Rolf Potts is one of my favorite writers, and his book Vagabonding was one of only four books I recommended as “fundamental” in The 4-Hour Workweek. It was also one of two books, the other being Walden; Or, Life in the Woods, that I took with me during my 15+-month mini-retirement that began in 2004.
The following is a guest post from Rolf on the art and lessons of travel, all of which you can apply at home.
Last fall I spoke at the excellent DO Lectures, which brings innovative thinkers from around the world for a series of talks in rural Wales (Tim was a speaker in 2008). My talk, which is available in full via the video link above encourages people to make themselves rich in time and to become active in making their travel dreams happen.
The talk itself contains essential advice and inspiration regarding travel — but what struck me on re-watching it was an improvised moment at the beginning of the talk, when I pointed out how “these aren’t really travel-specific challenges — these are things that can apply to life in general. Think of travel as a metaphor for how you live your life at home.”
Indeed, travel has a way of slowing you down, of waking you up, of pulling you up out of your daily routines and seeing life in a new way. This new way of looking at the world need not end when you resume your life at home.
Here are 5 key ways in which the lessons you learn on the road can be used to enrich the life you lead when you return home… Read More
Most of you have never seen this. I really hope you enjoy it. To download, just sign into Vimeo and you’re set. If you Final Cut it up, please set to a Crystal Method or Sevendust soundtrack
In other breaking news:
I need only 120 more Amazon reviews to beat The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell, a dream I’ve had since 2007! Not because I dislike him, but precisely the opposite — he’s one of my writing role models and I long viewed his book as untouchable.
If you’ve read the 4HWW but haven’t left a short review on Amazon, please take 30 seconds and help me here! The stars are, of course, up to you.
It would really mean a lot to me, and what a milestone it would be as a late Christmas present
Thanks for all the kind words and questions in the comments! Here are answers to a few common questions:
“Gaijin [foreigner] resentment from the Japanese?”
None whatsoever. Major point of conflict with the production company, as they wanted me to show I was ‘proving my teacher’ wrong, etc. for manufactured drama. Total nonsense. The Japanese teachers and students were some of the most gracious and generous people I’ve ever met. The Japanese get a bum rap for xenophobia, mostly by Americans who go over, speak to them in English, and them call them ‘inscrutable’ when they don’t respond in fluent, idiomatic English. Learn some Japanese and they are 100% fine. Business settings = negotiating = not a representative interaction. Get with the people and interact, preferably with something physical. I’ve never felt this artificial insider/outsider wall people talk about.
“Pre-bed and other preparations for physical only or also mental?”
Also for mental and learning. Pre-bed and mid-night language review is incredibly effective for improving recall.
“How much story arc vs. real issues?”
It was real. The fear of falling off was real. It came up only after arrival that injuries were much more common and severe than expected. The editing didn’t do justice to the drama. We had 100+ hours of footage, and there were some gems that could have replaced other bits in this 45 minutes. It rained for 2-3 days of the practice time, for example, and we couldn’t use the horses. The non-yabusame human-to-human interactions with the Japanese were also missing. Some really hysterical moments.
“Have I been back to train?”
Not yet. I love Nikko and would love to go back. I have spoken with both my teacher (Hayashi) and some of the Japanese crew, however. Truly wonderful people.
“Superhuman book to include cooking?”
The way I do it, yes. Simple stuff that tastes great and works. Boys, don’t worry — it’s bachelor screw-up proof.
“Doing a traditional Japanese martial art myself for many years do you ever get frustrated when you learn a skill and then to a certain extent ‘move on’ that you’re just scratching the surface?”
A few people asked this. I don’t try and “hack” everything and move on. I do believe in the enjoyment of constant practice as an exercise, almost like meditation. It’s important to balance achievement with appreciation, and there are skills that I continue to practice without abandoning them. In fact, I don’t feel like I abandon much. Even if I haven’t really practiced tango since 2006, for example, the skills and awareness I developed in tango are applicable to other things, even yabusame. I feel like each is intertwined with the next, so I’m — on a macro-level — constantly working on a process of skill-development that spreads across these various experiments.
In simpler terms, I’m just having fun and doing what makes me most excited. I see nothing wrong with this. For some, that will mean 1 skill a year, others 1 skill a month, and others still, one skill a lifetime.
Where would you go if you had a free ticket anywhere? The island of Bohol in the Philippines? (source: WisDoc)
Not long ago, I received the following comment — edited for length — from Ryan N.:
I hate you Tim. I had a secure future ahead of me, and I left my job, my reasonably well paying professional career all because of your book. Best thing I’ve ever done!!
I was wondering if you might be able to put up a blog post where people could post their ideas or muses as case studies. I’m sure there are a lot of people like me who would like to share their stories and listen to others living the 4HWW.
Here’s to 2010 being the year everything changes.
Indeed. Here’s to 2010 being the year everything changes.
I decided to take Ryan’s advice. Below is a post of just a few select video case studies. This is also where you can win a round-trip ticket anywhere in the world.
That would be a nice way to start 2010 with a bang, right?… Read More
“I see you. I’ll get your water when I have a minute. Jesus Christ.”
Um, did… that… really just happen?
Strike three for Delta Airlines. More like strike 37. The bad service had reached the “Orbitz threshold”, where I would no longer purchase tickets from Delta, even if cheaper than the competition.
Life is too short to deal with surly nonsense, and — upon landing back in SF — I decided to poll Twitter to find out which airlines create the most collective misery. This would serve as my must-avoid list.
