Adventure, Spotlight, WDS

WDS Contest: And the Ticket Goes To…

For the last two weeks, amazing essays, poems, lists and videos have been appearing on the topic, Why Adventure? Today, I draw the winner from among them, and award that person a shiny new World Domination Summit ticket.

With so many great adventurers to choose from, how do you pick a winner? Well, voting and arbitrary judgement are both time-honored traditions, but this is adventure. There’s always an element of the unexpected, the unpredictable in adventure, right?

So, as promised, I used a random selection method to choose the winner.

What kind of random selection method? Well…

If you know what that is, roll twice on the Wandering Blogger table. If you don’t know what that is, I am totally not a nerd. And never was.

Of course, you have no idea if I’m really rolling the die or not. I could just “cheat” and put it on whatever number I want, and say I rolled it. But this is a low-tech operation and the best I can do is ask for your trust. Plus, if I wanted to just pick the winner myself, it’s my contest—I could just do that openly. But I think adding luck to the mix is more fun.

Other fine print:

  • I reserved the right to enter one “favorite” twice, but decided against it. I liked all the entries so much, I want everyone to have an equal chance.
  • One person entered in order to give their ticket (if they won) to their friend, Julianne. But Julianne entered too! (She didn’t know about them when they both entered, it was innocent.) So Julianne is just in the contest once like everyone else.
  • I had earlier said than Benjamin Jenk’s video response was not meant as an entry. That was a misunderstanding on my part, so he has been entered.

Here’s the final list of contenders:

(You can see their entries here, here and here.)

Who’s the lucky one that gets the golden ticket?

Fate is just a die roll away…

Clatter clatter clatter…

And the winner is:

Gregory Dsouza of Mindsightz Blog!

Congratulations Gregory—expect an email from me shortly working out the details of the ticket transfer. Your reasons to adventure were introspective, vivid, and punchy all at once. Take those qualities with you to the Summit and tell ’em the Rogue Priest says hello… You’re about to meet a whole bunch of free thinking people.

Very free thinking! Photo courtesy of Armosa Studios.

Many thanks to everyone who entered, everyone who helped spread the word and, of course, all my readers for being your awesome selves. And many thanks to Chris Guillebeau for hosting the World Domination Summit and endorsing this giveaway.

Anybody have a question for Gregory? Wonder what he hopes to do or learn at WDS? Speak up! We have to grill him now…

Adventure, Spotlight, WDS

Essays on Adventure: Final Round

Last night at midnight my contest officially closed. We’ve had many amazing people weigh in on the question, “Why Adventure?” but now it gets exciting. In this batch we have our first dissenting opinion, our first video response, and several people who make the case for everyday adventure over grandiose quests.

Ready for the final entries? Here they are!

Behind the gate at the World Domination Summit. Photo courtesy of Armosa Studios.


Because you can jump from a building, stop and pose for a photo, and land on your feet
Like a Superman with style.

Why Adventure? on Amazing Crazy World

Jennifer Miller

I’m actually a very routine individual. Or, at least I think I am. I make lists, I organize my time, I keep a schedule and I LOVE doing these things. But these things were not what made me love my life before. It was the unknown…

Why Adventure? on WLS

Erica Cosminsky

It was a very long drive… My opinion is that it’s only eight hours. We got to go and see things that many people will never get to see in their whole lives.

Why Adventure? on the Invisible Office

Benjamin Jenks

This one isn’t an entry, but it’s the only video response and a damn cool message. If this was an entry it might be my pick for favorite, solely for the “twinkle in the eye.” Bearded Yoda, indeed.

Why Adventure? on AdventureSauce

Alaia Williams

 I might not jump off bridges or eat body parts of animals that I don’t even want to think about – and that’s okay. I’ll take my adventure and new experiences in other ways, thanks.

Thoughts on Adventure

David Yakobovitch

This one isn’t an entry, but a response to the contest. Can adventure really be achieved through books, guides and a Summit of interesting people?

World Domination starts when you are ready.  Not when you attend World Domination Summit.

Why The $100 Startup Will Not Inspire Your Next Adventure

So, who’s the big winner?

I’m warming up my dice. The results will be revealed today at 5 pm CST right here at Rogue Priest.

