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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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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."
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