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How to Be An Unsuccessful Backpacker (and Succeed Anyway)

Claudia Tavani was inspired to travel Latin America after seeing The Motorcycle Diaries. She admits she doesn’t always travel by following best practices, but that doesn’t stop her from having an amazing time.

Travel bloggers enjoy “bragging rights” of a sort, especially when it comes to showing off their ability to travel on an extreme shoestring budget, to be hyper-local while getting off the beaten path, and to tout how many countries they’ve explored. If this is what it takes to become a good traveler, I may be on the wrong journey because I don’t think I fit into any of that.
Claudia3

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“People Are Seen As Part of Your Wealth”: A Quest to Interview 365 Strangers

Ebele Mogo stepped outside herself—way outside herself—when she decided she just had to know what people around her were thinking. So she grabbed her iPhone and asked.

I am a scientist, writer, and entrepreneur originally from Nigeria. I am both analytical and artistic, and I tend to be childlike—so I’m always laughing and I’m always curious.

My curiosity is actually what led me to my quest: to interview one stranger every day for a year.
Ebele4

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Discovering Holistic Healing: On the Road with Trent Golden

Trent Golden went to Asia to “find himself.” Though he had specific goals as to what exactly he wanted to find, he wasn’t sure how it would all shake out.

Originally from Texas, I grew up in a really conservative, ‘conform/don’t question anything’ environment. At heart, I’m a really curious person and an artist, so rigid surroundings weren’t conducive to me thriving.

I’m passionate about finding the “truth,” learning from other cultures and people, and becoming more and more alive. I’m not a big fan of tradition for the sake of tradition, and I’ve definitely stepped on some toes questioning things so many people just accept as fact.

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The Global Yogi: Long-Term Travel through Five Continents

Michelle6 Michelle Taffe travels worldwide, taking in yoga and experiences wherever she goes.

I was born in Australia, but I identify more as a 'global citizen.' From an early age I knew that the world of normal jobs was not for me. By age 30, the longest I’d stayed at one job was six months (and that felt like a long time!).

As a result, I spent years figuring out a plan to combine work and travel into one fluid means of self employment, before finally becoming the Global Yogi in 2010. Since then, I share knowledge and experience of yoga and spiritual practice with yogis worldwide, and travel as much as I’d like.

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4 Lessons Learned From 4 Years of Being a Creative Nomad

Becoming a nomad isn’t always a conscious choice. For Nathalie Sejean, it was the culmination of moments out of her control — but those moments changed her life, and today she shares what she’s learned since then.

Los Angeles Airport. December 24th 2011. 8pm: I was waiting at a Turkish Airlines counter, armed with a Persian cat, a camera and three overweight suitcases. After a few years growing as a filmmaker, and a whole 365 days trying and renew my visa, I had to depart from the United States with what I could physically carry, leaving everything else behind.

I spent Christmas Eve flying over Earth and wondering what my next step was going to be. I had no plan. I had no money. And, though I didn’t know it back then, I had no creative juice left in me. I was in full creative burnout.

The idea of chasing money to make rent had become the reason I would take on projects, and the justification behind the shrinking time I would spend creating for the sake of it. And I couldn’t take it anymore.

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Inspired by Strangers: How to Talk with People While Traveling

We all meet people on the road—it's part of the fun of traveling. But for Marc Smith, his meetings on the road are especially intertwined with the trip itself.

Every success and failure of the last 46 years has brought me to today.

Restless, in 2004 I quit my job and opened my own business as an event producer, with no clients and only enough financial backing for three months. Fast forward 200+ events to 2012 where I again felt stuck. I closed my company’s doors and started looking for the “next” thing.

While I looked, I decided to be a tourist in my own city for 30 days. And that project became my “next” thing. I currently travel, go on adventures, and blog full-time.

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Learning, Connecting, and Asking : On the Road with Derek Loudermilk

A scientist turned world traveler, Derek Loudermilk has put research on hold, and discovered he loves waking up and going to work every day in a completely different country and field.

