History’s Most Epic Travelers: A Booklist

“History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.”

-Winston Churchill

No matter how much we think we’ve seen or done in our travels or our life, someone has done it before. They’ve probably even written a book about it. And they probably did it during a time when it was a hell of a lot more dangerous and difficult then it is now.

Thankfully, many of these intrepid voyagers survived, and transformed what they saw into important works that have stood the test of time.

Proceeding from most ancient to most current, the booklist you find before you contains the stories of the most daring, original, and insightful travelers that history has seen.

Merchants, scientists, captains, gentlemen, ladies, writers- each a prolific wanderer in their own right, each a thousand memories and voices waiting to be shared.

So get cozy, light a candle, and bust out your Gandalf pipe and brandy snifter (Oh yes, thats right). Here’s a booklist of history’s most epic travelers. Enjoy!

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5 Steps to Begin your Career as a Gap-Year Leader

What if I told you that there is an organization out there that wants to pay you to have amazing experiences while traveling abroad?

Would you believe me if I told you that within the last year, I’ve been able to go on a 5-day Safari in Tanzania, get Scuba certified, become nearly fluent in Spanish, stay at a high-class resort in Zanzibar, and visit Machu Picchu, all expensed paid? Yet these “perks” are only secondary to the life-changing work that this work actually entails.

I’m not talking about a free luxury trip (far from it,) or a side business where travel is just a part of the background. I’m talking about making international travel both your lifestyle, and your career. For me, this path has been more rewarding than I could ever have imagined. Yet like anything worthwhile, get ready for a healthy dose of work and challenge.

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The Medicine of Movement

Solvitur Ambulando. “It is solved by walking.” -St. Augustine

A certain alchemy occurs when our bodies careen through the web of space-time. Through movement, it becomes easy to allow ourselves the simplest of gifts, which in our normal lives, we are usually deprived of. It is perhaps the easiest thing we could give ourselves, but also one that so easily escapes us.

It’s the gift of presence- the gift of letting ourselves dissolve into the infinitely changing landscapes out beyond the window. It’s the gift of detachment, of wonder, and contemplation. Through movement, we can actually sink into a deep space of inspiration, integration, and even healing.

Believe me when I say, there is medicine in movement.

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7 Things to Know About Living in the Jungle

For many, the jungle is the ultimate destination. Its one of the last real frontiers, a place where nature reigns supreme and the earth is still shrouded in primordial mystery. At least it was for me, when I made my first journey to the Peruvian Amazon in the spring of 2015.

Swinging gently in my hammock on the top deck of a banged up river boat, I made my way three days down the river to the city of Iquitos, where the Amazon begins. I basked in the endless expanse of forest that surrounded our slow passage, gazing for hours into a lost world of greens and blues, of dugout canoes and floating houses.

I learned a lot from this journey (read the full story here,) but I learned even more from my time living in the jungle itself.

I recently spent 10 days in the Ecuadorian Amazon volunteering at the Arajuno Jungle Lodge– an ecotourism lodge and conservation non-profit located on the beautiful Arajuno river. Even with full amenities, delicious food, and hot showers, it was impossible to escape the fact that yes, I am living in the jungle.

I’m not an expert in jungle survivalism by any means (for that check out Peter Gorman,) but I have learned a few things through my time in the forests of South America. For anyone preparing for a journey through this incredible part of the world, be it the Amazon basin, the island of Borneo, or the forests of Asia, there are a few things you should know.

To live in the jungle, you have to want it.

Here are 7 things to know about living in the jungle:

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13 Inspiring Travelers to Watch in 2016

Howard Thurman famously said, “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

I set out to compile a list of “inspiring travel writers,” peers who shared some vague similarity with my own work and lifestyle. What I found, and what you see before you, is really a list of amazing individuals who have come alive.

This isn’t just an assortment of random people I’ve found off the internet. Each one of these people is doing something totally unique, daring, and miraculous. Everyone profiled here is doing something that I believe in, is working to uplift something greater than themselves, and is worth talking about.

