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Thirty-Two

One of the things I have yet to come to terms with is: what are the consequences of losing my brother? That is, what will be different now that he's gone?

Obviously I am still grieving, and even still largely in shock. I wake up every day remembering him, disbelieving for a moment that he could possibly be gone. But these are short-term circumstances, not long-term consequences. The bottom line is that I don’t fully know what the loss entails for me and for everyone else who was close to him. In my case, I just have no doubt that my life will be different, not only now but always.

Today is Ken's birthday. He would have been 32 years old. I probably would have texted him to say “Happy birthday, bro!”

And to be honest, that’s probably all I would have done. I might have sent a bottle of whiskey or a copy of a new book I liked, but in most years I usually just called or wrote. He was always better at birthdays and other holidays than me or anyone else in the family.

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52-Week Art Project Creates Illustrative Postcards About Life

Workspace3 Who doesn't like getting hand-written postcards?

Designers Giorgia Lupi + Stefanie Posavec were living parallel lives as expats in London and Brooklyn when they decided to start a year-long postcard project.

Each week, they sent each other a postcard—but not just any postcards. As artists who work with data, each postcard illustrates a particular type of data about their lives.

After all 52 weeks, the project recently ended. You can see a few of the postcards below, or more on their site.

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Many Dreams Aren’t That Hard to Achieve

8124163994_523112045b_z Toward the end of Up in the Air, the character played by George Clooney calls up American Airlines and asks to transfer some of his Frequent Flyer miles to his sister.

"How many miles?" the agent asks.

“Enough to go completely around the world."

I saw that movie with my parents several years ago, and when we left the theatre, my mom asked, “How many miles does it take to go around the world?”

She thought I’d know the answer, and of course I did.

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Will Travel for Vegan Food: A Quest to Visit 547 Restaurants

KL8 One day, Kristin looked around at the life she thought she wanted—the job, the relationship, the stuff—and realized her heart yearned for something else. So she decided to do something big: travel the country in an effort to go to every vegan restaurant.

My name is Kristin Lajeunesse. I'm a 32-year-old, self-employed business clarity coach and creative marketing strategist for small business owners and entrepreneurs. I work from home (or rather, my computer), and enjoy picking up and moving every few months or so to explore new locales.

My quest was to promote and share vegan restaurants and eateries from around the world. Between October 2011 to August 2013, I lived in a van and entirely off of donations in an effort to eat at and write about every vegan restaurant in the United States. I called my quest Will Travel for Vegan Food.

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Lessons in Non-Conformity from Sesame Street

A reader sent me this fun video from a long-ago sketch on Sesame Street.

I love the turning point right at the halfway mark: Dan would do everything that Stan did, until one day he decides to make a change.

“Hi, I’m Dan. I decided I’m not going to do everything that Stan does anymore."

Isn’t this exactly how it works in life? You go along with the crowd, playing follow the leader and keeping your head down. The status quo is maintained—until it isn't.

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How Much Is Your Time Worth? This Free Tool Will Show You

How Much Is Your Time Worth? This Free Tool Will Show You Deciding how you value your time can help you make decisions. But how do you really know what your time is worth?

It’s partly a hypothetical question, because you don’t always get to choose how much money you'll make or how much free time you'll have.

And it’s partly a practical question, because sometimes you do get to choose. Life is all about making choices, some of which are exclusive and limit us from other opportunities.

A free tool guides you to your own answer of "How much is your time worth" in both hypothetical and practical scenarios.

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What to Do When You Have No Idea What to Do

9242342662_d4379074a5_z What's it like to quit your job with no backup plan—and not just any job, but a nationally-known, prestigious position as the host for NPR's Marketplace show

That's what Tess Vigeland did recently, and her brand-new book Leap tells the whole story.

I really like this book, and it was fun to learn that several people in our community were part of its development. It's partly a memoir, but more importantly it puts forward a message on how success can be measured by happiness and fulfillment, not by how far you travel on a traditional career path.

If you want to leave your job—whether you love it, hate it, or are somewhere in between—this book should be at the top of your reading list.

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“My Car Is My Home, the Planet Is My Backyard”: On the Road with Bruno Caumette

BrunoRainbow For almost two decades, Bruno Caumette has made his home in a Toyota Land Cruiser. He's been around the world once and is currently working on his second voyage. His stories are touching—and his photos are incredible.

I was born in France, but by now I’ve spent as much time outside of my birth country than in it. In 1998, after working for fifteen years, I bought myself an old Toyota Land Cruiser, converted it into a home on wheels, and set off on the road. I was heading for Africa, but beyond that I didn’t have a plan, a timeframe, or even money.

