Rolf’s new book now in stock at (and other Rolf news)

Having been on the road in Africa, Europe and North America since late May, it’s been hard to keep up with various non-travel events in my life (including many of my inbox messages — sorry if I’ve been slow in replying to email lately). Hence, I almost missed it when my new book, Marco Polo Didn’t Go There, suddenly appeared in stock at a few days ago. Since … Read more »

Posted by | Comments (5)  | August 31, 2008
Category: Book Release and Tour Diary, Rolf's News and Updates

Jouie la podcast – learn language quicker

French – the language of love.

Actually, when the sexiest phrase that comes can come out of someone’s mouth is “j’ai un chien appelé Pongo” – maybe not so much. The beauty of travelling the world is that you can intentionally and unintentionally further your language skills so much quicker than back in the Motherland.

If just passing through, you may learn how to order a steak and then swear at your friends. If you stay … Read more »

Posted by | Comments (2)  | August 31, 2008
Category: General, Languages and Culture

Meeting the mundane head on

When deciding to take an extended stay in a country, a ‘working holiday’, it can sometimes become a story of ‘different place, same boredom’. It means going from a weekday job in your home country to probably a more tedious method of employment in your adopted country (on lower pay). There are ways to cure the tedium, in that lull between experiences. Here are some tips:

Create goals

Decide on where you want to be able … Read more »

Posted by | Comments (1)  | August 30, 2008
Category: General, Notes from the collective travel mind, Vagabonding Advice

Suggestions for the traveling vegetarian


Ready to travel but worried about maintaining your vegetarian diet while also maintaining a non-offensive position? It’s easier than many make it out to be, especially if you handle it all with a sense of humor.

Once in Korea I tried to order a vegetarian meal of rice and vegetables. I received (with a proud smile from the chef) a meal of rice with shrimp, sausage and ham because, “it tastes … Read more »

Posted by | Comments (4)  | August 29, 2008
Category: General

A global quest for universal health care

The excellent documentary TV series PBS Frontline recently did a feature called Sick Around the World. In the program, veteran journalist T. R. Reid travels to five countries to find out how they launched universal health care. It’s available for viewing online.

I found the program to be pretty balanced, in that it did point out the flaws of universal health care (chronic underfunding, long waits, etc.) as well as the benefits. One of … Read more »

Posted by | Comments (2)  | August 29, 2008
Category: General

Which places keep you coming back for more?

When I started traveling, I figured I’d want to see most of the world before I started retracing my steps. After all, why go back to the same old city when there’s so much more to see?

Since then, I’ve changed my tune. I’ve just arrived back in New Orleans for the third time in the past six months, and I’m already planning my next visit. (Though with Hurricane Gustav threatening to cut this … Read more »

Posted by | Comments Off on Which places keep you coming back for more?  | August 28, 2008
Category: Notes from the collective travel mind

Seize the Day: Crossing off items from your list

Dave Freeman, co-author of “100 Things to Do Before You Die: Travel Events You Just Can’t Miss” passed away after a fall in his home this week. From the book:

“This life is a short journey. Make sure you fill it with the most fun and visit the coolest places on earth before you pack those bags for the very last time.”

According to Freeman’s family, he has been to at least half of … Read more »

Posted by | Comments (2)  | August 28, 2008
Category: General

A handy guide to exorbitant airline fees

Airlines loath raising prices, and rising fuel costs are driving them to employ some creative ways to pry money out of your pocket without actually raise the fares. The cornerstone of their new strategy is fees and, quite frankly, things are getting out of hand.

Want to check two bags? That’ll cost you up to $50 extra. It’s a great incentive to pack light, but … Read more »

Posted by | Comments (2)  | August 27, 2008
Category: General

Volunteer your photojournalism skills

Volunteering abroad: let me count the ways. Thankfully we’re not at a loss for programs that connect globally-minded volunteers to communities that could use assistance. But while I was looking through several programs listed recently on, one stood out as an option I hadn’t thought of before: volunteering as a photojournalist.

It makes sense—plenty of charities need on-the-ground documentation, whether capturing the destruction of a hurricane or following the progress towards rebuilding … Read more »

Posted by | Comments (2)  | August 27, 2008
Category: Notes from the collective travel mind