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You know, as a man gets older (not “old,” just older), he labels his experience as worthy to pass on. Women…they have the miracle of birth, but for us guys, passing on knowledge is pretty much all we got. So, I guess, given the chance, we run with it. :)

Last week, a 16-year boy wrote to me, asking for advice. He admires his dad whose own corporate career included assignments abroad. The boy lived overseas for half his life, and wants to continue it himself. Very cool to hear.

Well, you combine the two things and it starts to explain the good feeling I get from e-mail chain between me and this young one.

In an early message, he talks about university choice. My reply suggested he shouldn’t worry about a “big name” university, since it’s the degree that counts more. Sadly a lot of parents push their kids to get into the most prestigious (most expensive) school. But if you ask the employers of today, having the 4-year degree from an average college is far better than the 2.5-year trial run at Yale.

When you have the perseverance to complete a degree, the job interviewer is thinking how you will complete projects. That can mean the difference between getting the job, and getting the boot. And isn’t being able to pay off school loans what matters most?

Enter the MOOC

What’s an MOOC? Read on Wikipedia for Massive Open Online Course. The MOOC is the answer to the question “What if I want to learn, but can’t attend and/or afford university?

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Advice to a 16-Year Old

I get e-mail asking for help. E-mail every day. And I answer every one. Don’t believe me? Try me.

I’d say 85% of the e-mail I get is the same general request for help: get me overseas. For general e-mails, I give general help. See examples here.

But sometimes I get an e-mail that tugs at my heart. Today was one of them. A 16-year old wrote for some early life-direction advice. At first glance, it was almost “cute.” I mean, imagine, a 16 year old asking a total stranger (-me, of all people!) for advice. He doesn’t know me at all. He only knows I have travelled and he wants the same. Then I read it carefully.

But as I read his e-mail, I realize this is no ordinary kid. Because of his dad’s global career as a young executive, this kid has grown up overseas. He’s spent half his life in Asia, and travelled extensively in the region. Already, as the kid puts it, “Travel is in my blood, and I absolutely love it!” But as a 16-year old, he’s asking for career direction to take after or during college. Valid questions, but I don’t feel comfortable answering specifically. And I do feel that he, as a 16-year old, has more potential in following his dad’s footsteps, if he looks more to stretching his comfort zone while still at home.

Do I envy him? You bet!  :-)

Anyway, here’s the reply I sent.

Hi xxx, thanks for the note and kind words. You sound like a pretty cool guy yourself!
When I was 16, I hadn’t yet left the US except for Niagara Falls, Canada. So, you’re well ahead of me. :-)

I completely agree with you that companies do admire language skills. They also admire traits such as taking initiative and willing to seize an opportunity, especially when outside the “comfort zone.” Those are the traits your dad showed when he said “Ok, I’ll move the family to Japan…” He was a younger worker then. Maybe he had some experience then, but he set himself far apart from his peers after he moved. While other candidates stayed behind, your dad’s life grew tougher in the short-term, but more rewarding in the long-term. You’re seeing the product of that.

And that’s what I’m about to suggest to you. Decisions that are tougher in the short-term, but more rewarding in the long-term.

First couple suggestions are schooling. Absolutely finish high school (obviously). I know you weren’t considering traveling right away, but had to say it. And though I highly recommend getting a university degree, it’s not necessary to spend a ton of money, on a high-profile school. In the end, the degree is what matters, not where you got it.

Next couple suggestions are networking. Make yourself available to folks in positions to help you. You shouldn’t ask for help right away, or even after a while. But help them. Take a sincere interest in what they do, and offer to help them, however you might be able to. I can’t get specific since I really don’t know you, or folks around you. Do some part-time work or intern work in a professional office. Get to know them. If you start this skill early, it’ll pay off in multiples later on.

Last few suggestions… write down goals to accomplish. Seriously, write it. Jot down “silly” goals like “Treat any local CEO to coffee by June.” or “Earn $100 within a month like someone’s got a gun to my head.” If you don’t write them down and hang it where you’ll see it every day, then next month or June will come faster than you’d like.

One last thing. Show your dad this e-mail. I’m curious of his thoughts. Besides, if I knew him, he’d be one of the first people I’d suggest you talk to about what you want.


That’s the exact text I sent to him, just an hour ago. It took me only 10-15 minutes to write his reply, but when I re-read it, I realized this reply might help other high school students. So, there you have it. Hope it helps you.



To some, “Slomo” is Dr. John Kitchin, a neurologist. To others, he seems like “a homeless guy with a nice pair of skates.” To others, he’s just …happy. He got away.

Watch the video and decide who Slomo is to you.


Heard the News?

Just in case you missed the news, US President Obama quietly extended the country’s status of national emergency. I’m guessing you missed that bit of news. Though, you probably didn’t miss the fact the year is now 2014.

I know what you’re thinking… it’s 2014, and the terrorist attack which killed nearly 3000 people on September 11, 2001 happened in 2001. That’s like …13 years ago. Yup, 13 years. Yup, the US, the most (insert here: powerful/wealthy/nuclear-tipped/war faring/inch-measuring) country in the world, still running scared in a state of national “Oh GAWD, the sky is falling!” emergency.

It's a trap!

Thirteen Years. Seriously?

Do you know what you were doing during the attack? For millions of Americans, it’s the annual conversation-starter question, if ever there was one.

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Grecian Treasures

One of the great things about holidays in Greece is that they’re enormously diverse. So whatever you fancy – whether it’s a laid-back retreat, a fun-filled family escape or a non-stop clubbing holiday, there’s a Grecian treasure with your name on it.

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Holy Winter in Nova Scotia, Canada!

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Whether you’re American thinking in Fahrenheit, or Canadian thinking in Celsius, it’s COLD here.

The temperature outside our house is now -15 (C). With the wind, we’re well past twenty below zero. (Dude, that’s cold.)

I’m no outdoorsman, not an Inuit, nor am I fond of cold in general. In fact, if I can share, I’m daydreaming of a toasty beach chair and a cool tropical drink with one of those little paper umbrellas.

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On my blog, I only seek to inspire you to travel. That’s my purpose. To inspire you to push the comfort zone, explore the great world around you, and seek your own adventure.

Here are 3 examples of how 3 guys, Matt, Alex and Miguel, used travel to turn their normal thing into something kick-ass…

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The World’s 10 Most Expensive & Cheapest Cities To Live thumbnail

You want to work abroad. You follow the steps, nail the interview and hear their salary offer.

Is it enough? How much is enough?

Sure, now you know how much you’re taking in. But how much will be going out? How much for a month’s rent, a loaf of bread, a gallon of gas?

For some cities, you’ll make more than enough to pay for a good life, plus sock away the rest in savings.

And for some cities, …well, you should have countered with a higher salary.

How should you have known? You could have known. Research.

For now, let me give you the 10 most expensive and the 10 cheapest cities. If your city isn’t one of them, read on.

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Working On a Cruise Ship: The Facts

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Applying for and working on a cruise ship isn’t as pie-in-the-sky as you might expect, and with hundreds of people working above and below deck to ensure passengers have a fantastic experience, there might be a role that can put your talents, skills and experience to good use. So if you like the idea of waking up one morning in one port or harbour and the next in another, then read on…

Why work on a cruise ship?

Working on a a cruise ship gives you the opportunity to work with and for people of every age and nationality. The combination of socialising, working – heck, just living on the open seas attracts people from many nations and cultures wanting to give and experience more. Old sea dogs, university graduates, career changers, those supporting a family back home, the sheer number of people working on a cruise ship means that the environment on the high seas is a glorious combination of language, culture and experience.

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Who the Hell Is Terry Fox?

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I have a small life lesson to share: Don’t ever ask “Who the hell is Terry Fox?” when you’re talking to a Canadian.

You can say “Hmmm, it’s interesting you bring up Terry Fox, tell me more?” or say “I’m eager to learn more about Terry Fox.”

But please, trust me, you don’t want be snarky when asking about this Canadian legend.

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