44 minutes | Mar 21, 2023
Travel can be a way to see the future (and experience the past), with Kevin Kelly
“"I wasn't partying. I wasn't relaxing on the beach. I was photographing – working – every minute of the day. That was a means to see as much as I possibly could. And to keep looking.” –Kevin Kelly In this episode of Deviate, Rolf and Kevin discuss the ambitions and connections that led Kevin to Asia not long after high school (2:30); how Kevin's interest in photography affected his experience of Asia (7:30); how seeing other cultures gave him perspective on his own culture, and on himself, and his countrymen (15:00); how photography gave him intensified attention to what in the world might be changing (23:00); how AI and other technology are changing how we live, create, and travel (30:00); how to travel in such a way that you are open to phenomenon and experiences you don't know of yet, and how technology might enable a "protopia" future (40:00). Kevin Kelly (@kevin2kelly) is a co-founder of Wired magazine, a co-founder of the Rosetta Project, and he serves on the board of the Long Now Foundation. He is a photographer, writer, and futurist, with much of his work centering on Asian and digital culture. His three-volume photo book Vanishing Asia draws on 50 years of vagabonding travel experiences, and his newest book, Excellent Advice for Living: Wisdom I Wish I'd Known Earlier, debuts in May of 2023. Notable Links: The Vagabond's Way, by Rolf Potts (book) Leaves of Grass, by Walt Whitman (poetry book) Communitas (egalitarian ethos of shared interest) Jan Chipchase (design innovator) Wired (magazine) Rick Prelinger (American archivist) Stewart Brand (founder of the Whole Earth Catalog) Shenzhen (city in China) A Pattern Language (1977 urban design book) "What AI-Generated Art Means for Human Creativity" (article) "A Brief History of Smell-O-Vision" (article) Burning Man (event in the US) Kumbh Mela (event in India) Musical.ly (defunct social media app) "Forget Utopia. Ignore Dystopia. Embrace Protopia!" (article) The Deviate theme music comes from the title track of Cedar Van Tassel’s 2017 album Lumber. Note: We don’t host a “comments” section, but we’re happy to hear your questions and insights via email, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
43 minutes | Mar 7, 2023
The best age to travel is whatever age you are now (an online book club remix)
"Success is often about finding just enough material wealth to fund the life that makes you happy." —Rolf Potts In this episode of Deviate, Rolf and The Nomadic Network book club participants discuss how travel can intensify the attention you pay to life at home (2:30); how the best discoveries of travel can't be planned, and how you can give yourself permission to travel at all ages in life (10:30); how travel can give you perspective on the notion of "success" (22:00); what various book club participants have learned from (and discovered on) their travels (34:00); and the details of Rolf's annual Travel Memoir writing class in Paris (41:00). Notable Links: The Nomadic Network book club (online events with Rolf) Marco Polo Didn't Go There book club (Deviate episode) The Vagabond's Way, by Rolf Potts (book) Rolf's 2022 appearance on the Tim Ferriss Show (podcast) On Kawara (Japanese conceptual artist) Mallory Square (waterfront plaza in Key West) Oia (village on the Greek island of Santorini) Tony Perrottet on Deviate (podcast episode) Real on the Road (David Hunter Bishop travel blog) Rolf traveling with Sudanese in Syria (blog dispatch) Sei Shōnagon (10th century Japanese author) John Muir (American naturalist and author) Gobi Desert (arid region in East Asia) Van life before #VanLife (Deviate episode) Søren Kierkegaard (Danish philosopher) Bennifer (high-profile celebrity relationship) Paris Writing Workshop (Rolf's summer writing classes) The Deviate theme music comes from the title track of Cedar Van Tassel’s 2017 album Lumber. Note: We don’t host a “comments” section, but we’re happy to hear your questions and insights via email, at email@example.com.
