Rolf Potts travels around
the world with no luggage

About the Challenge

In late August of 2010, travel writer Rolf Potts embarked on a trip that is taking him around the world without using a single piece of luggage.  For six weeks he will be exploring 12 countries on five continents, crossing the equator four times, without carrying so much as a man-purse. The few items he is bringing (including a toothbrush, an iPod, and a few extra items of clothing) are tucked away in his pockets.

This no-baggage adventure is more than a stunt to see if such a thing can be done:  At a time when intensified travel-stresses and increased luggage fees are grabbing headlines, it’s an experiment to determine how much we really need to bring along to have the trip of a lifetime.

What items, if any, are essential to the enjoyment of a journey to other countries?  How does traveling light make a trip cheaper, simpler or easier (or more difficult)?  What lessons from this no-baggage adventure might apply to day-to-day life — both on the road and at home?

In addition to posting text and videos about his no-baggage adventures, Rolf will examine the philosophical issues behind the art of traveling (and living) light as he circles the globe.

If this is your first time visiting the site, check out the following posts to get an overview of the trip:

About Rolf

Rolf Potts has reported from more than sixty countries for the likes of National Geographic Traveler, the New York Times Magazine,, Conde Nast Traveler, Outside, National Public Radio, and the Travel Channel. A veteran travel columnist for the likes of and World Hum, his adventures have taken him across six continents, and include piloting a fishing boat 900 miles down the Laotian Mekong, hitchhiking across Eastern Europe, traversing Israel on foot, bicycling across Burma, and driving a Land Rover from Sunnyvale, California to Ushuaia, Argentina.

Rolf is perhaps best known for promoting the ethic of independent travel, and his book on the subject, Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel (Random House, 2003), has been through twelve printings and translated into several foreign languages. His newest book, Marco Polo Didn’t Go There: Stories and Revelations From One Decade as a Postmodern Travel Writer (Travelers’ Tales, 2008), won a 2009 Lowell Thomas Award from the Society of American Travel Writers, and became the first American-authored book to win Italy’s prestigious Chatwin Prize for travel writing.

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About the cameraman

The man behind the camera (and website design) is Justin Glow. He’ll also act as producer, director, and editor of all the video content you see on the site. (Read about the video rig he is taking here.) He’s the former editor-in-chief of AOL’s, and his current job is a web developer with Engadget.  While it is necessary that Justin carry a small bag to hold his camera equipment and laptop, he will otherwise be abiding by the rules of the No Baggage Challenge. You can find him on Twitter.

Sponsors — One-stop indie travel guide
While studying in Australia in 1994, future BootsnAll founder Sean Keener met with three Aussie friends in a pub. Amongst the beer and bird watching, they discussed a trip to England to watch Euro ’96. A month long trip incorporating the lads passion for football and beer. The fact that it was in a foreign country was just an added bonus. Amazingly, drunken plans came to fruition in May 1996 and the four friends reunited in Sean’s home town of Chicago before continuing on to London. What followed was a month of experiences so epic that the trip had to be named. After much discussion, Boots’n’All was chosen. Boots signified the search for the ultimate pair of boots that would be versatile enough to be the only footwear a traveller would need. nAll was meant to stand for everything else that independent travel could bring: Amazing people, unique experiences, freedom, personal growth and just plain fun.

So ‘BootsnAll’ started life as an idea, a discovery by a group of friends that travelling was pretty cool. By 1997, Sean Keener had continued his travels overland from eastern Europe to India, taking over 9 months and growing one hell of a beard. Future BootsnAll co-founder Chris Heidrich had used his Commonwealth visa qualifications to work in Scotland, experiencing independent travel from an ex-pat perspective. That summer the two friends met in Chicago before roadtripping to Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. While on a 3 day backcountry hike, the lads came up with the original BootsnAll Code of Conduct: a multi-point list of what it meant to travel ‘the BootsnAll way’. It was a pretty raw list, meant only for personal consumption. The BootsnAll travel club was born, membership: two. 12 years later, BootsnAll is a community of over 30 online travel guides and resources that connect and encourage independent travel — including round the world tickets.

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SCOTTEVEST/SeV Travel Clothing: For the Trip of Your Life
About ten years ago, CEO & Founder Scott Jordan created SCOTTEVEST/SeV to solve a very common problem: he needed a way to carry and organize all his gadgets and gear without a “man-purse.” His solution was to design a vest with multiple NoBulge(TM) pockets specifically engineered to distribute the weight of what was being carried, and he incorporated a patented Personal Area Network (PAN) for headphone wire management. From that point, SeV has evolved into a full line of clothing that appeals to gadget-lovers and travelers alike. Today, SCOTTEVEST/SeV is one of the world’s top travel clothing companies, and is proud to work with Rolf Potts on the No Baggage Challenge(TM) and put their clothing to the ultimate test.

Even if you’re not spending six weeks traveling around the world, SeV makes your travels easier by simplifying airport check-in/security, saving extra baggage fees, and having an easy and secure way to organize and carry all of your necessities. Simply load your travel essentials into your SCOTTEVEST instead of a carry-on bag, and travel hands-free.



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