Ten years after its initial debut in paper form, Vagabonding is set to go into an audiobook edition this fall. I’ve recorded the main text, but now I need to add some new “Vagabonding Voices”.
If you’re interested in possibly appearing as a Vagabonding Voice in the audiobook, start by sending me, as text in the body of an email (firstname.lastname@example.org), no more than 150 words (less is better, actually) of insight, per topic, on one or more of the following topics:
2: Making the decision to go, and earning your freedom
3: Simplicity, and saving for the trip
4: Planning and preparing for the journey
5: Getting started, slowing down, going your own way
6: The importance of interacting with people on the road
7: Seeking a more nuanced definition of “adventure”
8: Keeping it real, avoiding pretentiousness and false expectations
9: Working, volunteering, and mixing things up on the road
10: The spiritual-existential aspects of travel
Note that each topic is pegged to a specific chapter in Vagabonding; thus it’s a good idea to re-read the book to get a sense for what I’m looking for.
Deadline is July 26th. Feel free to submit insights for more than one chapter, but keep the word-count under 150 for each. Be sure to include your name, age, hometown, and profession in your submission (see Vagabonding Voices examples in the print version of Vagabonding).
Once the deadline has passed, I will choose 10-12 finalists for each chapter and solicit audio recordings (along with instructions for how to record and upload your audio). From these finalists, 3-4 audio outtakes for each chapter will make it into the audiobook.
I can’t offer payment to those who make the final cut, but I will give you and/or your blogs a shout-out online (and, of course, you’ll have an audio-contributor appearance in the book). If you don’t hear back from me by the beginning of August, this likely means my editors and I haven’t chosen your insights for the book.
Again: Send text first, by email, 150 words or less per chapter-insight, deadline July 26th.
It’s once again winter holiday season, which means it’s time to tout my books as stocking stuffers for the travel lovers on your Christmas list.
Vagabonding makes a great holiday gift for:
And of course my newest book, Marco Polo Didn’t Go There, is not just an entertaining and engrossing read for the armchair traveler; its “commentary track” makes it an offbeat travel-writing textbook for students and fans of the genre.
Both books should be available through your local bookstore — and for online ordering you can the follow the links I’ve set up here:
I do have a limited number of signed copies available, but since I’ll be away from home for the next couple weeks this will be a last-minute undertaking.
So if you don’t mind waiting for the signed copies until, like, the week after Christmas, send an email to books [at] rolfpotts [dot] com to get ordering details.
Just a quick note here to let you know that the “virtual book tour” for my book Marco Polo Didn’t Go There is underway. It started with a Q&A at Tim Ferriss’s 4-Hour Work Week and Lifestyle Design Blog, and will continue with a series of Q&As and short essays on a number of great travel blogs over the course of two weeks. I’ve listed rundown of these “virtual book tour” blog stops by date below.
You’ll also want to check out the page I’ve set up for my nationwide book tour — which starts in Kansas and will hit nearly 20 U.S. cities before it ends in southern California just before Thanksgiving. Come on out and see me in places like Chicago, New Orleans, Minneapolis, New York, Portland, Seattle, San Francisco, or Los Angeles! If you can’t make it in person, I’ll be keeping a book tour blog at Gadling starting September 29th.
In other book-release news, Pauline Frommer interviewed me about Marco Polo Didn’t Go There for her “Travel Show” on WOR Radio yesterday (to listen, click “Hour 2″ of the September 14th show).
Here’s the rundown on the virtual book tour:
Tues Sept 16
Budget Travel‘s This Just In Blog
Wed Sept 17
BootsnAll.com blogs and boards
Thurs Sept 18
Fri Sept 19
The Lost Girls’ blog
Mon Sept 22
Tues Sept 23
Brave New Traveler
Wed Sept 24
Thurs Sept 25
National Geographic‘s Intelligent Travel Blog
Fri Sept 26
Last week, when I announced that my new book is available for sale at Amazon.com, a number of readers wrote in to tell me that they’d also found copies of it in the travel sections of their local bookstores. The book was initially scheduled to launch on September 15th, but — hey — since it’s already for sale everywhere, why not just say it’s launching today?
So there you have it: Marco Polo Didn’t Go There is officially released!
