He traversed an entire nation in a long weekend. Now, Rolf shows how you can impress members of the opposite sex and write a textbook-perfect travel article in eight easy steps.
In the first of several dispatches from central Australia, Rolf discovers that the best thing about Aboriginal tour guides is that they don’t really give a crap about tourists.
What could possibly be bad about an on-the-road romance? Try rekindling it when you get home.
In a five-part series, Rolf Potts joins Trekkies aboard a “Star Trek” theme cruise to Bermuda.
A video teaser for Rolf’s “Star Trek” fan-cruise series. Original music by Rolfe Kent and Meredith Meyer; edited by Mike Marlett.
What’s money worth? In Myanmar, Rolf discovers that travel has a way of putting “cash value” into a new perspective.
When Rolf picks up a traditional, skirt-like lungi in Myanmar, he has no idea the fashion faux pas that will ensue. A meditation on “going native.”
The Mergui has some 800 (largely unmapped) islands, a population of elusive sea gypsies (the Moken), and, because it belongs to repressive Myanmar, almost no visitors. As the junta in Yangon inches toward political reform, Rolf plumbs a final frontier.
On the pleasures and paranoia of being a mostly clueless white guy in the company of Third World hosts.
For adventurers headed overland to Angkor Wat, Cambodia’s Route 6 is Disneyland gone bad.
During his stint as writer-in-residence for a global Land Rover expedition, Rolf explores the recently completed Carretera Austral (Southern Highway) through Chile’s Aisen province.
In an essay about the merits of global budget travel, Rolf uses his experiences with a group of Cuban bagpipers to illustrate how wandering on the cheap can lead to the kind of unexpected encounters that make a journey memorable.
An unorthodox tour of the second and final tomb of Lazarus puts a strange twist into Rolf’s Larnaca layover.
As a traveler, what’s the best response when people ask you for money?
“Whatever Johnny Wadie Red Tabel was, it wasn’t whisky; its flavor was a medicinal blend of anise, vanilla, and laundry detergent, and its buzz arrived in tandem with its hangover.”
Looking to trim his beard amidst a luggage-free journey, Rolf stumbles into the most detail-intensive barbershop-shave of his life.
Near Giza, Rolf discovers that the vendor culture that surrounds the Pyramids is nearly as interesting (and historically rooted) as the Pyramids themselves.
In Egypt, Rolf discovers that even the simplest experiences sometimes carry a price tag.
With Flaubert’s 1850 letters as a guide, Rolf explores the enduring allure of opera, orgasm, belly-dancing and other Cairo clichés.
Leo’s new movie may be fiction, but its portrayal of a crowded travel world is based in fact. Rolf reports — from the unlikeliest of places — on just what is happening.
In transit between New York and Paris, Rolf tries to make the most of a three-and-a-half hour London layover.
“Araki was the only drink on offer, and the owner sloshed it into a plastic bottle from an unwieldy jerrycan before moving around the room to refill clients’ glasses for ten cents a shot.”
What makes someone want to be the world’s most traveled man? Rolf reports from from the back-roads of East Africa.
With few crowds or restrictions, the remote Falkland Islands provide an intimate wildlife experience that offers an alternative to that of the Galapagos.
Three days into his round-the-world no-baggage journey, Rolf explores Paris from the back of vintage Citroën 2CV.
Jeu de Paume once dominated every level of French society. Today, only about 200 players remain. From the 16th arrondissement of Paris, Rolf reports on the lingering vestiges of the game that gave birth to modern tennis.
Smoking will soon be banned from indoor public spaces in Paris. Is a museum dedicated to the classic French habit a celebration or eulogy?
Museums honor achievement, but finding original travel experiences amid their exhibits can sometimes be a challenge.
At Corfu’s Pink Palace, the ouzo flows, the crockery flies and the libidos run wild.
Why do places grow vaguely annoying once they become travel destinations?
On a journey through western India, Rolf explores the former Portuguese outpost of Diu, which brims with history’s phantoms.
Whenever Rolf tells people how he learned to windsurf on Israel’s Sea of Galilee, he’s usually met with a bemused pause, as if a Bible-themed punch line should come next.
At a 1-dinar cinema in Amman, Jordan, the real story has little to do with the movie itself.
Armed only with curiosity and a stained pair of pants, Rolf tries to make sense of the Islamic Feast of the Sacrifice in Aqaba, Jordan.
Korean-born U.S. filmmaker Wonsuk Chin is making a movie that is partially inspired by Rolf’s 1990’s expatriate writings about Busan. With the movie in pre-production, Rolf travels to Korea to meet Chin and reflect on the expat experience.
Rolf describes a visit to Korea’s DMZ, one of the planet’s oddest tourist attractions, where visitors can pick up everything from propaganda to perfume.