I love that travel allows you to have a "New Years Resolution" moment whenever you want it. Simply start the new habits you hope to cultivate anytime you arrive in a new place!

I also love immersing myself in a culture by staying somewhere for 3-12 months. It’s so cool when you get to the point when your local café knows your "usual," when you don't have to pull out a map, and when you can show new people around.

One of the main reasons I travel is that it gives me a beginner’s mindset. When I get to a new destination and notice all kinds of little things that are different than back at home—maybe it’s the color of mailboxes or the crazy amount of exposed telephone cables—I get to see the world differently, and new situations force me to creatively problem solve.

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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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“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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Scholarships for Real Life: Emily Wray and The Voices of Petersburg

Emily-Wray-Color In 2013 the WDS community started a foundation, making an initial investment of $100,000 and pledging to support “Scholarships for Real Life,” a program to enable people to pursue a dream of their own while also addressing a problem that affects others. Here’s one of our 2015 grantees.

Meet Emily Wray. Emily is a Course Director at Full Sail University, but once a year she travels to Petersburg, Alaska—a small island community—to support clients of Petersburg Mental Health Services (PMHS) as they tell their own stories.

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A 4-Person, 6-Month Volunteer Adventure Around the World

JM8

I'm a 49-year-old father of two from Maine. For years I've worked in the TV business, writing shows and commercials, using my creativity to tell stories for advertisers. But lately, I have a new focus.

After a big trip that took my family and I around the world, I’m now writing books, working on behalf of orphaned children, and telling their stories. It’s some of the most rewarding work I’ve ever been involved in. I love it.

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Scholarships for Real Life: The Ryan Banks Academy

rsz_valerie In 2013 the WDS community started a foundation, making an initial investment of $100,000 and pledging to support “Scholarships for Real Life,” a program to enable people to pursue a dream of their own while also addressing a problem that affects others. Here's one of our 2015 grantees.

Valerie Groth is a trained social worker and life coach. She recently founded the Ryan Banks Academy, which seeks to create a safe and positive learning environment for kids in the Chicago area.

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How One Family of Four Created Enough Passive Income to Travel Forever

SharonChinatown

I’ve always wanted to travel and I’m not actually sure why. Perhaps it’s because I grew up in Tasmania, which always felt like the edge of the Earth. It was a big deal just to get to the mainland of Australia!

As a teenager, I’d watch Australian travel shows and take notes on the destinations that appealed to me the most. After the dot-com crash, which came around my 21 birthday, I went straight to a travel agent and booked my first trip. Since then, I’ve been to over 80 countries!

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Former Stockbroker Travels through Europe on $10 a Day

TomKenya

My name is Tomislav Perko. I’m 30, from Croatia, and I’m just a regular, everyday, normal guy, that every now and then tries to do something irregular, unique and extraordinary.

Back in the day I was a stockbroker. Suit, tie, lots of money—that kind of lifestyle. Due to the financial crisis in 2008 I lost everything: money, career, reputation. Little by little, I started exploring alternatives to chasing my career and another promotion.

Then I realized that I should be gathering experiences and connections, not money and other tangible possessions. "Things" can vanish in no time.

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A 13-Month Round-the-World Trip Booked Entirely On Miles

ms6 Matt Schwartz began travel hacking in 2011, and last year quit his job for a dream trip around the world. One of his best buys? An NYC to Bangkok flight for less than $45—in Business Class.

I’m a twenty-something taking a career break from Information Systems to travel the world. Traveling alone has been part of my life since 2010, and I decided to leave my job (for a bit - I plan to go return) in early 2014 with a one-way ticket to Bangkok. Since then I've traveled through over ten countries.

People I meet wonder how I was able to just quit my job and hit the road. I’d argue the fact that this question exists is systemic of a larger issue Americans have about vacation and work-life balance.

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