Friends and vagabonders,

Those of you who subscribe to my bimonthly mailing list may have noticed that I failed to send out an update message this month. There are two reasons for this. For starters, the events and aftermath of 9/11 seem to have resulted in a glut of forwarded news and opinion emails, and I didn’t want to add to the inbox-crush with another random message about world travel.

Actually, from where I sit, the world still appears to be open for travel, despite the knee-jerk fears one seems to read about nearly every day. I’ve been in Thailand for the last few months (as you see above I’ve been putting in some scuba time in anticipation of a sea-based story assignment in November), and the country is still as accommodating, laid-back, and ready to flash a smile as ever. Moreover, even expat friends in places like Cairo and Beirut report a sense of business-as-usual in their corners of the world. Lonely Planet and World Hum have also recently posted some interesting reports about how road and expat life around the world has largely remained unchanged. The main difference is that there are a few more local law enforcement folks and a few less Western travelers doing the circuit these days.

Anyhow, the second reason I didn’t mail out a newsletter this month is that I don’t have a lot of new news to report. Granted, I still have stories about Laos (Conde Nast Traveler), India (Islands), and Thailand (National Geographic Traveler) awaiting publication — as well as an Egypt piece ready to air on National Public Radio — but no solid schedule dates. I’ve also been making good progress here in southern Thailand on my long-promised book, but I think I’ll hold off on any official announcements and pre-publication giveaways before I get a better idea of when exactly it will be finished and released. For now, you can check out my post-9/11 reflection on travel and the Muslim world, entitled “Islam’s Bloody Celebration,” in World Hum.

If you’re looking for more good reading in the meantime, look no further than my Travel Writers page, which continues to feature interviews with professional travel writers and editors. This month we feature a chat with Larry Habegger, co-founder of Traveler’s Tales Press — the renowned independent travel book publisher based out of San Francisco. Keep an eye out next month also, as we feature travel writer and performance artist Tanya Shaffer.

Till next time, cheers — and happy vagabonding as always!

Rolf

PS: I’m happy this month to welcome Luke Oak VanTassel to planet earth. My love goes out to my sister Kristin, brother-in-law David, and the newly minted little “big brother” Cedar on their new arrival.

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