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Marco Polo Didn't Go There
Marco Polo Didn't Go There


The Misadventures of Wenamun

Geto Boys
The Geto Boys (33 1/3)

The book

For the past ten years, Rolf Potts has taken his keen postmodern travel sensibility into the far reaches of five continents for such publications as National Geographic Traveler,, and The New York Times Magazine. This book documents his boldest, funniest, and most revealing journeys — from getting stranded without water in the Libyan Desert, to crashing the set of a Leonardo DiCaprio movie in Thailand, to learning the secrets of Tantric sex in a dubious Indian ashram.

Marco Polo Didn't Go There is more than just an entertaining journey into fascinating corners of the world. The book is a unique window into travel writing, with each chapter containing a commentary track — endnotes that reveal the ragged edges behind the experience and creation of each tale. Offbeat and insightful, this book is an engrossing read for students of travel writing as well as armchair wanderers.


Read the Marco Polo Didn't Go There introduction chapter here.


Reviews and blurbs for Marco Polo Didn't Go There from domestic and international media online here.

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Teaching Guide

The "commentary track" endnotes in Marco Polo Didn't Go There make the book a uniquely effective text for travel-writing or creative nonfiction students (Britain's The Guardian calls it "the best postmodern travel-writing textbook available on either side of the Atlantic"). Teachers interested in desk copies or teaching tips for the book can direct queries to

"Potts is one of the best travel writers to emerge in the last decade. Intrepid and thoughtful, he's a Paul Theroux for the backpacker generation, and Marco Polo reflects this."

San Francisco Chronicle

"This hilarious collection of stories provokes because Potts asks the serious question of how to travel in a discovered world. ... If you aspire to be a travel writer, read this book."

The Guardian (U.K.)

"Potts shows travelers and would-be travelers the joy of immersing oneself in a foreign culture."

St. Louis Post-Dispatch"Best Books of 2008"

"Armchair travelers will get an enormous kick out of this thoroughly entertaining book."


"Marco Polo Didn't Go There is a charming, eye-opening and — I hate to say the phrase because it's so cliched — laugh-out-loud funny book."

— Pauline Frommer, "The Travel Show"

For more reviews, click here