About

Learn, Plan, Do, Repeat

The Unconventional Route is about doing things:

  • Experimenting
  • Exploring
  • Exerting yourself

Not:

  • Philosophizing
  • Playing with your belly button
  • Awaiting the perfect moment to put all your self-help wisdom to work.

The goal is to have fun actively improving ourselves while filling life with extraordinary stories.

If you like the sound of that, join my newsletter for a fun new challenge to your status quo every 14 days:


Meet the Guy Behind the Blog

Me working on blog waving

I’m Chris, a 37-year-old from Vancouver, Canada.

I like nachos, wine, beach volleyball, basketball, and being outdoors in warm weather.

I dislike living in cold places where I can’t work outside, strong wind, cars, fashion, and being told what to do.

For more on my backstory, read about my pretirement. And to better get to know what I’m useful for, check out my personal user manual.


Q&A

What if I don’t want to be unconventional?

The definition of “unconventional” I ascribe to here is this:

Not bound by what is usual or the way most people do things.

That does not mean you have to be unusual and do things differently than the way most people do them. It just means being open to the possibility that there may be better ways to do things—then trying some of those alternatives.

Why should I listen to anything you say?

Rule number one here on The Unconventional Route is Think for yourself, so I welcome and commend your skepticism.

Plus, I have zero credentials other than a BCom.

All I can say in my defense is that my life’s pretty sweet. I love my job, rarely get into it with my wife, have nearly as much energy as my toddler son, am financially stable and physically super-fit, etcetera. I like to think my life keeps getting better, too.

So some things are working for me. Mostly luck, no doubt. And what works for me may not work for you, but at least some of it may be worth considering.

In any case, I get most of my ideas from all the books, articles, and podcasts I take notes on.

What’s in this for you?

Money. Duh.

I truly, honestly love the challenge of figuring out how to get you off your butt and out of your comfortable grooves to attempt extraordinary things.

But I also truly, honestly need to eke out a living.

I earn income from this site by renting out space on it to the highest-paying advertisers. The ads are ugly, but the paychecks are not.

I also make a bit of money from:

  • Commissions on some things I recommend. (Though I avoid focusing on these affiliate earnings because I’m worried the money will bias my opinions.)
  • Leading the occasional group challenge.
  • Private coaching. For a free sample, grab a 20-minute Challenging Chat with me.
Chris and Kim in Colombia at Rincon Paisa
Kim and I packed and ready for adventure in our early days on The Unconventional Route.

A Brief History of The Unconventional Route

My wife, Kim, and I started this site as an off-the-beaten-path travel blog in late 2017. That’s when we fled to Medellin, Colombia after getting booted from our apartment in Vancouver, Canada.

With nothing better to do in Colombia, we explored. And we found tons of cool places that other blogs and travel guides didn’t mention. So we wrote about it.

Within half a year, enough people were reading our site that we were able to plaster it with ugly ads to make money. And we kept feeding the beast—exploring more, writing about it, and selling slices of our readers’ attention.

Then in 2020, Kim moved on to something she’s more into: bringing people closer together over food.

Untethered from Kim (blog-wise, at least), I expanded The Unconventional Route’s scope from an off-the-beaten-path travel to off-the-beaten-path life. Life’s a trip, after all, right?

More recently, I’ve started making videos and trying to positively distract short-attention-spanned folk on Instagram and TikTok.

The blog has had its ups and downs. Today somewhere around 100,000 people visit the site every month—or bots, I suppose. 5,000 subscribe to my Consider This newsletter for every-14-day challenges to their status quo. And more and more people are signing up to join group challenges that I’ve started to lead.

Who knows what’s next for The Unconventional Route? Whatever happens, it’ll be an adventure.


What Am I Up to Now? (Nov 25, 2022)

Enjoying summertime down in Cape Town, South Africa. This is Kim and my fifth straight year “snowbirding” down here. Aside from the rolling blackouts and unsafeness of walking alone in the dark, it’s a magical place: 5-star beaches, people, food, wine, and adventures for a 3-star budget.

Well, it used to be affordable. This year, we had no choice but to rent an apartment that costs even more than our apartment in Vancouver, so I’m feeling the pressure to monetize this blog better.

That means honing in on the problems I can help you with and offering wonderful ways to solve them:

  • Personalized coaching to push you to find and do things you’re uncomfortable with but will pay off in the long run.
  • Group challenges for motivation and accountability.
  • Content that
  • And who knows what else? (Maybe you can help me?)

