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Limited Time: Earn Up to 180,000 Hilton Points with Special Offers

Link: Get 100,000 Hilton Points (with $75 annual fee)
Link: Get 80,000 Hilton Points (with no annual fee)

There's big news in the travel hacking world this week: a limited-time offer to earn a lot of hotel points has arrived. To be precise, there are actually two offers, one for an increased signup bonus amount (from 40,000 points to 75,000, which is great), and an even better one that gets you a whopping 100,000 Hilton points. Yeah, no kidding!

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Couple Earns 1.8 Million Frequent Flyer Miles, Sets Out to Visit 100 Countries

Nate Buchanan and his wife Kara had been talking about traveling for years. They finally stopped discussing and started planning. Before they left, they travel hacked their way to 1.8 million frequent flyer miles, which they’re using to travel to 100 countries.

I had been mildly obsessed with the idea of full-time travel for a few years. But in January of 2015 we were sitting at Dairy Queen, and something was different about this conversation. We were seriously discussing what it would take to make it a reality, and not just dreaming about "what ifs."

It’s so easy to discuss theoretically. Reality is, there's never an easy time, and we finally realized that there would never be an easier time than right now. We don’t have kids, we rented an apartment, and both of us were in a position where stepping away from our jobs wouldn’t be the end of the world. We finally decided we would take 2016 to travel full-time and see as much of the world as possible before we settled down.

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Swiss Man Finds Dream Job Mushing Sled Dogs in Alaska

Sven Haltmann went from a miserable office job existence to living his dream life in Alaska, with not just one but two dream jobs. He now spends his winters mushing and his summers running a hostel, meeting guests from around the world.

I used to work for a health insurance company in Switzerland. Even though I loved everyone that I worked with, I hated the job so much that I wanted to shoot myself in the head every Sunday thinking about the start of a new week.

Since I was only 20 and already miserable, I knew I had to do something different to change the path I was headed down. I applied as a tour guide in Greece, got the job and worked on the island of Crete for three years during the summer. Unsure of what to do during the winter, I applied to work for a dog musher who competed in the Iditarod trail sled dog race.

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Reporting Back on the First Set of Side Hustle Workshops

When I started Side Hustle School, the main commitment was the daily podcast, which is still going strong 60+ episodes in. People are responding to it very well, and I’m having fun. Yay!

But I don’t do small very well, so in addition to the daily show, there’s also a traveling workshop series and an upcoming book. I recently completed the first set of workshops and I learned a lot.

Here are a few reflections based on stops in four cities: Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, and Phoenix.

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Earn 430,000 Miles from the Best Current Travel Card Offers

Every year I earn well over one million Frequent Flyer miles and points. About 250,000 of them come through actual travel, but 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. When managed carefully (i.e., you pay your bills on time), there's no downside and you can keep the miles coming for a long time.

We've had a bunch of new offers recently, and it's been a while since I've done a roundup. This post contains the best current card offers. If getting each one, you'd earn 430,000 miles!

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“Everything Is Figoureoutable:” Notes from Paris to Doha

On a recent trip, I had to get back to Doha from Paris, a 5 1/2 hour flight. I was transferring via an initial connection from Zurich, and I booked the Zurich flight to arrive less than an hour before the Qatar Airways flight departed.

You might think that’s cutting it close, and it was. In the worst of times, Charles de Gaulle airport can be an absolute nightmare to navigate for transit. It’s not unreasonable to walk more than a kilometer between terminals, and some terminals are reachable only by an extended bus ride. Add long security lines (no PreCheck!) to that equation, and it’s not unreasonable to allow 2-3 hours for a connection.

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Even When You Aren’t Sure What to Say, Don’t Be Silent

I recently had the honor of introducing Emily McDowell and facilitating a Q&A session with her at Powell’s for her new book, There Is No Good Card for This.

