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Marco Polo Didn't Go There
Marco Polo Didn't Go There


The Misadventures of Wenamun

Geto Boys
The Geto Boys (33 1/3)

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Media praise for Marco Polo Didn't Go There

"Potts is one of the best travel writers to emerge in the last decade. Intrepid and thoughtful, he's a Paul Theroux for the backpacker generation, and Marco Polo reflects this."

San Francisco Chronicle

"This hilarious collection of stories provokes because Potts asks the serious question of how to travel in a discovered world. ...With its wonderful stories and honest insights, Marco Polo Didn't Go There is the best — and most quirky — post-modern travel-writing text book available on either side of the Atlantic. ...If you aspire to be a travel writer, read this book."

The Guardian (U.K.)

"Potts, Internet raconteur and travel-advice sage, is the kind of guy you wish the pubs had more of: well traveled, generous with funny stories, eager to listen to yours. You feel envious that you weren't with him in Cairo to share the convivial squalor of a backpacker hotel, or at an Indian ashram to study Tantric sex, or even in the Libyan Desert, in the dark, out of water and lost. And he's able to draw insights from all that without draining the fun out of the conversation — difficult to carry off in a pub or a book."

Washington Post

"An equal mix of humor and enlightenment...Potts shows travelers and would-be travelers the joy of immersing oneself in a foreign culture."

St. Louis Post-Dispatch "Best Books of 2008"

"Potts isn't so much a travel reporter as a story teller. Little 'news you can use' and 'go and do' in his essays. He's more about getting under the skin of a place — detailing a cast of characters that would either enthrall or scare the hell out of most travelers, depending on where they come down on the trust-paranoia continuum."

Orange County Register

"Rolf Potts' name may not be as familiar as Paul Theroux or Jan Morris, but he's as skilled a travel writer as anyone out there."

New Orleans Times-Picayune

"...[A] compelling blend of storytelling and reflection... For Rolf Potts, traveling is more than adventure. It's art."

Poets & Writers

"No American travel writer has written as much — and as cleverly — about [the] gap between expectations and reality as Rolf Potts. ...Reading Potts's articles is like meeting a backpacker at a bar in Cairo or Bangkok who charms you for hours with his tales of the road, told in a self-deprecating, humorous style. He loves nothing more than to explode a cliche. You want to buy him another round so that he'll keep on entertaining you — and challenging your beliefs."

Budget Travel, "This Just In"

"Even if you're coming to these stories in the comfort of your own living room, you get a very vivid sense of what Potts experienced in such locales as Thailand, Vietnam, Turkey, and Cambodia. Armchair travelers will get an enormous kick out of this thoroughly entertaining book."


"It's [a] turn-on-a-dime ability to mix gonzo adventure with nuanced rumination — often in the same story — that make Potts stand out in the world of travel writing. He seems like the ideal drinking companion, full of verve, incredible tales and unexpected insights. ...Potts may not have the name recognition of Bill Bryson, Paul Theroux or Frances Mayes, but "Marco Polo Didn't Go There" should help change that. From the opening pages, in which he crashes the Thailand set of the movie "The Beach," he establishes that his is a voice to be remembered and savored. In lesser hands, this tale could read as an obvious, swaggering farce, but Potts uses the quirky quest as a means to methodically tug at the frayed edges of the tourist experience and to reveal the complexity of the place he's exploring."

Minneapolis Star-Tribune (

"Rolf Potts busts open the myths of travel writing."

Outside Online

"Marco Polo Didn't Go There is a charming, eye-opening and — I hate to say the phrase because it's so cliched — laugh-out-loud funny book."

Pauline Frommer, "The Travel Show"

"Rolf Potts is fearless. I thank him for going to these places so I can enjoy them from afar. Great stuff."

A.J. Jacobs, Esquire editor-at-large and author of The Year of Living Biblically

"Tales of travel letdowns and travel bliss come alive through stories that are both refreshing and insightful."

Perceptive Travel

"Rolf Potts is a leading voice of the up-and-coming generation of great travel writers. Embarking on a writing career as the Internet was becoming a mainstream medium, much of Potts's work first appeared online and crackles with immediacy, audacity and electricity."

Michael Shapiro, author of A Sense of Place: Great Travel Writers Talk About Their Craft, Lives, and Inspiration

"In this new collection, Rolf Potts roams the wide world, from Andorra to Vietnam, with engaging intelligence, sensitivity and good humor."

Geographic Expeditions' Recce, "Brilliant Books"

"Potts knows quite well what travel in the 21st century is all about."

La Repubblica (Italy)

"Documenting a decade of travel, much of it out of a backpack...veteran traveler Rolf Potts is enlightening and entertaining by turn." Travel "Best Travel Books of 2008"

"Rolf Potts, a 'postmodern' travel writer, reflects on his craft and says exoticism has seen its day."

NY Times "Ideas" blog

"[Potts] has a unique ability to attract adventure; sometimes he seeks it out, sometimes it seeks him out. ...Marco Polo Didn't Go There is an addicting read for travelers and writers alike."

"Rolf Potts' Marco Polo Didn't Go There is perfect for the aspiring travel writer, or anyone interested in a behind-the-scenes look at what goes into a travel story. The book includes some of Potts' published work (well-written, insightful, and entertaining stories on their own), followed by interesting end notes about how each story came about, from what really happened and what didn't make it into the final copy to the long road from experience to published article."

"This series of traveler stories is provocative and compelling. Rolf Potts’ style is personal and the narrative quality high -- off-the-beaten trail certainly. It’s not for the typical tourist, but rather, for readers seeking adventurous experiences."

Society of American Travel Writers, 2009 Lowell Thomas Awards

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