I’m also working behind the scenes on a very exciting project (to me, at least): Splitting out the personal development content from this blog into a separate website. I hope to launch it in early 2023.

Other Things I’m Doing:

  • Researching, Writing, and Taping: Finishing up the first ever Month of Discomfort cohort and preparing for December’s Advent-ure Calendar challenge. If you’re reading this before December 24, join! It’s free.
  • Watching: The Challenge and the last season of Gomorrah. Struggling to find movies worth watching.
  • Reading: Lots of biographies. Inspired by David Senra’s Founders podcast, I’m looking to draw my own conclusions, lessons, and inspiration from people who have lived extraordinary life stories.
  • Struggling With: Growing my newsletter. I get really good engagement and feedback from subscribers, but not enough people are subscribing in the first place. I feel it’s because I lack credibility, but don’t know how to build it.

Your Turn

If you’re up for trying something new and unusual, start with the following two steps:

Step 1:

Join around 5,000 people who get a new rut-bucking challenge every 14 days in my Consider This newsletter.

Step 2:

Reply to the questions you’ll get in the automatic welcome email upon subscribing. If you do, I promise to write back.

Better yet, follow the link in the welcome email to book a free 20-minute “Challenging Chat” with me, in which we’ll:

  • talk about a rut you’re in,
  • brainstorm steps you can take to start getting out of it,
  • agree on an action that I’ll hold you accountable to doing.

Do it. It’ll be an adventure.

I look forward to meeting you!

Chris

37 thoughts on “About”

  1. Hi Chris and Kim,
    Really enjoying your blog. I was searching for Mexico City recomendations and was very pleased by your submissions on what to do and where to stay. We leave in October for 2 1/2 month in Mexico house sitting and exploring.

    We are a retired couple from Vancouver and have traded home and possessions for 2 suit cases and two back packs. We have been to many places in the world traveling and housesitting. We write about our experiences here: http://www.lifephasenext.com.

    We look forward to following you along.

    Reply
  2. Love your blog! We’ve started to use it nearly exclusively after our trip to Cartagena (way too touristy) left us in search of the unconventional route ourselves. Look forward to following along!

    Reply
    • Thanks so much Michelle! Yes, I thought the exact same when I took my parents to Cartagena. So many more authentic places in Colombia to be discovered. Will you make it to the Pacific Coast? Happy travels!

      Reply
  3. Hi there Chris & Kim,

    Firstly I would like to thank you for the fabulous review and amazing comments of Wildebraam Berry Estate, we hope that your blog will entice many other to visit us for the Wildebraam Experience. We really hope that you both will join us again in the picturesque Hermitage Valley of Swellendam. I cant stop reading your amazing blogs, you two are really inspiring.

    Reply
  4. Hello Kim and Chris,
    I just subscribed to your blog. My husband and I started a travel blog about 7 months ago. https://oopswrongturn.com/
    I found you by doing research for one of our next adventures. We are signed up to do the Put Foot Rally starting in Cape Town. I enjoyed reading your blog and found lots of good information!
    Thanks, Tam Faukner
    OopsWrongTurn.com

    Reply
  5. Hey guys, just found your blog, fellow Vancouverite (West End). I moved from Vancouver to Mexico 7 years ago due to a chronic mood disorder centering around lack of high quality of light and too much rain. Living in Mexico pretty much alleviated all my symptoms. Now I am looking at Medellin as my next “out of the box” experience. How would you compare it to Vancouver for brightness- sunshine and rain. I love warmer temperatures, green space and the cosmopolitan feel Medellin has to offer. Thank you for providing so much information on your blog. Raymond

    Reply
  6. Hey Raymond! Thanks for your comments. And a great choice for moving down to Mexico. Whereabouts were you living? Medellin has pretty fantastic weather all year round and is nothing like the weather in Vancouver. It’s relatively dry and can reach highs of 25-30 during the day but because of the elevation, its pleasantly cool at night. When it rains, it pours and often comes with thunder and lightning but it never lasts very long. Air pollution can be poor at times so pick your accommodation wisely.
    Good luck and enjoy Colombia!
    Kim

    Reply
  7. Hello, hope all is well. I will be going to Mexico City next weekend. I have a few questions to ask you guys. Firs question is do you know how far the Estadio Azteca is from the Mexico City Airport? And my second question is what documents are needed to fly out of mexico city airport to the United States of America? And do I need to fill out a special form to give to customs before exiting the airplane in USA? Thank you have a good evening.

