Reset

41 Days to World Domination

First up, Happy Easter to all! I hope you've had a good weekend with people you love. This is a short weekend update before the regular programming of the week. In 41 days, awesome people from all over the world will arrive in Portland for our inaugural World Domination Summit. We've been working every day on the many logistical issues to ensure we exceed everyone's high expectations for the weekend.

Read More

Lower Your Standards and Keep Going

The second-best advice I ever heard about writer's block came from a quote in last month's Atlantic Monthly, where Sandra Tsing Loh said, “When faced with writer's block, lower your standards and keep going.” The best advice I ever heard is to pretend it doesn't exist. There's no such thing as “plumber's block,” right? Just sit down and do what you need to do.

Read More

“We’ve Got Plans for You”

Amy returned from a working trip abroad. “Welcome home!” her boss said on the first day back at the office. Amy was a little disoriented, thinking of her days in Rajasthan instead of the office at home. “I want to hear all about India,” the boss said, although it seemed the boss mostly wanted to hear all about work. The boss said she had done a good job on the trip, which is always nice to hear. But then the boss said something else. “We've been talking while you were away, and we've got plans for you, Amy.”

Read More

1 Hour of Travel Hacking = $3,400

People sometimes ask if travel hacking is worth the hassle. Doesn't it take away time you could spend on other projects? Is that time investment really worth it? Truth be told, once in a while I wonder the same thing ... I've got no shortage of opportunities to pursue these days, with a book to write, a summit to host, twenty countries a year to visit, etc. But when I sit down and do some work on my travel accounts, I realize, yes, I'm pretty sure this is worth my time. After traveling around the world (Cambodia, East Timor, numerous transit stops, etc.) for the past few weeks, I returned home and spent some time getting my travel world in order. Here's what I did to catch up on things in one hour ...

Read More

Jet Lag Is My Favorite Drug: And Other Notes from Hong Kong

On my first day in Asia last month, I took a long walk to reorient myself to a place I knew well through countless jet-lagged visits over the past five years. In Hong Kong, you can wander freely. You can eat milk tarts. You can be a Westerner and not feel completely adrift in unfamiliarity, something that isn't always possible in mainland China. If you're like me, you can buy a can of iced coffee at 7-11 in the mornings and a can of beer in the evenings.

Read More

The Family Who Doesn’t Understand

Several times on the never-ending book tour, people came up to me with multiple copies of my book for signing. “My family doesn't understand me,” they said, “So I'm giving them your book.”

"Thanks," I always said ... although I worried a little about signing books for people who didn't necessarily want them. I learned to invent a specific inscription for these copies:

"To Barbara: I'm not sure you'll like this book, but your daughter isn't crazy."

Read More

Contentment in Five Short Stories

In Northern Thailand I sit in the Udon Thani airport eating a custard pastry. It costs 20 baht (60 cents). Along with a cup of coffee ($1.10), it is my joy. I sit across from the Dairy Queen—hugely popular in this part of Asia—and reflect on my day. Getting here required a bit of soft adventure. In this case I paid $3 for a 30-minute tuk tuk ride from Vientiane, Laos to the Thai–Laos border, then $6 from the border to Udon Thani airport, another 30 kilometers away.

Read More

Business Secrets from a Cambodian Tuk-Tuk

In Phnom Penh, Cambodia I met Mr. Rhet, who held up a copy of my book to greet me at the arrivals area. Mr. Rhet, also known as Rhett or just Ret, is a professional tuk-tuk driver. The open-air taxis of Southeast Asia, tuk-tuks serve as an interesting introduction to life in the region, and I've had both good and bad experiences with them. In Cambodia last weekend (and plenty of other places), all was well in tuk-tuk land, and I felt safe using them as my primary means of transport. In fact, I enjoyed my time with Mr. Rhet so much that I decided to learn more about the whole tuk-tuk industry.

Read More

Worth Living For

When I was a kid, I sat in the back of a lot of dramatic, late-night church services. Often the preacher or evangelist would tell a story about our fellow Christians in Russia, China, or Cuba (communist countries were seemingly interchangeable) being surrounded by soldiers in a church and forced to recant their faith or risk execution. No matter the details, the story was always followed with a challenge: “Would you be willing to die for your faith?”

Read More

Departure Morning

Once the bags are packed, a lot of decisions have already been made. The night before, you had to think through what to pack and what to leave behind. The morning of departure, you check again and again for the essentials: passport, wallet, journal, tickets, bus fare. Your itinerary, chosen from among countless options, is at least partially settled by now. You're going to _____, and as far as you're concerned, all of _____ is waiting for you. The road ahead may not be easy, but you have already overcome one big challenge as you carry those bags out the door.

Read More