Reset

“Traveling Taught Me How to Be a Parent”: On the Road with Christine Gilbert

DSC00393 Several years ago, Christine Gilbert packed up the kids and hit the road. She and her family have been roaming the world ever since.

I’m a writer and photographer who was trapped for years in the Ann Taylor-clad body of a corporate manager, until one day I did something completely ordinary but unexpected. I quit a very nice job and convinced my husband that we were moving overseas.

Since then we’ve reinvented our careers and lives as something between wandering creatives and ill-equipped adventurers. We have two very American kids who have never lived in the US. Instead, they’ve grown up speaking Spanish and English (plus many other languages along the way) and sincerely believe that “America” is the place we go to get new iPads when they break (which is true, actually).

Read More

4 Travel Hacking Tricks for Domestic Trips

I received a note from a reader who wanted to know about traveling domestically. I admit that most of what I get excited about in the world of travel hacking relates to international travel. I like flying around the planet and changing as many as twelve time zones at once, only to do it again a few days later.

But not everyone feels the same way, and besides—even if you travel far and wide, you still probably need to travel shorter distances from time to time too.

How can you benefit from travel hacking when planning relatively simple trips? Here are four very helpful tricks.

Read More

How an Excel Spreadsheet Led One Woman to Change Careers

When even the unconventional life isn’t working out as you planned, how do you course correct to get on a more fulfilling track? Bethany Butzer broke out a spreadsheet and charted her way to a life more aligned with her values.

I’ve never really followed a linear path. I graduated with a Ph.D. in Psychology, turned down a job in academia to work in the corporate world, but very quickly realized that the 9-to-5 cubicle life wasn't for me. After a year and a half, I quit.

A job opened up at Harvard Medical School for someone to help research school-based yoga interventions. This seemed like a perfect opportunity to combine my passion for research with my interest in well-being, so my husband and I sold our house and we moved to Boston.

To my surprise, Harvard didn’t end up being what I’d hoped for. The work environment was extremely competitive and exhausting. The cost of living was through the roof. I spent most of my time at work or recovering from work. After two years of this lifestyle, I realized that something needed to change. Four guidelines helped guide my husband and me through some major lifestyle changes to get us where we are today.

Read More

Let the Wave Crash Over You: One Year Later

Readers: One year ago today I lost my brother, Ken. This new post contains my one-year reflections. Like the first time I told the story, it’s written as a direct letter to him.

***

Dear Ken,

I’d say that it’s hard to believe a year has passed, but the greater truth is that it’s hard to believe it happened at all. When I think of it now, as I do every day, my mind still runs to the same place of shock and disbelief.

There were days during the year when I thought about it less than others, and maybe some days when I began to look forward. As today’s date approached, though, I reverted to that place of disbelief where everything feels suspended in time.

Read More

If You Have No Challenges, Maybe It’s Time to Change Your Life

Have you ever walked around endless airport highway ramps for more than a mile? When it’s after 10pm and you’ve got your carry-on bags with you?

Yeah, so I did that the other night. Short version: when you arrive in DFW and are staying at the off-airport Hyatt Regency, you’re supposed to take the SkyTrain to the C gates, and then hike through the parking garage to the entrance. I’ve done it that way before, and it’s not terribly difficult.

This time I was hanging out in the D terminal, working from my favorite U.S. airline lounge, and I decided to walk outside and skip the whole SkyTrain thing. How hard could it be? I’ve been to DFW, oh, I don’t know—several hundred times if not more. Sure, it’s a big place, and there was that time I got lost trying to return a rental car and missed my flight, but still.

Read More

8 Easy Actions to Kickstart Your Way to Free Travel

When you’re just starting to learn about free travel or travel hacking, it’s easy to get overwhelmed in a deluge of information and recommendations.

But fear not! Here’s a current and highly practical list of things you can do right now to kickstart your way to the trip of your dream.

Bonus: most of these actions are very simple to complete, and almost all of them are FREE.

Read More

Winners Give Up All the Time

Lesson: “Never give up” is bad advice. Real winners don’t hesitate to walk away from an unsuccessful venture.

Contrary to popular belief, if you want to win, you shouldn’t always just keep going. You should regroup and try something totally different. “Winners never quit, and quitters never win” is a lie. To win, sometimes you need to find a new game to play.

You may be familiar with this old adage, often attributed to Albert Einstein: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”

Einstein was right in that the real danger of going in- sane, or just failing over and over, doesn’t usually come from doing something new. Rather, the worst failures come from something that we’ve been doing for a while.

Read More

If Everyone Becomes a Non-Conformist, Won’t We All Be Conforming?

