Marco Polo Didn’t Go There … but Rolf Potts did

Rolf Potts, author of the great philosophical/travel/how-to book Vagabonding, has just wrapped his “virtual book tour,” in support of his new book, Marco Polo Didn’t Go There.

On his tour, he chatted with various people about life as a travel writer, the themes he explores in his new book, and much more. If you want to see where he’s been and who he’s talked to — well worth your time, whether you’re an aspiring writer or a travel junkie! — be sure to check the links below.

Now that Rolf’s virtual book tour is complete, he’ll be embarking on a real book tour, and on that tour, he’ll be keeping a virtual diary — right here at Gadling! Starting very soon, Rolf will be joining Gadling to discuss, among other things:

  • what it’s like to travel around the US and talk about one’s travel writing;
  • the bad reputation travel writing tends to get in the critical milieu;
  • how to deal with the occasional oddball at book readings (i.e. people who ask 10-minute questions that aren’t really questions);
  • getting drunk in the homes of famous people;
  • the worst diseases he’s suffered on the road, the worst border crossings and bureaucracy, the most overrated and underrated fellow travelers by nationality, his weaknesses as a travel writer, and more.

Visit Gadling to see what Rolf has to say! If you have any questions for Rolf, let us know, and maybe — if you’re really, really lucky — he’ll answer them.

Alternatively, you can see Rolf in person at one of 20 cities nationwide as he celebrates the release of Marco Polo Didn’t Go There (Travelers’ Tales, 2008). We encourage you to ask for the book at your favorite local bookstore or

Where has Rolf been? Who has he talked to?
  • Among other things, Tim Ferriss spoke to him about how to find interesting, life-affecting experiences.
  • At Budget Travel, they asked him lots of things, including the difference between “travelers” and “tourists.”
  • BootsnAll tossed him numerous questions, including asking what’s wrong with staying ON the tourist trail.
  • Vagabondish queried Rolf about the similarities between Pusan, Korea and north-central Kansas.
  • Over at The Lost Girls, Rolf summed up 7 key lessons all aspiring travel writers should bear in mind.
  • Matador Pulse got him to reveal some travel stories he just can’t write (yet).
  • At Brave New Traveler, Rolf noted how backpackers can go through a more “life affecting process” than “standard” tourists.
  • Jaunted got him to weigh the differences between toilet paper and ass-washing (and you may be surprised at how appealing ass-washing sounds when you’ve finished reading).
  • Though primarily a writer, Rolf shared some of his favorite travel photos with Intelligent Travel (be sure to read the images’ accompanying notes!)
  • Here at Gadling, Rolf told us about his future plans.
  • BONUS: For all you geeky english students out there, be sure to check out the interview on World Hum, in which the author ruminates on how narrative travel writing has changed in recent years, which contemporary author has had the greatest creative effect on travel writing as a literary exercise, and what’s had the largest impact on “writing” in the past decade.