Chris Guilllebeau, author of the New York Best Seller The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living and the book The Art of Non-Conformity just launched his third book called The Happiness of Pursuit: Finding the Quest That Will Bring Purpose to Your Life. In 2013 Chris finished a decade long quest of visiting all 193 countries.
This book is not a travel book but an inspiration and guide to help you get off the couch and incorporate a little adventure into your own life. The book includes stories of ordinary people that woke up one day craving more out of life than the same old and ventured out on their own individual quests, many of them not travel related.
During his travels and interviews with hundreds of “questers” Chris discovered a direct link between pursuing a quest and long-term happiness and that fulfilling a quest can highly enrich your life.
This book is a perfect read for anyone wanting to get off the hamster wheel and Chris graciously agreed to an interview. Since Chris has been off the hamster wheel for a while I decided to tweak the standard “How did you leave the hamster wheel” questions to a few more related to “questing.”
Q: Adventures and quests often starts with an idea to do something “just because” and it may be hard to answer the “why.” Did you at some point during the quest visiting all 193 countries find a more defined “why” as to what drove you to do that?
A: That’s a great observation. Many of the people I talked to described their project as “just a crazy idea that wouldn’t go away.” The more they thought about it, the more they realized they would always regret it if they didn’t at least attempt it. This fear of regret and desire to with with urgency can be a powerful force.
In my case, I loved travel and was attracted to the “packaging” of being able to have a specific goal or end-point to it. And of course, I also liked the systematic nature of going country-by-country and seeing the world.
Q: What is your #1 advice or resource for people that don’t know where to start but would like to do add some adventure into their life whether that turns into a quest or just ‘getting themselves out of the comfort zone.”
A: Think about what you’re excited about. Think about what you’re bothered by. It’s okay if it’s something that other people don’t understand or appreciate—that’s actually quite common with quests and adventures. Then, find a way to create some structure about this thing. Robyn Devine in Omaha is a great example: she decided to knit 10,000 hats. Not just “knit a bunch of hats” but “knit 10,000 hats.” It will take her many years to complete this goal, but it’s something she was able to do without traveling or running 100 marathons or whatever.
Q: Even a natural non-conformist needs to draw inspiration from others to continue to push the envelope. Can you share a few activities you do or people you seek out for inspiration?
A: Sure. In my case I’m fortunate to connect with an amazing community of remarkable people from all over the world. These people changed the trajectory of my life and greatly influenced the project. One of the lessons of quests is that your friends and family may not understand what you’re doing. You don’t have to abandon them if that happens, but you do need a support structure of some kind.
I also read a lot. I’m constantly consuming books and articles by people who are smarter than me. I find inspiration through learning about the world and constantly being challenged.
Q: You financed your quest through travel hacking but also through blogging, writing and other projects. Did you ever feel that sharing your travels and quest with the world put negative pressure on you as your blog gained popularity and hence expectations increased? If so, how did you deal with that?
A: I can honestly say that I pursued (and eventually completed) the quest because of my own motivation and compulsion. I started it on my own, without sharing anything publicly. As the career aspect of things picked up, I sometimes struggled with falling behind on various projects. But I don’t think I ever felt pressured to quit, or felt like I was doing it for the wrong reasons.
Q: How would you want your eulogy to be read? And do you feel that you are living your life in a way that fits that?
A: Whoa! No pressure. 🙂
In one way or another, I’d hope that people said something about the fact that I helped others to make brave choices and live unconventional lives of their own design.
As to whether I feel I’m living the way that fits that, yes, I think so. But I also think it’s good to continuously evaluate. Asking yourself questions like these can be very helpful.
Between his books, awesome blog, the World Domination Summit and involvement with various non-profits Chris really walks the talk. He is living his life to the fullest while helping others, just as he wants you to.
I love what Chris is doing and in order to get you off the couch and get inspired I’m giving away two copies of The Happiness of Pursuit.
The rules? I really want as many people as possible to learn about Chris Guillebeau and his new book so I would be so appreciative if you shared this with your friends through social media or other means.
Then go comment below on what kind of quest you could see yourself doing. I will pick two winners on Tuesday September 23, 2014.
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