“Traveling Taught Me How to Be a Parent”: On the Road with Christine Gilbert

DSC00393 Several years ago, Christine Gilbert packed up the kids and hit the road. She and her family have been roaming the world ever since.

I’m a writer and photographer who was trapped for years in the Ann Taylor-clad body of a corporate manager, until one day I did something completely ordinary but unexpected. I quit a very nice job and convinced my husband that we were moving overseas.

Since then we’ve reinvented our careers and lives as something between wandering creatives and ill-equipped adventurers. We have two very American kids who have never lived in the US. Instead, they’ve grown up speaking Spanish and English (plus many other languages along the way) and sincerely believe that “America” is the place we go to get new iPads when they break (which is true, actually).

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How an Excel Spreadsheet Led One Woman to Change Careers

When even the unconventional life isn’t working out as you planned, how do you course correct to get on a more fulfilling track? Bethany Butzer broke out a spreadsheet and charted her way to a life more aligned with her values.

I’ve never really followed a linear path. I graduated with a Ph.D. in Psychology, turned down a job in academia to work in the corporate world, but very quickly realized that the 9-to-5 cubicle life wasn't for me. After a year and a half, I quit.

A job opened up at Harvard Medical School for someone to help research school-based yoga interventions. This seemed like a perfect opportunity to combine my passion for research with my interest in well-being, so my husband and I sold our house and we moved to Boston.

To my surprise, Harvard didn’t end up being what I’d hoped for. The work environment was extremely competitive and exhausting. The cost of living was through the roof. I spent most of my time at work or recovering from work. After two years of this lifestyle, I realized that something needed to change. Four guidelines helped guide my husband and me through some major lifestyle changes to get us where we are today.

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Awareness, Empathy, and Action: Turning a Decade Old Lesson into Reality

Stormy How do you translate your travel experiences into something tangible and meaningful, for those that aren’t on the road with you? Stormy Sweitzer drew on two powerful experiences to write an inspiring adventure book for young adults.

It was 1988 and I was mortified. I was on a tour of Soviet Eastern Europe and I had just seen my grandmother sneak food from a hotel buffet, wrap it in a cloth napkin and tuck it into her purse. But I will never forget the moment when I later looked to where she had just been “checking something out” and saw a man in a worn suit pick the familiar-looking napkin up off a ledge, open it, and eat the food she’d purloined.

She hadn’t been saving it to eat later; she was using the resources available to her to help a stranger in need. This was the greatest lesson I have ever had in the importance of awareness, empathy and action. This one experience had such an impact on me, that it lead me to study abroad in both high school and college, and then join the Peace Corps after. This philosophy of awareness leading to empathy, leading to action, was slowly permeating every aspect of my life.

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The Anti-Nomad: How one Woman Created a Home Base while Opening Up to Life on the Road

How do you preserve that special feeling you get from travel? For Sofie Couwenbergh, keeping the magic alive meant not turning traveling into a full-time pursuit. Learn how she forges her own path.

I was born and raised in Belgium. I’ve always known that I wanted to do "something with writing,” so I studied literature and got a job as a copywriter and marketing coordinator. I’d even picked up an amazing boyfriend along the way, and together we'd found an affordable apartment we loved. But wait, I'm not that boring!

Whenever things seem perfect, they usually aren’t.

I was miserable at my first job and later I was miserable at my second. At the same time, the more I saw of the world, the more I wanted to see. I used up all of my vacation days (and we have many in Belgium!) and even took unpaid leave — but it wasn't enough. Not only was traveling not enough, there was something missing in general. I thought I just needed a creative outlet, so I started a blog. Through blogging, a whole new world of freelancers and digital nomads opened up to me.

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“Turning 50 Is Extremely Liberating”: One Woman’s Path to Her Dream Job

I love second act stories! It's never too late (or too early, for that matter) to create a new life for yourself and change the world while you're at it. Tonya Hobbs took a big risk, and she couldn't be happier.

Here’s her story:
Finding the work I was born to do was the result of a full-blown, midlife-crisis. I had changed careers and returned to school for a master’s degree in social work at age 40, but as 50 approached I was plagued by the question “Is this all there is?”

I worked in a field I loved. My job was never done. Yet I longed for something more... I just had no idea what “more” really meant.

