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Annual Review 2014: A Big Batch of Reader Reports Is In!

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Hey everyone! Thanks as always to all who read the blog and all who participate in some fashion. The December 2014 Annual Review was a long one. I spent 6,000+ words compiling a ton of lessons from the year, as well as plans for 2015. You can catch up on some of the posts here:

Reader Reviews: What Did You Have to Say?

We've gathered together a collection of awesome annual reviews from our community. First up, check out this email I received from a high school student, Evan Twarog:

Hi Chris, At the start of 2014, I did a review, and because of it, it was by far the most successful year of my life. Writing it as a junior in high school, I knew that 2014 was the year for me to create a foundation for my future success. Some of the highlights of the year include:

  • *Traveling to El Salvador for a service project through Interact
  • *Winning the Rotary Global Essay Competition and traveling to India for a week
  • *Interning as a high school student at CHA Consulting, a civil engineering firm
  • *Racing on the Elm City Velo Cycling Racing team as its only junior racer
  • *Receiving an appointment to the United States Coast Guard Academy
I love this report. Well done, Evan!

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The Importance of Having a Breakdown, AKA “What Happened to the Annual Review”

What can I say about the Annual Review process that I’ve completed without fail for more than a decade?

This year, I gave up on it and walked away.

Well, not quite—that would be an exaggeration. But to be fully honest (and we shall return to this phrase again), I had a hard time facing it. Eventually I was able to make some progress, which I’ll note below, but the overall sense was one of sadness.

Last year was hard, too. And there have been other hard years. This time, however, felt nearly insurmountable.

A challenge became a struggle. The struggle became a crisis, and the crisis became, well, something that approaches a total breakdown.

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2010 Annual Review: Travel Roundup

As part of the Annual Review series, I look back at everywhere I went in 2010. It’s a long list! From my usual 20+ new countries to a book tour to every U.S. state, I spent a lot of time on the road this year. In rough chronological order, here’s everywhere I went in 2010:

United States, Canada, New Zealand, Tonga, Samoa, Fiji, Hong Kong, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Singapore, Maldives, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Germany, Ukraine, Cyprus, Cape Verde, Lithuania, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Armenia, Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon, Morocco, Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali, Algeria, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Thailand

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Travelers: 100,000 Point Signup Bonus Is Now Available

Link: 100,000 Point Bonus (!): New Chase Sapphire Preferred Reserve Card

Big news: my favorite credit card for travelers has been upgraded and now offers a huge 100,000 point bonus. The original card is still available (and it’s still great), but for many people, this new one is even better.

You'll receive the 100,000 points bonus after completing a $4,000 minimum spend in four months. There’s a $450 annual fee, but this is offset by a $300 credit for anything you spend on travel—and you can earn the credit every calendar year, meaning that in the first year you'll essentially get a $600 credit.

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WDS 2013: A Partial (and Impartial) Recap

We did it! Ten days ago, nearly 3,000 people descended on Portland for the third annual World Domination Summit. Everyone asks what WDS is, and here’s what I usually say as a brief answer: WDS is an annual gathering of creative, unconventional people from all over the world. This brief answer doesn’t tell the whole…

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The Latest in Travel Hacking: Earn Free Airfare in 2012

Happy New Year!

On Sunday's long run, I pushed it to 12 miles in honor of 2012. I then tried to eat 12 pieces of nutella pie as a reward, but that plan fell through after piece #2.

As you're thinking about a new year, here's a free tip: forget resolutions; think about living intentionally instead.

What matters to you this year? Do that.

What do you hope to build in 2012? Work on that.

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Building Influence to Gain Widespread Authority

This is a more advanced look at how I've been able to build the AONC site into a diverse community over the past year.

I've already written 79 pages about this subject, so this follow-up is mostly for the 50,000 people who have read that report so far. What I want to do in this article is focus on using multiple spheres of influence to create widespread, perceived authority.

One of the most important parts of developing a following is answering the “reason why” question and proving yourself to be an authority on at least one thing other people care passionately about.

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Creating a Legacy Project

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In the spring of 2007 I was feeling stuck. As amazing as they were, the four years I had spent in Africa were fading off into the distance. In my new life I had migrated to Seattle, entered graduate school, started a new business, and began traveling independently to faraway places during school breaks.

These were all good projects. Grad school, check. New city, check. Business, travel, volunteer work, marathon training, check. But despite the fact that these were worthwhile ways to spend my time, I knew something big was missing:

I had no legacy project, and it really bothered me.

I thought of a legacy project as something I’d create that would outlast me; something I could point to years from now and have more than just memories to show for it. In other words, I wanted something tangible and documented for anyone who wanted to see it at any time in the future.

As I was looking for a new focus, I considered a few options that initially seemed to be good choices ...

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