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2,500 “Beautiful Moments” from People in 24 Countries

This is a reader story. (Read others or tell us yours.)

In her darkest hour, Janne Williams discovered the power of being able to identify and remember positive moments throughout her day. Now, she travels the world asking others to do the same, and share their moments with her.

Here’s Janne:

While helplessly watching my mother’s health deteriorate, I sank into a state of profound sadness. I discovered that by focusing on finding small, good moments in my day, I was afforded pockets of happiness that reprieved me from my troubles. After my mother passed away, I wanted to share what I’d learned about how paying attention to how the good in our lives can make rough patches better.

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I began by asking commuters on Dutch trains to draw me "beautiful moments" from their week. Not only were people cheered up as their moments came to them, but I watched complete strangers start talking to each other (quite a rare sight for commuters!).

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The Wall Street Banker Who Became a Monk: Rasanath Dasa’s Quest

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

Sometimes when we get what we want, we realize we were wrong about our own ambitions. Rasanath Dasa spent his entire young adult life getting a great job in finance only to realize that a frenetic, money-driven lifestyle wasn’t for him. Here’s what he did to change it.

Tell us about yourself.

I had wanted to work on Wall Street since ninth grade. Living in Mumbai, I saw Wall Street on TV, and immediately dreamed of owning a yellow convertible and a blue motorboat (yes, I was very specific about the colors!).

I graduated from the Indian Institute of Technology, worked for Deloitte in New York City, got an MBA from Cornell, and finally landed a job at Bank of America as an investment banker.

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An Annual Series of Micro Quests : Nancy Howell’s Way of Thinking About Birthdays

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

Over the last decade, Nancy Howell has dedicated the first five months of the year to completing an ever-growing series of micro-quests: adventures and new experiences that take her outside her comfort zone and daily norms.

11108025475_7905e0c8c1_z What inspired you to start going on micro-quests?

As I approached the age of 30, I found most of my friends were married and starting families. In contrast, I couldn’t remember the last time I’d gone on a date, and I’d never had a long-term relationship. I flash forwarded to the months leading up to my birthday, imagining myself brooding until then. Distracting myself with thirty new things sounded like a much better plan.

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Just Add Venture: Mohammad Khan’s Story from Lahore, Pakistan

This is a reader story. (Read others or tell us yours.)

We're taught that sitting in a classroom or reading a book will make us knowledgeable—but all the way in Lahore, Pakistan, Mohammad Khan didn't find that to be true. Mohammad decided to change how he experienced the act of knowing. Here's how he explained it:

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Years ago, I thought accumulating information was the same as possessing knowledge. But even with all the information I had, my life didn’t reflect what I knew. Information was boring. I needed a reason to do something. To fight the boredom, I discovered thinking “Who knows?” and “Why not?” were very useful weapons.

It all started with a seemingly simple challenge: to travel to any one destination in the world within the next year, paid for purely with income made online. Why not try? Eight months later I cashed a $1,700 check and spent 11 days at a beachfront hotel in Thailand with my wife.

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Walking the Te Araroa Trail : Kylie Lang’s Quest

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

I love New Zealand, and when I heard the story of someone who set out to walk the length of both main islands, I had to hear more.

Introduce yourself.

I am a New Zealander who until recently led a pretty standard life as a coordinator of an online sports mentoring program. A few years ago, I got it into my head to walk the length of New Zealand—all 3058 kilometers of it, following the Te Araroa Trail. When I told my husband, he was concerned about me going alone, and that’s when the quest got a theme: Not Alone.

I’d walk the length of New Zealand, but with a revolving cast of people the entire way. And we’d raise money for The Mental Health Foundation as we went.

Why did you decide to undertake your quest?

I believe people need to talk more. So much gets bottled up in our heads. We ponder, overthink, and make thoughts worse, until we talk them out. I handle situations better knowing someone else has heard about it.

Both my father and brother committed suicide—and I know I need to share those experiences and hear about others who have been in the same boat in order to make sense of it all. So why walk? Well, exercise clears my head and helps keep negative thoughts away. Walking and talking seem to go hand in hand.

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The Modern Day Swiss Family Robinson : On the Road with Sheralyn Guilleminot

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

Sheralyn Guilleminot didn't want to run the risk of never getting around to traveling the world. She and her husband Paul took to the road as a young family, home-schooling their sons while experiencing life in Southeast Asia. Here's their story.

