The Power of Story: How Travel Creates Hope and Meaning

This is my first post in several months. I’ve been going through a lot these past few months, as I’m sure a lot of you have as well. Unfortunately for me, that meant my writing was placed in the background, which is never a good idea.

So, in the spirit of personal and creative liberation, I’m going to be changing up my format a bit, and opt for more personal, less polished blog posts. My aim is to achieve a deeper level of authentic sharing, and to simultaneously dismantle perfectionism and other limiting patterns.

Thanks for reading, for caring, and for your support. In the words of a dear friend and teacher, “trust the process.”

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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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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. I survived, and learned a thing or two.

Here’s the truth: To live in the jungle, you have to want it.

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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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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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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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Can’t Afford to Travel? This Tip Might Change Your Mind

Money and budget constraints are some of the most common reasons why people don’t choose to travel.

But here’s the truth: You don’t need a lot of money to travel.

All you need is to slightly shift your perspective and values, and to retool your idea of what an international trip might look like.

I’m far from the first travel blogger to write about this (Rolf Potts, Chris Guillebeau, and Nomadic Matt were influential in convincing me,) but its still the #1 reason why people don’t take that first step.

There are many things you can do to maximize your budget, but this particular travel tip has enabled me to travel for longer, cheaper, and better than almost any other travel hack I know.

Here’s the tip: Be open to alternative living situations, and find ways to exchange for accommodation, rather than pay cash.

You just might finishing reading this and realize that there is already a perfect trip waiting for you across the world…

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Why the Crazy Choice Makes Sense

Logic is overrated. Sometimes the craziest choices are the ones that yield the best results. Throughout history, think how many times the crazy choice gave birth to something fantastic?

Our timid, ape-like ancestors who first descended from the trees in Africa. Generations of pioneers and explorers setting off to discover untold lands in rickety wooden ships. The Wright Brothers and the miracle of human flight. All crazy.

Fortune may favor the bold, but it loves crazy.

Safe choices are appealing. They’re predictable, and relatively easy to swallow by family and friends. They may even provide you with a life that almost feels authentic.

But here’s the cold, hard truth: there is no such thing as a “safe choice.”

Even if you strive to live as safe and uncrazy as possible, you really don’t have that much control over anything.

This is why making the crazy choice makes the most sense.

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