On the Road Less Traveled
How he lives his life is unconventional and he loves it…
Not following anyone elses’ path, Chris Guillebeau is an independent thinker who decided to find his own way in life. His mission is to visit every country in the world by his 35th birthday (so far, he’s been to 100). However, his mission goes beyond just being a wanderer in foreign lands, who doesn’t work for anyone–he does work abroad too–making a decent living. Chris has been a coffee importer, a search engine optimizer, and volunteer for a medical charity in West Africa.
Carlin Flora interviewed Chris and wrote about their conversation in the article Life Uncharted (Earnings and Yearnings).
No Office Job
At a young age, before he turned 21, Chris decided he couldn’t imagine working in an office–not that he’s opposed to work–rather he wanted to do something that made him happy. He doesn’t have a negative view of corporate life, it’s just not for him. Chris doesn’t feel he’s had to sacrifice anything to follow his dream.
His income might range anywhere from $15,000 per year to $150,000, but his happiness level didn’t change when he made more money. “I learned that it’s more important to focus on what I need the money for and not worry about the rest,” Chris explains, “I earn all of my income from my site and my book contract…I spend 20 percent of my income on international travel.”
School of Life
When asked what he hopes to learn or feel by seeing the world, Chris states, “…as for the reason to do it, I’m still working that out.” He goes on to say that his world view has been affected by his travels, “…travel has helped me change from being a pessimist to being an optimist. Hope is a better message than fear or scarcity and besides, which side would you rather be on?”
Visiting Jordan and Syria enabled Chris (who has been a Christian much of his adult life) to gain a new respect for Islam and Judaism. He realized that if he had been born in another part of the world, his religious beliefs may be entirely different. As his most favorite countries, thus far, Chris lists Syria and South Africa.
Carving Out Paths
While Chris Guillebeau’s way of approaching work and life are vastly different than the average American, many secretly wish they could do what he is doing.
Some have taken the plunge–trekking on horseback through Pakistan for four years, as Matthew Cook did. Or Brooke Thomas, who supports herself and young son as a Rolfing practitioner and runs “The Well Practice” Web site states, “I’ve never worked in the corporate world or a cubicle of any kind.” And there’s Nathan Hangen, who built a blogging and consulting business while he was deployed in Afghanistan. He wants to have time to play video games and recently achieved his dream of becoming a triathlete. He advises, “Quit living in fear. Ignore critics and spend time with those who inspire you.”
What path are you carving out for yourself? Conventional or unconventional?
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