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Introducing WDS Connect: Join Us in Portland this August!

If you’ve read the blog for a while, you probably know about WDS, also known as the World Domination Summit (modestly titled). For the past five years a small team and I have produced this summer gathering in Portland, Oregon, with thousands of interesting people who attend from all over the world.

Last year was our five-year anniversary, and we decided to try something new for 2016. The main-stage weekend (now called “360”) has limited attendance of 1,000 people and is already sold out.

However, we’re also creating an all-new experience for everyone else who wasn’t able to get that ticket. This new experience is called WDS Connect.... and you can now sign up to join us!

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What Time Should You Arrive at the Airport?

I’m unusual in that I love airports. I'll regularly arrive 2-3 hours in advance of my flight, sometimes even at a small airport without a lounge. There’s just something about being around the bustle of people in motion and aircraft on the tarmac that I find reassuring.

But let’s say that you’re a normal person. Assuming you don’t want to live as I do, when should you arrive at the airport before a flight?

Two simple guidelines will help.

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“Problems Don’t Define a Place, People Do”: A Journey into Uganda

With NPR news, Instagram, and Netflix documentaries at our fingertips, it’s easy to think we understand a place, even if we’ve never spent much time there. Amy Carst and her family moved to Uganda for four months, and they realized the Africa they’d heard about wasn’t the Africa they came to know.

It is 5:30 in the morning. I’m sitting under my mosquito netting with a cup of strong coffee while a preacher’s sermon is projected in the local Luganda language from a nearby church. When we arrived in Uganda, I was annoyed by this loud, peculiar, predawn disturbance. But now, it’s background noise, much like a window fan in summer or water flowing down a backyard stream.

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One Week from Today: “Born for This” Goes Into the World!

cgoperabook - 7 One day I’ll drink less coffee... but it won’t be anytime soon.

Over the past few weeks I’ve had my passport locked in a drawer, and I haven’t allowed myself to purchase any plane tickets that cross an ocean. Am I tired of seeing the world? Nope. I’ll actually be on the road to 30 cities starting very soon, but they’re all in the U.S. and Canada.

In exactly seven days, my new book Born for This will launch into the world.

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Everything’s Great, But Could I Get That Breakfast I Ordered?

My hotel breakfast server was very friendly. It took a while for him to come over after I was seated, but when he did, he was all smiles and exuberance.

I ordered eggs, coffee, and a smoothie (thanks, Starwood). “That’s a great idea!” the server said, and seemed genuinely happy about my order.

Over the next twenty minutes, he came back several times to check on me. There was just one problem: my breakfast never arrived.

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A Better Way to Think About Traveling for Nearly Free

16572590216_0d1b6a2665_z Readers who are learning about travel hacking tend to have lots of questions about what their miles and points are worth. I’m the first to say that I’m not the best at determining a specific valuation. I have a CPA to help with my taxes, I hardly ever check website statistics or any other analytics, and math isn't my strong suit.

So when it comes to valuation, I tend to look to some general rules instead of getting hyper specific. By far the most important rule is: travel hacking helps me have amazing experiences.

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The Impact of Age on Happiness, Especially In Times of Crisis

New research reveals that situational happiness or sadness may relate partly to age.

"Long ago, when I was 30 and he was 66, the late Donald Richie, the greatest writer I have known, told me: 'Midlife crisis begins sometime in your 40s, when you look at your life and think, Is this all? And it ends about 10 years later, when you look at your life again and think, Actually, this is pretty good.'

In my 50s, thinking back, his words strike me as exactly right. To no one’s surprise as much as my own, I have begun to feel again the sense of adventure that I recall from my 20s and 30s. I wake up thinking about the day ahead rather than the five decades past. Gratitude has returned."

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California Man Buys an Entire Cow and Feeds His Family for a Year

Sometimes the best part of a quest is when you wind up somewhere you never would have expected. For Jared Stone, he didn’t even think he’d be on top of Mt. Whitney because he bought a cow to feed his family.

One Saturday afternoon, I was watching a food show on TV. Being a television professional (I’m a producer), I have a pretty nice setup — 1080p, high refresh rate, lots of HDMI-ins. I know a fair bit about both television as an industry, and televisions in particular as specific pieces of technology. That afternoon, it occurred to me that I knew more about the television on my wall than the food that goes into my body – the stuff that actually becomes “me.”
JaredSteer

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The 50-Mile Race vs. The Cliff Jump

Cliff Jump Imagine two scenarios that each require you to take on a monumental task.

In the first scenario, your task is to run a 50-mile race. You’re not quite out of shape, and you exercise regularly, but you’ve never ran anywhere close to that distance. It’s a daunting challenge, likely the most difficult physical activity of your life, and you haven’t even had breakfast yet.

Despite the tremendous challenge, you set off, determined to overcome the odds. You draw on whatever motivation you can muster. Maybe someone told you that you could never run a single mile, so you think of those comments as you place step over tired step on the ground, one foot in front of the other. Maybe you picture your arrival at the end of the race, with a crowd of supporters cheering your accomplishment.

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How Goals Change Over Time, and What to Do About It

The other day I was cleaning out my home office, and I found some old notes. The notes were from more than eight years ago before starting this blog. At the time I was planning to undergo some big changes and attempt a new career as a writer.

As I looked through the notes, I smiled in recognition of many of the items I’d listed so long ago. I’d been to about 70 countries then, and was officially beginning the quest to go to all of them (193/193). I achieved that goal almost three years ago.

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2016 Dining Dash Coming Up! Visit 12 Restaurants, Earn Miles for the Rest of the Year

If you aren’t tired from stuffing envelopes for hotel points, there’s an all-new travel hacking adventure coming up on Friday. You can join us from anywhere in the U.S. for this one.

Two years ago, I co-created the "Dining Dash." We went to 12 restaurants in a single day, all in pursuit of “running the table” on earning all the qualifying stops we’d need to earn extra Frequent Flyer miles when dining at many other restaurants for a whole year.

Last year we repeated the adventure together, and ended up in a bar (our 12th stop!) with a dozen other local friends and readers.

Well, a new year means it’s time to qualify yet again ... so the Dining Dash is coming back!

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“Don’t Make Decisions Based on Ego”: A Year-Long, Cross-Country Motorcycle Journey

For three years, Mallory Paige and her dog Baylor traveled the country in a cherry red VW van. Now, they travel a little lighter: by motorcycle (for Mallory) and sidecar (for Baylor) for a year-long project, Operation Moto Dog.

When I live in the framework of kaizen, it reminds me that moving on to the next thing — with thought and intention — is a good thing. The goal of life is not to become stagnant, but to appreciate that life is change. Even though change can be challenging, uncomfortable and stressful in the moment, ultimately it’s where the richest lessons and experiences lie.
Mallory5

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The Snake in the Road: A Lesson in Fear & Perception

Over the past few months, when I haven’t been preparing for my book launch or flying around the world, I’ve also been learning a lot more about “inner work.”

Admittedly, this is an area that is very new to me. I’m pretty good at all the things I’ve used to succeed in life and work thus far—but I’ve come to acknowledge that I lack the skills I need for what I want to do next.

I'll share more about this as I go through a series of processes, both on my own and with some help from a few friends. For now, here’s a story that originally comes from the Buddhist tradition. I've been thinking about how this applies to some areas of my life. Maybe it applies to some of yours, too.

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