I used to get this question a lot, sometimes framed in skepticism but other times just curiosity. The simple answer is that not everyone wants to become a non-conformist, or any other particular means of self-identification. Plenty of people are happy with the way things are, which is the definition of conformity. It’s not always a bad thing.

It’s also like asking, what if everyone wanted world peace? It would be wonderful If everyone wanted world peace, but not everyone does. People generally operate in their own interests, and some people benefit from conflict and strife. It’s no surprise that the world is full of constant conflict.

Being a non-conformist, or just a rebel in general, isn’t about fighting for the sake of fighting. Nor is it usually about rejecting an orthodoxy or culture. When it is about those things, the rebellion is usually superficial and short-lasting.

Read More

Awareness, Empathy, and Action: Turning a Decade Old Lesson into Reality

Stormy How do you translate your travel experiences into something tangible and meaningful, for those that aren’t on the road with you? Stormy Sweitzer drew on two powerful experiences to write an inspiring adventure book for young adults.

It was 1988 and I was mortified. I was on a tour of Soviet Eastern Europe and I had just seen my grandmother sneak food from a hotel buffet, wrap it in a cloth napkin and tuck it into her purse. But I will never forget the moment when I later looked to where she had just been “checking something out” and saw a man in a worn suit pick the familiar-looking napkin up off a ledge, open it, and eat the food she’d purloined.

She hadn’t been saving it to eat later; she was using the resources available to her to help a stranger in need. This was the greatest lesson I have ever had in the importance of awareness, empathy and action. This one experience had such an impact on me, that it lead me to study abroad in both high school and college, and then join the Peace Corps after. This philosophy of awareness leading to empathy, leading to action, was slowly permeating every aspect of my life.

Read More

Limited Time: Earn Up to 170,000 Delta SkyMiles through Improved Signup Offers

Link: New Delta Offers Earning 50,000-60,000 Miles Each

As part of a limited-time offer, American Express has increased the bonus for several of their Delta Airlines cards. There are now three different options, each with a higher signup bonus than usual.

For the next few weeks (or less, depending on when you’re reading this), you can earn an improved signup bonus on any of them.

Read More

The Anti-Nomad: How one Woman Created a Home Base while Opening Up to Life on the Road

How do you preserve that special feeling you get from travel? For Sofie Couwenbergh, keeping the magic alive meant not turning traveling into a full-time pursuit. Learn how she forges her own path.

I was born and raised in Belgium. I’ve always known that I wanted to do "something with writing,” so I studied literature and got a job as a copywriter and marketing coordinator. I’d even picked up an amazing boyfriend along the way, and together we'd found an affordable apartment we loved. But wait, I'm not that boring!

Whenever things seem perfect, they usually aren’t.

I was miserable at my first job and later I was miserable at my second. At the same time, the more I saw of the world, the more I wanted to see. I used up all of my vacation days (and we have many in Belgium!) and even took unpaid leave — but it wasn't enough. Not only was traveling not enough, there was something missing in general. I thought I just needed a creative outlet, so I started a blog. Through blogging, a whole new world of freelancers and digital nomads opened up to me.

Read More

This Summer: Hack Your Book, Learn the Science of Happiness, & Become a Financial Badass

Link: WDS 2016 Academy Registration Is Now Open to Everyone!

Every year since 2011, I've produced and hosted an global gathering known modestly as the World Domination Summit (WDS). More than 10,000 people have participated in WDS main stage events, and starting in 2014 we expanded to feature half-day workshops known as Academies.

Registration for Academies is now open to the general public, and this year we have something special: an all-new experience called WDS Connect.

When you register for WDS Connect, you'll get access to hundreds of meetups and special sessions that aren't open to the general public. You'll also get access to one complimentary Academy of your choice.

Read More

Improve the Right Kind of Skills (They Probably Aren’t What You Think)

Lesson: Improving “soft skills” can increase your value no matter what kind of career you have.

Hard skills are things you learned through technical or academic training: how to make architectural drawings with certain software, how to properly administer medication as a nurse, and so on.

Soft skills are just as important—if not more—but aren’t usually taught in school. To be more effective (and to become more valuable), spend time improving your soft skills in writing, negotiation, conflict management, and follow-up.

Read More

Top 3 Credit Card Signup Bonuses for Miles and Points: June 2016

Every year I earn well over one million Frequent Flyer miles and points. Although about 250,000 of them come through actual travel, the rest come through travel hacking: the art of seeing the world on a budget.

One of the easiest ways to earn a lot of miles all at once is through credit card signup bonuses. This post contains the best current card offers as of Friday, June 3rd. If getting every card from this post, you'd earn more than 175,000 points or miles. Happy travels! In this edition:

Read More