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No Money, But a Rich Life: On the Road with Nate Maingard

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

What's it like to live and work as a nomadic, traveling musician who relies on crowd-sourced support? We found a guy doing exactly that. Here are his stories from three continents and counting.

I was raised barefoot and wild on the tip of South Africa, in a little village called Scarborough. My early days were spent in my father’s guitar making workshop as he crafted some of the world's top custom guitars.

My boundaries were the ocean and the mountain, and my whole life has been shaped by those first years of raw nature and unfettered adventure.

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The Amazing Marriage Adventure: Liz and Ryan Bower’s Quest

Liz and Ryan Bower are wedding photographers who believe in the marriages they document—and not just that first special day. They noticed that champions who might share the realities of life-long partnerships seemed to be few and far between.

They decided to hop in an RV and find true stories of loving marriages to share from every state of America.

We are millennials, story-tellers, wedding photographers, and dream believers. Most of all, we believe in helping to create amazing marriages that stand the test of time.

Our love of love dates back to our teenage years. We were high school sweethearts with an entrepreneurial spirit and a passion to live a more meaningful life. So we started a photography business, Liz and Ryan. Six years later, and after 100 weddings captured, we realized there is a lot of hype surrounding weddings, but not a lot of hype surrounding marriages.

This eventually led to our quest: The Amazing Marriage Adventure. For 2015, we are living in an RV and traveling the U.S. to document at least one married couple’s story in all 50 states. Along the way, we’ll host couples' coffee-shop meetups to encourage community and truly open the lines of communication in celebration of marriage.
Katie and Andrew.

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Travels With a Hospitality Career Consultant: On the Road with Kimberly Ramsawak

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

Tell us about yourself.
I’m a career consultant specializing in the tourism and hospitality, and I'm a passionate advocate for people of color in this industry. A common misconception is that industry jobs are only available at hotels, airlines or agencies—with really low pay.

As a result I started Tourism Exposed, an online career development community that shows students and professionals how to break into the travel industry. While doing this since I was 23, I have traveled to over eighty cities across five continents.

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40 Years Later, I Set Out to Walk the Camino de Santiago: Nancy Liddle’s Quest

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

Nancy wasn't sure she could complete an 850-kilometer walk on the Camino de Santiago in Spain. But she did, and discovered something about age in the process. Here's how it happened.

My name is Nancy and last year I fulfilled my 40-year-old dream to walk the Camino de Santiago in Spain. Being 56, relatively unfit, single, and never having walked more than 10 kilometers in my life was intimidating, but I did it.

NancyL5

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Taking a Travel Break Mid-Career: On the Road with John Fiddler and Kathleen Egan

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

John and Kathleen opted to take a mid-career break and travel the world under three tenets: sightseeing, athletics (trail running, climbing, and long distance hiking), and volunteering.

We're two 40-somethings on a multi-year career break traveling the planet. Along with adventuring through the wild landscapes of the world to see the sights and cultures of the planet, we’re trying to give back to communities as we travel.

From kayaking the length of the Baja peninsula, trail running around Europe, backpacking through Southeast Asia (and getting married there!), to being the first expedition to traverse the high route of the Great Himalaya Trail (87 days, unsupported), to now exploring and volunteering in Africa, it has been a crazy and incredible two years.

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Oregon Woman Learns to Speak Six Languages Fluently

The six official languages of the United Nations are considered the most geopolitically important languages in the world—not to mention that native speakers of those tongues represent about a third of the global population. Emily Liedel decided to learn them all to fluency.

Introduce yourself and your quest.

Professionally, I'm a freelance journalist, translator and language entrepreneur. I write about international affairs, urban issues, food and language. Personally, I'm on a quest to learn all of the official languages of the United Nations (Spanish, French, Russian, Chinese and Arabic - English which is my native language) to native-level fluency by my 35th birthday in 2019.

Currently, I speak everything but Arabic, and I'm still finishing up becoming fluent in Chinese. I also speak fluent German and Swiss German (the dialect spoken in Switzerland) so I like to say that German is my bonus language.

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Traveling the Eco-Friendly Way: On the Road with Ivana and Gianni

Ivana Greslikova and Gianni Bianchini are two full-time travelers with a passion for eco-tourism. Here’s how they incorporate supporting conservation efforts in their travels:

Tell us about yourselves.

We are Ivana (from Slovakia) and Gianni (from Italy). While living in Germany, we decided to quit smoking. Our goal was to save money for a big trip, but we realized we’d be able to save enough for a Round-the-World experience.

What started as a one year plan became an indefinite journey. We are nature lovers, eco-travelers, and we’re passionate about photography. We try to immerse ourselves in the local culture while on the road.
Gianni5

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Taking an Upright Piano Around the United States: Dotan Negrin’s Story

dotan4 This is a reader story. (Read others or tell us yours.)

Dotan Negrin likes a challenge. Three years ago, he started taking his upright piano with him everywhere he went. Here's how he tells the story:

I didn’t know piano playing was a goal of mine. I didn’t even learn to play until I was 19, and when I hit the road I was in no way ready to start performing. But I did it anyway because I realized the biggest thing standing in my way from living an extraordinary life was myself. Once I became determined to live differently, it was impossible not to.