Do you have a favorite? Remember, I can designate one entry to be put in the drawing twice, thus increasing its odds of winning. If you want to start making your case for someone, you only have a few hours. Hit the comments and convince me!

The other entries can be seen here and here.

Adventure, Spotlight, WDS

More Essays on Adventure

My contest to give away a ticket to the World Domination Summit goes on, and more great entries are gliding in! Each of the essays below reflects on person’s take on the question, “Why Adventure?” and the value that adventure brings to us as human beings.


Dancing at World Domination Summit 2011. Photo courtesy of Armosa Studios.

Stephanie Kelly

Excitement and change; most people would probably say they like the former, but not everyone likes the latter – and change is a crucial aspect of adventure. If you know what’s going to happen, or if you stay in one place, it’s not an adventure. If there’s nothing that takes you  out of your comfort zone, that requires a leap of faith, it’s not an adventure.

Why Adventure? on A Quiet Revolution

Eric Lunsford

In the end, success came for them not because they focused on the bottom line, are really good at getting together investors, or know how to make a sale… their success came from everything they learned on their adventure. If it wasn’t for the trips they took, they would have never been able to build what they have now.

5 Entrepreneurs Show How Traveling Guarantees Business Success

Julianne Kanzaki

No one ever regretted adventure, not even Aron Ralston, who had to amputate his own arm in the isolated canyon in Utah.

Why Adventure? on SwimBikeRun

Gregory Dsouza

Get out of the 9-5 and LIVE

Why Adventure? on Mindsightz

Marvin Abisia for Julianne

This one was entered on behalf of a friend to surprise her with the ticket. As it turns out she already entered on her own! What a bunch of go-getters

I’ve come to believe more and more that life was not meant to be lived within the confines and rules of a world designed by others.

To Find Out Who You Are, Go On An Adventure

The contest remains open through midnight tonight (CST). To read the other entries, go here. To enter the contest yourself (do it!), go here.

Does one of these takes really speak to you?

Adventure, Spotlight, WDS

Three Essays on Adventure

Afterparty at the World Domination Summit. Photo courtesy of Armosa Studios.

Last week I announced a contest to give away a coveted ticket to the infamous World Domination Summit. The contest is still going through May 3, and you should enter immediately by clicking here.

In case you need a little inspiration, here are the first entries. I posed the question, “Why Adventure?” and I’m really impressed by the passion behind people’s answers. Let’s see ’em:

Kandice Na’Te Cole

When we say yes to adventure, we are saying yes to something that has been lodged deep down inside of us. We say yes to a kick-ass life that we are creating on our own. We say yes to the hero’s journey.

Disrupting Adventure

Bridget Pilloud

We shared our stories. And when you can’t see people, in the middle of the night, in the middle of nowhere, with the Perseids, it’s a lot like a Quaker meeting. You gently choose stories that improve upon the silence. And there’s not much, under the Perseids, that does.

Why Adventure?

Mitchell Roth

(This is actually a non-entry. Mitch already has his WDS ticket, but he wanted to get in on the blog topic anyway. I wasn’t going to stand in his way!)

There was a time in your life when you were still figuring out the world every single day… When you take an adventure — whether traveling, reading a challenging book, attempting something new, or indulging in your art — you get to experience the wonder of childhood again and explore the unknown.

Why Adventure?

Does one of these resonate with you more than the others? What are your reasons for adventuring—or not adventuring?

L Days cover_front only_half size

My book Lúnasa Days is available on Kindle and in paperback. Get your copy here.

Adventure, WDS

How to Win a Free WDS Ticket

A little love from the World Domination Summit. Photo courtesy of Armosa Studios.

The greatest four days of my life were when I attended the World Domination Summit in June 2011. It wasn’t the speakers or the setting, though both were impressive. It was because I had never before been part of a group of such mind-breakingly remarkable people.

I think creatives, dreamers and philosophers often feel alone. We stand outside the pack, different than everyone else. We have to fight against the current.

For a few joyful days, the outsiders were the current. If inspiration were wine, this was the vineyard.

Now I want to bring you inside.

