Friends and vagabonders,

It’s still a month before my Vagabonding book hits bookstore shelves, but a companion website, Vagabonding.net, is now officially online to give everyone a preview of things to come. Included on the site are a description and early reviews of the book itself, an interactive travel Q&A, a growing archive of vagabonding stories from travelers worldwide, a listing of book tour events, and a short excerpt from the book. In addition to this online excerpt, the newsstand edition of Outpost magazine will be running a separate Vagabonding excerpt this month in their annual Adventure Travel Guide.

In other book news, I recently had a new story appear in Lonely Planet’s expatriate anthology A House Somewhere: Tales of Life Abroad. My story is entitled “Digging Mr. Benny’s Dead Uncle”, and recounts how the experience of meeting the town barber (and, by proxy, his dead uncle) helped open me up to my new south Thailand hometown. Other anthology contributors include Peter Mayle, Simon Winchester, Isabel Allende, Frances Mayes, Paul Theroux, Jeffrey Tayler, William Dalrymple, Jan Morris, Peter Hessler, and Pico Iyer.

This month in the Writers section of RolfPotts.com, I feature South Florida Sun-Sentinel travel editor Thomas Swick. Swick first caught my attention not for his editing, but for his writing — most notably a series on Cuba I discovered earlier this year via the World Hum weblog. When I later checked into Swick’s background, I realized that I’d already been reading his work (without having taken note of his name) in the Best American Travel Writing series, as well as an excellent Columbia Journalism Review essay about the shortcomings of newspaper travel writing. Swick brought this critical spirit into our interview. “To be a travel writer or editor,” he says wryly, “is to find yourself in the curious position of being envied but not respected — sort of like being a fashion model or a ballpark organist.”

Be sure to check back to the Writers section next month, when I interview one of my travel-writing heroes, Pico Iyer.

Till then, cheers, happy vagabonding — and don’t forget to check out Vagabonding.net and let me know what you think!

Rolf

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