Koreans and Americans both love dogs — they just have a different way of showing it.
Rolf describes the heady rise and wistful fall of expat life in South Korea.
An American expatriate weathers the slings and arrows of learning another language.
Central Laos has all the makings of travel’s last frontier: An unmapped wilderness, a lost city, and villagers unaccustomed to visitors. What’s at stake when tourists arrive?
In a quixotic attempt to re-create Mark Twain’s “Life on the Mississippi” in Southeast Asia, Rolf invests in a Laotian riverboat and attempts to drive it 800 miles to the Cambodian border.
Between the fistfights and the Finnish girls, it’s hard to get any writing done.
Taken under the wing of a Lebanese detergent tycoon, Rolf learns that there’s a fine line between hospitality and kidnapping.
On a 24-hour train transit from Bangkok to Penang, Rolf learns the social limitations of Thai whiskey, and meets a fellow traveler who embodies the antithesis of “traveling light.”
When Rolf’s parents accompany him on a trip to Mongolia, he suddenly finds the whole parent-child dynamic reversed. But who’s teaching whom a lesson?
In his first dispatch from an epic Beijing-St. Petersburg train trip, Rolf explores the mysteries of Mongolia.
In the twisting alleyways of a Moroccan medina, Rolf does away with pre-planning and follows his instincts.
Not long after mispronouncing the town of “Chefchaouen” to his Moroccan taxi driver, Rolf goes on to discover the accidental charms of a town called “Tetouan.”
Rolf leaps off of cliffs, soars through the trees, and jets up rivers near Queenstown, on New Zealand’s South Island.
The desert coast of Peru is as gorgeous as it is baffling.
Rolf discovers the ambiguity of language and love in the Philippines.
Demoralized by goals and guidebooks, Rolf tackles Poland on a thumb and a prayer.
Suffering from jet-lag amid a dead-of-winter magazine assignment, Rolf’s inability to sleep leads him into a series of after-hours dive-bars, where a coterie of young Russians teaches him the philosophical joys of getting to know a city by night.
Amid an epic Beijing-to-St. Petersburg train trip, Rolf parties with librarians, tracks down the fate of Genghis Khan’s testicles, and (among other things) embarks on a madcap race to catch up with the train after getting stranded on the Mongolian-Siberian border.
Stuck with a cold in an isolated corner of South Africa’s Welgevonden Game Preserve, Rolf’s cameraman Justin comes face to face with an unusual bush cure.
Near Kruger National Park, Rolf discovers that the “Big Five” safari animals aren’t nearly so exciting as the creatures one finds by happenstance.
Rolf explores the streets of central Madrid through seven drinks and nine dishes.
Sometimes you have to travel halfway around the world to find out how American you are.
Back in Thailand after a seven-year absence, Rolf revisits the Khao San Road backpacker scene, eats insects in Chinatown, and tests his no-baggage wardrobe in an upscale nightclub.
From the shores of a Thailand resort town, Rolf explores what happens when you mix rich men, elephants, and polo gear.
At Thailand’s premier cowboy resort, a displaced traveler from Kansas explores the mysteries of the Far East’s Wild Wild West.
He’d navigated the Mekong river, wandered the Libyan Desert, and been stranded in Siberia. Then – in one last adventure after two years of vagabonding – Rolf traveled to Bangkok to face the specter of world-class luxury.
Rolf reports from Thailand on the difficulty of taking part in a time-honored American custom — watching the Super Bowl — while traveling in Asia.
As he leaves Southeast Asia, Rolf reflects on the evolution of the middle-class travel revolution.
Rolf wanders in search of an Indiana Jones adventure in Thailand’s gem country.
In the first installment of “Vagabonding,” Rolf pays through the nose for his penny-pinching ways.
When he tries to infiltrate a movie set on a heavily guarded Thai island, Rolf embarks on a rollicking post-modern travel adventure, somewhat starring Leonardo DiCaprio.
Rolf retraces the thin threads that led to his being drugged and robbed in the heart of Istanbul.
From his home in rural Kansas, Rolf lays out the reasons why he wanted to circumnavigate the globe without so much as a fanny pack or a man-purse.
Rolf finally found a place to call his own — a bunkhouse overlooking the Kansas prairie. It’s infused with the lessons he’d learned from 13 years living out of a backpack.
Why your video store stocks “mockbusters” alongside the blockbusters: A look at how one Hollywood B-movie studio stays in business.
Is it weird to want to visit the flood-ravaged Lower Ninth Ward during Mardi Gras season?
Rolf goes to Las Vegas with $5 in his pocket, discovers the Mystical High Church of Luck — and ends up losing $100.
Hoping to find an obscure Vietnam War killing field, Rolf discovers that some lessons of history teach themselves.