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Packing Essentials

It doesn’t take me long to pack for most trips. I typically bring the same clothes and “stuff” with me no matter my destination or purpose of travel. Sure, there’s some variance—a warmer scarf depending on season, or a nicer jacket depending on what kind of meetings I have on the other side.

On average, it takes me twenty minutes. No more, no less. If I’m doing laundry and sorting through the mail while packing, the whole process might take up to an hour, but that's the cost of multitasking.

The greatest challenge is indecision. Do I want two pairs of jeans? (Usually just one, but I waver.) Do I need to bring my bathing suit? (I don’t swim often, and when I do I can wear my running shorts.)

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What If You Had to Work Only One Hour a Day?

I caught bronchitis last winter, and it lasted for more than a week. I spent much of the day sleeping or complaining.

But of course, I still had to work sometime. My energy level was constantly low, but every so often I'd muster enough strength to work through a few tasks or half-heartedly reply to emails before crashing on the couch.

The rest of the time, when I wasn’t sleeping or complaining, I was on the couch reading or watching bad TV shows on my iPad. Once in a while I’d be inspired to boil water for herbal tea. It was rough—even worse than the dreaded man flu.

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6 Discoveries from Near and Far: Volume XXXIV

Things I found on long walks in foreign cities, or perhaps when someone posted them on Twitter.

Ending Soon: Last Chance for 70,000 IHG Hotel Points

Link: 70,000 IHG Hotel Points

A while back I mentioned a limited-time offer for 70,000 IHG hotel points (normally 60,000 or fewer). The deadline for the big bonus is coming up, and this is one that’s definitely worth looking at if you're eligible.

70,000 points in the IHG network can be used for at least two nights at nicer properties, or up to a week or longer at budget properties. Personally, I’m in the “life is short” department—I have plenty of points these days and would use this bonus at the nicer places. But I used to be a very low-budget traveler, and the idea of essentially getting a week’s worth of free hotel nights in exchange for a single credit card application will be appealing to a lot of folks.

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40 Years Later, I Set Out to Walk the Camino de Santiago: Nancy Liddle’s Quest

This is a quest case study. (Read others or nominate yourself.)

Nancy wasn't sure she could complete an 850-kilometer walk on the Camino de Santiago in Spain. But she did, and discovered something about age in the process. Here's how it happened.

My name is Nancy and last year I fulfilled my 40-year-old dream to walk the Camino de Santiago in Spain. Being 56, relatively unfit, single, and never having walked more than 10 kilometers in my life was intimidating, but I did it.

NancyL5

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Non-Conformity and Adventure in Europe: The “Alive in Berlin” Conference

Last year I spoke at a number of worldwide events, but only one was in Europe. The organizers are bringing it back for another round, and a limited number of tickets are now available.

I like events of this size: not too small, and not too big. If you're in the neighborhood, broadly speaking, or if you're up for an overseas adventure, it’s a great opportunity to connect with like-minded people and learn more personal development.

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Taking a Travel Break Mid-Career: On the Road with John Fiddler and Kathleen Egan

This is a traveler case study. (Read others or nominate yourself.)

John and Kathleen opted to take a mid-career break and travel the world under three tenets: sightseeing, athletics (trail running, climbing, and long distance hiking), and volunteering.

We're two 40-somethings on a multi-year career break traveling the planet. Along with adventuring through the wild landscapes of the world to see the sights and cultures of the planet, we’re trying to give back to communities as we travel.

From kayaking the length of the Baja peninsula, trail running around Europe, backpacking through Southeast Asia (and getting married there!), to being the first expedition to traverse the high route of the Great Himalaya Trail (87 days, unsupported), to now exploring and volunteering in Africa, it has been a crazy and incredible two years.

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Fuel Dumping: A Little-Understood Trick to Save Hundreds of Dollars on Airfare

194798561_f024ab66d7_z There’s a fun trick that can help you save hundreds of dollars on your next long flight—but it’s a little complicated and requires a bit of work.

Bloggers get hate mail over sharing this tip (I’m not kidding), presumably because some people feel entitled to keep secrets to themselves. In my opinion, the only reason this loophole hasn’t been closed has nothing to do with its public knowledge but rather that it takes effort and attention to benefit from it.

Basically, "fuel dumping" is a ticketing strategy to help you strip the fuel surcharges from certain international airfares by adding on an extra, unused segment to the end of the trip.

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6 Discoveries from Near and Far: Volume XXXVIII

Things I found on long walks in foreign cities, or perhaps when someone posted them on Twitter.

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Oregon Woman Learns to Speak Six Languages Fluently

The six official languages of the United Nations are considered the most geopolitically important languages in the world—not to mention that native speakers of those tongues represent about a third of the global population. Emily Liedel decided to learn them all to fluency.

Introduce yourself and your quest.

Professionally, I'm a freelance journalist, translator and language entrepreneur. I write about international affairs, urban issues, food and language. Personally, I'm on a quest to learn all of the official languages of the United Nations (Spanish, French, Russian, Chinese and Arabic - English which is my native language) to native-level fluency by my 35th birthday in 2019.

Currently, I speak everything but Arabic, and I'm still finishing up becoming fluent in Chinese. I also speak fluent German and Swiss German (the dialect spoken in Switzerland) so I like to say that German is my bonus language.

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WDS 2015 Tickets On Sale Today at 9am

Hey everyone, today's the day!

For five years now, our volunteer team has produced a global adventure that takes place every year in Portland. This year will be our best event yet—and we'd love you to join us for a very special anniversary event this summer.

Here’s what you need to know:

*This is the FINAL ROUND of ticket sales for WDS 2015. We offer all tickets on a first-come, first-served basis, and we don’t hold back any tickets for sale at the event itself.

*We operate WDS as a non-commercial event. There are no corporate sponsors, and all costs go toward the event or our new Scholarships for Real Life foundation.

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Traveling the Eco-Friendly Way: On the Road with Ivana and Gianni

Ivana Greslikova and Gianni Bianchini are two full-time travelers with a passion for eco-tourism. Here’s how they incorporate supporting conservation efforts in their travels:

Tell us about yourselves.

We are Ivana (from Slovakia) and Gianni (from Italy). While living in Germany, we decided to quit smoking. Our goal was to save money for a big trip, but we realized we’d be able to save enough for a Round-the-World experience.

What started as a one year plan became an indefinite journey. We are nature lovers, eco-travelers, and we’re passionate about photography. We try to immerse ourselves in the local culture while on the road.
Gianni5

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How to Join “The Amazing Race” for Regular People

Have you ever wanted to be on The Amazing Race?

I’ve never actually seen the show—I preferred to focus on my own race for ten years—but one time J.D. Roth and I got up early to stand in line for auditions. After waiting for two hours, we were told that the line had closed and there would be no more auditions. Reality star #fail.

Fortunately, I know a guy who helps regular people with their own amazing race, every summer in Europe. Steve in Washington, D.C. is a full-time travel hacker. Competitours is a fun side project for him, and I thought some of you might be interested.

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The Magic Button of Good Design

At least once a week I receive questions about the design process behind the self-published work I’ve made, in particular the three manifestos I offered a few years ago.

"What software do you use?" people want to know. In other words, how do I “make them look good”?

I'm no designer, but as a writer I appreciate the value of imagery and structure that works in harmony with words. I also know that there’s no big secret to it, nor is there a shortcut.

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