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Sean Keener
Student, Traveller, Father, Husband, Friend, Community Member and Entreprenuer
Student, Traveller, Father, Husband, Friend, Community Member and Entreprenuer

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I'll will be participating in this challenge starting November 1st.

I want to write more.  30 brand new prompts to help me.

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Did you ever feel like formal education missed the boat on guiding you and getting you attain the skills to happiness and riches?

I did. Most of my higher education was semi-interesting, but not directed in a way to help me figure out a path. I felt like it was the path I “should” take versus the one I wanted to.

Is picking a major at college/university the most efficient way to pick your best professional path in life?

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1. Traveling on a budget keeps our feet firmly planted on the ground.
We do not need anyone waiting on us, picking up our dirty towels, or otherwise stroking our egos. We view travel as an opportunity to dig into our world, not take a break from living. We are human. The people who would be waiting on us are human. The surest way to remember our common playing field is to not place ourselves within a hierarchy that feels false to us. We prefer to avoid the false hierarchy when we can and to try not to accept service without offering some of our own in return. Budget travel doesn’t allow us to pay for luxury services- and that’s the way we like it.

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Early in December the White House hosted a summit with 130 influential travel bloggers and digital media outlets to discuss government initiatives that encourage American students to study abroad.

A number of my friends and colleagues were in attendance, and by all accounts, there is optimism that the White House throwing weight behind the idea of educational student travel will expand opportunities for young people to gain valuable international experience abroad as part of their institutional studies.

We thank the White House for their commitment to expanding international experiences for American students. It’s good to see this issue being prioritized at the highest level in this country. However, these initiatives stop short of their stated goal that “Study Abroad is for Everyone.”

Before we get to “Study Abroad is for Everyone,” let’s look at current statistics reflecting the realities for American young people studying abroad, which are alarming.

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There are people who believe that my life is all sunshine and roses. People who are under the mistaken impression that I flit from one endless, pristine beach with palm trees and rainbow umbrellas to another, forever smelling like coconut sunscreen. There are people who make the assumption that long-term travel is like being on vacation forever: waking up late, other people doing your laundry, drinks delivered poolside, cheap massages, and a general disregard for the temporal realities.
Can I just say: Get a grip?!
Instead of waxing poetic about the many Kohs of Thailand, or the magic of the mountains of New Zealand, or the idyllic, ruin dotted jungles of Central America, and instead of pointing out how glad I am not to be neck deep in snow this winter, or wrangling rush hour around Chicago any longer, I’m going to take a different tack.

Today I’d like to remind you how much I hated Jakarta and point out ten other unfortunate byproducts of longer term travel.

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The secret is out. In the past few years, indie travelers have started to discover the magical country of Guatemala. Quietly snuggled between its four Central American neighbors, this land of the Maya – with active volcanoes, adventure activities galore, and some of the most beautiful Central American art around, will captivate you.  There is so much happening in Guatemala that even the shortest trip will lead to new discoveries and will have you planning a return before you have even left.

People come, and they stay. Or they leave and return. There’s almost too much going on here, and even the shortest trip takes you to completely different places, with new challenges and surprises. The antique village of Antigua, complete with its ancient churches and monasteries, is picturesquely nestled between three volcanoes and boasts a variety of adventure activities. Spanish students flock to Quetzaltenango to perfect their speaking skills, while those desiring a more indie-style holiday might visit the unspoiled Maya village of Nebai, which is hidden in Cuchumatanes mountains. On Guatemala’s western coast you can get your beach fix. Known as La Costa, this region has beautiful expanses of relatively undeveloped beachfront, and its turquoise waters rival that of any Caribbean island.

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Rolf: Thanks, Sherry. I’m basically just going to kind of tell my story because some of the things that I’ve done before dovetail presumably with what you guys want to do. I presume that you’re here because you want to take time off from your life to travel in earnest as more than a vacation. It’s weird, I was just talking to some folks, and it occurred to me that Vagabonding has been out for 12 years now, which makes it feel like sort of an old book, sort of a pre-social media book. And the book is about travel, but it’s also about the core philosophy of this notion that all we really own in life is our time. And actualizing our time wealth is something important. I think that there’s many factors in society that will collude to take our time. And there’s this idea that we need tons and tons of money to buy ourselves time, when actually that’s not really true. We just need to use what money we have to create time to do the things we love.

And in this case, I’m assuming you’re here because travel is something you love or you think that you would love to do. So I’m here to encourage you and to remind you that you’re making a good decision in making the decision to take time off and do some travel. And so I’ll tell you my story. I always… when I tell you my story of travel — remote control — I always start with this picture…

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Following are the destinations that people built their itineraries around when purchasing flights for their trips. Since we acquired and merged with AirTreks in December 2013, we had more data to look at. With both Indie and AirTreks, we had 1,773 routes to dissect 1.

Bangkok was included in 19.5% of the 1,773 routes on AirTreks and Indie in 2014. London on 16.2% of trips, and so on and so forth.

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Anyone who tells you that he has no fears is either lying or very foolish. Fears are ubiquitous, and some of us just learn to live in harmony with them a little better than others.

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When we take off on a journey, we leave our community of family and loved ones at home. We choose to separate ourselves, for a time, from our support groups, our daily face to face interactions with the people who matter most to us, and to stretch ourselves by going it alone for a while.

There is an assumption made by those who stay home, and also by many travelers, that community is one of the things that is lacking on the road, that it’s something we’ll just have to do without for the duration of our journey, like our favourite brand of soap and a closet full of shoes.
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