Rolf Potts: it’s better to be rich in time than money

vagDaca pe Cosmin de la Cassa Loco il cunoaste toata lumea, despre Rolf Potts, celalalt invitat de la Interviurile lui Razvan, trebuie sa va spun cateva cuvinte. A fost profesorul meu de travel writing la Academia Americana din Paris si este unul dintre cei mai respectati scriitori de travel din lume la ora actuala. Scrie pentru National Geographic Traveler, Conde Nast Traveler, The New York Times Magazine, The Believer sau The Guardian dar si pentru site-uri de profil precum sau Biografia lui completa o gasiti aici. Cand nu calatoreste prin toata lumea il gasiti acasa, la o ferma din Kansas.

Prima carte a lui Rolf se numeste Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel. Cea de-a doua si cea mai recenta este Marco Polo Didn’t Go There (Stories and Revelations from One Decade as a Postmodern Travel Writer). In prezent Rolf lucreaza la o carte despre America de Sud si Caraibe. In 2008 a fost prezentatorul emisiunii American Piligrim de pe Travel Channel. Cred ca e o persoana cool si v-ati bucura sa-l cunoasteti.

What are the places in the world that offer the cheapest cost of living and the most attractive lifestyle?
Typically the cheaper countries are in the developing world. Southeast Asia is a great place to travel and live, in terms of cost and attractions. I lived in Thailand when I was writing my first book, and I recommend it to anyone looking for a good place to start in that part of the world. Malaysia and Indonesia also make great destinations in that part of the world — and if you’re willing to get a little more off the beaten path, Laos, Cambodia, Burma and the Philippines are also great destinations. India is also a fantastic value.
Elsewhere in the world, the Middle East makes a nice, inexpensive destination. I am especially fond of Egypt, which has good prices and amazing destinations. Elsewhere, Latin American countries like Ecuador, Peru, Panama, and Nicaragua are also good travel bargains.

marco-polo_md_w Any little known destination that you would like to share with my readers?
Well first off I’ll recommend Kansas, which is where I live in the USA. It’s not a “sexy” American destination like New York or Los Angeles, but it’s a friendly and fascinating place where people take a genuine interest in international visitors.
I’m also a fan of lesser-known Asian destinations — places like Mongolia, Laos, and Sri Lanka.

Most memorable meal? And the one you wish to forget?
One of my more memorable meals was eating “boshin-tang” — dog-meat stew — in Korea. It was such an unusual dish for me that I ended up writing a story about the experience. Dog-meat aside, I actually love Korean food. Korea was the first place I lived outside of the United States, and I really learned to love the food there.
As for meals I want to forget, I usually try to forget whichever meals made me sick — like the noodles in Laos that gave me cholera!

The friendliest region to start a trip around the world for a newcomer?
Again, I’ll mention Thailand, which is a perennially good place for travelers to start. But most anyplace in the world can be friendly. Cuba is one of the friendliest places I’ve visited — as are other off-the-beaten-path places like Syria and Burma. Or most any place in Africa. The United States can be pretty friendly, too.

How old is old for travelling the world?

You’re never too old to travel the world! Some of the most intrepid travelers I’ve met on the road are in their seventies.

Travel writing – just a job or a way of living?
Both! But it kind of has to be a way of living before it can be a job. Unless you are passionate about traveling and writing, you won’t be able to do it professionally.

From websites to newspapers/magazines to books… how long the journey?
Naturally the journey is different for different people — but for me the journey is an ongoing process. Some people write books without much magazine experience; other people write for magazines for years without ever writing a book. It can all be rewarding and worth the effort.

Rolf by Fritz Liedtke

Rolf by Fritz Liedtke

Who’s afraid of the current financial crisis in the world of travel?
Well, everyone is afraid of the financial crisis, but it isn’t necessarily bad for travelers. Travel costs and amenities are getting as cheap as they have been in years — and I’ve always told people that the ability to travel isn’t about having lots of money so much as it is managing whatever money you possess to give yourself more free time. It’s better to be rich in time than money — and in this sense the financial crisis is allowing many people more time than ever!

When does it get boring?
I think it gets boring only when you lose your imagination. I think it’s important to always challenge yourself with new projects and new experiences. If you can do this it will never get boring.

When do we do that TV project together?
Whenever you’re ready! Where shall we start?


  • LittleMissSunshine says:

    TV project with Rolf Potts? Way to go! Abia astept 😀

  • codeus says:

    Razvane de mai traduceai si in romana era perfect ca io cu engleza is cam mai “auzim”

  • razvan says:

    @Codeus … ceva ceva tot ai inteles. Promit sa nu mai fac prea curand lucruri in engleza :)

  • codeus says:

    da am inteles si mi-a placut foarte mult partea cu pierderea imaginatiei.sunt de acord ca atunci nu numai ca ajungem sa ne plictisim ba mai mult ajungem sa nu mai traim..puterea de a visa ne duce mai departe.

  • catalinex says:

    by the way de “vise” in combinatie cu criza… 😀

    “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.” Oscar Wilde

  • […] Blissful interviewed me back in March as did my friend, former student, and Romanian travel-TV personality Razvan Marc (the introduction is in Romanian, but the Q&A itself is in English). On the other side of the […]

  • Iulia says:

    Mi-a placut emisiunea despre Dubai pentru ca am vazut un bun observator al situatiei de acolo – apropo de vechimea cladirilor, inaltimea noilor cladiri si competitia fara limite in domeniu, emigrantii, bazarul si dansul din buric oferit de o persoana care nu era din Emirate. ironie fina si bine strecurata

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