Chris Blahoot Wants You to Read Less, Zag More

Meet Chris Blahoot and get actionable ideas, inspiration, and challenges her most extraordinary life experiences.


This interview with Chris Blahoot is the first of The Unfollowables Series.

The goal of these interviews?

To help you find actionable ideas and inspiration from others’ most extraordinary stories.

I’m starting with an interview of myself to test the questions and have an example to share with future interviewees. I may also have a problem with narcissism.

If you’d like to be featured in a future interview or have a suggestion on someone else to interview, please contact me.

Chris and family in Drakensberg.
Recent photo of Chris and family in South Africa.

1. 👣 Life Story

Q: What’s your life story so far, told as briefly as you can?

Born and raised in Vancouver, Canada. Got my BComm at the University of Toronto with exchange year in Lyon, France.

Started career in investing, did it for 4 months, found it hollow, so quit and travelled Southeast Asia for 2.5 months.

After searching for half a year, landed a Corporate Finance job with Procter & Gamble in Switzerland starting September 2008. Lived in Geneva for 2.1 years. Traveled Switzerland playing club basketball and traveled Europe most other weekends. Forced a relocation to Panama City, Panama as an expat. Worked, learned Spanish and surfing, saved money, and drank rum for 2.5 years.

Career stalled, so pretired in April 2013. Traveled, rebooted, upgraded.

From late 2013 through 2017, I mostly failed at multiple businesses—taking on taxis, exporting frozen blueberries to Mexico, owning hostel, marketing protein powder and butter from insects. Enjoyed the adventures and learned a lot, though. My biggest success during this time was building my relationship with Kim.

We moved to Medellin in December 2017. Started travel blogging full time. Loved it. Started making money in late 2018. Slowly shifted focus from travel to life. Made full transition in 2020.

Blog growth stalled. Life growth continued. Started eternal summering between Cape Town and Vancouver in 2018. Son Zac arrived in April 2021.

Launched The Zag in March 2023.

Chris rolling a big rock.
This type of workout rocks.

2. ❄️ Quirks

Q: What fun facts and/or quirky things make you you?


  • Have a big bent nose and a scar under it from when I hit the rearview mirror of a parked car when I was 15, landed on my face, and didn’t go to the hospital to get it treated.
  • Work out outside—calisthenics, sprinting, jumping, and throwing rocks.
  • Live half the year in Vancouver and half the year in Cape Town.
  • Am unusually disciplined. I keep a log of every single thing I do.
  • Wear shorts, sandals (or no shoes), and tank taps (or no shirt) most of my life.
  • Speak French and Spanish well enough to do business in those languages.
  • Don’t “feel” any type of music except rap.
  • Eat a lot, but infrequently and irregularly.
  • Have a personal user manual to help you understand and interact with me better.

A lot of this seems to stem from my personality:

I seem to worry much less than most about impressing others or fitting in.

But at the same time, I spend most of my professional energy trying to impress people with my ideas. Go figure.

3. ✊ Mission

Q: How are you trying to make the world a slightly better place?

By helping people bushwhack off of boring life paths and find exciting alternatives.

There are two parts to this:

  • Instilling a sense of adventure. I believe the most reliable decision-making guide is, “Which alternative makes for a better story?”
  • Living for the challenge. To avoid ruts, we need to proactively push ourselves in all areas of our lives, like athletes train their bodies.

4. 🦸‍♂️ Role Model

Q: Whose life do you look up to?

Bill Simmons

Bill Simmons.

He started off as a sports blogger, grew to become ESPN’s most popular writer, co-created the hit 30 for 30 series, launched his own website with ESPN’s funding, then left ESPN to start his own business, The Ringer, which he sold for something like $250 million to Spotify.

His podcast is one of the first I ever subscribed to and is the only podcast I haven’t eventually gotten tired of.

Most importantly, he seems to be having a great time along the way with good friends and a happy family.

