A modern bohemian who lives an unconventional lifestyle…
Hi, my name is Will. The “guerilla traveler” notion first came to me in Green’s Hotel in Peshawar, Pakistan in November of 2001, two months after the World Trade Center attacks. It was a weird time. In conversation with Alyssa Banta, a New York Times photographer at the time, and a fine entrepreneurial bohemian, I said to her that we freelance reporters were all guerilla travelers.
We were traveling light in dangerous circumstances. And to some extent, in this new world after 911, we all had to travel carrying the terrible events of that day in at least the back of our minds, forever. We knew that then. We knew that the world had somehow changed. We just did not know quite how yet.
That was why I took a break from my job with the startup Sambazon in Los Angeles, gathered commissions, flew to Europe and then on to Pakistan. It has always been my goal to become as human as possible, meaning to realize what it is to be human before I died. All the rest seemed and still seems to me to be the mere icing on the cake, the luster that hides the truth.
Basically, a guerilla traveler or GT is a modern bohemian who lives an unconventional lifestyle. GT’s often travel for the sake of traveling.
Here’s how the urban dictionary defines the term I invented:
The concept covers free spirits in all walks of life–those who challenge the shortcomings of the prevailing orthodoxy. It is a way of thinking, not a profession. It is a modern idea springing from modern precoccupations though closely related to classic Bohemianism–the practice of pursuing an unconventional lifestyle, often in the company of like-minded people, with fewer permanent ties than conventional thinking calls for. It often involves musical, artistic, literary or other creative pursuits.
Bohemians tend to be wanderers and adventurers. Though the adventure of travel is often involved, it isn’t necessary. Guerilla travelers can also travel in their heads: attitude is essential as is individuality. This use of the word bohemian first appeared in the English language in the 19th century to describe the non-traditional lifestyles of marginalized and impoverished artists, writers, journalists,
This use of the word bohemian first appeared in the English language in the 19th century to describe the non-traditional lifestyles of marginalized and impoverished artists, writers, journalists, musicians and actors. The term Bohemianism emerged in France in the early 19th century when artists and creators began to concentrate in the lower-rent, lower class neighborhoods.
Guerillatravelers seek to experience what is different from ordinary life. Anyone who has that goal and lives it is essentially a guerilla traveler.
“Some travel writers live the life of luxury laying back in five-star hotels with a Magarita at their side while they pontificate about the world. But that isn’t how interesting stories are found. Getting good stories needs writers who are willing to put themselves into the firing line, quite literally in some cases. WRR is one of those writers. The self-styled “Guerilla Traveler” lives his life “on the road” and this book is a selection of postcards sent from that destination. Places as diverse as the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, a tropical island off the coast of Brazil, and an English cricket match. Other writers want to get the story. Richardson wants to be the story. Not that there is anything wrong with that, his views on the world are usually rather entertaining and he does know when to let the story take center stage. Some people will doubtless be put off by the slightly Smart Alec approach. The simple fact is that the author most probably is smarter than most of his readers . . . This is a book which you should really get your hands on. For all of its stylistic failings, it is well worth reading, even if it does take a good thirty pages to hit its stride. As you go further it gets better with the best (of the writing, the author and the stories) saved for last.” – Wik (Warsaw and Culture) Magazine
“William Roderick Richardson tells it like it is. He does not write from the recliner (the lazy boy), and he does not get his ideas from the local book club or late-night television shows. He lives hard, writes hard–and is sometimes outrageous and often brilliant. But in a world full of travel writers who should probably just go back to selling insurance, it is refreshing to read someone whose last story may actually be his last story. I believe that is how it is supposed to be, and this is where Richardson undoubtedly excels.” – Preston Smith, editor of Poland Monthly magazine
It’s a different voice with a different message. There is a great deal of new material on guerillatraveler (more than 1 million google references) now.