Golden Ticket

Last year I excitedly pre-booked my ticket for WDS 2012. I did this knowing full well that I wouldn’t be able to go. Gods willing, I’ll be on my 8,000 mile walk when the World Domination Summit convenes this year.

So I want to give it away.

Two weeks from now, on Friday, May 4, I will draw one lucky winner and give them my ticket. Their admission to this sold-out, world-changing event will be absolutely free.

There are some conditions (always, right?)—

  1. World Domination Summit 2012 happens July 6-8 in Portland, OR. Only enter if you can make it there on those dates.
  2. By entering the contest you agree not to sell the winning ticket.

Sounds Good, Give Me the Ticket

Sure thing. Here’s how you enter:

Publish a blog post on the topic: Why Adventure?

Link it to at least one page on Rogue Priest.

When it goes live, email me the link and your contact info. [Email info removed because contest is closed.]

What I’ll do:

  • Curate the entries and post links to all of them
  • Ignore any entries that come in after May 3 (CST)
  • Use a random selection method to draw and announce a winner May 4
  • Help the winner find lodging in Portland if needed

Adventure is a topic close to my heart. I consider it the ultimate spiritual practice. That’s why I want to highlight the dreams of others who adventure too (or want to). I can hardly wait to see what you write.

Adventurer or not, the contest is open to absolutely anybody. Even if you have very different views from me, if your post addresses the topic Why Adventure? it still counts.

I reserve the right to choose one favorite post and put it in the drawing twice. Other than that, it’s even odds for all entrants. Writing not your strong suit? Vlogs, photo essays and other styles of entry are welcome too.

Special thanks to WDS founder and chief executive rebel, Chris Guillebeau, for giving his blessing and encouragement to the contest. May the best adventurer win!

Please share, tweet and excitedly shout about this contest so more people know about it.

Social Skills, WDS

The Greatest Weapon for World Domination

I used to be terrible at talking to people. In fact, I was terrible at anything social. My strategy for parties was to stick close to one friend. I’d follow them like a puppy dog if need be. My strategy for everything else was to only talk to people I already knew.

I was not just an introvert. Introverts are often great socially; they just like it in short bursts. I was an introvert who was shite at talking to anyone.

I’ve talked before about the value of social bravery and how I trained my skills. In the last few years I’ve become a lot more extroverted, and a lot better at talking to new people. But last week it was time to put it to the ultimate test.

Last week, for the first time, I touched down in Portland, Oregon. My mission: to take over the world.

The World Domination Summit

The occasion was the World Domination Summit, organized by the remarkable Chris Guillebeau. Chris is a powerful writer who pens a soft, honest voice but advocates big ideas. I’ll gladly admit that his (free) ebook 279 Days to Overnight Success is perhaps the single biggest influence on the shape this blog has taken.

The purpose of the World Domination Summit (WDS) was, essentially, to bring together hundreds of the most awesome people possible. I’ve really never seen anything like it. The event had the format of a conference, but it was not industry-specific, nor tied to any one issue or topic. The main thing uniting the attendees is that we believe in Chris’ message of unconventional strategies for life, work and travel.

The result is that a wide variety of people were present. Entrepreneurs and moguls, writers and artists, digital nomads, bloggers, the list goes on. Some are just starting out, others are established names. But what we all have in common is we are innovative, creative types—and we take no prisoners.

Photo credit: Armosa Studios

500 of your Biggest Fans

Chris frames all of his greatest projects in terms of changing the world. Out of the many people using that phrase, he’s one of the few I believe.

But the people I met at WDS have the same ambition. Every person there has some kind of project or dream, and they’re actually doing them. (They’re also very ExPoMod.) The effect? When you talk about your wildest, craziest dream, what you get is a sea of people pitching in with advice, suggestions, and ideas for how you can do it.

For example, my great dream is to walk from Minneapolis to South America. When I tell people about my dream, I’m used to getting a few responses:

You know it’s not safe, right?

Good luck crossing all those borders.

You won’t be able to support yourself without working that long.

Are you crazy?

With this group, the very first time I opened my mouth to talk about my dream someone pointed at a thoughtful-looking blonde guy at the next table. “Have you talked to Nate? Nate’s walking across America!” Other responses included advice on how to stay safe, suggestions for how to make a living while traveling that long, and being told I’m awesome.