45 minutes | Feb 21, 2023
Seek out global connections while you’re still at home (with Kristin Van Tassel)
“Travel has become a way to remind myself how it feels to get lost, and then get unlost. It is a way to remember the discomfort of uncertainty and the unfamiliar. It’s an exercise in receiving the unexpected.” –Kristin Van Tassel In this episode of Deviate, Rolf and Kristin discuss being in DC, living in Kansas, and Kristin's family trip to Mexico using migrant-economy buses (1:30); how seeking international restaurants and grocery stores at home can be a window into distant cultures (8:00); Kristin's motivation to learn Spanish in middle age, and how it connects to her perspective as a teacher (16:00); Kristin's harrowing experience of getting lost on a run in Nairobi in 1990, and how getting lost in a place is a way of experiencing it in a deeper way (20:30); how Kristin experienced the country and culture of Moldova through soups and salads while being hosted there by a former student (34:30); and how to stay open to being lost without compromising yourself, and embrace unfamiliar languages as a traveler and learner (41:00). Kristin Van Tassel teaches writing and American literature at Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kansas. She writes essays and poetry about place, teaching, motherhood, and travel. Notable Links: National Portrait Gallery (art museum in Washington, DC) Lindsborg (Swedish-American town in Kansas) Long-distance hiking at home (Deviate episode) Guanajuato (city in Mexico) Zacatecas (state in Mexico) Meeting Sudanese refugees in Syria (dispatch by Rolf Potts) Hmong people (ethnic group in Southeast Asia) Salina (small city in Kansas) Kimchi (Korean side-dish) "Swamp Creatures," by Kristin Van Tassel (essay) "Swallowing Fear in San Miguel de Allende" (essay) Hangul (Korean writing system) Punta del Diablo (beach village in Uruguay) Nairobi (capital city of Kenya) Rolf's 2010 no-baggage round-the-world journey The Vagabond's Way, by Rolf Potts (book) Chișinău (capital city of Moldova) Anna Gabur's baking-themed Instagram Borscht (Eastern European soup) The Deviate theme music comes from the title track of Cedar Van Tassel’s 2017 album Lumber. Note: We don’t host a “comments” section, but we’re happy to hear your questions and insights via email, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
29 minutes | Feb 7, 2023
A Native American football team beat the 1927 NFL Giants: The story of John Levi
"Running back John Levi is about as easy to stop as a 200-pound eel. With his speed, and his shifting, sidestepping style of running, tacklers slide off of him like rain off a slicker." --From the Minneapolis Star, October 1923 In this episode of Deviate, Rolf talks about a 1927 football game between the New York Giants and an all-indigenous Oklahoma team called the Hominy Indians, and how the team's star player, John Levi, was the father of Rolf's junior high gym coach (0:00); John Levi's early years as a football player at Haskell Institute, and Haskell's games against teams like Baylor and Minnesota (5:00); Haskell's game against the Quantico Marines at Yankee Stadium, and how it led to John Levi being offered a baseball contract (10:30); how professional football was different in the 1920s than it is now (14:00); how Osage County, Oklahoma was in the midst of an oil boom in the 1920s (17:30) the specifics of the 1927 New York Giants versus Hominy Indians game (20:30); and how John Levi's legacy was embodied by his son, a U.S. Marine veteran who later became a physical education teacher in Wichita, Kansas (22:30). John Levi, Jr. served as a medic for the First Marine Division during the Korean War. He later taught physical education for several decades at Hadley Junior High School in Wichita, Kansas. Now retired, he lives in Green Valley, Arizona. Sports-related Links: John Levi (Arapaho multi-sport athlete) Hominy Indians (1920s Oklahoma football team) 1927 New York Giants (football team) Playground of the Native Son (2013 film) "They Might be Giants" (article about the Hominy-Giants game) Super Bowl 57 (NFL football championship) Jim Thorpe (Sac and Fox Nation multi-sport athlete) Barry Sanders (NFL running back) Patrick Mahomes (NFL quarterback) 1923 Quantico Marines Devil Dogs (football team) Red Grange (college and NFL running back) Olympics amateurism rules (aristocratic sporting ethos) Harrisburg Senators (minor-league baseball team) History of the National Football League Pottsville Maroons (defunct NFL football team) Kansas City Cowboys (defunct NFL football team) Akron Pros (defunct NFL football team) Buffalo Bisons (defunct NFL football team) Barnstorming (traveling sports exhibitions) John Mosier (NFL tight end) Russ Campbell (NFL tight end) Other notable Links: A personal history of being a football fan (Deviate episode) Haskell Institute (Native American school in Kansas) Carlyle Industrial School (Indian boarding school) Indian Citizenship Act of 1924 Osage County, Oklahoma Killers of the Flower Moon (2023 movie) David Grann (author) Hominy (town in Oklahoma) Fairfax (town in Oklahoma) Growing up racially diverse (Deviate episode) Battle of Inchon (Korean War amphibious invasion) Second Battle of Seoul (Korean War urban battle) Battle of Chosin Reservoir (Korean War winter battle) Band of Brothers (book by Stephen Ambrose) The Deviate theme music comes from the title track of Cedar Van Tassel’s 2017 album Lumber. Note: We don’t host a “comments” section, but we’re happy to hear your questions and insights via email, at email@example.com.
