About Chris Guillebeau

Chris Guillebeau: Challenging Authority Since 1978Thanks for coming to the Art of Non-Conformity site. I am a writer, world traveler, entrepreneur, and lifelong learner.

The mission of AONC is to help people live unconventional lives, make their own choices, and change the world.

The writing you’ll find here offers unconventional ideas for remarkable people. I write through personal experience, including both failures and successes. Among other projects, I am on a five-year personal quest to visit every country in the world.


I served as a volunteer executive for a medical charity in West Africa from 2002-2006. It was thrilling, challenging, and exhausting—all good qualities to have in an adventure. I gave keynote speeches to presidents, hung out with warlords, and learned far more in those four years than anything I learned in college.

After my time in West Africa came to an end in 2006, I came to Seattle for a graduate program in International Studies at the University of Washington. I enjoyed my studies, but I enjoyed travel even more – during every break between quarters, I traveled independently to countries like Burma, Uganda, Jordan, Macedonia, and 20 more.

So far I’ve been to more than 100 125 150 countries, but there’s a long list of places I haven’t made it to yet. It’s going to take a while, so I’ve given myself three two more years until I’m 35 years old. (Any good goal has a deadline.)

Update: Mission Accomplished! I completed the journey to all 193 countries on my 35th birthday in Oslo, Norway.

I have been self-employed for my entire adult life, having successfully avoided the dreaded “real job” for more than a decade. My entrepreneurial history has ranged from importing coffee from Jamaica, search engine optimization in its early days, Google Adwords and Adsense arbitrage, and building a small publishing company while volunteering in Africa. I now write on this site and sell Unconventional Guides.

I live with my wife Jolie, an artist and teacher who has been to more than 50 countries of her own. Jolie is nice about letting me travel the world whenever I want as long as I promise to keep coming back. We live in our adopted city of Seattle, Washington Portland, Oregon.

West Africa (2002-2006)
Chris Guillebeau interview Cape Town, South Africa Chris with Crowds at Presidential Election in Monrovia, Liberia Chris at IDP Camp - Freetown, Sierra Leone Chris with U.S. Ambassador William Booth Chris with Archbishop Desmond Tutu Chris with U.S. Ambassador in Benin Bomi County Meet and Greet Chris in Lome, Togo

Affiliations and Disclosures

I am a member of the fantastic LifeRemix network.

I also write for CNN, Business Week, the Huffington Post, Psychology Today, and the Oregonian newspaper.

My first book, The Art of Non-Conformity, was published by Penguin on September 7, 2010.

Book #2, The $100 Startup, was published by Crown on May 8, 2012 and was a New York Times bestseller.

Air New Zealand flew me to the Cook Islands.

Various airports around the world offer me their floors for restless sleep before early flights.

Selected Media Coverage

Traditional Media: New York Times (featured profile), Psychology Today (featured profile), Business Week, Budget Travel, Oregonian, La Presse, Washington Times, MSNBC, Anderson Cooper’s 360

New Media: Seth Godin, ProBlogger, Slate, LifeHacker, Zen Habits, Behance, Copyblogger, Get Rich Slowly, Career Renegade, Happiness Project, Vagablogging, Unclutterer (+ hundreds of other blogs)