Chris and Kim of the Unconventional Route

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We Were Forced Into This

The funny thing is that even though Kim and I have dedicated this blog to sharing strategies for how to escape the ordinary and be extraordinary, we didn’t strategically decide to do so.

We were forced into it.

It all started with getting kicked out of our apartment.

A Kick in the Butt

Chris and Kim very frustrated while searching for the best travel insurance for Canadians
Things had gotten a bit stale for us at our apartment in Vancouver…

Back in mid-2017, we were being sucked down an extra ordinary path. We were living comfortably in Vancouver, following a regular routine, and not doing anything exceptional.

Then one day we came home to find a piece of paper taped to our front door.

I don’t remember exactly what it said, but it was something along the lines of,

“You have three months to pack your sh*t up and get the f*ck out of here cuz we’re tearing this place down with or without you inside it.”

Dammit. We loved our cozy, comfortable, cheap apartment and would’ve loved to stay there for many more years.

Our first instinct was an ordinary one: To look for another apartment as physically and financially close to the one we were getting kicked out of.

But then, somehow, and thank goodness for she did, Kim had an extraordinary thought.

An Extraordinary Thought

Hanging out on Jericho Beach
Vancouver’s awesome… for only a few months of a year.

Why limit our apartment search to Vancouver?

Winter was coming, I’d just sold my shares of the hostel I owned, and Kim was working freelance and studying personal training remotely, so there was nothing keeping us where we were other than convenience and momentum.

Vancouver was a box we were trapped in. Why not think outside of it?

Way outside.

Back to Fundamentals

Man walking in rain
This is what Vancouver looks like for about 9 months every year.

Instead of defaulting to look for a place like the one we had, Kim and I thought about what we fundamentally wanted from our ideal new home. We came up with six criteria: Affordable, warm, access to the outdoors to exercise, near like-minded people, close to our family and friends, and an environment that would stimulate us to do remarkable things.

Vancouver met only three of those criteria. Fifty percent didn’t seem like the best we could do. It seemed pretty shitty actually.

Suddenly our unconventional idea to leave Vancouver made a lot of sense.

Seeking Alternatives

Medell
This looks like a pretty cool place!

Since we weren’t the first ones in our situation, we looked up what others had done to come up with alternatives that best met our criteria.

Living out of a camper van…. 3/6.

Moving back in with the parents… 3/6… minus one for being extra un-remarkable, so 2/6.

Budapest… 2.5/6.

Bangkok… 4/6.

And so on.

Until we got to Medellin…

Cheap Colombian prices, the “City of the Eternal Spring,” public outdoor workout areas everywhere, a large digital nomad community, the opportunity for Kim and I to improve our Spanish. It met every criteria except being close to friends and family.

Screw it. Our friends and family could come visit.

We sold a bunch of our shit, put even more in Kim’s dad’s warehouse, and booked one-way tickets to Colombia.

Now What?

Kim on the walking tour, one of our top ten things to do in Medellin
Kim thoughtfully considering what to do once we settled into life in Medellin.

After a two-week honeymoon period of being tourists in Medellin, we settled in for the long haul and were forced to asked ourselves, “Now what?”

What were we going to do to be productive and keep us busy?

To find the answer, we went back to the fundamentals again.

For me, my ideal job would be one in which I had full autonomy, could do a lot of writing, do cool shit, be competitive, make enough money to get by, and make a difference.

Kim’s criteria were similar, minus the writing plus some design work. And maybe with a bit more money.

The more we thought about jobs that met those criteria, the more we came to an embarrassing conclusion:

Bloggers (?!?)

Chris sitting on his bed drinking wine and working on the computer
This is my kind of office!

Blogging was a pretty good fit.

The money part would definitely be a problem (and it still is) and replying “blogger” to the question of “What do you do?” seemed embarrassing (and it still is), but everything else about it seemed awesome (and it still is).

So, since we had enough savings to be patient and the confidence that if we did enough good we’d eventually find a way to make a living, we decided to give blogging a go.

The Unconventional Route Begins

Hello Hello blending in
Writing about smoothies wasn’t going to do the trick.

A couple of years earlier, Kim and I had set up a website called “Blending In.” Our short-lived and ill-advised idea had been to write about smoothies made with ingredients that represented the places we traveled to.

I’m not kidding.

So when the Vitamix blender company didn’t respond to our sponsorship inquiries, we knew we had to change course.

We reimagined our blog as one where we could share the prototype recipe for an extraordinary life we’d been forced into:

  1. Step aside from the momentum of what we and everyone else are doing.
  2. Determine our fundamental needs.
  3. Seek as many alternatives as possible.
  4. Pick the one that best meets our fundamental needs.
  5. Do it.
  6. Reassess regularly.

Eventually we found a new url that more-or-less summarized our mission. It was a mouthful, but would have to do. We registered TheUnconventionalRoute.com.

An Extraordinary Journey

Chris and Kim cheersing their pulque at La Hija de los Apaches
If anything, blogging’s been a great motivator to do more cool shit.

Cut to today as I write this in a Cape Town cafe in January 2019.

So far, so good.

Blogging has definitely been a step in the extraordinary direction for us.

Most of the stuff we’ve written to date has been travel-related because travel’s a low-risk way for people to practice our recipe for being extraordinary. Our hope is that maybe if we can convince people to use the recipe to discover more memorable alternatives to the the TripAdvisor top 10, they might be inspired to give the same recipe a shot back home. And maybe they’ll eventually make it a habit and live more extraordinary lives.

Who knows how it’ll all work out. But I suppose that’s all part of our extraordinary journey.

How You Can Help Yourself and Us

We could use your help.

We’d really appreciate you feedback on our prototype recipe for how to be extraordinary, and your own ideas and examples.

And we could use a few bucks too.

Just kidding. We won’t ask you for money (…now). But if you want to be inspired to live a bit more extraordinarily drop us your email at the bottom of this page. We’ll send you a monthly inspirational example from someone who’s successfully followed the extraordinary recipe or an idea to help you do the same.

Thanks,

Chris & Kim


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.

9 comments

  1. Hey guys, I got inspired to do a three day fast from this influencer but was having a hard time committing. You inspired me to push through. I will make sure to reference your blog when I post my YouTube video of my results.

      1. Haha. How long did you make it Gaylon? And are you going to make a YouTube video anyway? I think it’d be almost more interesting to watch—a little bit of schadenfreude and also informative.

  2. Hi Chris and Kim,

    I stumbled upon you site while searching for recos on travel insurance as we are headed for South Africa in a weeks time. Since finding it last night I have been reading a lot of your articles and have found them all to be very informative, entertaining and succinct. Thanks so much for the effort you have put into making it such. I like your very “Canuck” commandments and obviously it shows in your content.

    I used to travel for a living(in the merchant navy) and I am now retired and plan to travel more(while I still can :-)) So I have your site bookmarked.

    All the best and bon voyage on your travels

    Mark

    1. Hi Mark, Thanks for the generous comment. It sounds like you could provide more than your share of travel tips based on your experience in the navy! Definitely do stay tuned to our site because we have a TON of South Africa stuff in the works. We’re busy summarizing everything we discovered during our six months living here right now. Hopefully, we can get some of it out in time for your trip. Either way, you can’t go wrong here in SA. This place is a playground for tourism.

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