Every once in awhile, I get a chance to promote a great blogger. Chris Guillebeau is one of those bloggers. For those of you that haven’t heard of Chris before, here’s a few details:
- He’s been gainfully unemployed for over a decade, earning his income online.
- His goal is to travel to every country in the world. He has already reached 111 out of 197.
- He’s written a manifesto on world domination.
Chris’s website is The Art of Nonconformity, and it’s a must-read resource for anyone who wants to live an unconventional life. I got a chance to chat with Chris recently, and I wanted to share some of the great insights he offered me.
The First Steps to Unconventional Living
“I think the quarterlife crisis is a good thing,” Chris explained, “it means you’re actually thinking about what your motivations are in life.” If you’re in your twenties and unsure what you want to do in life, Chris suggests that this is an opportunity to do something unconventional. Even if you’re later in life, he points out, “it’s never too late to start.”
One reason I was drawn to The Art of Nonconformity is the lack of self-inflated hype. While many other writers have exaggerated claims in a vain attempt to motivate their audience, Chris often does the opposite. He makes his advice genuine and practical.
“Small steps are good, sometimes people feel intimidated to make changes.” This philosophy is reflected in his writing. For example, in his great guide, The Unconventional Guide to Working for Yourself, he focuses on allowing readers to create a micro-business that can earn $200 per month. Not an empire, a first step.
“If you’re interested in travel, for example, you don’t have to go completely broke traveling around the world. You can take a smaller trips.” AONC is, in many ways, about taking that first step.
The Short List of Deadly Countries
As he is an extensive world-traveler, I asked Chris how he felt about going to places that aren’t typical tourist destinations. Including many places in Africa and the Middle East that North Americans might see as being dangerous and unfriendly. Chris argues that, “there are a few places around the world that are dangerous, but that’s a very short list.”
Chris advocates not letting overblown fears get in the way of your life. “Sometimes people equate the unknown with the dangerous. But really, 95% of the people I’ve met have been friendly.” An unconventional life might be different, but isn’t necessarily riskier than following the masses.
Lifestyle Design and Tradeoffs
The Art of Nonconformity does paint the upside of living an unconventional life. Of course, Chris is that upside, as he’s been able to build a unique lifestyle without regular employment. However, Chris is realistic in that he recognizes tradeoffs that need to be made in order to do something unique.
“I know people that are more successful than me.” Chris explains that he has had plenty of opportunities to expand various businesses, but turned them down to focus on his goals of personal freedom and becoming a full-time writer. Life is always going to have tradeoffs, AONC does a great job of teaching you how to minimize those tradeoffs and choose them wisely.
In addition to his blog, which is updated frequently with high-quality articles, Chris also maintains a great store with guides on travel, work and money. Chris has a natural ability for combining the higher-level ideas with the practical tricks needed to get started, so I’ve enjoyed all of his guides that I have read.
In the past, I did a review of The Unconventional Guide to Working for Yourself, which is my favorite guide on AONC, and it has great advice for anyone interested in starting a microbusiness.
If you’d like to read more about Chris, check out his website here. Also, you can check out some of his best articles: