Rolf Potts travels around
the world with no luggage
Best of the No Baggage Challenge

Best of the No Baggage Challenge

It’s been about 4 months since the No Baggage Challenge came to an end back in New York City. So we thought it was about time to revisit our favorite parts of the six week, 30,000+ miles, five continent No Baggage Challenge journey. Most Popular Videos: 19 London cliches in less than four hours Rolf [...]

Dispatches

January 23, 2011
Continue Reading
No-baggage field report: Full circle (week 6)

No-baggage field report: Full circle (week 6)

The no-baggage journey is complete! After six weeks and more than 30,000 miles on five continents, I’ve come full-circle to New York — and be honest, it feels kind of surreal. I didn’t pack many items for the journey, but I did manage to pack in a lot of experiences — so many that I [...]

Dispatches

October 5, 2010
Continue Reading
Reader challenge #5: Take your own No Baggage Challenge

Reader challenge #5: Take your own No Baggage Challenge

Ever since the journey began, I’ve promoted the notion that the No Baggage Challenge isn’t just about traveling around the world without luggage — it’s also an inquiry into simplifying material concerns and seeking rich life-experiences. This in mind, I’ve invited readers to join the adventure by participating in a weekly series of challenges — [...]

Dispatches

October 4, 2010
Continue Reading
Exploring the laws of physics in New Zealand

Exploring the laws of physics in New Zealand

Ever since my no-baggage journey began I had been looking forward to getting to New Zealand — a country I’d never visited before. In particular I was stoked to visit the South Island and see Queenstown, which has a reputation as a world-capital of adventure sports like bungee jumping and jet boating and mountain biking. [...]

Dispatches

October 1, 2010
Continue Reading
No-baggage field report: Week five

No-baggage field report: Week five

Week five of the No Baggage Challenge finds me in New Zealand, where I arrived exhausted after a barnstorm transit through Malaysia and Singapore (and Australia, if an hour in Sydney’s airport counts as its own leg of the journey). I hadn’t expected my journey through lower Southeast Asia to be so brief, but — [...]

Dispatches

September 29, 2010
Continue Reading
Thailand to Malaysia: Scenes from a train

Thailand to Malaysia: Scenes from a train

A little more than seven years ago, when I was living and traveling full-time in Thailand, I had one of the best train-travel experiences of my life while traveling south out of Bangkok to the town of Surat Thani.  I was sharing a second-class sleeper car with a Kiwi guy who was carrying a bottle [...]

Dispatches

September 28, 2010
Continue Reading
The Same River Twice: Bangkok in Three Acts

The Same River Twice: Bangkok in Three Acts

Ever since the earliest days of my no-baggage round-the-world journey, I’ve wanted to test out the smell and appearance of my SeV travel clothing by trying to get past the “velvet rope” of some exclusive nightclub in some great world city. In Bangkok I finally got the chance to do this — and the results [...]

Dispatches

September 24, 2010
Continue Reading
No-baggage field report: Week four

No-baggage field report: Week four

This week finds me in one of my favorite cities in the world — Bangkok — where I’ve recently arrived after flying across the Indian Ocean from South Africa. It’s great to be back in Thailand, where I lived off and on for the better part of two years in the early 2000s — and [...]

Dispatches

September 22, 2010
Continue Reading
Justin’s elephant-poop cold remedy

Justin’s elephant-poop cold remedy

Of all the things I’d expected to experience when planning my no-luggage world journey, drinking elephant-dung tea in South Africa was not among them. I’d expected I might explore nightlife in Spain (which I did, while eating tapas in Madrid) or ride a camel in Egypt (which I did, at Giza) — and I even [...]

Dispatches

September 21, 2010
Continue Reading
Reader challenge #4: Optimize your time-wealth

Reader challenge #4: Optimize your time-wealth

As I stated in my introduction post, the No Baggage Challenge isn’t just about traveling around the world without luggage — it’s also an inquiry into simplifying material concerns and seeking rich life-experiences. This in mind, I’d like to invite readers to join the journey by participating in a weekly series of challenges, most of [...]

Dispatches

September 20, 2010
Continue Reading
Hanging with the animal paparazzi in South Africa

Hanging with the animal paparazzi in South Africa

If there’s one experience that stands out from the week I spent in South Africa, it was the time I sat in a safari-equipped Land Rover and watched two hippos get into a theatrical territorial showdown while my guide, Lembi, held forth for nearly 30 minutes on how it’s possible to assassinate people by slipping [...]

Dispatches

September 16, 2010
Continue Reading
No-baggage field report: Week three

No-baggage field report: Week three

Three weeks into the no-baggage journey, I’ve left Egypt for South Africa, where I am currently checking out the wildlife near Kruger National Park. At the risk of sounding like an echo of last week, I still don’t feel like I’m missing any key items of gear. My daily hygiene routine continues to keep me [...]

