Prepare for Tomorrow by Doing One Thing Differently Today


Here’s a trick that will help every time.

Work hard during the day, and cross off as many things from your list as you can. But as you’re winding down, save something. Leave one thing undone.

Don’t actually do that one more task—but do identify it.

Stop before you’re completely ready to stop. Build a bridge to the future, and leave your current day’s work knowing what you’re going to do next.

It will work. Every time.

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Departure Morning

Once the bags are packed, a lot of decisions have already been made. The night before, you had to think through what to pack and what to leave behind. The morning of departure, you check again and again for the essentials: passport, wallet, journal, tickets, bus fare. Your itinerary, chosen from among countless options, is at least partially settled by now. You're going to _____, and as far as you're concerned, all of _____ is waiting for you. The road ahead may not be easy, but you have already overcome one big challenge as you carry those bags out the door.

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Useful Travel Skills

If you'd like to be a traveler, you could learn about history and geography, focusing on what is similar and what is different on this strange, beautiful planet. You could learn languages, in an attempt to ingratiate yourself and show respect for the culture you've dropped in on as an outsider. You could learn about photography or videography, and find a way to document your memories for others to enjoy from afar. All these things are fine and useful pursuits. But as you move from aspiring vagabond to global explorer, here are a few suggestions that might help even more.

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Calm Before the Storm

In the time leading up to a big day, you do everything you can. You make plans. You consider contingencies. You supply, you restock. You practice, you rehearse, you try to anticipate. You ask for help ... a lot of help. Good planning goes a long way. Giving a speech is a lot easier if you know exactly what you want to say. Laying the foundation for maximum impact comes through careful work done over the course of weeks, months, and years.

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Packing List


A number of people have asked what I take with me for long overseas trips, and how I travel with no backpack or checked baggage. I'm getting ready to head out on the road again in about 10 days, so this is a good opportunity to review how it works for me.

The biggest secret: packing light is actually easier than bringing a ton of stuff.

The overriding philosophy of my packing list is to keep it as simple as possible. That's basic, I know, but very important. At least for me, travel stress is directly proportionate to the amount of stuff I carry around. I don't own a backpack and haven't willingly checked a bag on one of my extended adventures.

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