Vagabonding and the Campaign for the American Reader “page 69” test

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.

Posted by | Comments (1)  | January 10, 2007
Category: Book Release and Tour Diary, Rolf's News and Updates, Travel Writing

One Response to “Vagabonding and the Campaign for the American Reader “page 69” test”

  1. Vive Griffith Says:

    I never knew there was an “official” recommendation to turn to page 69 to decide if you should read a book! I’ve been doing so for as many years as I can remember. Of course, it’s been inadvertant. I turn to page 68 (my birth year). Page 69 has been on the facing page all this time!