Who is Chris Guillebeau?

It can be a bit of a struggle coming up with new and worth while topics to write about, especially when the next cup of tea is still a few days away. I thought about telling you the story of 'Mad John' - the outgoing, but rather boisterous fellow who yells at people as the pass him by on the corner just up from my flat. He yells nice things, mind you - but I think I'd better pin the guy down for a cup of tea first, before I tell all his secrets. I considered talking of my upcoming plans for more tea related adventure, but I'd rather not spill the beans just yet. Poking around for some inspiration though, I found an email that I had put aside the other week - and so I think now might be a good time to tell you all about a man named Chris Guillebeau.

He and I haven't had a cup of tea - but something tells me that someday, we will.

Chris is many things. A writer. An entrepreneur. A world traveler. And routed in all that Chris does, is that quest to fight conformity in it's many forms. Chris has discovered that you don't need to live your life by the rules of another. You can carve your own path - in almost any way that you choose. Sure, you'll make some mistakes along the way - we all do - but those mistakes will be yours and yours alone. And you'll learn from them too.

It's an easy thing these days to get caught up in living the life that others expect. Maybe the pressures come from society. Maybe from your friends or family. From teachers. From the media. Wherever it is that these external pressures manifest themselves - and however they happen to make you feel - it's important to remember that you do have the option to ignore them. All of them. Am I saying that everyone should lead an unconventional life? No, not exactly. What I am saying, and I'm sure Chris would agree, is that you should decide for yourself what works best for you. Make your own rules. If those rules should lead straight from high school to university, to a white collar job in finance with a nice house to raise a family in - at least you know you go there on your own terms. If, however, they lead you to drop out of university to spend 5 years chasing your dreams of rock stardom, eventually putting those dreams aside to travel to world, moving from Canada to England to work for minimum wage and drink tea with complete strangers - maybe that's okay too.

Chris sends out weekly emails to his army - yes, he is the leader of an army too - and it just so happens that one of his recent emails struck an interesting chord with me and my tea drinking business - an email about the goodness of strangers.

I'll give you all a moment to take a look - but don't forget to come back. We're not quite finished yet.

Isn't it strange how how the word stranger has become synonymous with distrust. Strangers are bad. We avoid them. We don't know what they want from us, but we're sure they want something.

How did it get to be this way? How did it get so out of control? We've taught ourselves that someone who we don't know is not likely to be worth our trust.

What do you think about it? What is your natural reaction when a stranger approaches you? Do you feel it's right to teach our children that strangers are best to avoid, or does that simply spread distrust and side step the necessity to teach them common sense and good judgement. I don't have children myself, so I'm not sure it would be fair for me to comment on that. I can understand that desire to protect them, to keep them safe - but does teaching them to avoid strangers come at a cost. Is it having a detrimental effect on human interaction and general social skills? Have a look through the comments on Chris's page. Read some of the stories that his readers have shared. Consider your own life. Your own interactions with strangers. Share your thoughts here if you like. Tell me a story about a stranger you have met - positive or negative. Let's open the debate up on this end.

I'm not sure I have the solution yet - but it seems that a cup of tea is a good first step.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Greg,

    Nice post and thanks for the props! I'll look forward to that cup of tea with you sometime, somewhere.