You can see why I like this crowd.

But what struck me most is that the advice I got was not just rah-rah cheerleading. It was practical advice based on experience running location-independent businesses and traveling off the tourist trail.

The name “World Domination Summit” is something of a tongue-in-cheek title. No one there actually intends to rule the world. But after spending a weekend with these 500 people I can’t escape the idea that they—we, all of us—really are poised to have a lasting and profound influence on the world.

Photo credit: Armosa Studios

Weapon of Choice

When I departed for WDS, I was very conscious that I was not going there for the speakers. I was going for the other attendees.

I was mindful of some advice that Colin Wright gave me about building my blog: “You should be increasing your network like a crazy person.” (Colin’s book Networking Awesomely is the only reason I have any idea how to do that.) Any regular conference-goer knows that the main allure is networking, and usually that means a lot of awkward business lunches and palming your card out to everyone you meet. But I’ve learned that inviting people to parties, buying them drinks, and getting to know them as people rather than business contacts—you know, actually making friends—is more fun, more genuine, and way more effective.

And that is why WDS was a test for me. It was one of the biggest opportunities I’ve ever had to meet people who can play a role in launching my dream. And my success or failure depended 100% upon my social skills. My newbie, fledgling social skills.

A few of the amazing people I now count as dear friends:

  • James Watt, @adventuringraw. I knew James from Twitter, but had no idea that his head is a supercomputer of all things marketing. His next business project will put that knowledge to use for small business owners in an incredible new way. But even more than business talk, we really connected discussing martial arts, health, and building community. I’m amazed how much James and I have in common, and how at home I feel with him after just a few conversations.
  • Tessa Zeng, @teezeng. Tessa is equal parts artist and philosopher, and the two parts dance together with uncompromising grace. One conversation with her caused me to scrap and rewrite Walk Like a God. Tessa has a unique ability to step back and see the vital role that art can play in changing minds, which is the topic of her ebook Change Creation. I’ve never seen anyone so deftly isolate what effect a work has (or doesn’t) and how to amplify it.
  • Matt Langdon, @theherocc. When people ask Matt what he does for a living, he gets to say this: “I teach kids how to be heroes.” And he really does. Matt’s in-school educational program is built around the simple premise that the opposite of a hero is not a villain, it’s a bystander. With this core idea children are shown how they can make dramatic change in their schools and communities simply by speaking up instead of staying silent. My favorite thing I learned from Matt is that kids do, in fact, know the difference between a celebrity and a hero.


Social skills are the tool with the lowest failure rate. Have you ever thought about where your social skills come from, and how they got the way they are? I spent years working on mine, and many of my friends don’t believe I used to be an introvert. But my skills are still a work in progress, something I hone a little more every day.

Please leave a comment and let me know what lets you be more comfortable socially. Is there a particular experience that gave you your social skills? Or were you just born that way? I look forward to hearing what the Rogue Priest community has to say!

Adventure, Primitivism, Travel, WDS

When I Was Enkidu: Nothing But the Rain

It was June 2002. Rain hit my tent. I heard it clattering against the dome and it was not comforting. It was chilling.

A clammy cold fog had already drifted through, dampening everything. We were camped in a swamp. I hugged my sleeping bag tighter around me, but it was cold and wet. It couldn’t help me.

At that moment I was filled with fear. Not because of bears or shrieking leeches. Not because of the storm.

I was scared because this was Day One.

I had planned a seven-week trip to Beaver Island, Michigan. It was a field study to map stone circles located on the island. Most people don’t know there are stone circles there, and they’re quite unusual for Native American construction. There was talk that maybe they had been built by early European explorers long before Columbus.

But that wasn’t what I cared about, not in that tent. There were three things on my mind:

  1. There is no way I can do this for seven weeks.
  2. I am miserable. This is the worst.
  3. I am responsible for two other people. They will look at me to make things better.

It was the last one that was hardest. Two women, my study co-author and our photographer, were in a second tent just yards away from my own. They didn’t come complain to me, and I didn’t go complain to them. None of us wanted to go out in the rain just to gripe. But I know we were all thinking the same thing.

I want to go home.