Tell us about yourself.

I've lived most of my life in Manitoba, Canada. It's where I grew up, got married, and worked. My husband Paul and I wanted to travel the world, but it seemed impractical. Once we had our two boys, though, I felt like there was never enough time to spend with Paul, with our family, or to indulge in being myself. And I didn’t see an end to being pulled in too many different directions. Something had to change.

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25 Journeys, 1,000 Miles Each : Dave Cornthwaite’s Quest

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

Dave2 Dave Cornthwaite's quest has been called "One of the most ambitious adventures of the 21st century," and in the process of his journey he has broken nine world records. Here's his story:

Introduce yourself and your quest.

A decade ago I spent two weeks learning how to skateboard, and promptly quit my graphic design job to spend the next year skateboarding further than anyone else had ever skated. I traversed the length of Britain (as a warm up) and then skated Australia.

Now, I’m working on what I call Expedition1000: 25 journeys of 1,000 miles or more, each using a different form of non-motorized transport.

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“Because of Traveling, We Know Ourselves”: On the Road with Jim and Rhonda Delemeter

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

Jim and Rhonda, long-term travelers, aren't afraid to "jump into the void." Here's their story.

Tell us about yourselves. What inspired you to leave home and travel?

Back in 2007 we sold our house and backpacked around the world for 14 months, which made us hungry for something more. In spite of having really great lives in the USA, we wanted to open our minds to other influences.

The more you travel, the more you realize that the way you do something isn’t necessarily the "right" way. Even, such as in places like India, when we simply don't always understand their way, we are at least able to stand back and say, "Okay, this is perhaps not the way we would have done things, but that's alright.”

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The Beauty of Traveling Solo: On the Road with Megan Van Groll

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

Not everyone feels comfortable traveling alone, which is one of the reasons why Megan Van Groll's tales intrigued me. She's an advocate for exploring the world by yourself, going so far as to spend all of her time outside of a full-time job encouraging people to do just that.

Megan5 Tell us about yourself.

By day, I’m a social media strategist at a large creative advertising agency. My education and background is actually in studio art, so I keep a studio in my home and paint—both for myself, and on commission. Lately I've been doing a lot of freelance writing and blogging about travel and career design.

Above all else, I’m a travel addict and advocate for independent travel. I also believe strongly that everyone should take a solo trip at some point in their life.

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Traveling the World on $50 a Day: On the Road with Matt Kepnes

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

Popular traveler "Nomadic Matt" is no stranger to most of our community. For the past nine years, he's been traveling the world, reporting on budget strategies from dozens of countries. This week he has a new book out, and I thought we'd check in to see how he got started.

Tell us about yourself.

My name is Matt and I’ve been traveling the world since 2006. I wasn't a big traveler growing up—I never even took an overseas trip until after college. My life was very regimented before that first trip to Costa Rica: commute, work, gym, TV, sleep, repeat.

Costa Rica was the exact opposite of that life. Everyday was different. I was trying new things, meeting new people, and exposed to lifestyles I had never encountered before. And I was free. Before I started traveling, I was undecided: I went to school to be a teacher, ended up in working in health care, went on to earn an MBA. After a trip to Thailand, it became clear that the cubicle life was not for me. I was suddenly quite decisive, and I hit the road. Matt3

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A World Record to Ski 4,161,823 Vertical Feet : Steph Jagger’s Quest

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

One time I went skiing for an hour, and then I went for hot chocolate in the lodge. Steph Jagger, whom I met at a book event in San Diego, went skiing and didn't stop until she'd gone more than four million vertical feet.

Tell us about yourself.

I’m Steph Jagger and I currently live in California where I run an executive & life coaching practice. From July 2010 to May 2011, I circumnavigated the globe in search of snow.

While traveling I skied 4,161,823 vertical feet, breaking the world record for most vertical feet skied in a single year. My original goal was 4,000,000 feet—but when I found out about the record (approximately 8 months into my trip) I tacked on a few extra feet!

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Travel & Quest Case Studies Needed (“Are You Interesting? Do You Have a Great Story?”)

Above photo from Tom Allen’s quest story Hey everyone! For the past few months, we’ve been running a series of traveler and “quester” profiles, usually each Tuesday and Thursday. Judging from your feedback and social sharing, here are several of your early favorites: “Goodbye, Comfort Zone”: On the Road with Marvin and Josephine Abisia “Life…

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