You probably know Emily’s work even if you don’t know her yourself. She’s the creator, designer, and entrepreneur behind a line of greeting cards and related products, all with the goal of serving “the relationships we really have.”

Here are a few of her popular cards (order yours online or from one of 2,000 stores around the world):

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How One Woman Left A Busy NYC Life To Become an Accidental Entrepreneur

Rosie Yakob calls herself an accidental entrepreneur because she’s loved nearly every job she’s had, so never really considered starting her own business. But eventually, the constant busyness of life in NYC became too much.

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I loved my job right up until the very end. Which meant I had a lot of explaining to do, as my now husband and I were preparing to leave NYC. “You loved your job!” my friends exclaimed. “Where are you going? For how long? What’s next?” everyone asked, both thrilled and frustrated with my vague response of “Traveling. Who knows!”

When we left NYC, we were surrounded by people who were constantly busy. This culture exists in many places, but we found the answer so unbelievably common in NYC. Even I found myself responding to “How are you?” with the dreaded “b” word. While I loved my job, I always clarified to those who commented on my love for the work that I was “working to live, as opposed to living to work.”

How quickly we trade happiness for business, or busyness, especially when it comes to work and salaries.

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Afternoon Rituals

If I’ve done my job well and managed my time properly, most of the crunch time work has happened in the morning. I work every morning, afternoon, and most evenings, but in different ways.

The afternoon is a slower form of work. I have at least 40 minutes for lunch, which I usually read with the New Yorker or Economist or (when in my hometown) the Willamette Week. Afterwards, if the weather’s nice, I might walk for a while. I run an errand or two. Eventually, I end up at a coffee shop, or I pick up a pastry and head home.

The 2pm-4pm work period is nice and easy. I might have deadlines but I usually avoid calls or interviews. I plan ahead and do some editing, a bit of writing, maybe some business work. But it’s thoughtful. I’ve already read all the news in the morning, but I might read more analysis or an article on Longreads with my coffee.

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WDS Tickets On-Sale Now: Join Us This Summer for a Grand Adventure

Link: Join Us in Portland for WDS 2017!

For six years, we’ve brought together kind and remarkable people from all over the world for a summer gathering known as the World Domination Summit (WDS).

We’re doing it again this summer, and—though I know it sounds crazy—the team and I are just as excited (if not more!) about the upcoming adventure.

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Reading the News Makes Me Depressed, but Here’s What I Realized

I used to read the news every day—a lot of news, from a lot of different sources. But after the election, quite frankly, reading the news made me depressed. I went on a media fast and put my head in the sand, largely out of shock and dismay but also for general self-preservation.

As time went by, I struggled a bit with this position. I definitely felt better in not knowing which particular racist or anti-science person was being appointed to various positions of high influence on any given day. And all of a sudden, I had a lot more time!

Still, I didn’t want to be completely uninformed, especially in the midst of our country’s institutions being torn to shreds.

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30 Days of Side Hustle School: Cruising for Dollars, Six-Figure Candy Hearts, and Saddles for Pet Chickens

On January 1, I started a daily podcast that will continue throughout the year. I’ve learned a lot, and I’m having a lot of fun.

Best of all, a lot of people are learning from the show and starting their own hustles.

If you’re new to the show, it’s not too late to jump in. You can start listening at any point and not feel left out, but it may help to go back and listen to some of the earlier episodes.

You can then add them to your home library on iTunes, Sonos, or presumably any other player that you prefer. You can also catch up on any recent episode from the links in this post.

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Couple Uses Southwest Companion Pass to Save $3,800 and Take 14 Free Flights

Link: Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

I’ve mentioned the Southwest Airlines Companion Pass a couple times over the years. In short, if you’re able to get it—by earning 110,000 qualifying points in a year—a companion of your choice can fly with you for nearly free (just pay the taxes on their ticket) for an entire year.

Here’s a fun story from Annabelle and Christian, two students from last year's Dream Trip course, that have used their Companion Pass to take more than a dozen free flights so far.

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