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Deviate with Rolf Potts


Rolf Potts veers off-topic in this unique series of conversations with experts, public figures, and intriguing people.

Popular episodes

Van Life before #VanLife (encore): Revisiting a classic USA road trip

Nov 2 • 01:50:36
"I will never have another vagabonding journey that compares to that first one -- even though I have since traveled to far more exotic parts of the world -- in part because there's something special about embarking on a long-term trip for the first time." --Rolf Potts

In this encore episode of Deviate, Rolf and his old friend Jeff Nienaber talk about their 8-month van trip ...

Pico Iyer on the creative task of travel across the world and deep within [encore]

Jan 1 • 01:08:44
“The boundaries of life are responsible for the beauty of life.” – Pico Iyer

In this episode of Deviate, Rolf and Pico discuss the people we become when we travel (4:00); what led Pico to travel (10:00); travel in the age of technology (20:00); finding the remarkable in the unremarkable (32:00); ping pong as a metaphor for life (40:00); the importance of impermanence (50:00...

Drunk in China: A vicarious Middle Kingdom adventure via its favorite booze

Jan 1 • 42:57
“There is this arrogant assumption that the things we don’t know or understand must be bad, because if they were good, we would already know about them or understand them.” –Derek Sandhaus

In this episode of Deviate, Rolf and Derek discuss the culture and traditions of baijiu liquor in China (4:00); Derek’s introduction to China and baijiu, and how Sichuan, more than any ot...

Growing up racially diverse: A not-so-politically-correct roundtable

Jan 1 • 01:46:06
"​So many hate-filled​ things—whether on social media​ or just people talking—are based on stereotypes that are not accurate​. Too many people ​simply ​don't ​interact with people who are different from ​them." —Joe Rodriguez

In this episode of Deviate, childhood friends Rolf, Kaye, Tony, and Joe discuss the racially specific nicknames people gave each other in high school ...

Maintaining creative fitness: How my podcast augments my writing career

Jan 1 • 38:52
“Putting together the podcast has been like swimming laps or practicing free-throws -- it's creative cross-training that benefits my broader writing pursuits, even as it allows me to explore esoteric topics that fascinate me.” – Rolf Potts

In this episode of Deviate (which is remixed from Jay Acunzo's 3 Clips podcast) Rolf and Jay talk about how a visual medium like travel ...

Deviate Season One finale with Ari Shaffir

Jan 1 • 01:30:52

Deviate episodes mentioned...

Celebrating the subtle (and not-so-subtle) genius of Pulp Fiction, 25 years on

Jan 1 • 01:30:18
“It’s a recurring theme within the movie – the idea of taking these heightened, dramatic moments and mining humor out of the ordinariness of them.” – Jason Bailey

In this episode of Deviate, Rolf and Jason discuss the 1990s and the early influence of Pulp Fiction (3:45); set the context for the plot of the movie (15:30); deconstruct the first third of the plot (28:00); expl...

Finding the best places to live: Searching for home in America [encore]

Jan 1 • 01:16:59
“We all have different priorities in life, and there is a place for each of us where we can live according to what those priorities are.” – Winona Dimeo

In this episode of Deviate, Rolf and Winona discuss what people are looking for in a place to live (2:00) and’s latest rankings for America’s most livable cities (23:00). Then, Rolf takes recommendations from...

Experiencing Japan the slow way (on the 750-mile Shikoku Pilgrimage)

Jan 1 • 47:29
"Don't define your journey while you're still on it. Be open to it. Don't think it's only going to be one way." – Paul Barach

In this episode of Deviate, Rolf and Paul discuss why Paul chose Japan for a pilgrimage, and the seven categories of disciplines he used on the hike (1:40); the route and history of the Shikoku Pilgrimage (9:40); Paul's experiences on the trail (21:0...

Memories you didn’t know you remembered: A deeper dive into nostalgia

Jan 1 • 40:24
“This is a weird time to be grateful for, but I'm sure we'll feel heaps of nostalgia for it.” – Kristen "Kiki" Bush

In this episode of Deviate, Rolf and Kiki talk about how interacting with objects from your past (or getting rid of them) forces a kind of nostalgia on you (2:00); how cultural nostalgia can fall on generational lines, and how venues like YouTube curate genera...

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