Reset

How an Investment Banker Quit Her Job to Travel the World Solo

Kristin Addis seemingly had it all: lucrative banking job in sunny Southern California, and all the things that go with that life. Yet something was missing. The money and apparent professional success weren’t as fulfilling as they were supposed to be. So she saved up some money, quit her job, and bought a one-way ticket out of the country.

I was by myself on the side of the road, in the snow, in the Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of China with my thumb up. I was there because I wanted to trek the surrounding mountains. They were rumored to be beautiful and didn't disappoint. I'd had a continuous run of luck prior to that getting around the country by taking rides, and decided to try hitchhiking from there back to Chengdu.

After about 20 bone-chilling minutes, a couple of guys picked me up and drove like mad men through the mountain passes. When we stopped for lunch, they ordered a feast that even six people couldn't finish, let alone three. One item was a famous steamed fish in the area—a fish with a strange bone in its head.

Read More

Student Drops Out of College & Buys a One-Way Flight to Guatemala

looking-out After trying and failing to lead a conventional life, Jake Heilbrunn decided to follow his intuition by backpacking and volunteering through Central America. This trip changed the course of his life. I distinctly remember climbing atop La Danta and looking out across vast amounts of jungle expanding as far as the eye could see in all directions. It was humbling to realize how big this world is and how small I really was. Oddly enough, this new perspective gave me the confidence to continue pursuing my dreams and passions. The vastness of the jungle reminded me that if I was really so small, I had nothing to lose.

That night, the twelve of us volunteers cooked up a campfire dinner. There was no service or wifi in the jungle, so everyone sat around and talked, face to face. Nobody was distracted by their phones or technology. There was a powerful energy among us as we shared this intense, jungle experience devoid of distractions.

Read More

One Man’s Quest to Leave the Oil Industry and Complete a 100-Item Bucket List

Matthew Bailey left the opportunities of the booming oil town that he grew up in to live a more authentic life. Ten years later, and with over 100 bucket items checked off, a new, bolder Matthew is still dreaming up more audacious quests to accomplish.

I'm a small town guy who grew up in Northern Alberta. Although it seemed normal to me at the time, the town I grew up in is anything but - it’s an oil town where almost anyone can make six figures a year, regardless of education or age. Instead of cashing in, I escaped.

Read More

Five Weeks with Syrian Refugees: One Man’s Quest to Promote Cultural Intelligence

IMG_0054

Having lived abroad both growing up and as an adult, David Durham has dedicated his life to promoting cultural curiosity. Most recently his adventures took him to Greece, where he and his wife, Becky, observed the refugee crisis in Europe first hand. Though they were already veteran travelers, they were profoundly impacted by this experience.

I am a lover of culture. I write, speak, and podcast about crossing cultural bridges with a goal of promoting cultural curiosity. I teach French, Spanish, and Global Studies; my wife teaches World Geography. Between the two of us, our students have little hope of remaining indifferent to international cultures!

Ever since the trips back and forth to Australia, where I lived with my family for five years as a child, I have been infected with an insatiable curiosity about other cultures and languages. I spent 12 years in Europe and continue to travel there on a regular basis which includes leading cultural tours with my wife, Becky.

Read More

17 Travel Hacking Tips for People Who Value Their Time and Sanity

This is a special post from Austin Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. Check out his free 10-lesson course called “Better Credit in 10 Days.”

After reading the Frequent Flyer Master guide in December 2010, I scored two $20 tickets to Honolulu. Travel hacking was amazing, and I was hooked.

But a lot has changed since then. My wife Megan and I now have two children. During working hours—which is to say waking hours—I split my time between a startup called Closeup.fm, and the marketing consultancy that pays my bills, Wunderbar LLC.

Read More

How 2 People Traveled for a Year on $20,000

At first glance Evo Terra and Sheila Dee’s story might seem a lot like many other empty nesters who sold everything to travel around the world. But most weren’t kicked out of their home state by a doctor—and most eventually return. These two are still going!

After 17 years of living in Arizona, Sheila's doctor told us to leave—the quicker, the better. The dry, dusty atmosphere was quite literally killing her. So two months later, we found ourselves on a plane bound for Europe, chasing high-humidity environments and seeing what living as travelers and expats is like around the world.

Prior to this trip, we hadn't done all that much traveling, except for the standard up-to-Canada and down-to-Mexico trips most people from the U.S. make every year or so. Because there's something extra motivating when a doctor orders you to get out, we decided to really go for it and try out a few other continents!

Read More

“Getting rejected led to starting my own business”: One Man’s Journey to Year-Round Summer Camp

Blake Boles is one of the lucky ones: at a young age he knew exactly what made him happy. With that clarity of vision, he created Unschool Adventures, a company that designs and runs multi-week experiences for teens and young adults—and created his own dream job in the process.

When I was 11 I went away to summer camp for the first time: two weeks of total bliss in the High Sierras of California. The instructors I met there were mythical, almost god-like figures with hard skills (like how to roll a kayak), soft skills (like comforting a homesick camper), and an exuberance I'd never encountered before in my young life.