    Reply
  8. Hi Jose! Thanks for your comment. The docs you need traveling into the US will depend on the passport you hold. I’m sure a quick Google search will give you the answer you’re looking for. As for Estadio Azteca, it will depend on the time of day but it looks to be about 20km from the airport…so it could be as little as 25 mins but likely more. Enjoy DF!

    Reply
  9. Hi Kim and Chris! My husband, Ryan, and I discovered your blog when we were living in Medellín earlier this year. Thanks for all of those tips on the hikes!

    Have you ever thought of housesitting or petsitting? When I was reading your About page and seeing how Chris is always looking for ways for savvier savings, I wanted to share a post we wrote about our experience with TrustedHousesitters.com. Ryan and I have been traveling full-time for two years, and only discovered housesitting last year. In 2019, it saved us $7000 in rent. We find longterm pet sits, 3-18 months, and have now sat in Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, and Mexico. It might be something for you both to consider if you haven’t thought of it yet. It’s such a relief to begin in a new country, knowing exactly where you’re living and can settle in an immediate routine.

    Safe travels, we love your blog! Let us know if you’re in San Miguel de Allende 🙂

    Sincerely,
    Alex (another hapa) with her gringo husband, Ryan. “Pretired” as well, and “flexpatting” abroad like you guys! Thanks for all of the new vocab 😉

    Reply
  10. Hey guys! Sorry for the late reply.
    I’m glad you found our Medellin content helpful!
    Thank you for the link to your article! It sounds like you guys have made it work. We signed up for Trusted Housesitters last year but didn’t really use it because we couldn’t find places where we could stay for long periods of time (~6 months) and in cities. But we’re definitely open to the idea because rent can definitely add up. And I appreciate a fully-stocked and beautiful kitchen! 😉
    We’ll definitely let you know if we come to San Miguel de Allende. Are you guys there FT?
    Saludos from windy Cape Town!

    Reply
  11. Hi Chris and Kim! I’m currently planning for my family’s trip to Marrakech and happened upon your very detailed and useful article. I can’t seem to open the free map. I tried it on my computer first, then on my phone. Would you mind helping me out? Many thanks!

    Reply
    • Hi Janine, thanks for letting us know! I just sent you an email with the link. It should be up and working again now. Enjoy your time with your family in Marrakech. 🙂

      Reply
  12. Hi, so happy I found your blog this morning! We are newly blended family with three kids (9, 8, and 5) living what appears to be a pretty mundane life in Minneapolis, but already plotting our early retirement and travel adventures. Which will likely happen when kids are done with high school, because we couldn’t up and leave with them now due to the other set of parents, and besides it sounds hellish to travel with them at this point anyway. Many more thoughts on that but I’ll keep it brief. Let us know if you’re ever passing through MN, I’ve browsed through some of our city’s tour books and wouldn’t/haven’t done most of the things in them despite being a lifelong resident. There is cool stuff here, it’s just harder to find 😉

    Reply
    • Thanks for your comment, Kelly! I’m sure the kids will be done highschool before you know it. Any idea where you want to retire or travel to? Chris and I will definitely let you know if we pass through MN to get your tips and recommendations. Cheers!

      Reply
  13. Hi Chris and Kim!

    I’m Alex from London and I’ve just been reading you blog “11 Off-the-Beaten Path Things to Do in Coron and Busuanga Island’. You mention that hiring a moped is a must – I’m excited by this but want to know if you used it to get around the island too, e.g. when you went up to the north of the island, such as when you went kayaking in North Busuanga?

    If so, is it a long ride and are the roads as safe as you say? I’m visiting Coron with my girlfriend in a few weeks, so any help would be amazing.

    Thank you in advance.

    Alex

    Reply
    • Hi Alex! Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. We just got back from Rwanda. We did use our motorcycle to get around in North Busuanga and felt safe. We left our bigger bags with Boyet but some people on the post have mentioned that he might not be the best person to rent from now. Either way, the roads were totally fine and we felt safe riding up to go kayaking in the north. Please let us know how you get on, have a wonderful trip!

      Reply
  14. Another Canuck here, spending some time in Colombia. Ran across your site while looking for ideas of what to do in Medellin. It was very helpful. We have now been in Medellin for a week and will be heading out to the coffee region in a couple of days. Keep posting your tips and good luck in reaching your plans.

