New Direction: Your input on Vagabonding is requested

New direction

I can’t believe it’s been eleven years since Rolf’s first book, Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel was published.

I remember picking up my first copy, thumbing through, and thinking, “This guy… this guy has nailed it.”

I wasn’t a new traveler, having been raised by gypsy parents, but that book grabbed my by the nomadic heart strings and reminded me of all of the best things about life and the world. Subsequently, I bought Vagabonding by the case and gave it away to young friends, old travelers and as freebies on our website, on my own dime. The message matters that much to me. 

Surprisingly, I didn’t discover this website until I was invited to write for it. It was like coming home. My people are here. I’ve continued to write weekly for the same reason that I continue to buy and give away the book: because the message matters and, philosophically, there’s no better match for me in the travel world.

Rolf’s invitation to take over as Managing Editor of the site caught me off guard. We talked for a few weeks about what that would entail and the very big project of overhauling the treasure trove of content that’s been slowly accumulating for over a decade and creating something that will continue to be a hub of resources and community for the adventurous souls of the world. I’m really excited about the project. I’ve got lots of ideas.

There are going to be some big changes. But before I dive in and shake things up around here, I wanted to give you, the reader, a chance to weigh in.

  • What do you love about Vagabonding (the book, the website, the general message)?
  • What would you like to see more of around here?
  • What would you like to see less of?
  • What makes your recommend the book to a friend, or share a post on social media?


Would you be willing to take a minute and help us make Vagabonding better, for everyone?

Posted by | Comments (14)  | February 25, 2014
Category: General

14 Responses to “New Direction: Your input on Vagabonding is requested”

  1. RenegadePilgrim Says:

    I get all of your articles via RSS mostly because the design of the site needs to be severely updated.

    I love the travel related quotes and I love narrative stories.

    I share stuff that resonates with me…maybe a quote, or an interesting story or a photo.

  2. Jennifer Miller Says:

    Thank you Renegade Pilgrim, a total site redesign is in the works for spring. I appreciate your positive vote for more quotes and narrative stories!

  3. Roger Says:

    I have been following Vagabonding for years, primarily for the youthfull travel ethos and spirit I get from it. The design doesn’t matter that much to me, but I realize that things must change over time, and I will look forward to seeing how it looks. I like the usual content that has been put on Vagabonding and hope that it continues in a similar vein. Some travel sites have come and gone, but I hope this one keeps going. World Hum( to be a good site, but it has almost completely stopped posting content. Rolf’s stamp and personal story has had a great influence on this site from the beginning, of course, which is something I have found to be inspiring and I hope it will continue to be so.

  4. Anna Says:

    Congrats Jennifer!

    What first drew me to the book was the idea of making it your own–taking the ideas and guidance as just that: ideas and guidance. This doesn’t make traveling easy, as an all-inclusive trip would make it easy, but it’s a very general blueprint for making travel possible, while emphasizing personal responsibility.

    What I’d like to see more of: stories and interviews of people on the road; tips from experience; basic “what to eat” guides (I never know where to start in a new place). More practical posts. More 1st person narratives. More on the “less exotic” parts of the world. I’d love to see more engagement of current events and changes in travel.

    Love the travel book quotes: always expands my reading list.

    I’d like to see less “outside looking in” type things. I’d like to read perspectives from people who don’t take for granted their “outsider” status.

    Can’t wait to see what you have ahead!

  5. Jennifer Miller Says:

    Thanks so much Roger and Anna. I’ve made notes on your requests and will do my level best to motivate our writers in those directions. I, too, hope that the site will continue for many years and continue to reflect Rolf’s vision for Vagabonding. I really appreciate you taking the time to weigh in.

  6. Sam Says:

    More of the vegabonding trip reports would be nice. I am inspired by the travelers that immerse themselves in a place.

  7. Jennifer Miller Says:

    Sam… we’ve got field reports coming from multiple continents scheduled for Wednesday of each week with some brand new field reporters! Stay tuned!

  8. Ted Beatie Says:

    We couldn’t have handed it off to a better person Jennifer, and we all look forward to the changes ahead!

  9. Jennifer Miller Says:

    Thanks Ted, I really appreciate all of your hard work to this point and your support of my learning curve as we move forward!

  10. kc Says:

    I enjoyed the philosophical nature of Vagabonding. I would like to see more “philosophy” and theology and religious consideration of travel. Also, as a 40-something Gen-Xer with children, I like to read writing/blogging about families that are traveling and seeing the world. Thanks! kc

  11. Scott Says:

    I’d like to see more original content from Rolf himself or at least more posts of his that aren’t just quotes. I know he’s very busy and this may not be possible. However, I come to this blog for Rolf’s voice, opinions, and stories. Once he starting adding additional writers I lost a lot of interest in this site.

    Since this blog is so tied into his book I think he should take a more active role in providing content.

  12. jessica Says:

    Congrats Jenn. I am so happy for you. I love this site. I do however think the design is very hard to navigate, not welcoming or aesthetically pleasing. Sorry to be so blunt, but I am a designer and that is what I do. I did see you plan to do an overhaul and I am happy to hear that. Also, I read many blogs and I do not have the time to go to each website so I tend to LIKE the site on their FB page and then scroll my FB to see which I would like to read when I need a break from working. I cannot seem to find a FB page for this site. To be honest, it is the only site I still read that I do not have connected to my FB and often I forget it because of that. Good Luck.

  13. Theresa W. Says:

    As someone who reads it via the RSS feed (in Feedly), it would be great know who is doing the posting. Could the authors include their names at the end? It’s hard to develop a relationship (even one-sided by lurkers such as myself) when you don’t know who the different voices are.

    Having profiles on them would be great, too. Perhaps here:

  14. Jennifer Miller Says:

    Thanks so much everyone, please keep the suggestions coming!

    KC-the philosophical nature of vagabonding appeals to me too, I’ll work on finding writers who can do that well. I’ve got kids too and there will definitely be a “family” component included. One of the things Rolf has specifically asked me to do is create diversity!

    Scott- I agree and this is one of the key things I’m working towards. Rolf has so much great content, we’re going to work to highlight that and increase his voice and presence on the site.

    Jessica- Thank you! Fear not, site design is in the works! There is a FB page for this site: please feel free to like and share it. We have someone working on creating consistency in our social media reach as well, so there should be new posts daily happening over there. Thanks for continuing to read and hanging in there with us!

    Theresa- YES! Agreed! There will definitely be author bios going up and we’ll be including author mini-bios at the bottom of posts as we move forward with the tech changes. Everyone has been asking for this, readers and writers alike!!