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2015 Annual Review: Looking Forward to 2016 (Ready or Not!)

LookingForward1 And…. once more, with feeling! Today’s post is all about the future.

In keeping with this unusual year, the format for this post is a bit different than I’ve done before. I noticed that I was feeling some resistance in writing it, so I finally decided to just sit down and start, without worrying about trying to adhere to a specific style.

Previous Posts

Much of the year feels like it's been spent in a time vortex of some kind. If I could, I’d put the whole year on rewind and go back to January.

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Make Two Blockbusters for Every Arthouse Film

Blockbuster Consider a successful Hollywood actor. This actor likes to make independent, arthouse films. These films have special meaning to the actor, and he or she believes in them enough to give up a big paycheck to do them.

But this Hollywood actor also makes commercial, popular work. The actor has the prized opportunity to perform a major role in summer blockbusters, the kind of films that rarely win at the Oscars but regularly boost the actor’s stature, not to mention their bank account.

The clash of preferences and opportunities raises numerous questions—most of which miss the point.

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2015 Annual Review: 240,000 Miles of Travel (But to Only 11 Countries!)

And… the Annual Review continues! Today’s post is a travel roundup: everywhere I went in 2015, along with a few lessons and comments.

Previous Posts

Here’s where I went in 2015 (preview: zzzz).

Hong Kong (x3), South Korea, South Africa, Qatar (x3), France, UK, Australia (YESSSS x2), United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Germany, Canada, and ... it looks like that’s it
You guys, now that I’m retired from going to every country, I think I’m going to stop writing a travel roundup every December. This list is boring. No big tour, no new countries, and mostly I went to the same places over and over.

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2015 Annual Review: Lessons in Writing and Other Independent Work

I spend as much time as possible working on things I believe in. It’s not all out of compulsion—it’s also because I’m motivated to create and share. I’m happiest when I’m making progress on projects that make a difference in the world, or at least the corner of the world in which I have influence.

This post provides a review and critique of my overall work in 2015.

Previous Posts

For years now, I’ve been saying that I want to become more specific and intentional. The problem is that I’m fairly good at a number of things. I know how to decipher and deconstruct successful solutions in several different fields and areas.

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2015 Annual Review: Lessons in Life, Success, and Loss

363846688_2270694504_z Every year I set aside a long block of time, typically the better part of a week, to look back at the year that’s ending and look ahead to the next.

And so we begin the 2015 Annual Review.

I try to live an active life and pursue a lot of different challenges and adventures. Pretty much every time I begin the review, I think, “What a crazy year it’s been!"

In the case of 2015, I began the year fairly well, had the worst thing imaginable happen in the middle, and then managed to close out on a relative high note.

As I sat down to write these notes, I have to confess that I wasn’t feeling super excited. My mind continued to drift toward the negative emotions, revisiting the things that have made me sad. As usual, though, I discovered that there were several good things from the year that I’d completely forgotten about.

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2015 Annual Review Is Here! This Updated Free Tool Will Help You Plan Your Entire Next Year

Over the past eight nine years, nothing has helped me to accomplish big goals and stay on track more than a single exercise I complete each December: the Annual Review.

Tomorrow I’ll publish a long post with my successes, failures (which are always more interesting), and lessons learned from 2015. This will probably be my most personal review year ever, for a variety of reasons, and I promise to share much of it with you through the blog.

But Wait, You Too!

My favorite part about the review is that it brings a degree of order to my multi-faceted life and career, which consists of many different projects and roles. My second favorite part is seeing what everyone else comes up with. Over the years, many of our readers have conducted their own Annual Reviews, frequently sharing their lessons with others on their blogs or in the comments or just with friends and families.

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Our Team Is Growing! Join Us to Help Make Fun Stuff

Greetings, readers! Our small-but-mighty team is growing and we're looking for at least one person (maybe two) to join us.

This is a part-time, paid administrative position. The weekly commitment will range from 5-20 hours a week, with a guaranteed minimum number of hours each week. We believe in fair wages and FREE ICE CREAM as often as possible.

Action: If you'd like to be considered, please fill out this short form before Friday, December 18th.

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“I’d dreamed of a trip like this for over a decade”

"I’ve been fascinated with traveling since I took my first trip to Japan at age 19. Since then, individual trips have never satiated my desire to discover new places - they only increase my want to meet more people and have more experiences.

After working on location in Japan, I knew I wanted to be able to take longer trips while continuing to work. Last year, my wife and I did it: we traveled for nine months across 13 countries, spending at least a month in Germany, Thailand, Malaysia, France and Japan.

I’d dreamed of a trip like it for over a decade."
Tristan5

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Adventures in Envelope Stuffing: Weekend Update

Yesterday afternoon, I headed to Office Depot for an important mission: I had to buy 100 envelopes, stamps, and index cards. I then spent the next several hours diligently writing the same information over and over and each of the cards, before stuffing them in the envelope and affixing a stamp.

It was actually a lot more fun than it sounds.

As detailed last week, if you’re up for your own envelope stuffing adventure, you can receive at least 47,000 IHG hotel points for your time and trouble. These points can then be used for up to 9 free hotel stays anywhere in the world.

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Visiting My Brother at Quantico National Cemetery

It’s been five months since my brother’s death, and I’ve been back to his former city of Washington, DC several times since then. Until last weekend, though, I hadn’t visited his gravesite.

Quantico National Cemetery is about an hour or so from my usual hotel in Arlington, and once you get off the freeway, the drive isn’t unpleasant. I visited on a Saturday when the offices are closed and there are no services, just a few other people coming to say hi to their loved ones.

I arrived on a bright day, thankfully not a very cold one even though it was November, and I parked at the entrance where a computer is set up to help visitors find the location of a specific gravesite.

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“Don’t Pursue Something that Someone Said You Should Want”: Derek Sivers at WDS

19482941249_1d60667f8b_z In early spring 2016 we’ll release the last (small and final) round of tickets for WDS 2016, a global gathering like no other! If you'd like to join us, be sure you're on the waiting list for first notice.

But first, we’re rolling out speaker videos from the 2015 event. Derek Sivers, founder of CD Baby, author of Anything You Want: 40 Lessons for a New Kind of Entrepreneur, and all around non-conformist shared with us his secrets of success.

Check out the video!

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“I’m Still Surprised How Possible the Impossible Seems”: Creating a Lifestyle of Travel and Discovery

We are Bryan and Jen Danger (and Karma the Wonderdog). In 2012, we set out to drive our 1967 VW Bus through Mexico and Central America. Our mission: to free ourselves from the daily grind.

We planned to be away for just two years. Prepping for our trip and leaving completely changed our outlook and our lives. Now, we find ourselves continually reinventing our path in an attempt to live a life of freedom both physically and financially.

BD4

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Last Few Hours to Get 25% Off All Unconventional Guides

A quick note before it's too late...

Just in case you missed it, today is the last day to take advantage of the once-a-year sale Unconventional Guides. If you've been dreaming of or working on something unconventional, we have a bunch of resources aimed at helping you do just that.

Just type in the coupon code "GRAVY" during check out and you'll receive the discount—no exceptions. (It even works on combo packs, which are already discounted.)

Sale

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How to Spend $46 and Receive Up to 9 Free Hotel Nights

envelopes1 Want to do something fun that will help you travel for free? Just want to make fun of me and a couple of friends who are out to earn points? Here’s a chance to do either or both of those things.

On December 4, I'll meet up with some travel hacking friends to stuff 94 handwritten index cards into envelopes in hopes of receiving at least 47,000 hotel points that we'll use for free stays. If you’re as crazy as we are, you can do this, too.

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