    Reply
    • Hey JC, thanks for comment! You made an excellent call to escape the most depressing time of year in Vancouver 🙂 Enjoy the coffee and let us know if you discover anything cool and unique during your travels. Saludos!

      Reply
  15. Hi, thanks for all your tips on your blog. My boyfriend and I moved to Cape Town from France two months ago. We’d like to stay at least one year. Your blog was so helpful to find an accommodation. Among all tips you mentioned in your blog, what is your favorite healthy restaurant here ? Kim, for buying a beautiful dress, what brand/store do you recommend to me ? Hope you enjoy your time here in CT. Thanks so much !

    Reply
    • Hi Amelie, sorry for the late reply. I’m not sure how I missed this! Thanks for your comment. Are you still in Cape Town? We just got back to Vancouver after an extended trip due to lockdown. As for dresses, I like Hannah Lavery and August 1983, both from South Africa. Enjoy your time in one of our favorite cities!

      Reply
  16. I am
    In love with both of you your new age souls . It’s like I just lived my life vicariously through. Both of you and a big congratulations on the most luckiest baby to enter our world and have you as parents what a great path you created For the a he/she thank you for doing this I will spread your word for ever hooked . One last thing the rut I am. Now gonna move forward thanks to both of you .

    Reply
  17. Enjoyed all your tips. Thank you. Just returned from Medellín in February from a fantástic week plus stay and am returning in mid July– for a year! So many questions….any advice would be very welcome. Thank you, Chris from Chicago

    Reply
  18. Hi Chris,
    I found it hilarious reading through the comments on peeing (I sit-down FYI 🙂
    I’m a product designer/manufacturer also from Vancouver, BC. I’ve been looking for someone to promote my new products as an “influencer”. I was wondering if you have done this before and what the result have been? This will be my very first time doing this.
    Please let me know,
    Fara
    BTW, I’m still working on my website.

    Reply
  19. Amazing website, attitudes, and perspectives. I also agree that people bond over food !

    Thanks for your positivity and love

    I also retired early and am traveling the wastelands in search of adventure, fortune and glory !

    You two inspire me and I learn from your vibes ; it will help grow my website and brand along the same way and manner as yours !!!!

    Do you have Instagram ??

    Theo Traveler
    Ig FlagWithoutBorders , TravelsOfTheo

    Reply
  20. Hey guys,
    Your ideas are so fresh! It is great to see how your posts are much more authentic than your garden variety travel blog! Great job.
    I would love to contribute with pro bono articles, if you’re interested.
    As far as credentials, I have been a digital nomad since… well, for a really long time 🙂 and my next adventure will be São Paulo, Brazil.
    Drop me a note if you are interested!

    Reply
  21. Hi guys, LOVE this blog. I found it after researching Envigado to stay, after my 3 trips here staying in Laureles/Estadio. The article was great, and solidified my reason to stay, now that I know whats happening more than my sole visit about 1 week ago (i’m back in the states). But the reason for this long query is that I wanted to venture into AirBNB, and wanted some advice from you on what would make people, such as yourself, want to keep coming back to my apartment, and how to provide the best experience. Or maybe any references you may have. Thank You.

    Reply
  22. Wowza. Apologies for the Fan Boy crush – but it great to find your site, with the different facets of your expertise. I’m signed up for your challenges! And, because my most recent adventure pal fired me because of something that is explainable and central to my nature (It’s one of the traits that you include in your own manual), I’ve got the outline of my manual down already.

    Like you, I’m a ruthless rucksack weight assassin. I was never a gear freak, but I worship this adapter https://kikkerland.com/products/universal-travel-adapter . Interestingly, the one place it hasn’t worked has been in the Land of Lekker!

    My very modest website HamsterOnARoll.com is pure vanity. No monetization desired. The intention is simply to address the very few inquiries that I receive about full time travel. Saves a lot of time talking through so many ‘lessons learned’, especially since I’m pretty sure that no-one I meet who isn’t already a nomad is really going to do more that talk about wanting to travel.

    Looking forward to learning more from you three. Cheers.

    Reply
    • Thanks Ham! I like the tone you write with, the URL, your site structure, and the look of that adapter. When back in Canada, I’ll buy one. I see you were in Cape Town as of Jan ’22. If you’re still around and are up to meet, send me an email.

      Reply
      • Thx Chris. Wrapping up the Southern Africa lap now. Uganda is last stop. Reckon I’ll be back loitering in Lekkerland beginning of 2023. Love to grab a glass on fancy kloof or sketchy Long.

        Reply

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