58 minutes | Jan 31, 2023
Why you go someplace is less important than just going (with Tony Perrottet)
“For ancient Roman tourists, the whole point of travel was to go where everyone else was going. Sightseeing was a form of pilgrimage.” –Tony Perrottet In this episode of Deviate, Rolf and Tony discuss the habits idiosyncrasies of ancient Roman tourists, and how they relate to modern travel (1:30); the class tensions and expectations inherent in different types of modern and historical travelers, and how the "unexpected" affects these journeys (17:00); the appeal of Egypt to both ancient and modern tourists (22:30); how mythic ages can be a prism through which to see a place (33:00); how travel and geographical endeavor is an important task for a historian (44:30); and how the experience of travel has and hasn't changed over the years (55:30). Tony Perrottet (@TonyPerrottet) is the author of six books, including Pagan Holiday: On the Trail of Ancient Roman Tourists; The Sinner’s Grand Tour: A Journey Through the Historical Underbelly of Europe; and The Naked Olympics: The True Story of the Greek Games. Notable Links: The Nomadic Network book club (online events with Rolf) Vagabond's Way sweepstakes (online giveaway) Yousuf Karsh (Canadian photographer) Petra (ancient Nabataean city in Jordan) Troy (ancient city in modern-day Turkey) Grand Tour (travel rite from 17th-19th centuries) Explorer's Club (professional society in New York) Lionel Casson (historian who wrote on ancient Rome) Ludwig Friedländer (scholar who wrote on ancient Rome) Wenamun (ancient Egyptian traveler) Appian Way (ancient Roman road) Gladiator (2000 film) Sultan Hotel (Rolf's favorite hostel in Cairo) Valley of the Kings (ancient tomb complex in Egypt) Felucca (Mediterranean sailing boat) Egypt's Entrepreneur Awards Belle Époque (period of French history) Giacomo Casanova (Italian adventurer) Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (German poet) Theseus (mythical Athenian king) Nero (Roman emperor) Ephesus (ancient Greek city) The ancient Greek Olympics (Deviate episode) Sagas of Icelanders (medieval narratives) Alhambra (Islamic-era fortress in Spain) Souvenir (book by Rolf Potts) True Cross (crucifixion cross sought by medieval pilgrims) Holy Prepuce (foreskin sought by medieval pilgrims) Paris Writing Workshops (Rolf's writing classes) The Deviate theme music comes from the title track of Cedar Van Tassel’s 2017 album Lumber. Note: We don’t host a “comments” section, but we’re happy to hear your questions and insights via email, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
71 minutes | Jan 17, 2023
Integrating love of travel & love of home (with philosopher Chloe Cooper Jones)
“A willingness to fail is an important part of difficult beauty. Because difficult beauty will arrive first not as beauty at all.” –Chloe Cooper Jones In this episode of Deviate, Rolf and Chloe discuss the philosophical concept of "easy beauty" and "difficult beauty" in the context of travel (2:30); how our relationship to places changes over time with repeated exposure (15:00); how art and travel, home and adventure, became important aspects of Chloe's life (23:00); how the archetype of the "Hero's Journey" evokes aspects of home as well as travel (35:30); Chloe's investigation and experience of "dark tourism" in Cambodia, and how it gave her perspective on how other people view her disability (45:15) and how there's no easy way to navigate the polarities of the self, but trying to do so can result in a hard-won experience of beauty (1:08:00). Chloe Cooper Jones (@CCooperJones) is the author of Easy Beauty: A Memoir. She has been a Pulitzer Prize finalist in Feature Writing, and was the recipient of a Whiting Creative Nonfiction Grant, as well as a Howard Foundation Grant from Brown University. Notable Links: Bernard Bosanquet (English philosopher) Sublime (philosophical concept) Paris Writing Workshops (Rolf's summer writing classes) The Vagabond's Way, by Rolf Potts (book) Lake Como (lake region in Italy) "The Loss of the Creature," essay by Walker Percy Teotihuacan (pyramid site in Mexico) Pico Iyer (travel writer) Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (book) Quality (philosophical concept) "Such Perfection," (Believer essay by Chloe Cooper Jones) The High Line (elevated greenway park in New York City) Roland Barthes (French literary theorist) Souvenir, by Rolf Potts (book) The Sheltering Sky, by Paul Bowles (novel) Heroes of the Fourth Turning (2019 play by Will Arbery) "The Grateful Acre," monologue from Arbery's play Hero's journey (narrative template) Minangkabau people (ethnic group in Sumatra) Wanderjahre (journeyman tradition in Germany) Gyoza (Chinese dumplings) Thich Nhat Hanh (Vietnamese Buddhist monk) Killing Fields (genocide sites in Cambodia) Poetics, by Aristotle (philosophical treatise) Catharsis (purging or purification of emotions) The Philosophy of Horror, by Noël Carroll (book) Dark tourism (phenomenon of travel to tragic places) Tuol Sleng (Cambodian genocide museum) Francis Galton (English explorer and geographer) Tuk-tuk (auto-rickshaw common in SE Asia) Sørumsand (provincial town in Norway) The Deviate theme music comes from the title track of Cedar Van Tassel’s 2017 album Lumber. Note: We don’t host a “comments” section, but we’re happy to hear your questions and insights via email, at email@example.com.
