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Get Your First 1,000 Email Subscribers

Also known as: Why I Fired My Email List Provider

Link: Get Your First 1,000 Email Subscribers

For more than 8 years I used the same email provider. At one time, long ago, they were the best in the business. As the years went by, they became… well, definitely not the best. I had countless frustrations, including one time where the whole system was down for several days and the company only acknowledged the disaster after people complained.

Still, I resisted change, because change is hard—or so I thought. Over the past few years, a good friend of mine named Nathan Barry has been developing a new service that promised to fix many of the frustrations I had with the larger company that slowly declined over time.

I was skeptical at first, because, well, change is hard. But I finally decided to give Nathan’s service a try, and I was impressed right away. It’s much, much better than every other service I’ve seen, and depending on how you use it, it can be cheaper too.

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“How could you go back to living a mundane life?”

Cassie de Pecol is on a quest to become the fastest woman to visit every country in the world. We sometimes exchange notes about visa issues, long flights, and drinking a bottle of wine while stuck in no-man’s-land transit zone for eight hours or more.

There aren’t many people who’ve gone to every country. Cassie is pursuing a Guinness World Record (I like those too!) but for me, I wasn’t trying to be the youngest, fastest, or any other adjective. In my case, I did it for myself.

She said something to me recently that I really liked, and I’m sharing it here with her permission. For context, we were talking about the dreaded “What do you do after completing a big quest?” question.

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7 Ways to Get Started Earning Points & Miles for Free Travel

Hey everyone! Lots of new people are reading the blog lately, and I’ve been getting a bunch of questions about some travel hacking basics.

Here are a few notes for everyone who’s just started.

I originally started travel hacking as a means to see the world without spending a lot of money. I didn’t have a lot of money, and I also had a long list of places to go. Over the next decade, I had countless adventures all enabled through the world of miles and points.

I could have seen the world without ever using Frequent Flyer miles, but it definitely would have been much more expensive, and probably a lot less fun.

Here are seven things you should do to get started.

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Build a Business Where You Can’t Get Fired

Link: Webcomic Entrepreneurs

A while back, a friend of mine who worked in publishing was laid off. He was at the height of a career and by all accounts had done an excellent job for his employer. He lived in New York City, perhaps the center of the universe for many things, but definitely not known for being affordable. Oh, and he also had a large family, with at least two kids who would be going to college soon.

When he was laid off, I thought, “Wow, if that can happen to him, it can happen to nearly any employee.”

Thankfully, he’s landed on his feet and now works in a senior role with another publisher. Still, what if there was a better way?

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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.

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Since You Can Live Anywhere, Where Should It Be?

Link: The Earth Awaits

If you could live anywhere, where would it be? Oh wait... most of us can live just about anywhere.

Sure, you might not be able to pack up and leave tomorrow (or maybe you could), but with enough resourcefulness, with the right passport it’s not that hard to leave your home country and establish a new life elsewhere. Many readers have done it.

A new free site called The Earth Awaits offers to help you kick the planning into another gear. You tell it which factors are important to you, and it gives you customized recommendations.

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Midnight Sky Notes from Jakarta to Tokyo

Sometimes it’s good to live for the moment. Case in point: you’re flying JAL from Jakarta to Tokyo. It’s an overnight flight, but a short one. When a flight like this is blocked for 7 hrs, you know it’s probably more like 6. Then when you factor in takeoff and getting settled and at least having a snack before sleeping and a cup of coffee before landing, you’re looking at a 5-hour maximum sleep window.

But then the friendly flight attendant offers another glass of Syrah. This being a Japanese airline, she's already apologized four times for asking you to change your seat upon boarding.

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How to Travel to Random Places and Work on a Project

Greetings from the sky, on board Cathay Pacific’s longest flight. There are 16 hours scheduled for my “air world” time today, although it looks like we may arrive one hour early.

I love flights like these. I’ve already taken a three-hour nap (hey, I was tired) and am now up to work for several hours while I drink espresso and Perrier. It’s dark outside now, but eventually the sun will come up in-flight. A few more hours later I’ll land in Hong Kong, a full 12-hour time difference from where I left. Travel is life.

