Paris in the springtime, Akumal in the winter, Belarus in the fall

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In my late teens and early twenties, I was quite the world traveler.

I stayed a week in Paris in the springtime, during Easter break from my Swiss high school where I spent my senior year as an exchange student. Butter from croissants dripped down my chin, and the romance of the city took my breath away.

I climbed a volcano in Uruapan, Mexico, and saw the turtle spirit of Akumal nurse my Dad back to health after a bout with cancer.

I salsa danced on table tops in the greatest club I have ever visited, in Bogota, Colombia, when I was there for my senior year of college.

I trained capoeira in the heart of Afro-Brazilian culture, Salvador, Bahia.

And consulting days led me to great U.S. cities from coast to coast — the bustling streets of New York, the swinging quarters of New Orleans, the friendly corner bars of Chicago and the hot beaches of Miami.

But my travel jones pales in comparison to my good friend Chris Guillebeau, who has visited nearly every country in the world. He does crazy things like visit every state in the U.S. and every province in Canada for his book tour.

He had such an adventure trying to get into Belarus that he got a formal government response to his blog post, leading to this beauty from Google’s translation bots:

“Chris Guillebeau is fundamental no luck” – followed by “a blogger does not have the right to be boring.”

When you have that kind of passion for travel, you get pretty dang good at it. Even when you are “fundamental no luck.”

So like most other things he does, Chris shared his learning about “travel hacking” in a series of blog posts. Then he invited his readers to give input in a survey about what they really wanted to learn from a travel hacking service.

He took this input, and his own road-tested experience, and created a full-on super-cool, newfangled service called “The Travel Hacking Cartel.” The site is designed by the truly genius Reese, which makes it luscious to look at and extremely user-friendly.  It goes live today at 8am Pacific/11am Eastern. Its goal, in Chris’ words, is to:

Democratize travel.

Once again, there goes Chris, thinking small.

The specific features of this monthly travel service include:

  1. Regular “Deal Alerts” sent via email and SMS/text message
    (when a big opportunity comes up, members will be the first to know)
  2. Tutorials and an extensive Knowledge Base to get people
    started (our research showed that most people have no idea
    what to do with miles and points… we’ll tell them)
  3. The Refer-a-Hacker Program that pays members 500 Frequent
    Flyer Miles for each referral (we’ve tried to make this process
    extremely easy – everyone has their own referral link directly in
    their account settings)
  4. The “World’s Greatest Guarantee” – if members follow our
    directions and spend at least 30 minutes a month travel hacking,
    they’ll earn enough miles for at least 1 plane ticket every quarter,
    or 4 plane tickets a year (we also provide info on how to redeem
    miles for great awards)

These days, the extent of my travel is driving down Power Road in Mesa to pick up groceries at my local Basha’s Foods. My kids are so small that staying close to home has been both easy and sanity-reinforcing.

But very soon, as I can see from Josh’s incessant questions about “When are we going to visit Egypt?” or “How old do you have to be to get a scientist’s pass to visit Antarctica?”and Rosie’s need to see her grandparents in California more than once a year, we need to start hopping on planes more frequently.

After living in Colombia, I was temporarily frightened at the thought of joining a “hacking cartel.” But reading about the free plane tickets and adventures of the beta testers of the program, I was convinced that I would not be required to sell illegal substances in exchange for free miles. At least not in this release.

I am promoting this program as an affiliate, because I believe in the quality of Chris’ work. If for whatever reason it does not meet your expectations, you can opt out no questions asked. Chris knows I have been training mixed martial arts and will see him at his World Domination Summit in June, so it is in his best interest to treat my readers well. 🙂

I am going to designate 20% of my affiliate commissions for Travel Hacking Cartel to my young entrepreneur mentoring efforts. I will use it to help young aspiring entrepreneurs get to a critical conference, or in front of investors in New York or Silicon Valley, or wherever they need to go.

So if you are itching to see more of the world, for a lot less money, please do check it out.

You are now free to move around the world.

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3 Responses to “Paris in the springtime, Akumal in the winter, Belarus in the fall”

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  2. Akilah says:

    YESS! This post was absolute music to my ears! I too am a world traveler at heart, and since last year, my conscious reality has begun to catch up with the reality I’ve been creating for years. I spent 5 weeks out of the country with my husband and daughters and it was intensely perfect! I love that you’ve shared little tidbits of your experiences abroad, and I will use them to further fan the flames of my own vision.

    As for Chris Guillebeau–I’m so diggin’ his nomad vibe! I just finished The Art of Nonconformity a couple weeks ago, and he has set my travel-the-world-and-share-your-passion-ometer on overdrive!

    Thanks for the “music”!

  3. Hi,
    I really like this article, I think someone can only be mature when you get our from your own coutry to how people live everywhere around,

    Nice blog!