65 minutes | Jan 3, 2023
Travel contracts your possessions and expands your life (with Eric Weiner)
“Travel is one of the few activities we engage in not knowing the outcome and reveling in that uncertainty. Nothing is more forgettable than the trip that goes exactly as planned.” –Eric Weiner In this episode of Deviate, Rolf and Eric discuss the tendency of travelers to idealize the very recent bygone past in places, and Rolf's experience of traveling by freighter ship (2:00); Eric's satisfaction in returning to places he's visited before, such as India, and how to remain open to uncertainty and surprise on the road (9:30); how conversations about travel differ from generation to generation, culture to culture, person to person (20:00); what it was like for Eric to have his book The Geography of Bliss adapted into a TV show, and the nuances behind the concept of "happiness" (28:30); how the experience of travel is inevitably intertwined with the experience of home (38:00); how luxury hotels can insulate you from the experience of a place, and how "adventure travel" is modern concept (43:30); and how Eric's relationship to home, and to time, has changed over the years (58:30). Eric Weiner (@Eric_Weiner) is an award-winning journalist, bestselling author, and speaker. His books include The Socrates Express, and The Geography of Bliss, which is being made into a six-part docu-series, featuring actor Rainn Wilson, and due to air on NBC's Peacock streaming service. For more about Eric, check out https://ericweinerbooks.com/ Notable Links: Philosophy compels us to live better (Deviate episode) Rainn Wilson and the Geography of Bliss (TV series) The Vagabond's Way, by Rolf Potts (book) Boatswain (deck boss on a freighter ship) Seven Pillars of Wisdom (book by T.E. Lawrence) Eric Weiner's Atlas of Ideas (email newsletter) Keitai denwa (Japanese mobile phone culture) Grunge (1990s alternative music culture) K-Pop (Korean popular music) Hangul (Korean alphabet) World Happiness Report Rainn Wilson (TV actor and producer) Quilts for Kids Nepal (nonprofit organization) Ibn Battuta (medieval Moroccan traveler) Beryl Markham (aviator and author) Kamba (ethnic group in Kenya) Thar Desert (arid region in India) The Geography of Genius, by Eric Weiner (book) Yi-Fu Tuan (Chinese-American geographer) "Little Gidding" (poem by T.S. Eliot) Uffizi Gallery (museum in Florence) Teaism (DC-based teahouse) The Deviate theme music comes from the title track of Cedar Van Tassel’s 2017 album Lumber. Note: We don’t host a “comments” section, but we’re happy to hear your questions and insights via email, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
61 minutes | Dec 20, 2022
Travelers create their own distinct global culture (with anthropologist Pegi Vail)
“Travel expands time, because you're not experiencing the everyday of what you normally do. It's all about discovery, and experiencing that with other people.” —Pegi Vail In this episode of Deviate, Rolf and Pegi talk about how she originally sought to depict a "visual ethnography" of world travelers, their global impacts, and their power as a "gentrifying" force (2:00); how the world of travel has (and hasn't) changed since Pegi made her film ten years ago, and how immigrants and migrant workers also represent travel communities just like backpackers and expats (11:00); the ways the notion of "journey" can serve as a metaphor for non-travel experiences, and how travel can expand one's sense of time (26:30); what stories travelers choose to tell about places, and how drug-scenes have fueled travel communitas over the years (31:00); the role digital photography now plays in travel, and the individualized notion of what an "explorer" is (39:30); and the importance of allowing yourself to get lost on that road, the "structured danger" of most adventure travel, and relying on your "personness" (rather than technology) as a traveler (49:00). Pegi Vail is an anthropologist and filmmaker who directed the documentary Gringo Trails. She is also a sustainable-travel consultant whose academic work has focused on visual anthropology, Indigenous media, and the role of storytelling to the political economy of tourism in the developing world. She is the Co-Director of New York University’s Center for Media, Culture, and History. Vail is a founding member, curator, and featured storyteller of the popular not-for-profit storytelling collective, The Moth. Notable Links: The Vagabond’s Way, by Rolf Potts (travel book) Williamsburg (gentrified neighborhood in Brooklyn) Banana Pancake Trail (travel circuit in SE Asia) Lower East Side Tenement Museum (historic site in NYC) History of hosteling (inexpensive lodging system) Hippie Trail (overland travel circuit in 1960s and 1970s) The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald (novel) Hmong people (ethic group in SE Asia) Nelson H. H. Graburn (anthropology scholar) Communitas (communities created by shared endeavor) Arnold van Gennep (ethnographer who coined "rites of passage") Chaebol (South Korean industrial conglomerate) Rolf and Ari Shaffir talk psychedelics (Deviate episode) Backpack Ambassadors, by Richard Ivan Jobs (book) Margaret Mead Film Festival (documentary film festival) Spike Lee (American filmmaker) Melvin Estrella (Pegi's partner and film producer) J. Edgar Hoover (American law-enforcement administrator) Eurail Pass (European train pass popular with backpackers) On Photography, by Susan Sontag (book) The Explorers Club (professional club in New York) Saul Bellow (American novelist) A Field Guide to Getting Lost, by Rebecca Solnit (book) Beryl Markham (British-African aviator and author) Digital detoxing (intentional refrain from using digital devices) Hippocampus (part of the brain) The Deviate theme music comes from the title track of Cedar Van Tassel’s 2017 album Lumber. Note: We don’t host a “comments” section, but we’re happy to hear your questions and insights via email, at email@example.com.
