Sometimes it’s hard to say things we'd like to—but leaving them unsaid can create regrets, especially because we don’t always know when we’ll come to the end of our lives. That’s why I liked this idea of writing a “last letter” to your loved ones even while you’re healthy.The authors have created an easy-to-use template, where you simply answer a series of open-ended questions in your own words. Read More
Imagine that you’re filling your bathtub for a nice relaxing soak. You’ve got the water on full blast at just the right temperature, and the soap suds are perfectly proportioned. Yet there’s a problem: the water rises to a decent level, but never quite tops out to where you’d like it. Despite leaving the water on and stepping away for a while, nothing changes.
Then you realize the source of the problem: there’s a hole in the drain. It may just be a small one, but it’s a hole—water disappears down it in one direction only, never to return.
What do you do? You could leave the water on full blast for the entire soak, which might not be that relaxing. Or you could try to fix the problem by plugging the hole.Read More
After traveling on an all-night flight where I stayed up for hours, only sleeping 90 minutes or so in the final portion before landing, I landed in Bangkok. I hadn’t been to Thailand in years!It was genuinely good to be back. There’s something strange and bittersweet to be here, but I can hold both feelings simultaneously. I was in town for two days, and I spent both afternoons working from the coffee shop in Terminal 21, a big shopping mall across the street from my hotel. I was in a jet lagged haze per usual, but it took me a few minutes to realize what else was wrong. Finally it hit me: Bangkok was a place I’d thought about bringing Ken on the big trip we never took. Read More
After ten years in the restaurant industry, Drew Seaman had lost his passion for food. With the long hours, he also barely saw his wife. When the opportunity to move to London presented itself, they both jumped at the chance to remake their lives.
When Julie called me about the offer to move to London (yes, she called, because we so rarely had time for conversations in person), I was immediately on board. For someone who is risk averse, that was a big step. But I understood that without a major ‘reason to leave,’ inertia and fear of the unknown would carry me towards a future I knew I didn’t want. Walking into the office and resigning without an idea of my next move was terrifying. But, resigning because I was literally moving out of the country, well, that seemed easy.Read More
Dear Ken,It’s been nearly ten months since you went away. Still, every day I think of you, I miss you, and I wish we could get you back. I started making a list of memories we shared, and I’m trying to learn more about the parts of your life that were unfamiliar to me. I’m thinking of you more than usual this week, because my new book is out and I’m on the road every day. You and I didn’t really travel together that much, but whenever we did, it was a lot of fun. Looking back, I wish I’d taken you to Bangkok or Dubai. I remember one time when you were traveling in your army uniform and got upgraded on a short domestic flight. You texted me to say how excited you were. I laughed, because flying First Class on a short U.S. flight isn’t much to rejoice over. I used to send you photos of me jetting around the world on much nicer airlines, and you’d always reply with a thumbs-up or an enthusiastic comment. Read More
Ebele Mogo stepped outside herself—way outside herself—when she decided she just had to know what people around her were thinking. So she grabbed her iPhone and asked.
I am a scientist, writer, and entrepreneur originally from Nigeria. I am both analytical and artistic, and I tend to be childlike—so I’m always laughing and I’m always curious. My curiosity is actually what led me to my quest: to interview one stranger every day for a year.Read More
I went to the hotel gym one morning while I was traveling. When I finished on the treadmill, I went back to the elevator to head down to my room... except there was just one problem. Yep, once again I’d forgotten my room number.I spend 100+ nights a year in hotels and still haven’t perfected a system for remembering where I “live” on any given night. Sometimes I carry the little check-in envelope around in my pocket, and sometimes I take a photo of the door, but at least once every dozen nights, I start to walk back toward my room before realizing I have no idea where it is. This time, I tried to retrace the steps that took me out of the room and to the gym. Was it 1406? I thought it was. It sounded like the right number. I went back to floor 14 and everything felt familiar. I turned down the hall and came to the room, which looked like the right one. The door was slightly ajar, and I assumed I’d mistakenly forgotten to close it all the way when I left. Not ideal, I thought, but it happens. Read More
We all meet people on the road—it's part of the fun of traveling. But for Marc Smith, his meetings on the road are especially intertwined with the trip itself.
