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5 Million Frequent Flyer Challenge: Update #1

Greetings, friends. Today I have an update on the Frequent Flyer Challenge, coming to you live from the Hong Kong airport: First, a good news / bad news personal update. The Bad News – After flying 19 hours, I slept on the airport floor for five more hours last night. It just didn’t make sense…

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How to Travel to Rogue States and Other Interesting Places

If you do enough traveling or are crazy enough to want to go everywhere, sooner or later you’ll encounter a few countries that aren’t especially known for being welcoming to travelers. Sadly, civil war, longstanding dictatorships, and massive corruption is the norm in several parts of the world. For the independent traveler, these countries present…

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How To Run 26.2 Miles on the Open Sea

Hi everyone… I had a bit of an adventure last week. My parents and little sister came to visit in Seattle, and we took a 7-night cruise to Alaska. A few years ago the ship we were on caught on fire during a Caribbean cruise, but nothing exciting like that happened on our trip. There…

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Candlelit Notes from a Dismal Hotel Room

I’m sitting in what may be the most dreary hotel room I have ever stayed in, which is saying a lot. My room is the size of a large closet, and no, this isn’t Japan with its neat cubicle hotels. In fact, it really doesn’t matter what country I’m in at the moment. I could…

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The Land of Too Much

Two years ago I was working in Liberia, West Africa and came to Chicago for a three-day conference. Coming out of West Africa to Europe and then North America is always a huge culture shock, and when I went all that way for just a weekend conference, I felt more disoriented than ever. I stayed…

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How To Fall Down and Get Back Up Again

This is a lesson on how to look absolutely ridiculous in front of a crowd of strangers, and how to recover as gracefully as possible. Well, let’s clarify that a bit: the first part is easy, since I am constantly making stupid mistakes all over the world and trying to minimize the embarrassment. I have…

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On Being Homeless for 35 Minutes in Central London

A couple of years ago, I was in London on a three-day layover after flying in from Africa. I had been in Sierra Leone for several months and was looking forward to walking the streets, hanging out in coffee shops, and seeing friends before heading on. On my first night in the city, I had…

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How to Respond to Critics

As part of your independent-minded journey, many people will oppose you along the way. Some will oppose you by saying that you “can’t” do the things you’ve planned. Others will try to impose their own arbitrary rules on you. Others will be jealous of your success and try to bring you down to the level…

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