Guillebeau has a well thought out plan for his life, one of which is to visit every country in the world by the time he’s 35. To do this, he has created a whole system he calls travel hacking which allows him to take 4 multi-destination, international trips per year for about $400 per trip.
Travel is certainly one of the loves of my life; however, this is not the primary reason why I think this book is awesome.
It’s Guillebeau’s premise that we need to think for ourselves instead of following the crowd that makes me stand up and cheer. He calls it non-conformity, but not in a rebellious type of way. His metaphor is that if everyone else is jumping off the bridge, it would be important for you to ask ‘why?’, before you leap off too.
Two really important questions that Guillebeau asks in the book:
- What do you really want to get out of life?
- What can you offer the world that no one else can?
You are unique. You have something to offer the world.
I share this belief with Guillebeau. And, if you are blindly following someone else’s idea of a life for you, or the perpetual woman’s trap, the life you think you ‘should’ live, then you are cheating yourself and the world.
Guillebeau uses his own experience as an example of how to create an unconventional life. He explores his own practical strategies around goal setting, fighting authority and nay-sayers, achieving education, creating community, managing finances, and considering your legacy.
While Guillebeau has no car, advocates renting, has limited possessions, and is OK with sleeping on airport floors, he does not proclaim that we all must do these things in order to live a happy non-conforming life. If that had been the case I would have thrown the book across the room (well, not really since it was on my iPad, but I wouldn’t have finished reading!). I really love my possession filled home that I own and I would do a lot to avoid sleeping on an airport floor. I also want to travel to Burma and Syria about as much as I look forward to my first colonoscopy.
But, the message is loud and clear. Figure out what you want. Determine what the world needs from you. Find out how you want to live and make those things come true. Move fear and naysayers to the back of the bus and take the wheel and drive your own life.
Define yourself and how you want to live in the world – not the other way around.
Thanks Chris Guillebeau for thinking (and acting) outside the box, and to my friend Sue Deuber (educator extraordinaire and all around amazing friend) for pointing me in the direction of this book.