I became a fan of Chris Guillebeau's unconventional advice and conversational writing style earlier this year, when I picked up a copy of his first book, The Art of Non-Conformity, in which he explained how he achieves his particular travel-oriented, self-owned lifestyle, by acting outside of social rulebooks. Not only was it interesting and a lot of fun, but it ended up so marked over by my annotations, that I don't even feel like I can lend it to anyone else... so I choose to just recommend everyone else buy it instead!
Or, you could just go my route, and rent it out from the library, like I did with this copy of The Happiness of Pursuit: Finding the Quest that Will Bring Purpose to Your Life.
As someone who grew up loving mythology and fairy tales, and still currently finds themselves regularly consuming copious amounts of fantasy and science fiction, I've always loved the idea of going off on a quest of my own. In this non-fiction account of not only Guillebeau's own travel bug, but of other grand quests and the people that followed them around the globe - across a country, into the tallest trees, on foot, by bicycle, by sailboat, by kitchen plate, and more - you'll quickly find yourself inspired to go chasing one of your own.
It's not enough to just blindly follow your own whimsy (though, by all means, lead the way). As he explains, it's something that has to make sense for you, something you are personally invested in and made passionate by, something you'd be willing to sacrifice your old and comfortable ways of life for. For Chris, that was traveling to every country on the globe. For others, it was donating $10 every day to charity for a year, walking from one side of the United States to the other by foot, breaking into Apple offices in order to develop a graphing calculator, or going completely silent for over a decade.
Each of these courses of action goes under Chris' examination, in order to dissect them for common themes, productive actions, and similar forms of quest types. What he finds isn't just that people are interested in the same things, but that they are propelled by the same sense of adventure and spirit, one that is accessible to anyone else willing to make the sacrifices to take the journey. He takes down some of the predominant arguments against not following your own grail - from supposed expenses, to traditional social values, and more - in order to help convince you to lead your life just as fully, without regrets. Even quests that end poorly, or aren't fulfilled, have something worth learning from them.
While I'm still searching for that particular challenge that will drive me to journey around the world or unrelentingly towards a singular goal, I truly enjoyed reading about other peoples', at least for the time being.
Final Verdict: For those looking to get inspired for a new life goal, or thinking about striking out on their own journey, this book is an inspirational and motivational perspective on those who strive to achieve the unachievable.
What's your life goal? Have you ever considered undertaking a difficult journey? Let me know, in the comments below!