The Havana Half-Marathon: Adventures on a Small Island

Last weekend, I finally made it to Cuba! It was a significant trip for me, since Cuba was my final country in all of the Americas. I now have only 19 total countries remaining, and this was an especially fun one. During my time on the island, I ran a half-marathon with a friend, spent another couple days walking around Havana, and made sure to sample mojitos from as many restaurants as possible. Keep reading for the full report ...

Read More

Happy Thanksgiving from the Homeland

Greetings from my corner of the world in Portland, Oregon. It's Thanksgiving Day in the U.S., a time when the internet shuts down and we all eat pie. Everyone else, feel free to enjoy the internet to yourself and eat pie along with us. Earlier this week I was in Cuba, my 174th country and final country in all of the Americas. I'll have more to say about my adventure there next week, but in short, I had a fantastic visit.

Read More

Unconventional Guides 15% Off Sale (Only Once a Year, Pumpkin Pie Edition)

Greetings from AA flight 693, on my way homeward after a big adventure that I’ll explain next Monday. For now, we’re gearing up for Thanksgiving in the U.S. tomorrow, a good time for gratitude, pumpkin pie, and fall sales. A sale? Yes … just one. Every year we have only one sale at Unconventional Guides.…

Read More

Second Chances

The first time I was busted as a juvenile delinquent, I wasn't actually arrested—apparently I was too young. I was eleven years old in a small town in rural Montana, and the way it was explained to me at the time, the laws in my state did not allow for juveniles to be charged with a crime before the age of thirteen.

My non-crime was burning down an abandoned house. I'd love to say it's a long story, but it's actually pretty short. I used to hang out in this abandoned house for fun, it had a lot of old mattresses lying around, and one day I decided to see what would happen if I lit one of the mattresses on fire. Surprise! When you light a mattress on fire and walk away, the whole house burns down. Homeschoolers, take note of this potential object lesson.

Read More

The Latest in Travel Hacking: November 2011 Edition

Last Thursday afternoon, I approached the registration desk at a Radisson hotel near the airport in Portland, Oregon.

“Checking in, sir?” the clerk asked.

“Yes,” I said. “And checking out.”

I was there to take advantage of a new miles-and-points adventure: in this case, staying for one night (or at least checking in) in order to receive another night free. Why do that? Because my paid night cost $74, and I'll use the free night for a property that runs $300 or more.

Read More

173 Down, 20 To Go: The Plan for the Final 20 Countries

I started AONC in 2008 when I had been to only 65 countries. Thanks to consistent effort, dedicated travel hacking, and significant amounts of coffee, I've now been to 173.

In fact, we're now down to the final twenty countries. Only twenty!

Of course, twenty countries is no small endeavor, especially when there are no more backup plans: I simply have to make it to these particular stops, one way or another. Some of these places aren't easy, and I could still run into difficulty with an especially obstinate country.

Read More

How To Put Off Making Decisions About Your Life

Everyone hates making decisions, especially ones that are important and determine the course of their future.

Thankfully, there's often no need to make such decisions.

Instead, you can simply put them off, often indefinitely. By shifting your life to autopilot, you'll be in good company, since many people prefer to let things come their way instead of making things happen.

Read More

Strange Places

I went to Ethiopia and was driven around on an afternoon city tour. “The streets are so bad here,” my guide said. “And the traffic in Addis is terrible!”

I looked out the window. Sure, it wasn't Scandinavia, but I'd seen far worse. “You should visit Liberia,” I said. “This looks pretty good to me.”

Over two weeks of travel, I flew a series of random airlines: Royal Air Maroc, Ethiopian, and Aeroflot. It was my first time on Aeroflot, and I'd heard plenty of horror stories. “You're flying Aeroflop?” someone asked. “The safety card in the seat pocket has a warning about not bringing goats on board.”

Read More