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Rolf Potts

Rolf Potts is an American travel writer, essayist, and author. He has written two books, Vagabonding (Random House, 2003) and Marco Polo Didn't Go There (Travelers Tales, 2008), and his travel writing has appeared in National Geographic Traveler, Outside, Salon.com, Slate.com, The Guardian, and World Hum.
Recent episodes featuring Rolf Potts
The world’s cheapest destinations, and why (besides savings) they’re great
Deviate with Rolf Potts
“It’s good as you travel to take the time to do nothing, and have nothing planned.” –Tim Leffel In this episode of Deviate, Rolf and Tim discuss the advantages of traveling to cheaper parts of the world (3:00); how living overseas can actually be cheaper than your life at home (13:00); strategies to save money on the road (23:00); setting a budget, and counterintuitive sightseeing (34:00); and breaking the myth of expensive European travel (51:00). Tim Leffel (@timleffel) is an award-winning travel writer and author of The World’s Cheapest Destinations and A Better Life for Half the Price. He is the editor of the narrative web publication Perceptive Travel. For more about Tim, check out https://timleffel.com. This episode of Deviate is brought to you by Tortuga Backpacks, which set the standard for the best, most durable, organized, and comfortable travel backpacks. Tortuga products also include daypacks, duffels, and other travel accessories, which are all made with the traveler in mind and have been featured by Wirecutter, The New York Times, Travel + Leisure, Business Insider, Carryology, and many other industry outlets. This episode is also brought to you by AirTreks, an industry leader in multi-stop international travel. If you’ve ever planned a trip with multiple stops, you know that finding the right flights can be difficult. Between balancing travel logistics and cost, it often becomes impossible to build an itinerary that matches your travel goals.  AirTreks is a distributed travel company with employees working from all corners of the world to help with your flight planning, specializing in complex routes with up to 25 stops. The AirTreks website offers suggested pre-planned travel itineraries to help you get started, but can customize to fit your journey. The Deviate theme music comes from the title track of Cedar Van Tassel’s 2017 album Lumber. Note: We don’t host a “comments” section, but we’re happy to hear your questions and insights via email, at deviate@rolfpotts.com.
Paul Theroux on aging, slow travel, and the inherent complexity of Mexico
Deviate with Rolf Potts
“A writer tends to notice things that other people do not notice. And they are noticing so they can write about it.” – Paul Theroux In this episode of Deviate, Paul Theroux and Rolf discuss their travels through Mexico and magical realism (4:30); teaching as a way to get to know a country and the importance of reading (20:00); and Paul’s experience traveling along the US-Mexico border and geo-political complexities between the two countries (29:00). Paul Theroux (@PaulTheroux_) is a pioneer of travel writing and author of many highly acclaimed books, including The Great Railway Bazaar and The Tao of Travel. His work has appeared in such publications as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and The Guardian. In 2015, Paul Theroux was awarded a Royal Medal from the Royal Geographical Society – an award, approved by the Queen, which is the highest award attainable for a traveler. His latest book, On the Plain of Snakes: A Mexican Journey, was released last month. He last talked with Rolf on Deviate Episode 31, “Paul Theroux on the art of listening, and the necessary obstacles of deep travel.” Notable Links: Sinclair Lewis (writer) William Faulkner (writer) Jorge Luis Borges (writer) Gabriel García Márquez (writer) Magical Realism (style of fiction) James Joyce (writer) Aldous Huxley (writer) Jack Kerouac (writer) Rebecca West (writer) Harriet Doer (writer) Leonora Carrington (artist) The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, by B. Traven (novel) Nathaniel Philbrick (author) Moby-Dick, by Herman Melville (book) Subcomandante Marcos (revolutionary) Zapatista Army of National Liberation (militant group) This episode of Deviate is brought to you by Tortuga Backpacks, which set the standard for the best, most durable, organized, and comfortable travel backpacks. Tortuga products also include daypacks, duffels, and other travel accessories, which are all made with the traveler in mind and have been featured by Wirecutter, The New York Times, Travel + Leisure, Business Insider, Carryology, and many other industry outlets. This episode is also brought to you by AirTreks, an industry leader in multi-stop international travel. If you’ve ever planned a trip with multiple stops, you know that finding the right flights can be difficult. Between balancing travel logistics and cost, it often becomes impossible to build an itinerary that matches your travel goals.  AirTreks is a distributed travel company with employees working from all corners of the world to help with your flight planning, specializing in complex routes with up to 25 stops. The AirTreks website offers suggested pre-planned travel itineraries to help you get started, but can customize to fit your journey. The Deviate theme music comes from the title track of Cedar Van Tassel’s 2017 album Lumber. Note: We don’t host a “comments” section, but we’re happy to hear your questions and insights via email, at deviate@rolfpotts.com.
