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. When you arrange your life priorities, unlimited, independent travel becomes possible!

After selling my house and most of my possessions, I have been vagabonding since January 2006. I now travel the world as I wish. I get to do what many rich people wish they could do. Instead of making every new day center around earning or managing money, I have better priorities: experience, relationships, and self growth are among them. You can still be successful in your business endeavors; earning money and vagabonding aren’t mutually exclusive. But priorities should first focus on health, happiness, and life experience. Humans are attracted to healthy, happy people—your opportunities for success and good relationships grow when you develop yourself.

Living life deliberately beats the alternatives every time.

I chronicle daily life on the road via my not-so-serious adventure 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. Americans attempt this all the time; it’s the default for anyone with a conventional job. What often results is an expensive distraction and then an unsatisfied return to reality. After vacation finishes, 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. Sadly, a sizable percentage of working Americans opt to not even use their vacation days for fear of “getting behind” on everything!

Someone who is vagabonding never really returns completely from their trip. They may be home for some time while working to save money, but always they are in the mindset to leave again. Vagabonding is the deliberate arranging of priorities that allows one to travel whenever they wish and for as long as they wish. Vagabonding is about making a conscious choice for self growth and new life experiences instead of spending a lifetime working to accumulate “toys.”

Why Not Wait for Retirement to Travel?

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 we shouldn’t prepare some for the future, but avoid getting stuck in the cycle of working to buy things to distract yourself from working in the first place!

In 2005, I realized I was doing exactly that. Although I had a “good” job at IBM, my health and happiness were declining as I worked 50, 60, or 70 hours a week to make other people rich. Leaving that conventional life was the best move I’ve ever made.

What If I Don’t Have the Money?

You would be amazed at how little money you need to travel through  a majority of the world. Do you even know for sure how much money slips through your fingers monthly?

When you choose to go live life instead of watching others do it, you won’t need cable television channels. If your car already runs fine, do you really need a new one? The same applies to your smartphone. For the average cost of a new smartphone, you could literally live and play on an island in Southeast Asia for a month or longer. Financing vagabonding is simply a matter of adjusting priorities so that gaining life experience comes first. Many of the travelers I have met were poor university students who managed to stay on the road for years!

Budget destinations such as 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 United States, you could eat, sleep, and play for a week in Southeast Asia!

How to Get Started Vagabonding?

Making the decision to bow out of the Rat Race is the first and most important step. Stop spending money on material things (that includes travel gadgets!). Instead, grab a copy of Vagabonding (that’s an Amazon affiliate link) for some inspiration. Next, schedule a time to chat so that we can discuss your plans and how to get you on the road to a new life!