54 minutes | Dec 6, 2022
The travel industry is here to help you; feel free to ignore it (with Seth Kugel)
"Why fly fourteen hours from New York to Johannesburg to see a South African version of Brooklyn? To me, the only reason to know what destinations are 'hot' is to avoid them." —Seth Kugel In this episode of Deviate, Rolf and Seth talk about how the travel industry both helps and hinders the travel experience, and how Seth first experienced travel when he was young (1:30); tourist desire, the "beaten path," and the contradictions of what travelers seek in AirBnbs and related property-renting services (10:30); dealing with language barriers overseas, and social versus literal risks overseas (20:00); balancing general tourist advice versus nuanced insights as a travel writer, and the role new technologies play in travel decisions (27:00); and why it's a good idea to avoid places that have been deemed "trendy," and how to break out of the bad habits of travel (40:30). Seth Kugel (@sethkugel) is a travel writer, freelance journalist, and host of the Amigo Gringo YouTube channel. He was the Frugal Traveler columnist for the New York Times from 2010 to 2016, and he is most recently the author of the book Rediscovering Travel: A Guide for the Globally Curious. For more on Seth, check out his website http://sethkugel.com/ Notable Links: The Vagabond’s Way, by Rolf Potts (travel book) Transnistria (breakaway part of Moldova) Nagorno-Karabakh (breakaway part of Azerbaijan) The World in a Selfie, by Marco D'Eramo (book) Principe Real (neighborhood in Lisbon) Wichita Vortex Sutra (poem by Allen Ginsberg) Nancy Mitford (English novelist) Barbarian Days, by William Finnegan (book) Arthur Frommer (guidebook writer) Bukittinggi (city in Sumatra) Malcolm X (American activist and traveler) Bangkok Post (English-language newspaper in Thailand) Hindustan Times (English-language newspaper in India) "Free Fallin'" (song by Tom Petty) Punta Cana (resort town in the Dominican Republic) "Driving Through the Heartland," by Seth Kugel (article) Chicken Annie's and Chicken Mary's (Kansas restaurants) Red Queen's race (metaphor about running to stand still) The Deviate theme music comes from the title track of Cedar Van Tassel’s 2017 album Lumber. Note: We don’t host a “comments” section, but we’re happy to hear your questions and insights via email, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
50 minutes | Nov 24, 2022
Deviate Live in NYC: The Vagabond’s Way (onstage at KGB Bar with Ari Shaffir)
“There’s no getting lost when you travel, because you’re already there. You’re already where you’re supposed to be, which is somewhere in this new place.” –Ari Shaffir In this episode of Deviate, which took place at New York City's KGB Bar, Rolf and Ari talk about the premise of Rolf's new book The Vagabond's Way (2:20); why it's important not to postpone one's dream travels to a seemingly more appropriate time of life, and how it's hard for your friends to appreciate and understand your travels when you get home (7:30); how to not let your smartphones and photographs get in the way of your best journey (15:00); how to best decide where to start on a journey, and why allowing yourself to get lost is sometimes the best way to find experiences a place (23:00); why the philosophical concept of "time wealth" is important to Rolf, and how travel allows you to express a unique feeling freedom (31:30); how the The Vagabond's Way is the "spiritual successor" to Vagabonding, and how Rolf keeps travel in conversation with his home life in Kansas (36:00); and how to savor a new place in the moment, even as that place is changing (44:00). Ari Shaffir (@AriShaffir) is a comedian, writer, podcaster, and actor. He is the host of the Skeptic Tank podcast. His new comedy special, JEW, is available on YouTube. Notable Links: Paris Writing Workshops (Rolf's summer creative writing classes) The Vagabond's Way, by Rolf Potts (travel book) Henry Rollins on Ari's podcast Skeptic Tank Commonplace book (method of compiling knowledge) Jasmin Shah (photographer) Wenamun (ancient Egyptian traveler) Matsuo Bashō, (Japanese poet and traveler) On Photography, by Susan Sontag (book) Mentawai people (inhabitants of islands near Sumatra) Cypress Hill (American hip-hop group) Pico Iyer (travel writer) Pagan Holiday, by Tony Perrottet (book) Icelandic Sagas (Nordic historic narratives) Koshary (Egyptian national dish) Chefchaouen (city in Morocco) Tétouan (city in Morocco) Inle Lake (lake in Myanmar) Eddy L. Harris (travel writer) Aosta Valley (region in the Italian Alps) Instagram shot of Rolf's first vagabonding trip Mary Oliver (American poet) Lindsborg, Kansas ("Little Sweden") Lower East Side (neighborhood in Manhattan) Umbria (region in Italy) The Deviate theme music comes from the title track of Cedar Van Tassel’s 2017 album Lumber. Note: We don’t host a “comments” section, but we’re happy to hear your questions and insights via email, at email@example.com.