I also learned that two start-ups called PeopleBrowsr and Dolores Labs were simultaneously figuring out the same thing with really cool social search analysis.
Here are the results: the 10 worst airlines in the US according to customers… Read More
The following video segment is a continuation of the randomly shot randomian-thought random show project with Tim Ferriss and Kevin Rose. This time, we’re not in a library nor are we out on a boat dock fishing for fish – we’re on a street corner in Jinggu. At night. And it’s not really cold outside. It’s slightly humid with a dusty breeze coming out of the southwest.
Audio Note: Most of this was recorded with a Shure-VP88 stereo condenser mic (good with headphones). Apologies for when I don’t have it pointed in correct direction (sounds like they’re behind us).
To borrow from Gary Vee, here is the Question of the Day (QOD): What is the most disgusting or confusing travel experience you’ve ever had?
Greetings from Kunming, China, land of Pu-erh tea! I’ve been offline for a week and feel fantastic.
Kevin Rose, Glenn McElhose, and I are up to no good and having a blast. The above video is the first of several to chronicle our experience exploring the incredible world of tea in China, so be prepared for footage no foreigners have seen before. Not into tea? Don’t worry — it’s an inside look at strangers in a strange land, culture shock included.
This volume covers our trip preparation, Pu-erh tea cakes, and basic Mandarin language reactivation. There is a separate Random episode coming that includes more on language and textbook analysis.
This afternoon, we will head to Beijing for a bit of Bladerunner-style fun and exploration of Olympics-inspired modernization. I haven’t spent real time in the capital since 1996, and I expect the changes will be a shock to the system.
Bonus:If you missed it, here is the How to Tim Ferriss Your Love Life video (6 minutes long) — by request — which details how I outsourced all of my dating as an experiment. Have a sense of humor and enjoy how ludicrous (but effective) the methods were.
Is it possible to become invisible without breaking the law? (Photo: gravitywave)
LOS ANGELES, MID-JUNE 2008
Sitting on a plush couch in the neon-infused nightclub, I asked again:
“What’s it about?”
Neil Strauss glanced around and looked nervous, which I found strange. After all, we’d known each other for close to two years now. In fact, he was – as New York Times bestselling author of The Game and others – one of the first people to see the proposal for The 4-Hour Workweek and offer me encouragement.
“C’mon, dude, give me a break. Don’t you trust me?”
“Guilt. That’s good. Use guilt,” Neil said. But the Woody Allen approach wasn’t working.
“I can’t let the meme out early” he said, “I trust you—I’m just paranoid,” he offered to no one in particular as he downed another RedBull. So I fired a shot in the dark.
“What, are you writing about the 5 Flags or something?”
Neil’s heart skipped a beat and he stared at me for several long seconds. He was stunned.
“What do you know about the 5 Flags?”
I was in.
The 5 Flags
Neil’s new book, Emergency, teaches you how to become Jason Bourne.
Multiple passports, moving assets, lock-picking, escape and evasion, foraging, even how to cross borders without detection (one preferred location: McAllen, Texas, page 390)–it’s a veritable encyclopedia of for those who want to disappear or become lawsuit-proof global citizens… Read More
How would you like to light a fire perfectly and have it burn for 3-7 hours without touching it or putting on more wood? It can be done, every time, but it requires forgetting everything you’ve learned about starting fires… Read More
This could very well be the only time you are able to see this show. It’s a pilot and not guaranteed to become a series, so please tune in and also Tivo!
In this post:
1) The concept
2) Live Q&A following show – join me after the broadcast to ask your questions and learn about how to pitch a TV show, the “reality” behind reality TV, behind-the-scenes details, omitted scenes, and more. The Q&A won’t make sense unless you’ve seen the broadcast. 3) Immediate competition and prize for rallying the troops (sooner is better)
The concept is simple: I have one week to attempt to learn what is usually learned over 5-20 years. I either crash and burn — or survive by the skin of my teeth — in a final test (trial by fire) each time.
If it’s made into a series, which depends entirely on viewership numbers on Thursday night, I’ll deconstruct a new complex skill each week. It will show you exactly how I approach learning, and no fake TV drama will be required to make the stakes real.
This episode was shot in HD in Tokyo and the mountains of Nikko, where I rolled the dice on Japanese horseback archery, or yabusame: full gallop, no hands, no safety gear, with wooden poles lining the track on either side of the horse. Please don’t do this at home. I had access to the best in the world, and you’ll get to see some never-before-seen footage of a rare and brutal samurai sport few non-Japanese have ever attempted. The show preview is here.
Live Q&A After Broadcast Thursday
I’ll be holding a live Q&A on this blog after both broadcasts (11pm ET for ET, CST, MT; 11pm PT for PT). Note down questions during the show on things you’d like to know. No-holds-barred. Just keep an eye on this blog and my twitter page for more details.
Immediate Competition to Rally Troops
This is a one shot, one kill affair. To become a series, this show needs massive viewership on Thursday to prove to History Channel that people want more.
The competition, limited to the next 48 hours, is simple: promote the below links and leave a comment here with 1) what you did to spread the word, and 2) what challenge you think I should tackle next.
Some options: Facebook, e-mail, Twitter, blogs, FriendFeed, etc. Bonus points go to people who act sooner vs. later.
Prize to best promoter: my favorite travel bag in the world, the $500 retail Victorinox Swiss Army 25″ Trek Pack Plus. I used an older version during my 15-country world trip in 2004, and the latest model is even better.
Thanks in advance for your help with spreading the word! More to come soon! Woohoo!