How to Conduct Your Own Business Audit

Last week I headed out for the Sunday morning long run, and my legs decided not to cooperate. After four miles, it was time to pack it in. Bummer—so I tried again a few days ago. The same thing happened ... almost. At mile four I was ready to quit. Through an act of God and the new Josh Ritter album, I managed to pull it out and keep going. At mile six I was feeling great, and as I headed home, I was glad I didn't quit. Eleven miles for the win!

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Four Burners and Balance: The Follow-Up

Thanks again for all your input on the four burners theory. That was fun. I should say first that all is well in my life—I'm not concerned about falling off the edge or anything. I sometimes say that I'm going to start a “maximalist” movement because I don't believe in limits or shutting ourselves off from the world. So it's all good. But nevertheless, I wonder about things sometimes, and the Sedaris quote was an interesting way to look at the issues of balance and focus. As a couple of people wisely said, the point is that we all have the same 24 hours every day.

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Free Trip to Thailand: Travel Hacking Case Study

When I haven't been contemplating the puzzle of how to do everything, I've been planning my final international trip of the year. Yes, it's only July, but come September, I hit the road to meet readers in 63 cities for the Unconventional Book Tour. Therefore, next month's trip is my final chance to get in a couple of new countries before putting my Frequent Flyer cards back in the drawer for a long four months.

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The Four Burners Theory — Your Thoughts?

I did an interview for the nice people at The 99 Percent last month, and Jocelyn shared an idea that has stayed with me ever since. Here's the idea:

I like this quote from a David Sedaris article. Sort of an adapted 'carpenter's triangle': "One burner represents your family, one is your friends, the third is your health, and the fourth is your work.” The gist is that in order to be successful you have to cut off one of your burners. And in order to be really successful you have to cut off two.

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Thank You for Not Smoking… in China

Sometimes I find out about people who read AONC and I think, "Really? They care about what I have to say?" I think it should be the other way around. Dr. Sarah England is one of those people. She wrote in to thank me for the World Domination manifesto and I thought, "Hold on a minute! I should be thanking you for being awesome." After stints in Vietnam, Switzerland, and elsewhere, Sarah moved to China with her family to work against the tobacco industry. As she mentions below, attitudes toward smoking in Asia are slowly changing, but there's still much less awareness than in the western world.

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Non-Independence Day

I didn't write an Independence Day post last week partly because I've been on the road. Burkina Faso is a fun enough place to visit, but there were no fireworks displays at night to celebrate America's intent to withdraw from King George's Britain. But the other reason is that I think of a celebration of independence much like the Thanksgiving holiday. The holiday later in the year is all about eating pie and being grateful. I like both of those things; I just think that being grateful (or eating pie!) shouldn't be reserved for one special day.

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Freelancing Update from Bamako

Greetings from Bamako, Mali—en route back to Europe after a week in West Africa. This trip has been intense, but it's also been good. This time the temperature in West Africa was a more reasonable 90°F instead of the 250° it felt like in Equatorial Guinea last month. Roaming the region also felt familiar instead of foreign this time. Anyway, onwards and upwards. Four more countries to go this summer, and then I retire before touring America in the fall. This is the Sunday Store Update. I use this time to share some brief news about the business side of AONC.

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Beginner’s Guide to Travel Hacking

Greetings from Ouagoudougou, winner of the “most awesome city name” contest and also my current stop on the week-long West Africa tour. I came in via Lufthansa, Royal Air Maroc, and Ethiopian Airlines... but more on that in a moment. I wanted to write a lengthy post outlining a few principles of what I call travel hacking. In short, travel hacking is all about seeing experiencing the world on a limited budget. I've been able to visit so many countries over the past decade not by being independently wealthy, but by learning to be creative.

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The Journey to Ithaca

Many of us are on quests, either real or representative. Since my quest is real, I like the metaphor of journeying.

Going on a journey involves unexpected surprises, challenges, setbacks, and rewards. And I tend to think that any good journey is as much about the process as the destination ...

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