Dispatches

September 15, 2010
Continue Reading
How we make the videos (and how we lost one in Cairo)

How we make the videos (and how we lost one in Cairo)

One of the most interesting experiences during my no-baggage trip to Cairo came on my first full day in the city, when a local Egyptologist named Magdi Salash took me on an intensive historical tour of the Old City. Justin shot this interaction on video, and he and I have spent much of the past [...]

Dispatches

September 14, 2010
Continue Reading
Reader challenge #3: Unplug from the virtual world

Reader challenge #3: Unplug from the virtual world

As I stated in my introduction post, the No Baggage Challenge isn’t just about traveling around the world without luggage — it’s also an inquiry into simplifying material concerns and seeking rich life-experiences. This in mind, I’m inviting readers to join the journey by participating in a weekly series of challenges, most of which can [...]

Dispatches

September 13, 2010
Continue Reading
An Egyptian straight-razor shave (in 21 easy steps)

An Egyptian straight-razor shave (in 21 easy steps)

Back when I was preparing for my no-baggage world journey, one of the first toiletry items I removed from the packing-list was my razor. I did this in part because I don’t mind keeping a light beard when I travel — but also because I was looking forward to visiting barbershops from time to time [...]

Dispatches

September 10, 2010
Continue Reading
Embracing my inner tourist at Giza

Embracing my inner tourist at Giza

Ten years ago, when I first visited Egypt, I had a hang-up about visiting the legendary Pyramids at Giza. At the heart of this hang-up was the dull fear of disappointment — a creeping worry that the most iconic monument in the world would be so overrun by tourists and kitsch vendors that I wouldn’t [...]

Dispatches

September 8, 2010
Continue Reading
Reader challenge #2: Explore your own town

Reader challenge #2: Explore your own town

As I stated in my introduction post, the No Baggage Challenge isn’t just about traveling around the world without luggage — it’s also an inquiry into simplifying material concerns and seeking rich life-experiences. This in mind, I’m inviting readers to join the journey by participating in a weekly series of challenges, most of which can [...]

Dispatches

September 7, 2010
Continue Reading
No-baggage field report: Week two

No-baggage field report: Week two

Two weeks into the journey, the no-baggage aspect continues to go remarkably smoothly: My sojourn through North Africa has been fascinating, and (as was the case with the Western Europe leg of the journey) I’m not up at night wishing I’d brought a shoe horn, a ukulele, or another pair of socks. The few things [...]

Dispatches

September 6, 2010
Continue Reading
In Fes: Walk until the day becomes interesting

In Fes: Walk until the day becomes interesting

Less than two weeks into the journey, while wandering the Moroccan city of Fes, I did something I hadn’t planned on doing so early in the no-baggage trip: I bought something — a new (and hopefully useful) item that now resides in my vest pocket alongside my toothbrush and sunglasses. My approach to exploring Fes [...]

Dispatches

September 3, 2010
Continue Reading
The wrong town in Morocco

The wrong town in Morocco

Since I try to be the kind of guy who can admit his mistakes, I’ll say this up front: My first act upon arriving in Morocco from Spain was to mispronounce the name of my destination while arranging a long-haul taxi from the ferry-port at Tangier.  Hence, instead of traveling to the town of Chefchaouen [...]

Dispatches

September 1, 2010
Continue Reading
No-baggage field report: Week one

No-baggage field report: Week one

Since this journey is an experiment in traveling ultra-light, I want to check in every so often and evaluate how that experiment is going. Happily, after one week, it feels like this trip has been very much about the journey itself. If one thing stands out as strange for me it’s not the lack of [...]

Dispatches

August 31, 2010
Continue Reading
Reader challenge #1: Lighten your load (and win a free plane ticket)

Reader challenge #1: Lighten your load (and win a free plane ticket)

As I stated in my introduction post, the No Baggage Challenge isn’t just about traveling around the world without luggage — it’s also an inquiry into simplifying material concerns, seeking rich life-experiences, and traveling lighter (both on the road and at home).  This in mind, I’d like to invite readers to join the journey by [...]

Dispatches

August 30, 2010
Continue Reading
Tapas for ignoramuses: Madrid in 9 dishes and 7 drinks

Tapas for ignoramuses: Madrid in 9 dishes and 7 drinks

There was a point at which, well into an evening of eating and drinking with friends in central Madrid, I began to wonder when we were going to stop in at a place that served tapas.  I’d been hearing about tapas for years, and I was vaguely aware that they were the bar-food equivalent of [...]

Dispatches

August 29, 2010
Continue Reading
Rolling retro-style (and doing laundry) in Paris

Rolling retro-style (and doing laundry) in Paris

There was a time when, believe it or not, I thought Paris was no big deal. This was before I had ever been there — back in the days when I was living and traveling in Asia. At the time, I was so enamored with places like Bangkok and Varanasi and Ulan Bator that I [...]

