Goins, Writer

On Writing, Ideas, and Making a Difference

013: How to Create Your Own Freedom, Live an Adventure, & Do Work That Matters: A Chat with Chris Guillebeau [Podcast]

Wherever you look, there are voices telling you to “live a better story” or do something “epic.” They make it sound easy. But it’s not so simple, is it? The truth is the epic life requires more than just blind courage.

Few people understand this better than Chris Guillebeau.

Chris Guillebeau & Tiger

This is Chris, doing what he does: taking risks.

Chris is a friend, mentor, and patron to the work that I do (he graciously endorsed my book, Wrecked). What impresses me most about him is his ability to stay true to his values of generosity and adventurous living while wisely providing for himself so that he can sustain those passions.

I had a chance last year to sit down with Chris and chat about these ideas. I’m bringing it back for the podcast because he has pulled off what most of us think is impossible. He’s living a life full of adventurous experiences and creative endeavors without going broke.

That’s what we discuss in this interview.

Click to listen

To listen to the show, click the player below (or if viewing this in email, click here.)


You can also download it at iTunes or on Stitcher.

Around the world in eleven years

Chris has always loved adventure. In his mid-20’s, he set a goal to visit every country in the world. It’s taken over a decade (depending on how you count it), but he reached his goal last year.

As he approached the end of his journey, a funny thing happened. He started worrying about what was next. This had been his identity for so long time, that he wasn’t quite sure what to do next.

And as he reflected, he decided to do what he encourages others to do. Explore. Try something new. Seek out moments of inspiration or discovery. (Click here to tweet that.)

And it worked.

What do you want for your life?

Now, Chris doesn’t believe everyone has to travel the world. But he does believe we all should do things that stretch and challenge us.

For a long time, he wanted to be a writer instead of actually being a writer and just sitting down and doing it. Sound familiar?

We all have fears and misconceptions to overcome. But it’s important to think about what we really want for our lives. And it’s even more important to take the next step, to ask how we can structure our lives in a way that brings us closer to our goals.

In the interview we also talked about:

  • Balancing risk-taking with responsibilities
  • The entrepreneurial spirit
  • The obstacles to starting a business in a world where it’s easier than ever before
  • Why it’s important to start right now

Make sure you listen to the whole episode or download the full transcript here. (Special thanks to Eva P. Scott for her wonderful transcription wizardry!)

To find out more about Chris Guillebeau, check out his website and pre-order his upcoming book The Happiness of Pursuit. He also hosts the annual World Domination Summit (WDS), which I attended this past weekend. It’s a great place to get inspired and have a good time in Portland. I hope to see you there next year!

And if you want to catch up with me before the next WDS, check out my upcoming speaking events. I’m also hosting a meetup in Duluth, Georgia next weekend and another in New Orleans, Louisiana in September. Click the city names for details.

Have you considered the kind of life you want to live? What would it take? Share in the comments.

About Jeff Goins

I write books and help writers get their work out into the world. I am the best-selling author of four books, including The Art of Work. Each week, I send out a newsletter with free tips on writing and creativity.

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  • There is so much here to love. Big fan of $100 Startup and Adventure Capital looks sweet! Just don’t have the capital right now to join. Appreciate the interview, thanks!

    • It’s well worth it (when you do have the capital). 🙂

  • Thanks for this! Very Inspiring!

  • Kelly Brown

    Wow, I just got the kick in the butt I needed to start living the life I want to lead. Thank you so much for sharing, great interview and really appreciated that I could listen to it on audio.

  • Krizelle

    Chris and Jeff, you both are my mentors and “awakeners.” Thank you for always being there when I need you. 🙂 Just in time when I need to be reminded about living the life I want and I should. 🙂 Thanks! 🙂

    • I’m honored, Krizelle. It’s an absolute pleasure.

  • We can all be rich by taking those baby steps out of our comfort zones and experiencing a NEW ADVENTURE! For me, it involves living in an RV and writing for peanuts! I have never regretted the decision to take that risk by quitting my job and leaving my home. Yes, it was scary, but the rewards have been phenomenal – new friendships, less stress, stronger family bonds, more satisfaction, etc.).

    • So cool. Thanks for sharing, Aleshia!

  • Jeff, this is what he said that makes you so successful here on your blog and with your teachings (don’t ever stop): “But I do think we should do things that stretch us and challenge us.”

    You challenge your readers to stretch, and you know what – funny enough, that’s what we want (and need).

    Great interview!

  • My greatest adventure was to return to my hometown and learning contentment.

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  • So exciting interview! I really like it
    I hope that you can continue post more exciting writing!I really like this site & I will share it for my friends!Good luck!

  • Living the life you want requires the money to finance it. If you can’t figure out how to fund your desired life, then forget it. Speaking from painful personal experience.

    • That’s true. Which was why I love Chris’s practical advice on starting a business.

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  • Laura Benjamin

    One of my recent “adventures” (losing our home in a wildfire) has caused me to re-evaluate my business and how I can help others. So, I believe we can take experiences that happen TO us and create purpose around them. I’d never have expected to be moving in this new direction had it not been for the fire. Maybe “mining” our life experiences can offer clues to those next steps in life.

  • I just want to say that there is so much to read and do every day, that I don’t always get to every post, and I usually skim through most stuff, except when it comes your blog posts. I read every word. They just capture me and I love them! Thank you.

    • Well thanks, Sherry. That means a lot!

  • Great interview Jeff! I’m excited to read Chris’ new book!

  • Katharine

    Wow. I needed this. Thanks.

  • Currently reading his Art of Non-Conformity book in the hopes it will ignite the desires and passion I have for my writing and goals that I want to achieve in life.

    Love both his and your work Jeff – this interview was a perfect combination 🙂


  • I read Chris’s book on a flight over to Europe in April and wow! Completely spoke my language. It encouraged me to continue my path because as a non-conformist myself it’s tricky at times to stay that course in the ‘you need to fit into this box’ society we live in. Keep inspiring and keep pushing the envelope!

  • I hitched around Europe in the early 70s. & spent 3 months just seeing the tourist sites. The following year I went to the North of Scandinavia to see the Midnight Sun, I then hitched through Norway and ended up working in Denmark, for winter I headed south & ended up on a Kibbutz in Israel for about 6 months. Now I take day trips & write about them.

    • Awesome, Phil. Where do you go?

      • Day trips in England at the moment to the sea

        • Excellent. Very cool. Pictures?

          • I took some in Edinburgh but wrote about the others. I use old cameras which use film. Lots of black & white which I haven’t developed yet. I know it’s not very good, but I will get round to it.

  • Just listened to this last night and enjoyed it immensely. I loved his example of the mom who cooked a different meal each week from a different country. We may not be able to do something huge and flashy but we can certainly do something fun and meaningful wherever we are and whatever our circumstances. It’s giving me lots of food for thought.

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