Chris Guillebeau, An Interview With the Non-Conformist Himself (Win a Free Copy of The Art of Non-Conformity!)

“You don’t have to live your life the way other people expect you to.” – Chris Guillebeau

In his popular blog, The Art of Non-Conformity, Chris Guillebeau, traveler, writer, and fighter of the status quo, shares with the world his philosophies, beliefs, ideas, experiences and know-how of what it means to live an unconventional and remarkable life, despite what society tells you what is best for you and what is right.

In our age of mass conformity and the strive to live and lead a “normal” life (truly, is normal really normal?), we need not just be a sheep following the herd.

For what if the herd goes in a direction our heart does not believe in? Or what if the herd is wrong and leads us somewhere we did not want to go?

How will we ever know what will make us happy, what will help us leave a lasting legacy in this world, if we never stray from the herd and lead our own lives, with our own rules?

That is where Chris helps his readers challenge themselves to ask this important question: What are you doing today to help you live a remarkable and unconventional life?

In his Unconventional Book Tour across 63 cities in the U.S. and Canada for his brand new book The Art of Non-Conformity, I had the chance to meet with Chris and chat with him when he stopped by Chicago last month. His humble yet unapologetic approach to living the life we’ve always wanted is worthy to note in our lies-infested and broken world.

He’s living life his way, traveling to every country in the world before he turns 35.

Ambitious? Certainly. Impossible? Never.

We need more freedom fighters and unconventional thinkers like Chris. Will you join us in this revolution? If so, please read on.

I’m happy to present to you Chris Guillebeau in a brief interview about his unconventional travels around the world, his Unconventional Book Tour for his new book The Art of Non-Conformity, and his upcoming World Domination Summit set for June 2011 in Portland.

A Brief Interview with Chris Guillebeau

Nina: Out of all the countries and places you’ve traveled to thus far, which one was the most memorable? Which one was the most challenging?

Chris: I’m not sure which single country has been the most memorable. But among others that I’ve especially enjoyed, I think of South Africa, Macedonia, Ghana, Hong Kong, and the Netherlands. As for challenging, well, Saudi Arabia almost deported me upon arrival. I arrived in Tanzania after a 36-hour bus ride. Some islands in the South Pacific require five flights to get to—I guess it just depends on how you define challenging.

Nina: What did you learn about yourself while writing The Art of Non-Conformity? Was this difficult to complete while traveling around the world?

Chris: I learned that I probably should have started this earlier, but I’m glad I finally started when I did. In other words, forging a writing career and getting serious about honing my message has been very good for me. Writing a book wasn’t difficult when I actually got around to doing it, but unfortunately, procrastination and I are well-acquainted. I had to really take time out and make it my major focus, which was sometimes a challenge with so many other things happening. But I’m extremely glad I did it and I look forward to doing it again.

Nina: What is your one major goal for your Unconventional Book Tour? And why 63 cities?

Chris: My one major goal was to meet my readers throughout North America, and an important side goal was to make the case that book tours can still be a good thing for authors to do. I don’t like to do anything small, so I decided to go to all 50 states. Then, I didn’t want to leave out Canada, so I added all 10 provinces. Washington, D.C. made 61, and then I couldn’t choose between L.A. or San Fran and Houston or Dallas… so I added them all, and that’s how we ended up with 63.

Nina: The World Domination Summit is in June 2011. How did you come up with such an unconventional summit and what would you say to someone who is on the fence whether to go or not?

Chris: As I started going out on the road, I realized how much opportunity and possibility there is in bringing like-minded people together. It’s fun to meet 50-100 people in any given city, but what if we could bring everyone together in one place to discuss unconventional approaches to life, work, and travel? That was the genesis of the idea. As to what I would say to someone who is on the fence, well, I’d say they need to decide one way or another fairly soon, because we have limited space and it’s going to fill up at least six months in advance.

Thanks for your time, Chris, and I’ll be seeing you in Portland next year for the WDS!

The Art of Non-Conformity Book Giveaway

I’m also giving away one free copy of The Art of Non-Conformity to one awesome reader. Yay! All you have to do is answer this question in the Comments section and I’ll enter you in the drawing:

Q: If you could go anywhere in the world right now (money and time is no issue), where would you go and why?