Dispatches

August 25, 2010
Continue Reading
19 London cliches in less than four hours

19 London cliches in less than four hours

Less than a day into my journey, traveling without luggage paid off at my very first destination: It afforded me the opportunity to cram as many generic tourist experiences as possible into a three-and-a-half hour London layover. My No Baggage Challenge kicked off the evening before, in Manhattan, where I met up with a few [...]

Dispatches

August 23, 2010
Continue Reading
How to pack for a journey with no luggage

How to pack for a journey with no luggage

I’ve been vagabonding for so many years now that I can’t remember the last time I put together a formal packing list.  In recent years, my packing process has just been a matter of tossing a few familiar items into my Eagle Creek Voyage 65L backpack and closing the door behind me.  If for some [...]

Dispatches

August 21, 2010
Continue Reading
Misadventures in planning the adventure (Or: How I was upstaged by my own dog)

Misadventures in planning the adventure (Or: How I was upstaged by my own dog)

I’m in New York at the moment, doing some interviews and a final bit of prep before I leave the city at just short of midnight to begin the No Baggage Challenge. That makes this the final day of an intensive preparation process that began last Sunday night, when my cameraman and traveling companion Justin [...]

Dispatches

Continue Reading
Why Rolf is traveling around the world with no luggage

Why Rolf is traveling around the world with no luggage

When I first announced my intention to circumnavigate the globe for six weeks without carrying so much as a fanny-pack, I got a common (and admittedly reasonable) reaction from my friends: Why?  Why travel the world with no luggage? Well, for starters — as someone who’s spent much of the past 16 years traveling to [...]

Dispatches

August 19, 2010
Continue Reading
No Baggage Challenge: The Travel Clothing

No Baggage Challenge: The Travel Clothing

By definition a no-luggage journey has to operate on a minimum of gear — but it also has to function with a minimum of clothing. Whatever clothes one brings have to be functional and durable enough to wear constantly, yet small and light enough to pack into pockets if need be. This in mind, here [...]

Dispatches

August 18, 2010
Continue Reading
No Baggage Challenge: The Ground Rules

No Baggage Challenge: The Ground Rules

While circumnavigating the globe with no luggage sounds like a clear enough proposition, it can raise a few semantic issues. What, for example, counts as a bag? Can your traveling companion carry some things for you? Are you allowed to buy new gear and clothing along the way? To clear up these issues, I’ve set [...]

Dispatches

August 15, 2010
Continue Reading
No Baggage Challenge: The Route

No Baggage Challenge: The Route

Starting and ending in New York City, Rolf will travel through 12 countries in 42 days. He’ll make nearly 10 flights (spending over 50 hours in the air), ride countless trains and buses, and maybe even a boat or two. All with no luggage. From New York, the first stop is London before taking a [...]

Dispatches

August 14, 2010
Continue Reading
Q&A with Jonathan Yevin, no-luggage traveler

Q&A with Jonathan Yevin, no-luggage traveler

Though I’ve long harbored vague intentions of traveling without baggage, I wasn’t aware that other travelers had attempted such a feat until 2006, when travel writer Jonathan Yevin emailed me about his luggage-less adventures in Central America. Since then, Jonathan has gone on to take four more extended no-baggage journeys, including trips to Europe, Southeast [...]

Dispatches

August 13, 2010
Continue Reading
A (very incomplete) history of no-baggage travel

A (very incomplete) history of no-baggage travel

Around the world with no luggage — has this kind of thing ever been done before? I suspect that it has been: At some point in history, no doubt, some anonymous sailor or vagabond made his way around the world with nothing but the clothes on his back.  In fact, I’m sure that shorter no-luggage [...]

Dispatches

August 12, 2010
Continue Reading
The ultimate mobile HD video rig for traveling around the world

The ultimate mobile HD video rig for traveling around the world

I knew that if Rolf was going to circle the globe without any bags, as the camera man, I’d also want to be as light and nimble as possible to keep up with him.  It wouldn’t make much sense for one of us to be packing, well, nothing, and the other carrying eight suitcases filled [...]

Dispatches

August 11, 2010
Continue Reading
Adventures in planning a sponsored adventure

Adventures in planning a sponsored adventure

As I mentioned in an earlier post, this journey deviates from my vagabonding travel style in that its focus is public, I’m reporting on it in real-time, and I’m doing it all with the help of sponsors. The sponsorship angle has been of particular interest to friends and acquaintances in the travel community, and to [...]

Dispatches

August 10, 2010
Continue Reading
Why this journey doesn’t really count as vagabonding

Why this journey doesn’t really count as vagabonding

At heart, my no-luggage world-adventure seeks to validate the idea that travel is about the journey itself — not the baggage one brings to it. This notion dovetails nicely with the principles I set forth in my book Vagabonding. Still, I don’t really consider this journey a pure “vagabonding” adventure, despite its far-flung nature. This [...]

Dispatches

Continue Reading