Bonus: Storytelling for the screen: A lecture from the Paris Writing Workshop
Deviate with Rolf Potts
“You do not have to feel beholden to the formula, but you do have to know the formula” – Benjamin Percy In this episode of Deviate, we sit in on a lecture that Benjamin Percy gave at the 2019 Paris Writing Workshop, on the craft of screenwriting.  Benjamin Percy (@Benjamin_Percy) is the author of four novels, including The Dead Lands, Red Moon, The Wilding, and The Dark Net. His other work includes numerous comics, his writing-craft book, Thrill Me, and his story collection Suicide Woods, out this month. His work has appeared in The Paris Review, The New York Times, and GQ. He currently writes the audio drama Wolverine, now in its second season, and is a regular on the lecture circuit, including at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, the Breadloaf Writers’ Conference, the Tin House Writers’ Workshop, Aspen Summer Words, and the Paris Writing Workshop. Find more about Benjamin at http://benjaminpercy.com/. Notable Links: Jaws (movie) Jaws screenplay (PDF version) Touched by an Angel (television show) AWP Conference & Bookfair Time and Distance Overcome, by Eula Biss (short story) Ursula K. Le Guin (author) The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (movie) John Ford (director) Quentin Tarantino (filmmaker) Psycho (movie) The Untouchables (movie) Winter’s Bone (movie) “The Chain,” by Tobias Wolff (short story) Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (movie) Sinking of the USS Indianapolis (WWII incident) Pet Sematary (movie) The Devil’s Advocate (movie) 21 Grams (movie) Final Draft (software) This episode of Deviate is brought to you by the Paris Writing Workshop, a month-long creative writing workshop at the Paris American Academy, in the artistic heart of Europe. In addition to taking classes and participating in workshops, students will receive one-on-one consultations with professional writers, attend literary panel presentations, and give readings in Parisian venues. Core classes include Fiction, Poetry, Creative Nonfiction, Screenwriting as well as Submissions and Publications, a seminar that will give students information, insight and strategies for getting their portfolio work published. This episode is also brought to you by AirTreks, an industry leader in multi-stop international travel. If you’ve ever planned a trip with multiple stops, you know that finding the right flights can be difficult. Between balancing travel logistics and cost, it often becomes impossible to build an itinerary that matches your travel goals.  AirTreks is a distributed travel company with employees working from all corners of the world to help with your flight planning, specializing in complex routes with up to 25 stops. The AirTreks website offers suggested pre-planned travel itineraries to help you get started, but can customize to fit your journey. The Deviate theme music comes from the title track of Cedar Van Tassel’s 2017 album Lumber. Note: We don’t host a “comments” section, but we’re happy to hear your questions and insights via email, at deviate@rolfpotts.com.
Benjamin Percy on how comics and movies teach the best lessons about telling stories
Deviate with Rolf Potts
“You have to think about the shelf-life of the tension you’re creating. There should be a bigger mystery on the other side of that expiration date.” – Benjamin Percy In this episode of Deviate, Rolf and Benjamin discuss the idea that all fiction is essentially genre fiction (3:30); the movement of narrative and the idea that structure underlies all stories (15:00); learning “story math” (31:00); and research processes and work habits (42:00). Benjamin Percy (@Benjamin_Percy) is the author of four novels, including The Dead Lands, Red Moon, The Wilding, and The Dark Net. His other work includes numerous comics, his writing-craft book, Thrill Me, and his story collection Suicide Woods, out this month. His work has appeared in The Paris Review, The New York Times, and GQ. He currently writes the audio drama Wolverine, now in its second season, and is a regular on the lecture circuit, including at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, the Breadloaf Writers’ Conference, the Tin House Writers’ Workshop, Aspen Summer Words, and the Paris Writing Workshop. Find more about Benjamin at http://benjaminpercy.com/. Notable Links: Refresh, Refresh, by Benjamin Percy Suicide Woods, by Benjamin Percy Stephen King (author) Stan Lee (comic book writer) The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien (novel) Alice Munro (author) Flannery O’Connor (writer) James Baldwin (writer) Lost (television show) Dungeons & Dragons (role-playing game) The Sandman, by Neil Gaiman (comic book series) Preacher (comic book series) Scalped (comic book series) Transmetropolitan (comic book series) What we Talk About When we Talk About Love, by Raymond Carver (short story collection) Emily Dickinson (poet) Odyssey, by Homer (epic poem) Wild, by Cheryl Strayed (novel) Jaws (movie) 24 (television show) 25th Hour (movie) Superbad (movie) Alfred Hitchcock (director) The Tell-tale Heart, by Edgar Allen Poe (short story) The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, by Stieg Larsson (novel) The Island of Dr. Moreau, by H.G. Wells (novel) The Outsiders (movie) This episode of Deviate is brought to you by the Paris Writing Workshop, a month-long creative writing workshop at the Paris American Academy, in the artistic heart of Europe. In addition to taking classes and participating in workshops, students will receive one-on-one consultations with professional writers, attend literary panel presentations, and give readings in Parisian venues. Core classes include Fiction, Poetry, Creative Nonfiction, Screenwriting as well as Submissions and Publications, a seminar that will give students information, insight and strategies for getting their portfolio work published. This episode is also brought to you by AirTreks, an industry leader in multi-stop international travel. If you’ve ever planned a trip with multiple stops, you know that finding the right flights can be difficult. Between balancing travel logistics and cost, it often becomes impossible to build an itinerary that matches your travel goals.  AirTreks is a distributed travel company with employees working from all corners of the world to help with your flight planning, specializing in complex routes with up to 25 stops. The AirTreks website offers suggested pre-planned travel itineraries to help you get started, but can customize to fit your journey. The Deviate theme music comes from the title track of Cedar Van Tassel’s 2017 album Lumber. Note: We don’t host a “comments” section, but we’re happy to hear your questions and insights via email, at deviate@rolfpotts.com.
Why travel guidebooks still matter (and how to best use them on the road)
Deviate with Rolf Potts
“To go off the beaten path, I use a guidebook.” – Pauline Frommer, quoting a young reader In this episode of Deviate, Rolf and Pauline discuss the founding of Frommer’s guidebooks and the guidebook revolution (3:30); curating content in the modern world (10:30); sidestepping travel-marketing content (17:15); how guidebooks have been tailored to meet the demands of current travelers (29:00); the impact of global over-tourism (38:00); and the pitfalls of travel, and how to start the process of planning one’s next trip (46:00). Pauline Frommer (@Frommers) is the co-President of Frommer Media LLC, publisher of the Frommer’s Travel Guidebook series, for which Pauline is the Editorial Director. She is the author of the best-selling travel guide, Frommer’s EasyGuide to New York City and her writing has appeared in such publications as Budget Travel and Newsweek. Pauline is the co-host of Frommer’s Travel Show.  Notable Links: Arthur Frommer (travel writer) The GIs Guide to Traveling in Europe (guidebook) Book Passage Travel Writers & Photographers Conference The Beach (movie) Lonely Planet (guidebook) Rick Steves (guidebook) Hawaii Revealed (guidebook) Let’s Go (guidebook) 60 Minutes (television program) Fodors Travel Guide (guidebook) Moon Travel Guide (guidebook) World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (organization) Workaway (travel platform) Anthony Bourdain (celebrity chef / travel documentarian) Midnight’s Children, by Salman Rushdie (novel) This episode of Deviate is brought to you by Tortuga Backpacks, which set the standard for the best, most durable, organized, and comfortable travel backpacks. Tortuga products also include daypacks, duffels, and other travel accessories, which are all made with the traveler in mind and have been featured by Wirecutter, The New York Times, Travel + Leisure, Business Insider, Carryology, and many other industry outlets. This episode is also brought to you by AirTreks, an industry leader in multi-stop international travel. If you’ve ever planned a trip with multiple stops, you know that finding the right flights can be difficult. Between balancing travel logistics and cost, it often becomes impossible to build an itinerary that matches your travel goals.  AirTreks is a distributed travel company with employees working from all corners of the world to help with your flight planning, specializing in complex routes with up to 25 stops. The AirTreks website offers suggested pre-planned travel itineraries to help you get started, but can customize to fit your journey. The Deviate theme music comes from the title track of Cedar Van Tassel’s 2017 album Lumber. Note: We don’t host a “comments” section, but we’re happy to hear your questions and insights via email, at deviate@rolfpotts.com.
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Stats
Birthdate
Oct 13th, 1970
Episode Count
87
Podcast Count
2
Total Airtime
4 days, 3 hours