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Be Realistic: Plan for a Miracle

realistic

“Be realistic: Plan for a miracle.” ―Osho
Sometimes in life it’s good to play it safe. But this is not one of those times. This is a time where you’ve come to a point of no return. A choice will be made—no, you will make a choice—and after choosing, you won’t ever be the same.

Sometimes we don’t appreciate the critical moments of life until they’re over. But this time it's obvious: what you do next matters. And the outcome is at least partially within your control.

When you feel as though the odds are against you, you know you’re on the right track. If other people don’t understand your idea, great. If someone says it’s stupid, that’s even better.

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Hacking European Budget Airlines: Learn From An Expat’s Experience

When American expat Julie Smith moved to the UK, she imagined endless jaunts around Europe, weekends exploring foreign cities and spontaneous day trips to Paris. Faced with a limited budget and a need to get creative, she discovered the glorious world of budget airlines and has been a loyal fan ever since.

Ultra low fare airlines like Ryanair and Easyjet changed the landscape of flying in Europe when they were created in the 1990s. They introduced the lowest fares anyone had seen, especially compared to British Airways, Aer Lingus, and the other government subsidized airlines, advertising tickets for as low as £1 plus tax.

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“How Can We Be More Present?”: Rev. angel Kyodo williams at WDS

Earlier this week we released the first round of tickets for WDS 2017, a week-long gathering of creative, remarkable people—taking place next summer in beautiful Portland, Oregon. Those tickets are now sold out—join the waiting list to get notice of the next round.

For the past month, we’ve been rolling out a series of speaker videos from the 2016 event, and we've finally come down to our closing speaker. Rev. angel Kyodo Williams is an author, activist, master trainer and founder of the Center for Transformative Change. She has been bridging the worlds of transformation and justice since releasing her critically acclaimed book, Being Black: Zen and the Art of Living With Fearlessness and Grace.

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Get 175,000 Points + $500 in Travel Rewards from Business Cards

Link: Enhanced Business Platinum Card

Link: Platinum Delta SkyMiles Business Card

Link: SimplyCash Plus Business Card ($500 Credit)

Once again, it’s raining points and miles—a bunch of new travel hacking offers have hit the market all at once, offering you the chance to earn up to 175,000 miles (or more depending on how you count it) and an additional $500.

There's been some confusion about all these AmEx offers, so I thought I’d break down the most attractive ones and also clarify something. Let’s start with the clarification: these are marketed as business card offers, but if you’re eligible for U.S. credit cards, you’re probably eligible to get at least one of these.

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Epic Bike Quest & Failed Mountain Summit Leads Student to “Do More Than Exist”

It's natural to want to give back when someone saves your life. Ethan Maurice thought he was going to be a doctor in order to return the life-saving favor—but then he had another idea.

A brush with death changed my life. At sixteen, I was bitten by the wrong mosquito. I went from being a totally healthy kid to a full on grand mal seizure brought on by a rare viral infection of my brain and spinal fluid. After suffering a stroke, three days in a coma, many more seizures, and nine days in the intensive care unit, I emerged with significant brain damage.

Ethan8

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How to Live a Good Life: A Recipe for Compassion and Meaning

If you've read my blog for any amount of time, you've probably heard me mention Jonathan Fields. He's been a good friend of many years and we've been part of many events together, from speaking at SXSW in Austin to all six (!) WDS's from 2011-2016 in Portland. I've probably learned more from him than anyone else in the world of publishing and community building—and I know a lot of people!

His new book is out today, and it's great. Instead of asking for his life story or what we can learn in this book, I wanted to ask him three simple questions: why this message, why this book, and why now?

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Being Able to Ask “What’s Next?” Is a Sign You Are Happy in Your Work

During the Born for This tour, people would occasionally ask how you know when you have your dream job. It was an easy setup for a joke: “If you have to ask, ‘Am I happy?’ you probably aren’t.”

Still, even when you’re satisfied in your work, it’s nice to get reinforcement of that fact from time to time. There are several big and little signs that can provide that reinforcement:

Here’s another one that I’ve been pondering lately. When you finish a task or project, do you experience a sense of accomplishment—or do you only feel relief?

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