has always changed my view of travel, increased my love for it, and helped me grow as a person.

Traveling is one of the greatest things a person can do and it is important to keep that passion fresh. Travel burnout is detrimental if you do not stop it. These are a couple of ways I use to keep travel refreshing and new and I know they will help you avoid the tragedy of travel burnout.

Stephen Schreck is a passionate traveler wandering around the globe. You can follow his adventures on A Backpackers Tale, Instagram, or Pinterest.

Posted by | Comments (0)  | May 8, 2015
Category: General