The subtitle to the book is “Stories and Revelations From One Decade as a Postmodern Travel Writer,” and the story collection is just that — a look back at my boldest, funniest, and most revealing travel-writing adventures from the past 10 years. Unlike, say, essay collections from David Sedaris, Anne Lamott or Chuck Klosterman (or even Tim Cahill), however, each of my stories also contains a “commentary track” — endnotes that reveal the ragged edges behind the experience and creation of each tale. The result, I believe, is more than just an entertaining literary journey into fascinating corners of the world — it’s also an offbeat travel-writing textbook, as each story is offset by an annotated peak into its own creation. The intro chapter (which explains, for example, why I use a word like “postmodern” in the subtitle) can be accessed online from the Travelers’ Tales promo page for the book.
By next week I hope to add a unique Marco Polo Didn’t Go There page at RolfPotts.com, complete with reviews, sample chapters, and a finalized book-tour event listing. For now, I’m posting my tentative book tour schedule below, covering the metro areas of Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Portland, New York, Philadelphia, Minneapolis, New Orleans, Chicago, Kansas City, Topeka, Wichita, and Salina. [Montreal, San Diego, Baltimore, and DC might be added later, depending on scheduling issues.] As was the case for Vagabonding in 2003, Bootnsall Travel Network will be co-sponsoring many of the events on this book tour.
I also hope to visit some book clubs during my tour, though I don’t have a specific plan on just how I’m going to do this. So if you have a book club (or if you want to create one to coincide with my tour) and it looks like I’ll be in your general area, send me an email and let’s see if we can’t set something up.
My online “virtual book tour” will start next Monday, September 15th, and will feature book-related reviews, Q&As, and short essays on select travel blogs. After the virtual tour finishes, I’ll be writing regular road-dispatches for Gadling as my real-world book tour makes its way around North America.
For now, my tentative 2008 Marco Polo Didn’t Go There book tour information is as follows:
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 Amazon.com a few days ago. Since the book doesn’t officially release in most bookstores until mid-September, this caught me off-guard.
Nonetheless, I’m happy to see my new book on sale (better early than late, to be sure) and if you’re an Amazon.com shopper, I encourage you to check it out! I’ll have a more formal announcement of the Marco Polo Didn’t Go There book release (including book tour info for places like Chicago, New Orleans, Minneapolis, Kansas City, Wichita, Salina, New York, Portland, Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles) in coming days. For now, its Amazon page has some decent introductory information. And, interestingly enough, my first piece of tie-in press about the book appeared in Italy’s La Repubblica newspaper (of all places) a few days ago.
Here is some more Rolf news from recent weeks and months:
As I mentioned a couple weeks back, I have a new travel book coming out this fall. Entitled Marco Polo Didn’t Go There, this book will likely debut in September, and I will go on the road to promote it in October and November. Right now I plan on hitting various bookstores, writing conferences, and universities in Washington, Oregon, California, Texas, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, New York, and New Jersey.
Might you have some suggested stops and venues for me in these places? Are there other parts of the U.S. or Canada that might make a good stop on my book tour? If so, let me know by emailing me directly! (My address is under “contact” in the index bar at left.)
In addition to standard readings from my new book (as well as Vagabonding), I’m also game to do short talks or seminars on travel writing and/or long-term travel — especially at universities and book festivals. I welcome your suggestions!
Four years ago, while on tour to promote Vagabonding, I printed up a bunch of “VGB” stickers (pictured above) to give away at book signings. Originally, these stickers were to read “VAG,” though this idea was shot down when my publicist told me that, ahem, I shouldn’t encroach on the territory of another Random House book, The Vagina Monologues. So VGB it was.
Recently, while going through my belongings, I realized that I have several dozen of these stickers left over after all these years. If you’re interested in getting one (to put on your car or laptop as a self-motivating reminder of an upcoming vagabonding journey, or merely to have for your incipient travel-themed sticker collection) just send a self-addressed stamped envelope (with enough postage to get to wherever in the world you are) to:
We’ll toss a sticker or two in for you and send it back your way. Feel free to send us a note, or a sticker of your own!
[Above: Contestant Justin Pitts gives props to Vagabonding.]
