Friends and vagabonders,

Greetings from Thailand — and my apologies for being so tardy with this update. Keeping me busy has been a summer of mostly non-Asian travel: a visit to my family in Kansas, meetings with editors in New York, a travel-writing teaching gig at the American Academy in Paris, a hike across the entire country of Andorra (which took all of four days), a visit to the Pacific Northwest to visit my old college friends, and a rather bizarre week of covering an elephant polo tournament (note photos) in Hua Hin, Thailand.

Also in recent weeks, I’ve appeared on Canadian Broadcasting’s “Go” program (along with Ian Wright of Lonely Planet TV and Kisha Ferguson of Outpost magazine) discussing the world of travel writing — and I helped conceptualize the current issue of National Geographic Adventure, which is devoted to independent travel. “One of our first steps to defining the task ahead,” reads the October Letter from the NGA Editors, “was to get in touch with Rolf Potts, the former indie-travel columnist for Salon.com, whose treatise on the subject, Vagabonding, is scheduled for release in January 2003.”

Speaking of that “treatise” on independent travel, I’m happy to announce that my forthcoming book is nearing its final stages of production at Random House. The full title is Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term Travel, and (in a nice bit of pre-release publicity) Booklist has called it “essential reading for those with a bad case of wanderlust.” By my next update, I’ll have completed a tie-in website, complete with travel resources and links to Internet bookstores. Book tour to come in early 2003 (and let me know if you’re interested in an event in your area).

In other writing news, one of my stories, “Turkish Knockout” (which details my experience of getting drugged and robbed in Istanbul), appears in Travelers’ Tales: Turkey. Released in September, this anthology of travel stories also includes authors such as Nick Danziger, Robert D. Kaplan, and Tony Perrottet.

Elsewhere on RolfPotts.com, my September Travel Writers interview featured Brad Newsham, a San Francisco cab driver who penned Take Me With You: A Round-the-World Journey to Invite a Stranger Home. Brad shares some rather poignant insights about the travel writing life, and (since the interview has been online for a month as I write this) several readers have already commented on the soulfulness and honesty of his perspective. In October, I talk to Orange County Register travel editor Gary Warner, who (among other things) warns aspiring travel writers against the “permanent vacation” stereotype of the profession. “Do it for the writing,” he says, “not for the travel. … If you just want to travel, go on vacation, work for an airline or cruise company or go into public relations. Write travel because you want to write.”

In a final note this month, I was bemused recently by an e-mail (from Zundara.com), that began: “I am writing because Rolfpotts.com is a popular destination for our target audience: pre and post operation transsexuals.”

After a short investigation, I discovered that “transvestite” is a popular Google keyword for my site — no doubt due to a couple of the pictures in my Burma Gallery.

So, to all my readers out there — mainstream and transgendered alike — cheers, and happy vagabonding from Thailand!

Rolf

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