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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.
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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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