Winner will be selected at random on Nov. 7. And even if you don’t win, please do yourself a favor and stop by Chris’ blog. You can also swing by your local Barnes & Noble or Borders and take a look at The Art of Non-Conformity.

Additional Reading Also By Chris

One of my favorite passages from the book is this: “Unreasonable,” “unrealistic,” and “impractical” are all words used to marginalize a person or idea that fails to conform with conventionally expected standards. My response is that the world needs more people who fail to conform and refuse to settle.”

An unconventional and remarkable life can be yours if you so choose it to be yours. What are you waiting for?

[11/07 Update: The giveaway is now over. Congratulations to Sarah who won herself a new copy of Chris Guillebeau's book The Art of Non-Conformity! Enjoy and thanks to everyone who provided wonderful answers to the challenge question. Gets you thinking about it, huh? Why not do it? Make it come true? You can!!]

  • Matt

    If I could go anywhere right now, I’d go to Thailand. I love the food and I love what I know of the culture, and even without having been there before, it’s a place that I can see myself living!

  • JJ

    I’d choose Bali right now as this is the place I long to visit most AND my best friend is soon going to stop there on her round the world trip :)

  • anne

    I’m going to Seattle! There’s so much more of the city I haven’t seen. Honestly, I’ll be going to look at apartments and jobs! I’d love to move there :)

  • Ashley

    I would go to Hawaii if I could go anywhere right now. It’s getting colder here in the Midwest, and I’ve never been out of the lower 48 :)

  • Kristen Sloan

    Switzerland – I love the mountains and friends have told me Switzerland is beautiful and the people are great. Plus, they have great chocolate!

  • Steve Griffin

    Australia – My wife and I have talked about visiting there since before we were married.

  • Rstolfa

    I would tour the Vatican’s archives, ALL of them, followed by all of the Smithsonian’s holdings. There’s just too much history, technology, and worldly “things” to learn from within their dusty holdings…it’d be impossible to withstand such a trip.

  • Santiago Rial

    I’d travel to Dublin, Ireland, to visit the Trinity College’s Library. The reason for going there is because that’s where they have the Book of Kells in display, and one of my things to do before I die is setting my eyes in a page of that amazingly beautiful piece of art. I’ve always felt connected with Ireland and learning about the Book of Kells led me to define some concepts in my mind about achieving illumination through visual graphic beauty, which is something dear to me as a designer and as an artist :)

  • Santi

    I’d go to France. I’ve been learning the language and I want to go and practice it, and visit all those places I always see only in pictures

  • Rob

    Right now I’d love to go back to Bosnia. I only returned from there about a month ago, but absolutely fell in love with Sarajevo. Instead of staying for 2 nights, like originally planned, I stayed for 10, doing little more than walking around the city, staring at the bullet-holes along the top of the streets, soaking in the positive, optimistic buzz, and drinking amazing coffee as the world went by. I loved it. It felt like home, and I can’t wait to stay there for, I don’t know, 2, 3 months next year maybe??

  • Cara Stein

    I would spend a summer wandering around Eastern Europe. I’m really interested in the history and architecture there, and I think it would be just the right amount of challenge for me. Eastern Europe is different enough from my usual life to broaden my horizons and expand my mind, but not so totally unfamiliar as to be too overwhelming. rnrnThanks for the great post and a thought-provoking question!

  • JillP

    Somewhere warm! I’m sure not looking forward to another Wisconsin winter! :)

  • cmsadler

    I’d go to Spain. I’ve been working on my Spanish fluency, so it would be a great way to practice with Castillian speakers. But much more importantly, I want to show my son the world, and that people live differently, speak differently, eat differently (not everything is a chicken nugget kids meal from Wendy’s), and relax differently, all around the world. I want to show him the wonders of Gaudu00ed, eat pan dulce (pastries) in the morning, tapas in the evening, look at Guernica, and so much more.

  • chrisguillebeau

    Hi Nina! Thanks so much for the props and fun contest. I’d love to go back to Chi-town so we can talk more – but I don’t need a free copy of the book. :)nnYours in World Domination,nncg

  • Nina Yau

    I thought so, Chris. :P Thanks again for the opportunity. We’ll for sure need to chat some more!