Fourteen years later, I’d returned to Africa—after having traveled overland through places like Afghanistan, Mongolia, Siberia, Korea, Alaska and Patagonia—inadvertently completing an around-the-world trip. I’d driven over 400,000km (that’s 248,548 miles) and taken three ferries, but never once hopped on a bus, train, or plane.

Now I’m three years into my second around-the-world trip. It’s no longer a trip, it’s a lifestyle. My car is my home and the planet is my backyard.

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How to Change When Change Is Hard: Lessons from a Timid Mouse

496852946_4c9e3f6824_zI was coming back from a run up and down Mount Tabor in Southeast Portland. I know the route well. It’s about a 5-6 mile loop from my house, depending on which path I take. More often than not, when I’m home for a while I run it at least once a week.

As I neared my neighborhood toward the end of the run, I noticed a cat in a driveway. Being a cat person, I often say hi to felines when I see them out and about on my run. Cats being cats, sometimes they follow me for blocks, intent on being my friend for life, and other times they can’t be bothered to acknowledge my presence.

This cat, I noticed, was different. He was sitting on his hind legs in the driveway, staring intently at something. Maybe it’s because he was so intent on the object of his fascination, or maybe I was just tired toward the end of the run—but for whatever reason I decided to slow down and walk over to the driveway.

“Hey, what’s going on?” I said to the cat. (Yeah, I talk to cats the same way I talk to people. If you’ve ever had a cat, you understand.)

The cat gave no response. He was fully immersed in something, and as I got closer, I could see what it was. There was a mouse! A tiny one, shivering in an isolated section of grass near the driveway—and just a paw’s swipe away from the cat.

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100 Days Without Fear: A Daily Video Experiment

Michelle Poler 2 A few months ago, Michelle Poler moved from Venezuela to New York to pursue a Master's Degree. While she was there, she started a project called 100 Days Without Fear to systematically combat the things that she was afraid of.

This fun project recently wrapped up with daily videos of her teaching a Zumba class, crowd surfing, posing nude for a drawing class, interviewing strangers, and attempting dozens of other interesting tasks.

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The Emotional Balance Sheet

CarlRichards-EBS I often enjoy the personal finance columns by Carl Richards. In a recent one, he explains how to create an “emotional balance sheet” to quantify (or at least tally) your non-financial assets.

Carl tells the story of how he and his wife Cori made the choice for her to become a full-time mom, despite the fact that the family would lose more than $1 million in earnings over the next twenty years.

He’s quick to point out that the moral of the story isn’t “all mothers should stay home with their children”—which is good, since presumably many readers would make different choices. The lesson is a) to be clear about your intentions, and b) learn to value non-financial assets.

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Happiness Is a Superpower

3025340899_178b8f62b4_z I heard something in a dialogue recently. One character was complaining about being unhappy, and the other character replied, “You have a misguided notion of what makes you happy.”

The sentence made me stop and think. Most of us, at different times, have a misguided notion of what we think will make us happy. We go around trying out different prescriptions and remedies.

Maybe the new thing will work ... or maybe I should go back to the old one?

Maybe there's still something else out there, just waiting to be discovered?

That’s why the alternative to misguided notions—true clarity with the possibility of contentment—is so powerful. Knowing what will really make you happy, as opposed to what you think will make you happy, is no less a superpower than flying.

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Travel Hacker and Ethical Fashionista: On the Road with Lauren K. Lancy

This is a travel hacking case study. (Read others or nominate yourself.)

Not only is Lauren Lancy a travel hacker, using miles & points to see the world, but she's also merged travel and fashion with her new project, The Kindcraft.

I’m a fashion designer and trend forecaster from Brooklyn. At the end of 2012, I traded New York City’s concrete jungle for the jungles of Southeast Asia. Now, instead of designing for fast fashion brands, I advocate for slower, more thoughtful and ethical kinds of fashion.

My interest in handmade products, textiles, and ethnic arts took me to Luang Prabang, Laos where my husband and I lived for 2013. Our home is now in Chiang Mai, a creative city in the tropical mountains of Northern Thailand.

I travel regularly to meet artists for my latest project, The Kindcraft, which is a celebration of makers of traditional art and contemporary craft from around the globe.

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My Favorite Hotel Card Now Has a 30,000 Point Bonus—And You Can Earn Two of Them

Link: New 30,000 Point Signup Bonus (Personal Card)

Link: New 30,000 Point Signup Bonus (Business Card)

16940311578_06494f51fb_z I've been using the Starwood Preferred Guest card from American Express for more than eight years. For the first couple of years, in fact, it was the only mileage-earning card I had. Back then, there was no sign-up bonus. It was simply a great card, especially due to its ability to earn a 20% bonus on all earned points when transferring to most major airline programs.

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