In Quest Of ‘Questers’

In Quest Of Questers

Hiren Kumar BOSE in conversation with Chris Guillebeau, author of The Happiness of Pursuit, who travelled to 193 countries before he turned 35 and articulated how certain folks make daily down-payments on their dream.

Chris Guillebeau [born, April 4, 1978] is an American author, entrepreneur, blogger, and speaker. He first received global fame for his entrepreneurship and travel blog, The Art of Non-Conformity, which also led to the publication of a book by the same name [2010]. He has since published six more books including The $100 Startup [2012], Side Hustle [2017], and most recently, The Money Tree [2020], his first novel. He also organises the once-a-year World Domination Summit in Portland, Oregon, US, aside from hosting the daily podcast, Side Hustle School.

HKB: You call people who pursue a challenging quest as ‘questers.’ People working towards extraordinary goals, making daily down payments on their dream. In order to become one, what are the first steps one should take?

CG: It usually begins with selecting a goal, or at least selecting an area of focus. Then it turns into the question of packaging — what form will this journey, or form of study take? How will I know when I’ve arrived at the end-point? What will be the challenges and, most important, why is this important to me?

HKB: While writing the book you met and corresponded with hundreds of questers. What do you think makes them different from the ordinary 9-5 folks?

CG: They aren’t more intelligent than others, and they don’t have special gifts, or advantages. However, they tend to be curious; they ask good questions, and they take action. They’re not just dreamers; they’re do-ers.

HKB: You believe that there is a direct link between questing and long-term happiness — how going after something in a methodical way enriches our lives? Could you elaborate?

CG: By pursuing the quest to visit every country, a journey that took more than ten years, I found a ‘grounding’ in my life that I didn’t know before.

No matter what else was happening, I always knew what to do next — I had another country to visit, and a long list of places to go. I took joy in the striving as well as the achievement of milestones along the way.

HKB: You hold the distinction of travelling to 193 countries before you turned 35. Tell us how you went about achieving it.

CG: I loved travel, and I loved goal-setting. I put the two together and came up with the travel quest. From there, I worked on going from 30 countries [where I started] to the first 100, then the next 50, and finally the last 43.

I structured my life around the goal and did everything I could to work to it. Finally, I arrived in Norway [Country #193 of 193] on my 35th birthday.

I began as an independent traveller and by the time the journey ended I was surrounded by friends and a wonderful community.

HKB: I was talking about you to a friend, and he said, “Okay, he may not have any responsibilities, so he could.” Do you encounter such questions often?

CG: Everyone is busy and everyone has responsibilities of one kind, or another, but we all make time for what’s important to us. I have a family and I worked full-time throughout the journey.

HKB: While reading about you I came across the concept of ‘selfish generosity.’ Please elaborate.

CG: I spent four years living on a hospital ship in West Africa, volunteering for a medical charity and working in the poorest countries in the world.

Yet, the whole time I felt like I was the one who was benefitting the most. I call this ‘selfish generosity,’ because as we seek to serve others, we improve ourselves as well.

HKB: Your book The $100 Startup created a sense of freedom through entrepreneurship. Please explain.

CG: It’s much more about the freedom part than the start-up part. The point is: everyone’s looking for freedom, and value — and, helping people is the way to achieving it.

People all over the world are living this dream and building their lives in a meaningful way through small business. It’s, indeed, a great time to be alive.

HIREN KUMAR BOSE, a senior print and digital media communicator, has worked with leading English newspapers in India. He was till recently the Editor-in-Chief of a Mumbai-based media house that specialised in lifestyle-themed periodicals. Bose, who’s travelled widely on international assignments, over the last 35+ years, is presently an independent journalist. He contributes regularly to leading web portals and print journals. Apart from being the contributing editor of the Swiss luxury watch portal, WatchWorld, Bose is also a weekend farmer and active blogger. He manages the blog, Sunday Farmer, which has a devoted following among farming enthusiasts across the globe. This article is ©Hiren Kumar Bose.

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