I decided immediately that I wanted to become like them.

Read More

The 12 Most Common Questions I Get About Traveling the World (Part III)

I’m no longer going to every country in the world (mission accomplished), but I’m still traveling at least 200,000 miles a year.

As such, I get a lot of questions over and over, both from people who want to travel far and wide and those who just want to learn a few things to make their lives easier.

This series of three posts provides some attempted As to the Qs.

Read More

The 12 Most Common Questions I Get About Traveling the World (Part II)

I’m no longer going to every country in the world (mission accomplished), but I’m still traveling at least 200,000 miles a year.

As such, I get a lot of questions over and over, both from people who want to travel far and wide and those who just want to learn a few things to make their lives easier.

This series of three posts provides some attempted As to the Qs.

Read More

How to See the World as a Full-Time House Sitter

After experiencing the loss of both a marriage and a business, Vanessa Anderson left the UK in June 2013 to visit Ian Usher in Panama... and never returned! Through house-sitting and teaching English online, they’ve been able to fund their nomadic lifestyle and become part of a larger sharing economy.

It actually begins with Ian's side of things back in 2006. Blindsided by the breakup of his own marriage, he devised a genius marketing idea to sell ALL his stuff on eBay—house and job (subject to acceptance) included! He then set off on a two-year journey to complete 100 bucket list goals in 100 weeks.

His unique method of dealing with a life crisis sparked the interest of Disney and before long he found himself with a Hollywood agent, resulting in a lucrative movie deal for his book, "A Life Sold". This funded his next noteworthy project: to buy a small mangrove island and build an off-the-grid property in Bocas del Toro, Panama.

Read More

“It Felt Impossible, Until I Did It”: One Year in South Korea

Lauren Meeks believes that there is immense value in learning other people’s stories. It all started with an unlikely year of teaching English in South Korea.

I'm a writer currently living in Atlanta, although I'm reluctant to call any place "home." I spent several years abroad as a child, and over the past 7 years I've traveled to every continent except Antarctica (it's on the list!) and over two dozen countries. I travel to experience new cultures and to hear new stories. I firmly believe that everyone has a story worth sharing, and I want to hear as many of them as possible.

I stumbled across my love of traveling almost by accident. I traveled some in college, but I still hadn’t been bitten by the wanderlust bug yet. I was perfectly happy to stick to the tourist trails and then go home to my safe bubble after the trip was over. But at the beginning of my senior year in college, my advisor encouraged me to apply for a Fulbright grant teaching English. Being the good little student that I was, I acquiesced. Since Fulbright only allows you to apply to the program in a single country, I had a decision to make.

Read More

Teaching by Example: A Father’s Take on Adventure and Giving Back

Thailand 03 Michael McManus tries to live his life as an example for his daughters. He chooses to fill it with family, adventure, creativity, and giving back.

I am first and foremost a husband and father. I'm also a photographer, entrepreneur, and philanthropist that has started M2 Photography, Gethrr and Poser Photobooth Co. I love creating portraits where my subjects interact with the chalk drawings. When I'm not photographing weddings, rocking the photo booth, or helping others, I'm with my family.

We believe in intentional living and spending our time purposefully. Whether we're playing tag in our backyard or hiking in Norway, all that matters is that we're together. We constantly talk to our children about fear—about not being afraid to try new things, seeing failure as a stepping stone to success, and living life beyond our limits.

Read More

Dream Trip Student Earns 21,000 Points from Taking Free Surveys

Last year I co-taught a 28-day course on how to make your dream trip a reality. Throughout the course we heard story after story of people earning hundreds of thousands of miles and points. That was great, but what’s happening now is even better: we’re hearing lots of great stories of how students are using their miles and points.

As I say often, earning miles is great, but putting them toward free travel is much better. 😃

Today I saw a great example of how someone earned a significant number of points without applying for credit cards. The headline says it all: she earned 22,000 Hilton HHonors points by completing online surveys.

Read More

Get Two Months Free in the Travel Hacking Cartel

JapanTHC Link: Get 2 Months Free in the Travel Hacking Cartel

A few years ago I started the Travel Hacking Cartel, a service that has now helped more than 20,000 people travel for nearly free.

The reason I started it was simple: lots of you wanted to learn how to earn miles and points (and then use them to see the world), but felt overwhelmed with an abundance of information from forums, blogs, and other resources.

The Cartel is still going strong with this mission, and we regularly hear success stories from members who have been able to travel places they had only dreamed of before.

There was just one problem...

Read More

Why the Best Way to Earn Miles & Points Still Hasn’t Changed

3489951440_7edeebd79e_z Link: Chase Sapphire Preferred (50,000 Points Bonus)

I’m always on the lookout for new travel hacking opportunities. Even though I don’t need to earn as many miles & points as I used to, it’s still fun.

This year I’ll be flying in The Apartment at 30,000 feet. I’ll be going back to my favorite country, Australia. And I’ll be heading out on a 30-city book tour. (You can come, too.)

… and I’m sure there will be many other adventures along the way. For all of these experiences and more, I’ll be using the same credit card.

Read More