Nomads, entrepreneurs, artists, scientists, superheroes, healers, storytellers, activists, and Badass Jedi Warriors- that’s really who we are, or who we aspire to be. But for now, here are 13 “Inspiring Travelers” to watch in 2016.

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The Traveler’s Apothecary: Essential Herbs and Remedies For Every Traveler

From Amazonian parasites, to Zanzibari malaise, I’ve experienced my fair share of sickness abroad. I consider myself lucky compared to some of the horror stories I’ve heard, but travel can take a serious toll on your energy and health.

I always travel with a full supply of herbal medicines and tinctures to keep my energy up, my body healthy, and mind happy while on the rough and dusty road.

I’ve personally researched, tested, and hand-selected this list of the most effective and useful plants and natural products that will keep you in an optimal state of health during your travels.

After years of experimentation and thought, I’ve finally created this resource of essential herbs, products, and medicines that no traveler should leave home without. Enjoy, and be well!

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5 Ways Travel Helps Us Feel More Gratitude

Enjoying a scarce moment of wi-fi this week during my travels in East Africa, I was greeted by a tumult of gratitude upon checking my online social sphere. Pictures of deliciously spiced autumnal food, smiling family members, and warm holiday greetings filled my screen.

I love the fall. Everything about it- the crisp air, the hues of orange and red that slowly dance through the trees, and especially for us Oregonians, the rain- reminds me of home.

Instantly, my attention was brought back to everything I was missing.

Travel provides experiences that help us be more grateful by challenging us, and by reminding us of things in our lives that we might usually take for granted.

Gratitude is a common, if not implicit outcome of world travel. So common, in fact, that I’ve never stopped to think about just how travel can actually help us cultivate this essential attitude.

Here are 5 ways that travel helps us feel more gratitude…

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Ohana Amani: The Heart of Community in Southern Tanzania

Tucked away in the rolling hills of Tanzania’s Southern Highlands, lies a refuge for all travelers on the path of awakening.

I’ve arrived at Ohana Amani, a permaculture farm and holistic retreat center- an oasis of conscious community and alternative culture, carving out a vibrant existence in rural Tanzania.

The warm hearth of home slowly evaporates the stress I have accumulated from life on the African road. Upon entering this conscious refuge, I feel immediately welcomed, relaxed, and at home. I breathe a sigh of relief.

Ohana Amani not only walks the talk, they live the life.

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Ruaha National Park: Tanzania’s Last Refuge

Despite having wandered my fair share across the African continent, I had never been on a Safari before.

Enter Ruaha National Park- the largest national park in Tanzania, and the second-largest in all of Africa. Unlike other Tanzanian national parks, its name is neither plastered on Tanzanian beer bottles, nor is it the largest unbroken crater in the world. But it is famous for is all the reasons a national park should be: an abundance of wildlife, intense natural beauty, and a minimal amount of people.

Ruaha is said to have the highest concentration of elephants in all of East Africa. While this is clearly a blessing for tourists wishing to experience these majestic creatures firsthand, this impressive statistic casts a shadow that extends far beyond the boundaries of this expansive park.

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Why Travel Makes Us Happy

The crowded bus rocketed down the Tanzanian highway, careening over potholes and dead debris. I watch the endless expanse out my tiny window, punctuated by acacia trees, giraffes, and wildebeests. A smattering of black and white blurs across my field of vision.

I turn to watch a herd of Zebras as they run through the savanna, unchained, free. Their wildness seems almost out of place from my vantage point on the bus, surrounded by cheap Tanzanian hip-hop and flat screen TV’s. As I watch them buck and run together, a flood of emotions fills me that confounds and cuts me to the core.

It suddenly dawns on me, that yes, I am in Africa, and I am lucky to be alive.

Feeling the warm breeze on my face, I smile as the golden sunlight bathes me in its radiance. My body softens, I exhale, and for the first time in recent memory, I feel deeply at peace.

Travel can provides us with deeply meaningful experiences that can shape who we are, and inform our whole lives. By dissolving boundaries within our hearts and minds, travel can be the fertilizer for the growth of our true selves. Through travel we have a unique opportunity to transform into the person we wish to be.

This is why travel makes us happy.

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