By the age of 35 Chris Guillebeau had achieved his goal of visiting very country on the planet. Below he lists the ways he was able to live his dream sooner, so you can too.
Before beginning any big journey, figure out what it will cost. Costs include money, time, and any other variables. When I set out to visit every country in the world, at first it seemed like an impossible dream – but once I started working it out, studying the map and tallying figures, I realized that I might be able to actually do it. That was the push I needed to publicize the goal and say “I’m going for it”.
In my case, the goal was to visit all 193 countries – a tough challenge, no doubt, but it wasn’t to visit every planet in the solar system. I knew that if I devoted enough attention to it, I’d either succeed or at least come close.
In writing about quests, I talked to people who obsessed over things like trains, birds, crafts, or even sushi. Some of these things may seem silly to you (just as when I said I was going “everywhere”, not everyone cared). But the point is that you must believe. You need your own motivations to sustain a quest through the inevitable trials and tribulations.
Break down the big goal into small, incremental steps. One woman in The Happiness of Pursuit is knitting 10,000 hats. To do that she first has to knit 1,000, then another 1,000, and so on. No one goes from day 1 to destination right away, so be sure to allow for milestones and small celebrations as you make progress.
Speaking of trials and tribulations, the best stories come from something going wrong. In my case I was deported, got stranded more than once, got lost almost everywhere I went, and generally made a fool of myself. But the more things went wrong, the more confident I became. I learned that if I was forced into a tough situation, I could probably find my way out. I learned that the worst-case scenario wasn’t likely to happen. Most importantly, I learned to keep going.
Chris Guillebeau is a writer, entrepreneur and traveller. His new book, The Happiness of Pursuit, is designed to help people find the quest that will bring purpose to their lives, and can be ordered on Amazon now.
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