It’s one of the more delightful bonuses of the entrepreneurial life that we not only can earn money as we travel, we also can be far more selective about our travels than those wornout corporate types whom we see dragging themselves through airports.

In Karen Rauch Carter’s Move Your Stuff, Change Your Life she tells how she used feng shui to add energy to her entrepreneurial travels: “In my single, more worldly days, I found a way to travel internationally three years in a row—with very little money.

“I  wanted to spend some time in Hawaii. Since I am a landscape architect, I decided to put some of my energy toward getting a license to practice there. That little bit of energy went a long way.

“I eventually flew over to take the licensing exam. At the testing location, I met an architect from California (also taking the test) who had a hotel project that needed a landscape architect. He said, ‘If you pass the test, give me a call’.

“Long story short—I got the job and had to go to Hawaii on business five times. Each time I was able to extend the trip a few days so I could tour the islands.”

Feng shui and creative thinking can give your travel dreams a big boost, of course. So can giving up the thought that you must always pay in order to go places.

“I used to believe that you needed money to travel,” says writer Gregg Levoy. “But one of the great astonishments of my life has been the discovery that you don’t need money to travel. You need enough credentials to convince others to pay for your travel.”

If you are being paid to see the world, it’s equally important that the work you are being paid to do is richly satisfying in and of itself.

Too many people have put up with toxic jobs for the occasional travel benefits. If working for the airlines or joining the military is your grandest dream, by all means go for it. If not, you’re making a bad trade.

Whether you’re doing research for a book you intend to write or buying jewelry to sell on eBay, your travels will take on a grander dimension if they’re an intrinsic part of a bigger goal. Here are some other tips for getting your travel bug fed:

* Build confidence at home.  You could plop down in Venezuela and offer your services as a Web designer for companies wanting an English Web site.

It makes more sense to figure out your marketing strategy and delivery system before you go by actually starting such a business in your own backyard.

While you may find unexpected opportunities in a distant place, at least part of your plan should include operating from your experience and confidence.

* Become really good at what you do. Your mastery will be as good as a passport for taking you places.

If you are a freelance anything  (well, almost anything) adding a portable profit center to your enterprises should be fairly easy.

Your clients don’t all have to live in close proximity so why not find some in an exotic locale? If you do, don’t be surprised if the fact that you’ve come from afar adds to your mystique and leads to even more clients.

* Develop your ability to spot opportunity.  You don’t have to act on every great idea you get, but you do have to open your mind to the fact that opportunities are everywhere.

Challenge yourself to find problems that need solving or needs that are unmet. If you are constantly on the alert, you will find opportunities that cry out for your attention. Get in the habit of thinking up ways you could take advantage of neglected ideas.

Once you begin to see for yourself how many possibilities exist, you will know beyond all doubt that you can find money-making opportunities no matter where you are.

If you’re willing to do the work to profit from them, you’re on your way to becoming an intrepid traveler with a well-fed (and grateful) travel bug.


On the day that my daughter left for college, she tucked a card in my dresser drawer that said, “Thanks for being such a great mother, a great friend, a great teacher and student.”

I’d like to think that the most important thing I taught Jennie was to keep being a student. And she has.

Just before New Year’s Day a few year back, she called to tell me about a trip she’d made to the bookstore where she’d found several treasures. “My project this year is to learn lots of new things,” she announced.

One of her purchases had been a desk calendar of scientific questions since she felt her knowledge was lacking in that area. As she constantly reminds me, doing things that appear out of character can be a powerful catalyst for learning.

Her bookstore visit opened the way for a discussion of our individual visions for the new year. After discussing a few specific goals, I said, “And my theme for the year is Stretch. To make sure that I don’t forget that’s what my life is about right now, I’ve taken up daily yoga practice as a literal reminder.”

“That’s a good one,” she agreed.

Since we’re coming to the end of the year, Jennie and I have been talking about the things we plan to explore when 2012 rolls around. She’s planning to revisit things she’s loved in the past.

I’m still narrowing down my theme for the year, but know it will be one that feeds my curiosity.

“Seems to me if I were the Maker of the Universe,” mused advertising whiz Bernice Fitz-Gibbon, “the people who would vex me the most would be the ones who went unseeing and unwanting through this fascinating world.”

They’re the ones who vex me most, too. On the other hand, the ones who inspire me most are those who keep stretching themselves day in and day out.

Ask such a person, “What’s new?” and they always have a fascinating answer.

Staying curious is not only something that’s available to anyone, it doesn’t cost a dime. Where it leads, depends on how willing we are to give up limited thinking and follow the callings that are unique to each of us.

In the coming new year, discover the truth of Gregg Levoy’s tantalizing promise: “When people begin to follow their calls, they way opens up, even after they’ve kept the gods drumming their fingers for decades, pacing around the front hall while they take forever in the boudoir getting ready.

“Opportunities wash up on shore; people take an interest; out of the corner of your eye, you spy synchronicities; the right book or the right person crosses your path. Sometimes even money follows. Perhaps it’s nothing more mysterious than the universe supporting growth and life loving itself.”

Nice vision, isn’t it?

If we allow ourselves to become complacent—or, even worse, cynical—we destroy any possibility of having such a rich and adventurous life. We block our stretch.

So pick a theme. Plan some fascinating projects. Listen and follow your calls. Use it or lose it.

If you don’t there’s much to be lost. “A life devoted to trifles,” warned Hannah More, “not only takes away the inclination, but the capacity, for higher pursuits.”


During times of change and confusion, many of us dream about getting a clear directive. Perhaps a tape will mysteriously show up in the mail that bears the message, “Your mission, should you choose to accept it…”

Finding purpose in life that leads to a fullfilling mission is the single most difficult task facing most of us. As the Buddha wisely encouraged, “Your real work is to find your real work—and then do it with all your heart.” 

The problem isn’t that only a few of us are given a mission. The trouble arises from the numerous events and people who distract us from hearing what our mission is to be.

Many people quietly wrestle with the dilemma, thinking they are alone in not knowing. Others are surprised when they suddenly find that life choices they were so confident about no longer make sense or bring satisfaction. If we’re wise, we’ll embrace such times as opportunities to grow beyond anything we’ve previously imagined.

Whether you’re in the midst of such soul-searching or could just use a little clarification, in  Callings, author Gregg Levoy points out that following an authentic life is not necessarily benign. Levoy begins with the assumption that we all have callings in life, but many are not alert to the signs and signals directing them. So where should we be looking? Here’s what Levoy suggests.

“Expect that through the right lens, all our encounters will appear full of thunderbolts and instruction; every bush will be a burning bush. Such encounters might include:

* An offer to collaborate with someone on a project that draws you in an entirely new direction.

* A sudden crisis that calls on powers you don’t realize you possess but whose time has come.

* The loss of a job that pushes you over the edge you’ve been peering at for years.

* An illness or accident that reminds you of what really matters.

* A chance meeting with a stranger that sparks something in you.

* A tragedy that gives you your life’s work and determines what it is you have to say to the world from that day on.

* Any family reunion. However exalted we imagine ourselves to be in spiritual and emotional matters, we have only to spend a few days around our families to see how far we still have to go and what in particular we need to work on.

* Any strange occurance.”

Sounds to me like Levoy is saying that our callings are only clear if  we’re willing to take the cotton out of our ears. Are you listening?