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Building a Global Community One Beach at a Time: On the Road with Mirva Lempiäinen

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

Mirva Lempiäinen fell in love with beaches of all kinds during college. Her passion caused her to build a career and friend base that allows her to travel to sandy destinations almost as often as she'd like.

Tell us about yourself.
I’m a 33-year-old freelance journalist from Finland. I’ve been actively roaming the globe for almost 15 years, and have visited around 70 countries (so far). Currently, I’m spending the winter on the French island of Guadeloupe in the Caribbean which suits me quite well.

I have a bad beach addiction: over the past decade I’ve spent months every year on tropical beaches around the world. You could say I’m perpetually in search of the perfect beach. I’m also a New Yorker now (and surprisingly to many, New York actually has some pretty nice beaches, too!).

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Hiking the 7,910-Mile Triple Crown of American Trails: David Getchel’s Quest

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

Earlier this week, David Getchel began the second leg of his three part quest to hike the Triple Crown of American trails: the Pacific Crest Trail, the Appalachian Trail, and the Continental Divide Trail. Here's how it all began—and what's coming next.
I'm Dave, and I call Northern California home. Originally, my quest was to hike the Pacific Crest Trail (affectionately named the PCT ), a 2,650 mile trail spanning California, Oregon and Washington.

Starting near San Diego I hiked through desert, lush forests and mountain ranges, encountering all types of weather. The PCT ends at the US/Canadian border. Most people hike for 4-6 months. There's a little bit of everything: alpine lakes miles from any road, long stretches without reliable water sources, and wide ranging wildlife.

But while on the PCT, I decided to tackle the Triple Crown which includes the 2,160 mile Appalachian Trail, a 2,160 mile and the 3,100 Continental Divide Trail.

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A Family’s Year in Italy: On the Road with Jacqueline Jannotta

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

Getting the gumption to make travel part of your life is hard enough when it's just you, let alone adding three other people. Jacqueline Jannotta did just that, though—she brought her husband kids into a year-long adventure. Here's how this family of four did it:

I worked for both sitcoms and dotcoms in Chicago, L.A. and Florida before becoming a freelance writer and moving to Portland, Oregon. I’ve always cherished the connections I made as I zig-zagged around the country, and have been curious about the ever growing social constellations we find ourselves in.

This ultimately became the impetus for an unforgettable journey: moving my family of four to live in Genoa, Italy for a year.

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“Normal Guy” Pizza Manager Stays Overnight in 48 States

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

Currently a manager at Sbarro, Chris Strub is a be a pretty "normal" guy who had an idea - to spend at least one night in the lower 48 states - and made it happen. Here's how:

Introduce yourself and your quest.

I'm a 29-year-old native New Yorker currently living in Greenville, South Carolina. As I grew up, I was constantly told I could “be whatever I wanted to be.” I sat at my college graduation listening to successful people offering vague advice like this, rife with buzzwords. But I’d never pigeonholed my career goal. Even though I’d had great jobs, I felt like I still had an open book ahead of me. I didn't want to be defined by my vocations - I wanted to be defined by my dreams.

And pushing the limits of social media through travel was my calling. So I decided to take a 90-day solo road trip around the lower 48 states, staying a night in every state.

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One Family, Four Bikes, All of the Americas: Nancy Vogel’s Quest

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

Nancy3 For many, driving 17,000 miles with your family would be challenge enough. Nancy Vogel went a step further, and along with her husband and twin sons, decided to bike from Alaska to Argentina over the course of three years.

Nancy's perspective on completing a quest was a favorite story for many readers from The Happiness of Pursuit. Here's more from her.

I am an ordinary mom who went on an extraordinary journey. Some say I was outrageously foolish, others say I was ludicrously dumb. I don't think I'm either—I'm just a normal mom who wanted a life outside the box.

In 2008, I flew to Alaska with my family. Loaded into the belly of the plane were bicycles for the four of us, and all the gear we needed to begin pedaling toward the southern tip of South America, more than 17,000 miles away. We spent the next three years on our quest for the end of the world and finally—after cycling through 15 countries—we arrived in Ushuaia, Argentina on the island of Tierra del Fuego, where the road ended.

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Billy Ulmer’s Quest to Visit 10 Tiny Houses Across America

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

When I heard about Billy Ulmer's quest to interview people living in tiny houses, I couldn't help but think of Dee Williams, one of the 2014 WDS speakers. Funny enough, she was one of his first interviews! Here's Billy's story.

Introduce yourself and your quest.

My name is Billy and I’m a writer and photographer from Portland, Oregon. In 2014, I completed the first phase of what has become an ongoing quest: I visited 10 tiny houses across America, did in-depth interviews with the people that designed, built and live in them, and shared their inspiring stories.

I met people in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, New Mexico, Texas, Ohio, New York and West Virginia, and learned how choosing an unlikely home changed their lives.
Billy7

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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.

janne2

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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