Scholarships for Real Life: Emily Wray and The Voices of Petersburg

Emily-Wray-Color In 2013 the WDS community started a foundation, making an initial investment of $100,000 and pledging to support “Scholarships for Real Life,” a program to enable people to pursue a dream of their own while also addressing a problem that affects others. Here’s one of our 2015 grantees.

Meet Emily Wray. Emily is a Course Director at Full Sail University, but once a year she travels to Petersburg, Alaska—a small island community—to support clients of Petersburg Mental Health Services (PMHS) as they tell their own stories.

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Holiday Sale Starts Today! Save 25% Off Everything from Unconventional Guides

Unconventionalguides Hey everyone, today we're kicking off our Annual Holiday Sale!

We only have one sale all year at Unconventional Guides, and it begins now.

This year it's a big 25% off everything in the Unconventional Guides store. The discount applies to combo packs as well—which is a really good deal because they already sell at a discount, so you get to save even more.

Use the discount code GRAVY to receive 25% off alllll the things.

The code will be available until midnight on Monday the 30th, Eastern Standard Time.

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A 4-Person, 6-Month Volunteer Adventure Around the World


I'm a 49-year-old father of two from Maine. For years I've worked in the TV business, writing shows and commercials, using my creativity to tell stories for advertisers. But lately, I have a new focus.

After a big trip that took my family and I around the world, I’m now writing books, working on behalf of orphaned children, and telling their stories. It’s some of the most rewarding work I’ve ever been involved in. I love it.

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It’s Not How Much Email You Get, It’s the Lack of Purpose in Your Life

1194826111_0ecb951c52_b If you misidentify a problem, your proposed solution probably won’t work.

Let’s say you have a headache, so you decide to amputate your leg. You’ll probably still have the headache, and then you’ll be missing a leg as well. For more effective treatment of headaches, consider a glass of water and perhaps an aspirin.

Many other treatment plans fail for the same reason. Something is wrong, and you think you know what it is, but that’s just because you’re looking at the obvious.

You may feel, for example, that you’re “overwhelmed.” And perhaps you are. Or you may feel generally anxious, and perhaps you are—or maybe it’s something else entirely. But before you dash off to treat the symptoms, declaring email bankruptcy or a digital sabbatical, promising to return with a 28-day series of themed Instagram photos, take a look at the bigger picture of your life.

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If You’re Getting This Month’s Bonus Offer, Don’t Forget Your 5,000 Extra Points

1842795224_7f8576904a_z Link: Earn 50,000 Ultimate Rewards Points

Last week I mentioned the new-and-improved bonus offer for the travel rewards card I use every day, no matter where I am in the world. For a limited time, you can earn 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points instead of the usual 40,000.

Extra points are always great! Depending on how you use them, 10,000 points can be halfway to a plane ticket, or even two hotel nights.

But I almost forgot something: you can actually earn an additional 5,000 points just by adding an authorized user to your account. You can do this anytime in the first three months of having the card, and the points should automatically post up.

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Scholarships for Real Life: The Ryan Banks Academy

rsz_valerie In 2013 the WDS community started a foundation, making an initial investment of $100,000 and pledging to support “Scholarships for Real Life,” a program to enable people to pursue a dream of their own while also addressing a problem that affects others. Here's one of our 2015 grantees.

Valerie Groth is a trained social worker and life coach. She recently founded the Ryan Banks Academy, which seeks to create a safe and positive learning environment for kids in the Chicago area.

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Coming Next Week: 25% Off All Unconventional Guides

Hey everyone, happy fast-approaching holidays!

The season is barreling toward us and regardless of how you celebrate, I hope your holidays will be filled with spiked eggnog and loved ones. Over here, I'm planning an early start to this year's Annual Review.

But first—next week, starting on Wednesday the 25th, we'll be kicking off the only sale we do every year at Unconventional Guides. There's only one! And it happens very soon.

Our Annual Holiday Sale: This Time It's 25% Off!

Important: don't buy anything from Unconventional Guides this weekend. Wait until next Wednesday and you can save a lot.