Home was a million miles away. Actually it was about 450 miles, but that was no closer. My father had graciously offered to drive us from Milwaukee all the way to Charlevoix where the ferry departs for Beaver Island. Earlier that day, on the ferry on the copper-blue lake, with the sun shining, the trip still seemed like a great idea.

But after he saw us to the ferry, Dad took the car and headed home. And by now, ten o’clock or midnight, he was already home. And warm.

I considered asking him to come bail us out. Drive back up, rescue us. The trip is a bust. Forget the stone circles.

It wouldn’t have been easy. No cell phones (2002, remember?) but we could have used the phone at the biological research station we were camped near. He would have come for us, maybe even that night, but it wouldn’t have been till nearly dawn he’d be at the ferry. And, oh yeah, the ferry wouldn’t leave till morning anyway.

Like it or not, we were stuck out there for one night minimum. But it wasn’t the minimum that terrified me. It was the maximum. Seven weeks is a lot of goddamned nights if you can’t even make it through just one.

Admitting that sleep was not going to happen, I reviewed my options. We could bug out tomorrow and go home. It would be an imposition, and it would waste hundreds of dollars already spent from our paltry budget of $1,900. It would be a blow to my reputation, and it would feel like I had personally failed my companions who had counted on me to plan and organize everything.

Or we could stay. A decision that might be even less popular than bugging out, or might even result in outright mutiny. I knew my companions well enough to be certain that if I was panicking, they were more than panicking.

And that was my first in.

What if the reverse is true?

If I stay calm, will they stay calm too?

I fixated on that. I planned what I would say the next day (or that night, if they burst into my tent wanting to go home). I made a mental list of things that might get better, and things that we can change, and things that aren’t that bad. I planned these things mostly to distract myself from the growing pool of water in the corner of my tent. I decided that I would speak with positivity and confidence, even though it was a complete sham over inner terror, and hope that it caught on.

I didn’t realize it at the time but I had just hit upon one of the most important strategies of a good leader. When the going gets tough you keep calm and carry on. When there’s a a blitzkrieg of shrapnel butterflies in your gut—you keep calm and carry on.

Fitfully, I survived the night. The morning brought mixed feelings. It was the least comfortable of all: the cold wind off the lake had chilled our low-lying swamp all night, and the thick trees wouldn’t let the fog burn off. It draped on me, on everything. Getting out of my sleeping bag was an exercise in shivering. But at the same time, the very sight of sunlight and the knowledge that nighttime was over gave me a sort of courage. I opened my tent door and went to check on my colleagues.

“How’d you sleep?” I asked.

They looked at me with zombie-like faces. I nodded as they debriefed me on how horrible the night was. I didn’t disagree on any particular. When they asked me what I thought, I began to talk in terms of what could be fixed or how we could improve things.

We did improve things. We re-sited our tents and did some waterproofing. We strung clotheslines to dry our bedding. We adapted.

It wasn’t perfect. Nothing we did would change the freezing miasma that hung over the swamp each morning. Nothing we did could stop it from raining every. single. day. of June on Beaver Island. I’m not sure that my companions ever were happy with our living situation, but they did it for my sake and I did it for their sake. In time we got used to it and I slept soundly and well many nights.

There are a lot of great things that I could tell you about from those seven weeks. There were Ottawa elders who visited and asked me to be their guide on their own island. There was the peace pipe ceremony they invited us to on the summer solstice. We even spent two days on a (truly) deserted island.

The moral of this story could be: don’t ever fucking give up.

That’s a good one. I like that moral. It’s true, mostly.

But that isn’t the moral of this story. Nor is it the fact that this was the day I learned what it felt like to be a leader. Those are tangential.

No, this story is told because that was the day I knew I could do more than just “camping.” I was beyond camping now, vacation-style, with s’mores and a car and a get out of jail free card.

I had gone deep. Balls deep in mother nature. And I found that I could make it, be steady, even comfortable.

I was comfortable dating the outdoors, even when she was in one of her moods.

I was changed forever. If you want to hear about why a grown man with a normal life would go off to live with hunter-gatherers, it starts here.

If you’ve enjoyed this story so far, please tweet or Facebook share it. Questions, thoughts, stories of your own? I love stories. Hit me up in the comments.