Vagabonding’s Japanese debut (and other Rolf writing news)


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 ????! (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.

Posted by | Comments (2)  | May 8, 2007
Category: Book Release and Tour Diary, Rolf's News and Updates

2 Responses to “Vagabonding’s Japanese debut (and other Rolf writing news)”

  1. brian Says:

    Just glad to hear you’re still around after the tornado in Kansas. Congrats on getting your book translated into Japanese!

  2. Marilyn Terrell Says:

    I thought the highlight of your Burma bike trip was going to be the wonders of Bagan, but you surprised me! Congrats on “Appearing in the Traveling.”