50 minutes | Nov 20, 2022
Reinvent what it means to be an “explorer” (with Kate Harris)
“Travel is often one part geography and nine parts imagination.” –Kate Harris In this episode of Deviate Rolf and Kate discuss how travel can transform one's idea of what "exploration" is (3:00); the concept of borders (14:00); nostalgia and the transformational effect of travel (25:00); the role of home in relation to travel (34:00); and letting adventure into your life (44:00). Kate Harris (@kateonmars) is an adventure writer, named by Condé Nast Traveler as one of the “world’s most adventurous women.” Her work has appeared in Outside, The Walrus, and Georgia Review. Her book, Lands of Lost Borders, is a national bestseller For more about Kate, check out www.kateharris.ca Notable Links: Rolf’s Q&A with Kate Harris (book foreword) Silk Road (network of trade routes) Ernest Shackleton (explorer) Fridtjof Nansen (explorer) Annie Dillard (American author) Wind, Sand and Stars, by Antoine de Saint-Exupery (book) Henry David Thoreau (writer) My Journey to Lhasa, by Alexandra David-Neel (book) Aksai Chin (region administered by China) Marco Polo (historical figure) Tomas Tranströmer (poet) Atlin (community in British Columbia) The Deviate theme music comes from the title track of Cedar Van Tassel’s 2017 album Lumber. Note: We don’t host a “comments” section, but we’re happy to hear your questions and insights via email, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
43 minutes | Nov 13, 2022
The subtler risks of travel carry rich rewards (with Carl Hoffman)
“I didn't know where we were going, and I didn't know how long we were going to be gone. I brought no food, not even a bottle of water. When that boat left the dock, I felt so free. I threw off all these anxieties about control.” –Carl Hoffman In this episode of Deviate, Rolf and Carl talk about the premise of The Lunatic Express, which took Carl around the world on a series of local buses, trains, planes, and ferries (2:30); how to overcome the common fears of traveling in this manner, and how tourism infrastructure isn't required for travel in places (9:30); how making yourself vulnerable to new places leaves you open to the people who live there (22:30); the role that simple conversation, smells, and open-ended activity plays in the lives of isolated communities (30:00); and Carl's advice for leaving yourself open to spontaneous travel experiences (40:00). Carl Hoffman (@lunaticcarl) is the author of four books, including The Lunatic Express, and Savage Harvest: A Tale of Cannibals, Colonialism, and Michael Rockefeller’s Tragic Quest. Notable Links: People, Places & Things (play starring Kristen Bush) Meridian Hill Park (urban park in DC) Maggie Downs (travel writer) "Strange Bird" (Outside article about a pilot in the Congo) Moluccas (archipelago in Indonesia) Asmat (region in Papua) Sambal (Indonesian chili sauce) Buru (island in Indonesia) Pramoedya Ananta Toer (Indonesian novelist) Suharto (Indonesian president from 1967-1998) Sons of the Waves, by Stephen Taylor (book about sailors) Sago (palm starch used for food) Cando (town in North Dakota) Mentawai Islands (archipelago in Indonesia) The Deviate theme music comes from the title track of Cedar Van Tassel’s 2017 album Lumber. Note: We don’t host a “comments” section, but we’re happy to hear your questions and insights via email, at email@example.com.
52 minutes | Nov 8, 2022
Uncertainty makes for the truest adventures (aka Tim Cahill’s Travel 101)
“Eat what is put in front of you. They are not making fun of you. The rooster’s head floating in the soup really is given to the honored guest. If you insist on being a picky eater, stay home.” –Tim Cahill In this episode of Deviate, Rolf and Tim talk about the premise of Tim's classic essay "Professor Cahill’s Travel 101" (1:30); the importance of having a "quest" on a journey (8:00); how boredom can enhance the experience of travel, and why rest-days are important to a journey (15:00); why one should avoid whining (and compulsively talking about bowel movements) on group journeys (21:00); why packing too much gear -- and obsessively trying to save money on the road -- can be counterproductive to engaged travel (25:00); why it's important to be daring with trying new food on the road (40:00); and why bad travel experiences make for better stories than pleasant ones (45:00). Tim Cahill is a journalist, author, and pioneering travel writer. For more from Tim, check out his Rolling Stone and Outside archives, or his 2004 Q&A with Rolf. Notable Links: The Vagabond’s Way, by Rolf Potts (travel book) Outside (magazine) Hold the Enlightenment, by Tim Cahill (book) Stoicism (ancient philosophy) Royal Commentaries of the Incas, by Garcilaso de la Vega (book) Francisco Pizarro (Spanish conquistador) Book Passage Travel Writers Conference The Old Patagonian Express, by Paul Theroux (book) Uinta Mountains (mountain range in Utah) 1989 Tiananmen Square protests and massacre Fish River Canyon (canyon in Namibia) Richard Bangs (travel-TV host and author) Leimebamba (province in Peru) Skua (predatory seabirds common in Antarctic regions) The Deviate theme music comes from the title track of Cedar Van Tassel’s 2017 album Lumber. Note: We don’t host a “comments” section, but we’re happy to hear your questions and insights via email, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
50 minutes | Nov 1, 2022
Traveling solo opens up new possibilities in a place (with Stephanie Rosenbloom)
“When you’re not sitting across from someone, you’re sitting across from the whole world.” –Stephanie Rosenbloom In this episode of Deviate, Rolf and Stephanie talk about the rewards of traveling alone, and how to mix solo and companion travel within a single trip (2:00); how going alone makes you more receptive to museums, restaurants, and walking in a new play (11:00); how to better savor your travel experiences while they're happening (21:00); certifying versus savoring experiences, and how to balance travel as an external act with a more spiritual internal process (31:00); and strategies for savoring solo travel experiences (46:00). Stephanie Rosenbloom (@stephronyt) is a travel writer for The New York Times, where she has been a reporter for more than a decade, and the author of the book, Alone Time: Four Seasons, Four Cities, and the Pleasures of Solitude. For more about Stephanie, check out http://www.stephanierosenbloom.com. Notable Links: The Vagabond’s Way, by Rolf Potts (travel book) On Karawa (Japanese conceptual artist) Flâneur (urban stroller in France) The Marais (district in Paris) The Motorcycle Diaries, by Ernesto Guevara (book) Thích Nhất Hạnh (Buddhist monk and author) Savoring, by Fred B. Bryant (book) Uffizi (art museum in Florence, Italy) The Birth of Venus (painting by Botticelli) LiveTrekker (route-tracking app) Souvenir, by Rolf Potts (book) Busking (street performance) Evernote (task-management app) The Deviate theme music comes from the title track of Cedar Van Tassel’s 2017 album Lumber. Note: We don’t host a “comments” section, but we’re happy to hear your questions and insights via email, at email@example.com.