This year we'll be offering 25% on everything in the Unconventional Guides store. Twenty-five percent, with no exceptions.*

This discount applies to combo packs as well—which is pretty great because they already sell at a discount, so you can save even more.

*Really, no exceptions.

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One Free Ticket, 18 Hours on Amtrak, and Many Interesting Passengers

Amtrak1 Greetings from the Coast Starlight! I’ve been riding Amtrak 18 hours through Oregon and California, while traveling to San Francisco and eventually (by plane) to San Diego.

A few years ago I took a long train journey from Chicago to Portland, riding the Empire Builder just in time for the launch of the Empire Building Kit.

Aside from some short journeys, though, I haven’t been on “real” Amtrak for quite a while.

So why now? Well, to be honest I don’t think I was aware of how good the points redemption opportunities have been. Amtrak divides the country into zones and charges the same number of points for travel within any particular zone. In other words, there are some great values to be had when booking with points.

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Limited Time: Earn 60,000 Ultimate Rewards Points (Usually 40,000) toward Free Travel

Travel Link: Earn 50,000 Ultimate Rewards Points

My longtime favorite card for earning miles and points, the Chase Sapphire Preferred, has just raised its signup bonus offer. For a limited time you can earn 50,000 points (usually 40,000, which is also good) upon getting the card and completing a minimum spend.

As I’ve explained before, different cards are good for different reasons. Some cards are great for big bonuses, but after that it’s best to put them in the drawer and reserve your spending for other cards. Other cards are good for category spending, where you can earn 5x points at office supply stores or other particular merchants.

But if you can only get one card and not worry about keeping up with a bunch of stuff, this is the best overall recommendation—and now you can earn extra points just for getting it.

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How One Family of Four Created Enough Passive Income to Travel Forever


I’ve always wanted to travel and I’m not actually sure why. Perhaps it’s because I grew up in Tasmania, which always felt like the edge of the Earth. It was a big deal just to get to the mainland of Australia!

As a teenager, I’d watch Australian travel shows and take notes on the destinations that appealed to me the most. After the dot-com crash, which came around my 21 birthday, I went straight to a travel agent and booked my first trip. Since then, I’ve been to over 80 countries!

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Limited Number of WDS 2016 Tickets Are on Sale!


Link: WDS 2016 Registration

Hi all,

I’ve mentioned this already by email and with the speaker videos we’ve been posting. You can also read a bit more about WDS, including the changes we’re making next year.

But the pertinent info of the moment is: WDS tickets are on sale! We release all tickets on a first-come, first-served basis. If you’ve never been to WDS, I hope you’ll join us next year for an all-new adventure. Workshops

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One Year of Taking Adderall to Help with Writing & Focus

Last year I shared the story of why I got a prescription for Adderall, the brand name of the psychostimulant drug that can help you control your attention and focus. Adderall is a controlled substance in the U.S. and most other western countries. It’s known for being abused by college students—you know, when you really need to study—but it’s also one of the most frequently prescribed treatments for both children and adults with ADHD.

I was diagnosed with ADHD as a kid (whoa, look at that spaceship!) and was medicated for a while with Ritalin and other drugs, but until last year at the old age of 36, I hadn’t taken anything since I was 12 or so.

The short version of why I decided to alter my stance on ADHD meds was that things weren’t working well. I had been late on my last book manuscript, and was beginning a new one that I wanted to complete on time. I had a long list of things I wanted to do (and believed in), but it had become more and more difficult to settle down and knock things off the list.

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WDS Tickets Go on Sale Wednesday, Nov. 11 at 9am PST

Link: Ticket Sales for WDS 2016 Begin Wednesday, Nov. 11

Six years ago, I traveled throughout the U.S. and Canada and invited readers to join me in Portland, Oregon, the following summer. The event that began in July 2011 was called the World Domination Summit—a modest name—or simply WDS.

Since then, more than 10,000 people have participated in what became an annual event. This past July marked our five-year anniversary event, and we had an incredible experience with everyone who showed up.

The first round of ticket sales for the 2016 event is coming up soon!

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