  • Nina Yau

    How wonderful! You are so right. There’s more to life (even for a kid) than a chicken nugget kid’s meal from Wendy’s. With or without the cool toy. :)

  • Monica

    I would visit the Galapagos Islands, I have dreamed of this for years. How wounderful it would be to walk in the footsteps of Charles Darwin and explore this fantastic nature and its animals. It would really be a dream of my life.n How wonderful it would be :-)

  • Sherry

    I would visit somewhere in Africa, both for the experience of such a different culture, as well as being able to experience nature in a totally different way!

  • Chester

    I would go back the Philippines and explore all of the other island places that I haven’t been to. Also I would volunteer for more than 1 week for the same organization I volunteered for before, but I would go away from Manila into the province. All this while trying to be more fluent in Tagalog.

  • Gillian Moore

    I would go to Samoa and try to help some of the locals rebuild after their tsunami last year. Oh, and also spend some time on the beach and finding ‘the trench’ that I have heard about!nI don’t need a free book though, as I am currently reading it and think it’s fantastic!

  • Beth

    I have a fantasy about going to a village on the Mediterranean where I could hang out for a few weeks, write, walk to a market to get fresh bread and fruit, and gaze at the sea. At work I always seem to gravitate toward calendars showing these kinds of scenes–right now I have a calendar page torn out of Nerja, Spain–it’s just a balcony looking over the sea…

  • lisasfoods

    I would go to Morocco. I’ve wanted to go there for years, mostly because I want to see the architecture and eat the food. On a trip to Spain last April, we were supposed to fly to Morocco too, but couldn’t fly out of Spain because of the Icelandic volcano. So I got to travel to Andorra and France instead, which was incredible…but my heart still longs to go to Morocco.

  • Sharon

    I would go to Germany to trace my family’s roots and follow the route my dad took in WWII.

  • Nina Yau

    Sounds dreamily like Eat, Pray, Love! You should do it, Beth. That would be such a memorable experience. :)

  • Sarah

    I would go to Israel! I just converted to Judaism and it would be an amazing opportunity to connect with my religion. Thanks so much for your inspiration Nina!! I’ve been a reader for a while, and you’re an inspiration ;)

  • Beth

    Hi Nina–I just might! Thank you for being such an inspiration. I know I am quite a bit older but I haven’t given up on my dream to be free even before retirement age (have about 10 yrs) and you have helped me re-focus! I’m so excited for you and can’t wait to hear about your future adventures!

  • Rachel Jonat

    Spain/Portugal for some slow travel with my family. Love to do a house exchange in a couple different cities for a few weeks each. I’ve been to Spain a few times but it was for work and I barely got to explore. Loved the feeling in the smaller cities.nIt’s probably possible right now… we have the points for flights and my husband can work from anywhere and I am currently at home with my son…. maybe I should start planning it.

  • Leslie

    Japan or Hong Kong for sures. I love Japanese culture and becoming reacquired with Canto would help my language skills.

  • Nina Yau

    I’ll be heading to both those places in just a few short months. Can’t wait. Love the Japanese culture as well and have a great appreciation for it.

  • Robin

    Cuba – I would to walk across the island with a small backpack and take as long as I needed.

  • Kristin

    The Monaco/Cu00f4te d’Azur area. Doesn’t that sound fancy and warm right now? :)

  • Felice Lam

    Vietnam because I’ve never been to Asia yet.

  • Nina Yau

    Yes, it certainly does, especially as I am already FREEZING here in Chicago and it’s only pre-winter! argh …

  • Nina Yau

    How freeing and liberating. You should totally do it. You’ll never regret it.

  • Kirsten Lew

    Italy, from north to south and east to west – with a backpack, a map, and train tickets I would travel around from town to town, city to city, learn to speak italian, meet new friends, drink regional wine, seek out other jeweler/artists’s living their dream, and just be inspired by the beauty that is life!

  • Leslie

    *reacquaintednnReally? That sounds like a lot of fun! It’s going to be an Asian Sensation. I’m going to Japan next summer with family. Learning kanji right now.

  • Nina Yau

    Awesome! :)

  • Castles in the Air » Blog Archive » The Quick Guide to Designing Your Ideal Lifestyle In Less Than 24 Hours (Using The ACE Method)

    [...] The Art of Non-Conformity by Chris Guillebeau. Lessons on setting the rules you want to live the life you’ve always desired. An excellent guide for world domination. Read my interview with Chris here. [...]

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