Every success and failure of the last 46 years has brought me to today. Restless, in 2004 I quit my job and opened my own business as an event producer, with no clients and only enough financial backing for three months. Fast forward 200+ events to 2012 where I again felt stuck. I closed my company’s doors and started looking for the “next” thing. While I looked, I decided to be a tourist in my own city for 30 days. And that project became my “next” thing. I currently travel, go on adventures, and blog full-time.Read More
“I’m Still Surprised How Possible the Impossible Seems”: Creating a Lifestyle of Travel and Discovery
We are Bryan and Jen Danger (and Karma the Wonderdog). In 2012, we set out to drive our 1967 VW Bus through Mexico and Central America. Our mission: to free ourselves from the daily grind. We planned to be away for just two years. Prepping for our trip and leaving completely changed our outlook and our lives. Now, we find ourselves continually reinventing our path in an attempt to live a life of freedom both physically and financially.Read More
"Do human beings ever realize life while they live it—every, every minute?” -Emily, from Our Town by Thomas WilderThis past weekend I went back to the city where my brother and I both lived for a while. In fact, I stayed in the small hotel where I saw him for the last time. That visit was a year or so ago, and when we said goodbye he was returning to his home in Washington, D.C. and I to Portland. Ken had an appreciation for good whiskey, but on our last evening together I discovered that he had never heard of bourbon and ginger ale, a very basic and common drink. Following my lead, he had his first one that night at the hotel restaurant where we were staying. Then, the next morning, we had breakfast together in the same restaurant before going our separate ways. It’s funny how experiences like those seem so trivial at the time. Imagine writing a story composed of such details: two characters meet in a bar for a drink and talk about nothing terribly important. The next morning they have breakfast together and then fly back home. There’s no plot, no conflict, no life-altering decision to be made. What a boring story! Read More
That’s what dentists tell you. You don’t need to floss all your teeth—just the ones you need to keep.When it comes to your business, your life, or your relationships, a similar principle applies. You don’t have to pay attention to everything and everyone. But you do have to pay attention to what matters most. It may help to identify some priorities. In my business I track only two metrics on a consistent basis:
1. Email subscribers 2. Product salesMy thinking is that if these things are going along okay, everything else will fall into place. I don't check other statistics or track anything else. Checking my bank accounts will not make more money. This year I added a "relationship metric":
Every day I will write or call at least one friend.It’s simple, but effective (at least for me). So far this year, I haven’t missed a day. Read More
"I think the message in the book is that we all have flaws we can’t resolve." -Amazon reviewerI recently read Mrs. Bridge, a lesser-known novel from 1959 in which nothing really happens. A boring and largely unsympathetic character ambles though normal life events, rarely seeing her equally boring husband. Their three children have normal childhood problems, and eventually grow up. Sounds thrilling, right? But underneath the surface, there’s a lot more going on. The novel is essentially about discontent and regret, or about encountering the panic and quiet desperation of an ordinary life. Read More
Who doesn't like getting hand-written postcards?Designers Giorgia Lupi + Stefanie Posavec were living parallel lives as expats in London and Brooklyn when they decided to start a year-long postcard project. Each week, they sent each other a postcard—but not just any postcards. As artists who work with data, each postcard illustrates a particular type of data about their lives. After all 52 weeks, the project recently ended. You can see a few of the postcards below, or more on their site. Read More
For almost two decades, Bruno Caumette has made his home in a Toyota Land Cruiser. He's been around the world once and is currently working on his second voyage. His stories are touching—and his photos are incredible.
I was born in France, but by now I’ve spent as much time outside of my birth country than in it. In 1998, after working for fifteen years, I bought myself an old Toyota Land Cruiser, converted it into a home on wheels, and set off on the road. I was heading for Africa, but beyond that I didn’t have a plan, a timeframe, or even money. Fourteen years later, I’d returned to Africa—after having traveled overland through places like Afghanistan, Mongolia, Siberia, Korea, Alaska and Patagonia—inadvertently completing an around-the-world trip. I’d driven over 400,000km (that’s 248,548 miles) and taken three ferries, but never once hopped on a bus, train, or plane. Now I’m three years into my second around-the-world trip. It’s no longer a trip, it’s a lifestyle. My car is my home and the planet is my backyard.Read More
I often enjoy the personal finance columns by Carl Richards. In a recent one, he explains how to create an “emotional balance sheet” to quantify (or at least tally) your non-financial assets.
Carl tells the story of how he and his wife Cori made the choice for her to become a full-time mom, despite the fact that the family would lose more than $1 million in earnings over the next twenty years.
He’s quick to point out that the moral of the story isn’t “all mothers should stay home with their children”—which is good, since presumably many readers would make different choices. The lesson is a) to be clear about your intentions, and b) learn to value non-financial assets.Read More