"The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure, the process is its own reward. Adventure is worthwhile in itself."You often hear about how we regret the things we don’t do more than the things we do. Looking back at the experience of traveling the world, this belief shines through whatever hardship I encountered. Sure, I can remember the struggles. I can remember sleeping on the ground, running out of money, missing my flights. I remember not being sure if I’d make it, if I’d have to give up somewhere. If I think about it, I can remember sweating it out in Eritrea, detained by the police overnight before I was put on a plane to Cairo. I remember flying to Angola and Pakistan without the required visa, wondering what would happen on the other side. Read More
I’ve always wanted to travel and I’m not actually sure why. Perhaps it’s because I grew up in Tasmania, which always felt like the edge of the Earth. It was a big deal just to get to the mainland of Australia! As a teenager, I’d watch Australian travel shows and take notes on the destinations that appealed to me the most. After the dot-com crash, which came around my 21 birthday, I went straight to a travel agent and booked my first trip. Since then, I’ve been to over 80 countries!Read More
For almost two decades, Bruno Caumette has made his home in a Toyota Land Cruiser. He's been around the world once and is currently working on his second voyage. His stories are touching—and his photos are incredible.
I was born in France, but by now I’ve spent as much time outside of my birth country than in it. In 1998, after working for fifteen years, I bought myself an old Toyota Land Cruiser, converted it into a home on wheels, and set off on the road. I was heading for Africa, but beyond that I didn’t have a plan, a timeframe, or even money. Fourteen years later, I’d returned to Africa—after having traveled overland through places like Afghanistan, Mongolia, Siberia, Korea, Alaska and Patagonia—inadvertently completing an around-the-world trip. I’d driven over 400,000km (that’s 248,548 miles) and taken three ferries, but never once hopped on a bus, train, or plane. Now I’m three years into my second around-the-world trip. It’s no longer a trip, it’s a lifestyle. My car is my home and the planet is my backyard.Read More
What if there was one thing you could do to be a better friend, partner, or spouse?
It's pretty simple: to improve any relationship, honor the other person’s dreams.
Figure out what they want to do, to become, or achieve, and then help them do it. Don't do it for them—it's their dream, after all—but show interest and offer tangible support.
How can you do that today?Read More
I'm fortunate to work with great partners, including a wonderful design studio right in Southeast Portland called Jolby & Friends.I was recently with the Jolby crew on a site visit, and one of them mentioned something about how they deliberately operate their studio on an "80% capacity" model. The idea is that they schedule themselves only 80% full in order to be available for last-minute client requests, as well as their own work. I thought this was really interesting! I wrote to Steven, the studio manager, to ask more about how it works. Read More
When I went to Burma several years ago I stayed in a nice guest house for about $35 a night. The rate included free Wifi and a large banana pancake for breakfast. Mmmmmm.
After I came home, I talked with someone who had also been there. "How much did you pay?" he asked.
"Oh... about $30-40 a night," I said. I may also have mentioned the delicious banana pancake. Mmmmmm.
"That’s crazy!" He said. "You got ripped off... there are places you can stay for just $10 or less."
I didn’t know how to respond. Was I “ripped off?” Well, I guess I could have paid less... but I was happy with the experience, so for me the rate was a great value.Read More
This post is a "greatest hits" mashup of travel hacking tips, stories and features. Take a look and see if anything might be helpful to you!Read More
The best and most honest answer is that I wasn’t good at anything else. For better or worse, I learned that I was a terrible employee. I was unreliable and unskilled.I’ve written before about my last official job, lugging boxes onto FedEx trucks in the middle of the night. Stacking boxes was surprisingly hard! It wasn’t just about picking up the box and tossing it in the truck—you had to stack it in a certain way that led to maximum efficiency (and presumably out of some concern for the contents, though that never seemed to be much of a priority). I lacked the spatial reasoning to do this task well. I was decent enough at Tetris, but when it came to real boxes, I sucked. I kept waiting for that big horizontal bar to come down the chute, so I could clear off four lines of bricks or boxes all at once, but it never arrived. Instead, the supervisor kept messing with me, adding boxes with incorrect zip codes to the queue while laughing at my poorly-stacked pallets. Whatever. I quit and never went back. Read More
I appreciated this illustration on unconventional storytelling from Tom Gauld:When talking about adventures, I often relate the plot outlining of blockbuster movies and video games. What if the synopsis of a big summer movie was "So and so had to save the world from evil... and then they did?" We'd think, "That's it?! How did they save the world ... what happened along the way? Did they lose something and have to recover it? How was the hero changed throughout the journey, and what was different at the end of the story?" Challenge is the essence of adventure, and struggle is the root of any great story. In fact, sometimes the struggle is the entire story. If the struggle is good enough, we're willing to overlook anything else. Why did the aliens invade the earth? Who cares—we have to defeat them! Read More
As regular readers know, I’m all about setting goals and working toward big projects over time. When you have a big goal, especially one with a clear end point, it’s easy to know when you’ve achieved it. But most big goals take time, and—as I’ve been learning—our lives consist of more than just a series of work-oriented projects that occupy our time.No, to truly define success, we need to think of both these long-term goals and the actions we take every day. We also need to ensure our lives are in proper order. The challenge lies in the middle: how do we accomplish all of this? Therefore, it may be more helpful to create an alternative method of evaluating ourselves as we go along. Here are seven different ideas to consider. 1. At the end of the day, ask yourself, “Did today matter?” Sure, you could spend a long time thinking back on your to-do list and reviewing your calendar. And what were all those emails about? But when you ask yourself this question, chances are you’ll know the answer intuitively. Did today matter? If so, great. Do more things like it tomorrow. Can't remember anything in particular that made a difference? Well, better change it up. Before you hit the ground running, take a few moments in meditation or thoughtfulness to decide what you’d like to see happen by the end of the day. Again, be sure to prioritize: it would be great to make a ton of progress on everything, but you probably won’t. What's most important? What is realistic to achieve? Read More
Imagine your life as an epic, three-hour movie. In this saga there are numerous high points and low points, and both drama and comedy. There are coming-of-age moments and passages of growing older. There will likely be some real challenges, and maybe even a few moments when you think you won’t make it. The movie…Read More
From my own 193-country journey to the stories of many other people who were kindly willing to share, The Happiness of Pursuit attempts to extract and convey the lessons of modern-day quests. This series explores some of these lessons. Lesson: “All you have to do is put one foot in front of the other.” Most…Read More
I’ve mentioned a few times that going to every country in the world wasn’t as expensive as most people initially think. But how much did it really cost?
The short answer is that I’m not 100% sure of the precise figure. I didn’t tally up every expense associated with ten-and-a-half years of travel, and I didn't save all the receipts. Much of the travel (perhaps one-third) was done in cooperation with other work and commitments. The whole time I was living in West Africa, for example, I was visiting a bunch of new countries, but usually in my capacity as an aid worker for a charity.
Even during the time when I was focused mainly on going to countries for no good reason, it wasn't a business project. It wasn't something I needed to account for or get reimbursed. It was a personal challenge that I would have pursued regardless of the cost.Read More
I love airline lounges and regularly spend four or more hours at a time working from them. This series explores some of my favorites from around the world. Way back in 2007, one of my very favorite lounges was Virgin Atlantic’s “Clubhouse” at London Heathrow. I’ve been back several times since then, and it hasn’t…Read More