Vagabonding Book Club: chapter 7: Get into adventures


“The secret of adventure, then, is not to carefully seek it out but to travel in such a way that it finds you. To do this, you first need to overcome the protective habits of home and open yourself up to the unpredictability. As you begin to practice this openness, you’ll quickly discover adventure in the simple reality of a world that defies your expectations. More often than not, you’ll discover that “adventure” is a decision after the fact–a way of deciphering an event or an experience that you can’t quite explain. In this way, adventure becomes a part of your daily life on the vagabonding road. — Rolf Potts, Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel

The entire point of taking off traveling, in the vagabonding style, is to have adventures. If it were not for the pursuit of adventures, something new, and different and more challenging than what we are experiencing at home, what would be the point of vagabonding at all. And yet, too many people take off on their journey but then assiduously avoid any sort of adventure that might find them.

How does one avoid having adventures: by seeking to replicate the comforts and habits of home.

How does one find adventure?

Rolf puts it perfectly: overcome the protective habits of home and open yourself up to unpredictability.

When you travel:

  • learn to do things differently than you would at home
  • eat unusual things
  • dance when you’re invited to
  • sing when the opportunity presents itself (especially if you cannot!)
  • resist the western hard-wired instinct to rush through a day, or a meal, or a moment
  • say “YES” to things: opportunities, invitations, challenges
  • avoid your comfort zone, consciously

Do not think to yourself, “I am seeking adventure today.” Instead think to yourself, “Adventure is seeking me today.” This small mental shift will push you towards serendipity and allow you to see each unexpected moment as pregnant with possibility instead of as something to be “gotten through” so that you can get to your adventure.

I loved this chapter because it gets to the heart of daily life while vagabonding and challenges us to break old patterns and see the world in new ways, which, for me, is the whole purpose of traveling to begin with.

Later in the chapter Rolf shares a fellow traveler’s list of top five adventures. I was inspired by the simplicity of his answers and made my own list, just for fun:

1. Truck hitching to the base of Cerro de Oro and climbing it with a friend, sharing a smoke at the top and screaming loud out over the lake to hear the echos call back.

2. Learning to weave on a backstrap loom over a period of months in Guatemala, getting a glimpse into the inside world of Mayan women from my friend and teacher, Imelda, and her daughters.

3. Moving down the Mekong, through Laos, towards Cambodia, by river boat, bus and bicycle. Spending a long afternoon learning to transplant rice seedlings, ankle deep in a muddy paddy, with a group of women with betel stained teeth who laughed and laughed at my fumbling attempts.

4. Getting lost along the Thai-Burmese border.

5. Camping on the Sahara, listening to drums in the darkness and participating in an ancient Bedouin camel festival in the south of Tunisia.


So what about you? What are your top 5 adventures?

Posted by | Comments Off on Vagabonding Book Club: chapter 7: Get into adventures  | May 27, 2014
Category: Travel Writing

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