The aspiration to challenge everyday life motivates people to do incredible things. We collected the most extraordinary of them. These stories prove that our possibilities are endless.
20 minutes without oxygen
Magician David Blaine has set a world record for the longest breath-holding, by holding his breath for 17 minutes and four seconds. “I feel great,” the silver wetsuit-clad American said as he was pulled to the surface. “I actually started to doubt I was going to make it because I’d never done it with such a high heart rate.” Blaine said he had managed it by staying in a meditative state. He looked relaxed afterward and said this was "a lifelong dream."
She gave up using money
Heidemarie Schwermer, a 69-year-old woman from Germany, gave up using money 15 years ago and says she’s been much happier ever since. She worked as a teacher for almost 20 years, before she left her position and became a psychotherapist. She has two children and three grandchildren. Slowly but surely she has managed to step out of the existing structures and find a new way of living, free of worries and possessions.
Life without garbage
Bea Johnson takes “reduce, reuse, and recycle” to an entirely new level. She brings her own bags and jars to the grocery store, making sure to only shop in what she calls the unprocessed perimeter of the store. This woman and her family live waste-free since 2008. "Since embarking on the Zero Waste lifestyle, our lives have changed for the better: we feel happier and lead more meaningful lives, based on experiences instead of stuff. My goal is to share its incredible health, financial and time saving benefits!"
Colin Wright sold everything that couldn’t fit into a carry-on bag. Next, he started a blog, Exile Lifestyle. But rather than creating a web page dedicated to his musings, it serves as his compass. His readers vote and tell him where to go every four months. Once he reaches a new destination, he settles in for 16 weeks before starting the whole process all over again. In his four-plus years on the go, Wright has traveled through the 48 contiguous states (twice) and lived in New Zealand, Thailand, Iceland, India, Romania, South America, Southeast Asia and several other places around the world.
One year without the Internet
Paul Miller, a technology writer, performed a curious experiment over the last year: he quit the Internet. Miller replaced his smartphone with a feature phone. He got his news through TV and newspapers. He embarked on what he thought would be a liberating journey to find himself and a life not dominated by the immediacy of information and communication. Miller writes: "A year in, I don't ride my bike so much. My frisbee gathers dust. Most weeks I don't go out with people even once. My favorite place is the couch. I prop my feet up on the coffee table, play a video game, and listen to an audiobook. I pick a mindless game, like Borderlands 2 or Skate 3, and absently thumb the sticks through the game-world while my mind rests on the audiobook, or maybe just on nothing."