Chris and Kim not getting along.
It’s not always smooth sailing on the Unconventional Route. See #2 below for more.

This is our second-ever monthly update. If you want to be inspired to think more unconventionally, get to know us better, and escape the ordinary in the next one, subscribe at the bottom of the page.

We Can Do Better

First off, thanks for making last month’s first-ever Unconventional Monthly a 50% success. 

A huge percentage of you opened and read it. Yay!

But almost none of you replied to any of our questions. Boo.

Let’s see if we can all do better this month. 

Esperanto flags.
Should we all learn the language behind this flag? [Photo credit: Ziko, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons]

1. Unconventional Idea of the Month

Looking for a way to connect with like-minded people wherever you travel?

Bad with languages but wish you weren’t?

Consider learning Esperanto.

Esperanto is a language invented in the late 1800s to be super easy to learn and create world peace. It didn’t succeed, but up to two million people speak it today. And, somehow, a few hundred say they’re native speakers.

You could argue Esperanto is unnecessary since English is everywhere, but here are some arguments in its favor:

  • Too many bozos speak English. Esperanto is a tighter-knit community that self-selects for people who have the initiative to learn it. As we learned by getting into beach volleyball here in Cape Town, tapping into niche communities like this can make it a lot easier to connect with others.
  • It’s the fastest way to learn any language. Some studies find that students who studied Esperanto before learning another “real” language learned that “real” language faster than their counterparts who studied the “real” language from the start.
  • It’s good for your brain. Learning a language may slow brain aging and make you more creative, among other benefits. Move over, Sudoku.

For more, listen to Freakonomics’ “Why Learn Esperanto?” (31 min) or 99 Invisible’s “A Designed Language” (6 min).

2. What’s New from The Unconventional Route

What do you do when one business partner is more committed than the other?

Last week, Kim and I had a heated discussion about this.

She felt I was taking it over. I felt she was holding me back.

The crux of the issue is Kim doesn’t spend as much time on the Unconventional Route as I do because A) She does freelance design to cover the bills (check out her portfolio) B) Her bigger passion is personal training (check out FRDM Athletics), and C) She doesn’t think about the blog every second of the day like I do.

We argued.

We made the waiter at the restaurant we were at uncomfortable.

And we came to an agreement.

I’m going to relinquish all photo and design power to Kim and I’m going to get Kim’s input on what I write about and recommend before I start any post.

Let’s see if those changes make things better.

Chris and Kim tasting wine
We must taste as much wine as we can before we leave.

3. What’s New from Kim and Chris

Things are hectic.

We’re squeezing as much as we can into our last days in Cape Town before April 25, when we stuff all our stuff into a rental car for a two-week road trip through Namibia, fly back to Canada for a brief stay, then…

We don’t know.

Because of all this hecticness, and because Namibia’s been a nightmare to plan, we’ve made little progress in figuring out where we’re going to live this summer. Spain’s the favorite—Valencia or maybe Palma—but still just a pipe-dream at this point.

But before we get to Spain, Namibia.

If you’ve been, please send us some tips.

4. Comment of the Month

Even though we have strong opinions, we love it when readers disagree with us.

Mike does so perfectly, and quite politely, in his comment about our advice to avoid aguardiente, Colombia’s national liquor, in our Things to Do in Medellin post:

“Aguardiente may not be the best tasting drink but I don’t think it’s as bad as you describe. However to share a bottle with some Colombians is a great way to feel connected to the culture. I’ve had some fun nights with Aguardiente.”

He’s 100% right! We updated the post accordingly.

The big lesson here?

Never trust bloggers.

5. Question for You

Who is an unconventional thinker who you admire?

My  #1 is Richard Feynman a Nobel-prize physicist who beat to his own drum. Literally. While helping design the atom bomb during WWII, he would escape from the top-secret lab and into the desert to let off some steam by playing the bongos. His book, Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman is one of my all-time favorites. 

A much less-famous, less-accomplished, and less-dead original thinker who I admire is a blogger named Tynan. Check out his blog,, or this podcast interview of him.

Gis la sekva monato!

Google Translate says that’s Esperanto for “Until next month.”

Looking forward to hearing from you,

Chris & Kim

What’s Next?

Subscribe below to get the next Unconventional Monthly and find out.

Disclosure: Whenever possible, we use special links that earn us a cut if you pay for stuff we'd recommend anyway. It costs you nothing, so we’d be crazy not to.

1 comment

  1. 1. I still stand by the fact that we should all learn German instead to better communicate (and eavesdrop!) whilst abroad.
    2. Excellent photo choice Kim- thank you guys both for teaching me more about taking photos and letting me experiment with your camera!
    3. I love how you’ve adopted “hectic” into your vocabulary. Definitely one of my favourite parts of traveling is learning how different countries phrase things or use certain words and then incorporating them into my speak (though I acknowledge some people find it somewhat pretentious…)
    5. David Eagleman. Read this: (the whole book is beautiful). Watch “The Brain”. Check out his research: and figure out if you have synesthesia.

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