47 minutes | Oct 25, 2022
Keeping a journal helps you make sense of the journey (with Lavinia Spalding)
“A travel journal helps you remember more than what you did and saw. It will helps you remember how you became the person you are today.” –Lavinia Spalding In this episode of Deviate, Rolf and Lavinia talk about the section of Rolf's book The Vagabond's Way that touches on travel journaling, what what purposes a travel journal can serve (1:30); how journals give you perspective on the person you used to be, and how the journaling habit develops over time (9:00); strategies for being vulnerable and honest in a travel journal (15:00); strategies for being consistent with a journal on the road (19:00); employing non-visual senses and evoking less-than-ideal experiences to capture more subtle textures in a travel journal (25:30); how a journal gives you a pretext to approach and even interview people who interest you on the road (33:00); how to take notes in the field, how to maintain an ongoing relationship with old travel journals, and why travel journals serve to make a journey more meaningful (41:00). Lavinia Spalding (@laviniaspalding) is a travel writer and series editor of The Best Women’s Travel Writing. She has author of Writing Away, and co-author of With a Measure of Grace and This Immeasurable Place. For more about Lavinia, check out http://laviniaspalding.com/. Notable Links: Jack London (novelist and journalist) Busan (city in South Korea) Before Sunrise (1995 Richard Linklater movie) Bullet journal (method of note-taking) Clove cigarettes Rainer Maria Rilke (Austrian poet) Khentrul Lodro Thaye Rinpoche (Buddhist lama) Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes (children's song) Vagabonding, by Rolf Potts (book) Travel Writing and Global Change (TEDx talk by Lavinia Spalding) The Deviate theme music comes from the title track of Cedar Van Tassel’s 2017 album Lumber. Note: We don’t host a “comments” section, but we’re happy to hear your questions and insights via email, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
25 minutes | Oct 18, 2022
Paul Theroux on the merits of travel and the paradoxes of the global economy
"When you travel, you find out what it is you really want. You find out what you're capable of, what your ambitions are." –Paul Theroux In this episode of Deviate, Rolf and Paul talk about how brotherly conflict is a time-honored trope in literature, and how travel can be a way to find your interests and ambitions in life (3:00); the ethical paradoxes and hypocrisies of global charities and industries in a resource-rich place like Africa (9:30); how writing fiction differs from writing nonfiction (19:00); and where Theroux is headed next (22:00). Paul Theroux (@PaulTheroux_) is a pioneer of travel writing and author of many highly acclaimed books, including The Great Railway Bazaar, The Tao of Travel, and On the Plain of Snakes. His newest novel is The Bad Angel Brothers. Notable Links: The Vagabond's Way, by Rolf Potts (travel book) Paul Theroux on the art of listening (Deviate episode) Paul Theroux on the inherent complexity of Mexico (Deviate episode) The Great Railway Bazaar, by Paul Theroux (travel book) Figures in a Landscape, by Paul Theroux (essay collection) Cain and Abel (Biblical brothers) East of Eden, by John Steinbeck (novel) Cobalt mining in Africa Tim Cook (CEO of Apple, Inc.) Big-box store (large-scale retail system) Chinese industry in Africa NAFTA (free-trade agreement) Malawi (country in southeastern Africa) Phil Knight (CEO of Nike) Dark Star Safari, by Paul Theroux (travel book) PrairyErth, by William Least Heat-Moon (book) The Deviate theme music comes from the title track of Cedar Van Tassel’s 2017 album Lumber. Note: We don’t host a “comments” section, but we’re happy to hear your questions and insights via email, at email@example.com.
