the story

Vagabonding is a round-the- world travelogue created by Mike P, an optimist from Chicago. Mike traveled on his own through Asia and East Africa and updated this site from the road.

The trip is over, but the site remains. All the travelogue, video, and photo entries are in their archives.

View a map of Mike's route.

About Mike P

I view travel as life's great educator. There's no better way to learn about people and nature and your place in the world.

I'm a twenty-something optimist from the U.S.A. I was born in Racine, Wisconsin, educated in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and have been living in Chicago, IL for six years.

I come from a long line of travelers. My mother's family came to the U.S. on the Mayflower. Great-Great-Grandfather P stowed away in a barrel on a ship called Orpheous that sailed from Liverpool to New York. He was discovered midway and made to mind the cattle.

I got hooked on travel during my final semester in college, when I studied literature and theater in London. After school ended, I stayed in Europe for a year, working at pubs, record stores, and Italian restaurants to fund further travel.

I managed to get as far south as Morocco and as far east as Turkey. Those dramatic, vivid destinations fueled my appetite for more travel, more experiences, further-flung places.

The more you travel, the more you realize how little you've seen.

I came home from Europe penniless and began to write for a newspaper in my hometown. These vagabonding dreams were born at that newspaper. I figured I'd travel around the world and write a column for the paper as I went.

Of course, travel is hard to fund on a bottom-rung journalist's salary.

I took a job in Chicago a little later, writing copy for web sites. I'd never seen a web page, had never sent an email before that job.

It doesn't seem like a day's gone past since I haven't.

I bought the URL while at that job. That was 1998.

A series of dot com jobs followed the first one. The Internet boom was good for me and many others too. But I didn't make any real money until the bust, when I was laid off. That was when, at my darkest financial moment, I fell into a lucrative, heaven-sent freelance gig.

I didn't know where my next dollar was coming; I saved every penny.

After 12 weeks the trip was possible.

I eventually hired on to that job, and I've been there for one year. It has been the best, most positive working experience I've ever had, instrumental in shaping my sensibilities and this project.

So here we are. I'm sitting at my computer, in my Chicago apartment, 26 September, 2002. I've just come home after a day game at Wrigley Field, a short walk from my apartment. Cubs lost, 2-0. I've got a million things to do tonight.


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