Kansas man shares stories as Postmodern travel writer

Leia Karimul Bashar

A Kansas man who spends nine months a year exploring exotic locales will come to Washburn and share some of his global adventures from his latest book.

Rolf Potts will read excerpts from “Marco Polo Didn’t Go There: Stories and Revelations from One Decade as a Postmodern Travel Writer” at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Vogel Room of the Memorial Union.

Washburn English professor Tom Averill said Potts has a knack for traveling the world on a shoe-string budget. Potts described his low-budget travels in a 2003 book called “Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-term World Travel.”

“It’s sort of a ‘how-to’ book about ways to travel with no budget and no itinerary, like how to find food and lodging, and how to get around the country from place to place,” said Averill. “He talks about the places he’s been, and he gives a lot of advice about how to travel kind of footloose and fancy free. It’s his specialty to go somewhere and not make a whole lot of plans ahead, but still to save money.”

Averill said everyone who comes to see the show Tuesday night will receive a voucher to go online and enter a drawing for a plane ticket worth $500, which will take them anywhere they want to go, and the credit will be good for any airline.

According to his Web site biography, Potts has toured more than 50 countries on six continents, and his stories have been featured in Anthony Bourdain’s “Best American Travel Writing,” and Salon.com. TIME Magazine has called Potts an expert in independent travel, saying he is “a renowned shoestring traveler whose 2003 book, “Vagabonding,” is a crucial reference for any budget wanderer.”

A reporter with the San Francisco Examiner said Potts has “been drugged and robbed in Istanbul, checked out brothels in Cambodia where prostitutes are identified by numbers, and shopped for donkeys in the Libyan Desert. Rolf Potts usually has an interesting answer to the mundane question, ‘So, what did you do today?'”

To learn more about Potts’ travels, go to www.rolfpotts.com/bio.