I am an ordinary mom who went on an extraordinary journey. Some say I was outrageously foolish, others say I was ludicrously dumb. I don't think I'm either—I'm just a normal mom who wanted a life outside the box. In 2008, I flew to Alaska with my family. Loaded into the belly of the plane were bicycles for the four of us, and all the gear we needed to begin pedaling toward the southern tip of South America, more than 17,000 miles away. We spent the next three years on our quest for the end of the world and finally—after cycling through 15 countries—we arrived in Ushuaia, Argentina on the island of Tierra del Fuego, where the road ended.Read More
My name is Billy and I’m a writer and photographer from Portland, Oregon. In 2014, I completed the first phase of what has become an ongoing quest: I visited 10 tiny houses across America, did in-depth interviews with the people that designed, built and live in them, and shared their inspiring stories. I met people in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, New Mexico, Texas, Ohio, New York and West Virginia, and learned how choosing an unlikely home changed their lives.Read More
While helplessly watching my mother’s health deteriorate, I sank into a state of profound sadness. I discovered that by focusing on finding small, good moments in my day, I was afforded pockets of happiness that reprieved me from my troubles. After my mother passed away, I wanted to share what I’d learned about how paying attention to how the good in our lives can make rough patches better.
I began by asking commuters on Dutch trains to draw me "beautiful moments" from their week. Not only were people cheered up as their moments came to them, but I watched complete strangers start talking to each other (quite a rare sight for commuters!).Read More
Tell us about yourself.
I had wanted to work on Wall Street since ninth grade. Living in Mumbai, I saw Wall Street on TV, and immediately dreamed of owning a yellow convertible and a blue motorboat (yes, I was very specific about the colors!). I graduated from the Indian Institute of Technology, worked for Deloitte in New York City, got an MBA from Cornell, and finally landed a job at Bank of America as an investment banker.Read More
Years ago, I thought accumulating information was the same as possessing knowledge. But even with all the information I had, my life didn’t reflect what I knew. Information was boring. I needed a reason to do something. To fight the boredom, I discovered thinking “Who knows?” and “Why not?” were very useful weapons. It all started with a seemingly simple challenge: to travel to any one destination in the world within the next year, paid for purely with income made online. Why not try? Eight months later I cashed a $1,700 check and spent 11 days at a beachfront hotel in Thailand with my wife.Read More
I am a New Zealander who until recently led a pretty standard life as a coordinator of an online sports mentoring program. A few years ago, I got it into my head to walk the length of New Zealand—all 3058 kilometers of it, following the Te Araroa Trail. When I told my husband, he was concerned about me going alone, and that’s when the quest got a theme: Not Alone. I’d walk the length of New Zealand, but with a revolving cast of people the entire way. And we’d raise money for The Mental Health Foundation as we went.Why did you decide to undertake your quest?
I believe people need to talk more. So much gets bottled up in our heads. We ponder, overthink, and make thoughts worse, until we talk them out. I handle situations better knowing someone else has heard about it. Both my father and brother committed suicide—and I know I need to share those experiences and hear about others who have been in the same boat in order to make sense of it all. So why walk? Well, exercise clears my head and helps keep negative thoughts away. Walking and talking seem to go hand in hand.Read More
Jim and Rhonda, long-term travelers, aren't afraid to "jump into the void." Here's their story.
Tell us about yourselves. What inspired you to leave home and travel?
Back in 2007 we sold our house and backpacked around the world for 14 months, which made us hungry for something more. In spite of having really great lives in the USA, we wanted to open our minds to other influences.
The more you travel, the more you realize that the way you do something isn’t necessarily the "right" way. Even, such as in places like India, when we simply don't always understand their way, we are at least able to stand back and say, "Okay, this is perhaps not the way we would have done things, but that's alright.”Read More
Popular traveler "Nomadic Matt" is no stranger to most of our community. For the past nine years, he's been traveling the world, reporting on budget strategies from dozens of countries. This week he has a new book out, and I thought we'd check in to see how he got started.
Tell us about yourself.
My name is Matt and I’ve been traveling the world since 2006. I wasn't a big traveler growing up—I never even took an overseas trip until after college. My life was very regimented before that first trip to Costa Rica: commute, work, gym, TV, sleep, repeat.
Costa Rica was the exact opposite of that life. Everyday was different. I was trying new things, meeting new people, and exposed to lifestyles I had never encountered before. And I was free. Before I started traveling, I was undecided: I went to school to be a teacher, ended up in working in health care, went on to earn an MBA. After a trip to Thailand, it became clear that the cubicle life was not for me. I was suddenly quite decisive, and I hit the road.Read More
Above photo from Tom Allen’s quest story Hey everyone! For the past few months, we’ve been running a series of traveler and “quester” profiles, usually each Tuesday and Thursday. Judging from your feedback and social sharing, here are several of your early favorites: “Goodbye, Comfort Zone”: On the Road with Marvin and Josephine Abisia “Life…Read More
This is a quest case study. (Read others or nominate yourself.) I met Alyssa and Heath Padgett when they joined our media team for WDS 2014. They arrived with an interesting story—as part of an unconventional honeymoon, they were visiting all 50 states in a used RV, working an hourly job in each one. Tell us…Read More