Kristina Interviews Chris Guillebeau
Enjoy my conversation with the creator of one of my favorite blogs EVER, The Art of Non-Conformity, Chris Guillebeau. Chris is a fantastic blogger and story-teller, and if you have not read his blog, you’re really denying yourself one of the best reads you’re going to have provided by the Internet. On September 7th, he will be publishing his first book (based on the same name) and he will begin his book tour in New York City, which is something I’m incredibly stoked about.
Kristina Villarini (KV): You’ve written guides online that are well-loved and incredibly insightful. What was the motivator to publish a title?
Chris Guillebeau (CG): One of my first motivations with AONC [Art of Non-Conformity] was to write a book. Over time, I realized that I greatly enjoy blogging and other means of quicker communication— but I still think there’s something special about a “real” book. I can’t think of a lot of blog posts that have changed my life, but I can think of plenty of books that did.
KV: When you began AONC, did you believe that it would be something that resonated with so many?
CG: Not at all! I started by writing about my travels. I’m a slow learner, but eventually I figured out that I’m not a great travel writer, and not everyone cares about travel. Once I started focusing more on motivations and how to change the world while doing what you want, the readership became a lot more engaged.
KV: The story of your blog began with a simple goal: to visit every country on Earth before you reach age 35. How much of your daily routine is driven by goals?
CG: Good question. I’d say that maybe 75% of my daily routine is goal-driven. I pretty much know what I want to do and what it will take to accomplish it at most times. But it’s important to say that I’ve chosen the goals—it’s not like I’ve been pushed into something I don’t want to do just for the sake of an arbitrary goal.
KV: Was there ever a time, whether during your many layovers or stays at terrible hotels, that you ever felt overwhelmed or an incredible resistance to the work you were doing? How do you keep from breaking down?
CG: Continually. I think most of us struggle with fear and insecurity to a certain degree, but we’re encouraged to put on a brave face and pretend to be fearless. I’m definitely not fearless, and often think about giving up. The difference is that I’ve learned to not make decisions out of fear, fatigue, or resistance. I’m doing something that is personally meaningful to me, and nothing worth doing is ever easy.
KV: You anticipate meeting your original goal of seeing every country, with the exception of any difficult trips (Belarus?). What is the next step in your life after you reach, what will most certainly be a milestone?
CG: It will be a milestone, certainly, but I don’t plan to stop traveling after I’ve visited every country. I appreciate travel for the sake of travel itself. After I achieve that goal, I expect I’ll keep going places, meeting people, writing and hopefully encouraging those who care enough to follow the journey.