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In honor of our three-year travel anniversary, I’m announcing the first of three giveaways on the blog: A signed copy of the book that changed my life forever, The Art Of Non-Conformity by Chris Guillebeau.

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The end of this post details how you can enter to win this book, but first…some background.

We've just come back from an incredible five day vacation in the mountain city of Baguio, Philippines.

My friend Emmeil from my college days was on his first ever international vacation with his family of six, and invited us to join in their adventure.

The Davis Family at Camp John Hay, Baguio City Philippines

The Davis Family at Camp John Hay, Baguio City Philippines

I haven’t seen Emmeil for nearly 10 years. Work commitments, raising kids, and just life in general made us both really busy and so now was our time to catch up.

It also happened to be the week of Josephine’s birthday, which made this trip extra special.

There was lots of rain during that five days, yet we still managed to fill the time with some great memories and laughter that was long overdue between us and Emmeil and his family.

There was the treetop zip line adventure in which we teamed up with Emmeil as he confronted his fear of heights.

Treetop adventures above the mountain city of Baguio, Phiiippines

Treetop adventures above the mountain city of Baguio, Phiiippines

There was the time we spent exploring the public market, and finding the local fish mongers as they hawked their catch.

Bangus 'milkfish' vendor at the Baguio City Public Market, Philippines

Bangus 'milkfish' vendor at the Baguio City Public Market, Philippines

There was the pizza dinner we shared where we sipped merlot with his wife Grethel while his children helped make our pizza dinner at the Amare brick oven restaurant.

I had such an awesome time with Emmeil and his family, that it gave me pause.

For years he has never taken a vacation, and when he finally did he took four weeks off from his work as a software manager so that he could take his family on a month-long tour and explore their filipino roots.

Four weeks! When is the last time you’ve taken a big vacation like that? If you’re like most people in America, likely you never have.

Unlike our European counterparts, we Americans are lucky to even get three weeks off…and for many it would be a "remote working" holiday.

It was bittersweet to say farewell to one of my best friends from college, yet at the same time I’m smiling to myself, because I know this trip became a game changer for him and his family.

Bros

I know that his life and his career will never be the same again, because for a moment he let off the gas pedal, pulled to the side, and marveled at the magnificent landscape of life that in the years before he had been speeding past.

I’m inspired by Emmeil. Sure, he’s going back to his job next week, but now he's armed with a newfound sense of possibilities he might pursue.

He’s taken a bite of the forbidden fruit that we’re not supposed to have until we’ve "earned it"…and that unforgettable taste will be something he will relish every day he is back home.

I wonder how many of us give ourselves the chance to taste what he has?

I wonder if we are waiting for permission. Permission from society…from our employers…from our families...from ourselves...

DavisFam

I wonder if all it takes is for someone to tell us, “You don’t have to live your life the way everyone expects you to”, and we embrace that mantra so that 4 weeks, becomes 8 weeks, and 8 becomes 16, 32, 64…and 156.

156 weeks. That’s exactly how long Josephine and I had been traveling as of our three year travel anniversary that passed on April 24th this year.

I don't tell you this to impress you. Others have traveled far longer and to many more places than we have.

I tell you this to impress upon you how a life of inspiration, happiness, and awe is there for the taking if you would just get the courage to grab it.

You see, whether or not we admit it, each of us truly does want to look back on our lives and be able to say, “Man…that was an amazing ride!”

Josephine flying high on her birthday above the treetops of Baguio City, Philippines

Josephine flying high on her birthday above the treetops of Baguio City, Philippines

Yet most of us think to ourselves, “I don’t deserve it. I haven’t earned it, or it’s too late for me to do it.”

Sorry, but that is just plain bullshit. This isn't some club you have to be worthy of or qualified to join. If you want in, just open the door and let yourself in!

What the hell are you waiting for? To reach age 65? To lose a loved one? To get cancer?

Be your own make-a-wish foundation and do something NOW. Throw out all your excuses and get out there and make your dream trip happen.

Some people hate to hear this cliche, but you truly do only live once. And you really don’t have any idea when your time will be up.

How many vacations do you have in your future? Do you think you’ll get 156 weeks? Who’s gonna give that to you?

Let’s say the most you’ll get every year is three weeks…well then do the math…that’s 52 years of future vacations.

I know…it boggles the mind. Does it sound too over the top for you? OK, let's be reasonable then…take 12 months off.

That’s 17 years worth of vacations. Will one year away from your career hurt so bad if it means you’re covered for 17 years worth of future vacations RIGHT NOW? :)

I didn’t always think this way. I refused to believe it was possible because I focused too much on how it could happen.

Only when we focus on why something must happen, does the 'how' become clear.

A few influential books helped me understand the why and inspired me to just make it happen. So here we are.

In honor of our three-year travel anniversary, today starts the first of three giveaways: A signed copy of the book that changed my life forever, The Art Of Non-Conformity  by Chris Guillebeau.

As impactful and valuable this book has been to me, it’s not doing the world any good sitting on the shelf, so I’m paying it forward in the hopes that it will help one of you break out in your own amazing way.

To enter the giveaway, simply do the following:

  1. In the comments, tell us where you’ve always dreamed of going and what you think is stopping you from making it happen.
  2. Share this post on at least one of your social media accounts. There's a share button just below this post to make it easy for you.

That's it!  In one week, our team of biased judges will select a winner who will be contacted by email shortly thereafter.

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Good luck!