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“Busy Is a Bullshit Word”: How 16 Days Rafting the Grand Canyon Changed a Life

Angie2 How do you escape the disorienting world of always being busy yet never appreciating your life? For Angie Stegall and her husband Nelson, they took a forced vacation that turned into an epic adventure.

We weren’t happy, Nelson and me. With each other, yes—but with our lives, not so much. Our busy lives were lived in a city we felt very “meh” about. So when we had the chance to check off an item on Nelson’s bucket list—rafting the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon—for 16 days, we decided to do whatever it took to go.

As it turns out, that white-water journey changed the trajectory of our lives.

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Dream Jobs Don’t Always Have Glamorous Beginnings

Rosemary3 Rosemary Behan has crafted a career in journalism that allows her to travel the world. In this profile, she shares how she got started—and how you can still break into the changing world of travel writing.

People often ask me how I became a travel journalist, and the honest answer is, by accident. I started at the Daily Telegraph, reading and replying to reader letters (most of them complaints about travel companies and holidays gone wrong), and my first assignment was to write about London’s worst hotels. Not a glamorous beginning, but it eventually led to a job as travel news editor for the paper.

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One Man’s Quest to Draw 900,000 Buildings in New York City

It’s difficult to pin down the exact number of buildings in New York City. One source estimates 860,000, another source pins the number at 1,053,713. Whatever the number, we’ll know eventually, thanks to Australian-born James Gulliver Hancock, who has made it his mission to draw every single one of them.

When I moved to New York City, I really wanted to get to know Manhattan better, beyond a traditional tourist experience. New York was my new home, and I needed a way to understand it. Drawing every building is my version of a diary of my experience in the city—and it doubles as my own personal map. When I walk by the buildings I’ve drawn, it’s like seeing old friends.

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“3 Encounters That Changed My Life”: How a Corporate Employee Gained a New Perspective through Travel

Clelia3 After enduring a life of “glamor and nonsense” (her words) for six years, Clelia Mattana decided to follow an inner calling and travel the world solo.

Imagine this typical scene on the London Underground: A business man reading a newspaper, a teenage boy damaging his eardrums listening to loud music on his headphones, a girl painting her nails while playing on her phone. They all regard conversation as a contagious disease.

When I was London, I was exactly like them — and I didn’t even know it until I started traveling. On the road, I learned that travel doesn’t necessarily make me a better person. We've all read touching stories on how traveling helps you find your true self, opens your mind, and changes you. This is certainly true some of the time, but I’ve learned that traveling can also bring out the worst parts of my personality.

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“Problems Don’t Define a Place, People Do”: A Journey into Uganda

With NPR news, Instagram, and Netflix documentaries at our fingertips, it’s easy to think we understand a place, even if we’ve never spent much time there. Amy Carst and her family moved to Uganda for four months, and they realized the Africa they’d heard about wasn’t the Africa they came to know.

It is 5:30 in the morning. I’m sitting under my mosquito netting with a cup of strong coffee while a preacher’s sermon is projected in the local Luganda language from a nearby church. When we arrived in Uganda, I was annoyed by this loud, peculiar, predawn disturbance. But now, it’s background noise, much like a window fan in summer or water flowing down a backyard stream.

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California Man Buys an Entire Cow and Feeds His Family for a Year

Sometimes the best part of a quest is when you wind up somewhere you never would have expected. For Jared Stone, he didn’t even think he’d be on top of Mt. Whitney because he bought a cow to feed his family.

One Saturday afternoon, I was watching a food show on TV. Being a television professional (I’m a producer), I have a pretty nice setup — 1080p, high refresh rate, lots of HDMI-ins. I know a fair bit about both television as an industry, and televisions in particular as specific pieces of technology. That afternoon, it occurred to me that I knew more about the television on my wall than the food that goes into my body – the stuff that actually becomes “me.”

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“Don’t Make Decisions Based on Ego”: A Year-Long, Cross-Country Motorcycle Journey

For three years, Mallory Paige and her dog Baylor traveled the country in a cherry red VW van. Now, they travel a little lighter: by motorcycle (for Mallory) and sidecar (for Baylor) for a year-long project, Operation Moto Dog.

When I live in the framework of kaizen, it reminds me that moving on to the next thing — with thought and intention — is a good thing. The goal of life is not to become stagnant, but to appreciate that life is change. Even though change can be challenging, uncomfortable and stressful in the moment, ultimately it’s where the richest lessons and experiences lie.

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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.

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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.

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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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