Last month, while I was traveling in Cuba, several readers sent me emails saying that a contestant on the syndicated game show “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” had told host Meredith Viera that — if he won money on the show — he wanted to travel the world as much as possible, adding “I’m reading a really great book called Vagabonding.”
As far as I know, this is this first time my book has been endorsed on a game show, so I did a little followup, and it turns out the contestant was Justin Pitts of New York City, and he ended up winning $25,000 on the show. Vagablogging has been in touch with Pitts, and we hope to interview him about his upcoming travel plans soon!
The Japanese cover of Vagabonding
I have a few new writing items to share this week: First, I’m happy to announce that Sony Books has finally released the Japanese translation of Vagabonding. Entitled 旅に出ろ! (which Babelfish tells me means Appear in the Traveling!), it was translated by Robert Harris, a Japan-based writer and radio personality specializing in travel. I have yet to receive a copy of this Japanese edition (and I’ll have trouble reading it once I do), so I’d be interested to know what readers think of the translation.
Elsewhere, I have a brief story in the current issue of National Geographic Traveler. Part of the “Sudden Journeys” cover story (which also includes contributions from the likes of Pico Iyer and Rory Stewart), my tale recounts an adventure in Burma, when I ditched my pre-planned itinerary and bought a $40 Chinese-made bicycle:
The three weeks that followed were filled with the joys of the unexpected. My new bicycle, I found, had a max speed of about five miles an hour—a perfect tempo at which to discover the Burmese countryside. Mangoes were in season, so I bought armfuls of the sweet fruit for pennies apiece. When unmapped ruins or stupas graced the roadside, I stopped to investigate and linger. I slept in villages along the way, where townspeople offered to put me up in Buddhist monasteries. In a town called Pakokku, an English teacher invited me to speak to his students, and after class they all took me to a pwe festival at the town pagoda (where, believe it or not, a crowd consisting of families and monks watched a Burmese transvestite cabaret troupe lip-synch to Boney M’s “Bahama Mama”).
My full Burma bicycling anecdote from National Geographic Traveler is online here.
Finally, Elisabeth Eaves quotes me in “Dropping Out,” her recent Forbes story about off-the-grid travel. Specifically, I confess to having once drunk-dialed an American ex-girlfriend with a satellite phone while on a Land Rover expedition in the Chilean wilderness. “As isolated as I was physically,” I point out, “satellite technology still allowed me to make a perfectly pointless telephone call to someone in another hemisphere.”
The full Forbes story, which includes my off-the-grid destintation recommendation (Mongolia) is online here.
Last week, the Campaign for the American Reader featured Vagabonding in its “page 69 test.” This blog project, which is an independent initiative encouraging people to read more books, tests Marshall McLuhan’s old assertion that you should choose your reading by turning to page 69 of a given book and — if you like it — read it. Other authors whose books have been subject to this blog experiment include Jim Lehrer, Elaine Showalter, Debra Ginsberg, Michael Lewis, Stanley Fish, Alan Wolfe, Pagan Kennedy, and Jeff Biggers.
This was my take on just how representative page 69 of Vagabonding is in relation to the rest of the book:
Vagabonding is a book about how to take time off from your workaday life to travel for an extended period of time. For some people, this might mean embarking on a one-year dream-trip around the world. For others, it might mean taking off three months to study cooking (or meditation, or kick-boxing) in Thailand. Other folks might be considering an early “retirement” to live part-time and telecommute from Argentina.
Whatever the specific case, my book encourages people to actualize their travel dreams and combat the myths (“it’s too expensive”; “it’s too dangerous”; “I can’t make time for it”; etc.) that might keep them from making those dreams a reality. Vagabonding is as much a philosophical primer as a practical one, and the philosophy at its core is the idea that time – not “things” – is all we own in life, and how you spent that time is ultimately what is most important in life.
Ironically, then, page 69 of Vagabonding is more practical than philosophical: It is a discussion of managing money before and during travel. In dealing with budgeting, I don’t give a lot of discrete advice, because I know that people come from different economic backgrounds and have different spending habits. Instead, I encourage readers to plan conservatively, and realize that travel experience itself will help them to become more informed and economical travelers.
For the full rundown on page 69 of Vagabonding — including an excerpt — click here.