Vagabonding Case Study: Seth Baker

Seth Baker

Age: 29

Hometown: Huntington, West Virginia

Quote: “‘Vagabonding’ is less a mode of travel and more a state of mind, a way you relate to the world around you.

How did you find out about Vagabonding, and how did you find it useful before and during the trip? I bought Vagabonding prior to my first int’l trip, a solo 3-month jaunt around Europe in ’07. It helped me prepare mentally for the trip. Contrary to the minimalist ethic of Vagabonding, I even took the book with me, mostly for the quotes. Unfortunately, I dropped it in a squat toilet in Turkey and had to abandon it.

How long were you on the road? 3 months in Europe. Later, a month in Mexico, a year in South Korea, and 3 months in Thailand and Cambodia.

What was your job or source of travel funding for this journey? Pizza delivery took me to Europe and Mexico. English teaching took me to Korea and paid for a long trip around Southeast Asia.

Did you work or volunteer on the road? I taught English in Korea. In Thailand, I did a little freelance web work to offset my expenses.

Of all the places you visited, which was your favorite? Thailand is a wonderful country, though Korea was a wonderful if challenging place to spend a year.

Was there a place that was your least favorite, or most disappointing, or most challenging? The land border crossing from Thailand into Cambodia at Poipet was pretty rough, between having to pay bribes to the border guards and getting crammed into a Toyota Camry with eight other people for the long drive to Siem Reap.

Did any of your pre-trip worries or concerns come true?  Did you run into any problems or obstacles that you hadn’t anticipated? While my wife and I were living in Korea, her grandmother died. That was rough.

Later that year, my debit card was hacked, and somewhere in Pennsylvania, someone bought over $3,000 worth of underwear from Victoria’s Secret. I eventually had the charges reversed.

Which travel gear proved most useful? Ziploc bags for the rainy season and a little aluminum camera tripod for night shots.

What are the rewards of the vagabonding lifestyle? Meeting people from different cultures and getting out of your comfort bubble.

What are the challenges and sacrifices of the vagabonding lifestyle? For me, balancing the married life and my love of travel is the biggest challenge.

What lessons did you learn on the road? I learned that life is too short to be lazy.

How did your personal definition of “vagabonding” develop over the course of the trip? I realized that vagabonding is less a mode of travel and more a state of mind, a way you relate to the world around you.

If there was one thing you could have told yourself before the trip, what would it be? Take good notes.

Any advice or tips for someone hoping to embark on a similar adventure? Do it. Save your money, take a second job, and go. Don’t get hung up on details. You can always go home, though it may not feel the same. Learning to say hello, thank you, please, and sorry in the local language is always appreciated.

When and where do you think you’ll take your next long-term journey? I’ll return Korea this winter for a short teaching contract. In the spring, I plan to trade some airline miles for a free flight ticket to South America.

Twitter: SethMBaker Website:

Are you a Vagabonding reader planning, in the middle of, or returning from a journey? Would you like your travel blog or website to be featured on Vagabonding Case Studies? If so, drop us a line at and tell us a little about yourself.

Posted by | Comments Off on Vagabonding Case Study: Seth Baker  | December 8, 2010
Category: Vagabonding Case Studies

Comments are closed.