So what exactly is vagabonding?

Rolf Potts, author of the book Vagabonding, describes it as:

“The act of leaving behind the orderly world to travel independently for an extended period of time” and “A deliberate way of living that makes freedom to travel possible.”

So put simply, vagabonding is the act of choosing experiences and travel adventures over working away your life for material things.

I have been vagabonding since January 2006 after selling my house and most of my possessions. I now travel the world, living on as little income as possible, and I have never felt more healthy or successful!

I chronicle daily life on the road via my not-so-serious blog.

vagabonding life

What is the difference between vagabonding and vacation?

A vacation is an attempt to squeeze a year’s worth of enjoyment, relaxation, and adventure into a two-week package. What often results is an expensive distraction and then an unsatisfied return to reality, which is always waiting at home. In fact, after vacation you may find yourself worse off than before you left, trying to catch up with work, mail, chores, and all the other¬†unnecessary¬†ways that we complicate life.

Someone who is vagabonding never really returns completely from their trip. They may be home working to save money, but always they are in the mindset to leave again. Vagabonding is a mindset more than anything else; the conscious choice of new life experience over a lifestyle of fashion and toys.

Why not wait for retirement to enjoy life?

Thoreau put it best when he said we spend “the best part of one’s life earning money in order to enjoy a questionable liberty during the least valuable part of it.”

In other words, live for now. There is no guarantee that you will have the finances or health by retirement age to do the things that you want to do. This does not mean that we should not prepare some for the future, but do not get stuck in the cycle of working to buy things to distract you from working in the first place!

What if I do not have the money?

You would be amazed at how little money you need to travel a majority of the world, and at how much money slips through your fingers monthly.

Do you really need 300 cable television channels? Do you need that new car when your old one still runs fine? How often will you watch those DVDs in the huge collection you are building? Financing vagabonding is simply a matter of adjusting priorities so that travel comes first. More than a majority of travelers I have met were poor university students that had managed to stay on the road for years!

Budget destinations like Asia, Africa, and South America are full of adventure and culture but cost a fraction of what you spend to live daily. For the cost of one average dinner and movie night in the U.S., you could eat, sleep, and play for a week in Southeast Asia!

How do I get started?

Making the decision to bow out of the Rat Race is the first and most important step. Next, get involved in the vagabonding culture and learn success stories from others who took the leap. Check out my backpacking guide for tips and lots of advice from other budget travelers.

Join forums and read blogs on travel sites such as and begin talking to others that have been down the path to happiness already.

Help out a starving vagabond and buy a copy of Rolf Potts’ book through my site please!