52 minutes | Oct 11, 2022
Seeking real crowds beats crowdsourcing (from The Vagabond’s Way book launch)
"This is your one life. Think about it: If you dream of travel, it's not as hard as you might think. You can find ways to make it happen.” –Rolf Potts In this episode of Deviate, Rolf and Ernest talk about how "vagabonding" is defined, how Rolf has come to define home, and what the premise of The Vagabond's Way is (2:00); how Rolf researched and organized the quotes and anecdotes and philosophies that went into the book (10:00); how mistakes and misadventures are an inevitable part of the travel process, and how time is one's truest form of wealth (14:30); how the quiet experience of travel counts for more in life than travel that is performed for status (20:00); how no amount of planning can prepare you for the discoveries of each new day on the road, and how curiosity is more important than expertise on the road (27:30); how over-dependence on technology can compromise the novel experience of travel (33:30); advice for people leaving their country for the first time, advice for people traveling inside the US, and advice for keeping travel fresh over the long-term (38:00). Ernest White II (@ernestwhiteii) is a storyteller, explorer, producer, and host of the television travel series Fly Brother, now in its second season on PBS and Create TV. Check out his subscription-based membership community, Fly Brother & Friends, which promotes travel and personal transformation. Notable Links: Vagabonding, by Rolf Potts (book) The Vagabond's Way, by Rolf Potts (book) Mary Oliver (American poet) Ross Gay (American poet and essayist) Thích Nhất Hạnh (Buddhist monk and author) The Daily Stoic, by Ryan Holiday (book) Commonplace book (compilation of knowledge) "Song of the Open Road," by Walt Whitman (poem) Memento mori (philosophy) Souvenir, by Rolf Potts (book) Damara (mountain-dwelling people in Namibia) Duvall Street (tourist district on Key West) Bukittinggi (city in Sumatra) Randang (Minangkabau meat dish) Culture shock (cross-cultural anxiety) Isan (rural northeastern region of Thailand) Sørumsand (town in Norway) Fly Brother Season Two (TV show season) Junction City (town in Kansas) The Deviate theme music comes from the title track of Cedar Van Tassel’s 2017 album Lumber. Note: We don’t host a “comments” section, but we’re happy to hear your questions and insights via email, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
52 minutes | Oct 4, 2022
Preconceptions can blur what you see firsthand on the road (with Eddy Harris)
"I didn't go to Africa to "feel African," or become African. What I wanted to do was put myself in the shoes of the person I was traveling next to." --Eddy L. Harris In this episode of Deviate, Rolf and Eddy discuss why Eddy's Africa travel book Native Stranger was not always well-received by America's cultural gatekeepers in 1992 (3:30); what is was like for Eddy to travel as a Black American in Africa in the 1990s, and how his experiences there became a book (12:30); how Africa has changed, and is changing (24:00); observations of Native Stranger that Rolf quoted in The Vagabond's Way, such as how to deal with beggars on the road (30:00); and Eddy's experiences being a Black American in France, and his core motivation for travel (37:00). Eddy Harris (@EddyLHarris) is a writer, filmmaker, and author of several books, including Mississippi Solo, Native Stranger, and Still Life in Harlem. Notable Links: Luxembourg Garden (park in Paris) South of Haunted Dreams, by Eddy L. Harris (travel book) Malcolm X (American activist) Alex Haley (American author) Jufureh (town in the Gambia) Taxi Brousse (share taxi common in Africa) Soho Square (garden square in London) Cape Coast Castle ("slave pen" fort in Ghana) Mobutu Sese Seko (ruler of Zaire from 1965 to 1997) Robert Mugabe (ruler of Zimbabwe from 1980 to 2017) Albert Pujols (baseball player) Central African Republic (nation) Josephine Baker (American dancer who moved to France) Normandy (region in France) The Deviate theme music comes from the title track of Cedar Van Tassel’s 2017 album Lumber. Note: We don’t host a “comments” section, but we’re happy to hear your questions and insights via email, at email@example.com.
54 minutes | Sep 20, 2022
Travel deviations can be as appealing as travel plans, with Ari Shaffir
"Naysayers can be the biggest obstacle for people who want to travel. Even if they know nothing about a place, they'll think of reasons why you shouldn't go there." --Ari Shaffir In this episode of Deviate, Rolf and Ari discuss how the experience of travel changes as you get older, what it's like to record an interview in public in Paris, and how loneliness compels you to be a better traveler (2:00); what it was like to workshop travel stories in class, and how writing for the page compares to writing for the comedy stage (12:00); Rolf quotes Ari from The Vagabond's Way about why it's OK to get lost when you travel, and what it's like when you wander out of tourist zones in another country (22:30); and how naysayers can preempt your travel ambitions if you listen to them (46:30). Ari Shaffir (@AriShaffir) is a comedian, writer, podcaster, and actor. He is the host of the Skeptic Tank podcast. For more information on Ari, visit his website. Notable Links: Paris Writing Workshops (travel writing class) Luxembourg Garden (park in Paris) The Vagabond's Way (Rolf's newest book) Souvenir, by Rolf Potts (book) Deviate Live in NYC (podcast episode) Thích Nhat Hanh (Buddhist monk) Callback (comedy) Xylia Buros: Nomad (podcast episode) The Book of Delights, by Ross Gay (book) High Times (magazine) Chefchaouen (town in Morocco) Tétouan (city in Morocco) Tataouine (city in Tunisia) Farang (Asian slang for white European) Kathoey (trans identity in Thailand) Boney M (Caribbean pop group) Marco Polo Didn't Go There, by Rolf Potts (book) Felucca (Egyptian boat) Temple of Hatshepsut (Egyptian temple) Dili (city in East Timor) The Deviate theme music comes from the title track of Cedar Van Tassel’s 2017 album Lumber. Note: We don’t host a “comments” section, but we’re happy to hear your questions and insights via email, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
7 minutes | Aug 23, 2022
The Vagabond’s Way: An audio introduction to Rolf’s new book
“At its best, travel is embraced not as a flashy backdrop for our lifestyle ambitions, but as an act that touches every aspect of our being.” –Rolf Potts In this episode of Deviate, Rolf reads the introduction chapter from his latest book, The Vagabond's Way, which debuts on October 4th (and is available for preorder now from your favorite bookstore).