Snowy Lyon, France.
I lived here for my third year of university, partially to be less cold than in Toronto.

5. ⚡️ Huge Zag

Q: What’s one of the most impactful zags (proactive changes to your life’s path) you’ve made?

One I’ve never written about before, but that was the first branch down the unconventional life path I’ve taken is going on exchange to Lyon, France for my third year of university.

I went to improve my French, for a less crappy winter than in Toronto, and for adventure.

My home school, The University of Toronto, didn’t have a formal exchange agreement with the French university I attended. I also didn’t know a single person in Lyon. So I had to make everything happen for myself from scratch. And I succeeded!

That year taught me the value of proactively blazing my own paths through life. And it created an opening for my next life-changing decision, landing a corporate job in Switzerland after graduating.

6. 💡 Life-Changing Learning

Q: Can you share a source of information (book, podcast, video, etc.) that pushed you to take action that improved your life?

The Art of Manliness podcast interview of James Nestor motivated me to read Nestor’s book, Breath, which then inspired me to retrain myself to nose breathe.

The impacts nose breathing has had on my sleep, energy, and overall health are hard to measure, but a couple of tangible benefits are that I hardly suffer from seasonal allergies anymore and don’t get nearly as bad hangovers.

7. 👀 Change of Mind

Q: What have you recently changed your mind about? What caused this change of mind? How has your behavior changed as a result?


I used to think it wasn’t worth my time. Now I’m starting to invest a lot of time into it.

Two switches flipped to change my mind:

  1. I gave up. Everything else I’m doing isn’t working well enough and Twitter has worked our a lot better for others who started creating content around the same time as me—guys like Paul Millerd or Lawrence Yeo.
  2. Focus on learning. Instead of tweeting to build followers, I can tweet to build skills—skills that can be useful in all areas of life: copywriting, relationship building, creating emotion, storytelling, sales. The advantage Twitter has over articles and videos is fast feedback loops. Getting more reps, as long as I’m intentional about them, will make me stronger. And I hope to build a following as a bi-product.

PS: If you’d like to connect, I’m @ChrisBlahoot.

8. 🔬 Curiosity

Q: What are you currently excited to learn more about?

Affective psychology.

One the many surprising things I learned from a deep dive into the science of personality is that extraversion and neuroticism are determined by your brain’s level of sensitivity to positive and negative emotions respectively. For instance, a highly introverted person’s brain is wired to feel positive emotions less strongly than a highly extroverted person.

Extraversion, neuroticism, and other personality traits play a big role in our behavior, who we are, and what suits us best. They’re pretty much fixed and, from what I’ve read, we’re better off taking on “personal projects” that suit our personalities instead of resisting them.

So I’m wondering, What other sensitivities to feelings/emotions also play a part in setting the course for our lives?

  • Are some people wired to feel the pleasure of exercise more than others, and the pain of it less, which makes them more inclined to stay fit?
  • Do some people feel the pleasure of learning certain types of information more than others, which leads them to be more curious?
  • Does the duration of these sensations play a part as much as the strength of them?

What it comes down to is this: How much of who we are and what we can enjoyably become is wired into our brains?

9. 😰 Struggle

Q: What are you currently struggling with? How might the person reading this help you?

How to make The Zag a better business?

I’m only making a few thousand bucks a month, mostly from ads. To continue enjoying the life I want to lead with my family, I need to start earning more.

The question I’ve yet to find a good answer to is, What can I offer that people value enough to pay me for?

I’ve tried branching out from creating content to leading challenges and coaching programs. Feedback on those has been positive, but the level of interest in paying for them is disappointing.

What do you think I might be doing wrong? Or what do you think I could try doing differently?

10. 🥊 Disagreement

Q: What might you and the person reading this disagree about?

If you’re reading this, you read/listen/think too much.

Information is like food. It feels good to consume, but if you don’t properly digest it and “exercise” it, all it does is fatten you up and make you sluggish.

One example: If you don’t do anything different from what you’d normally do after reading this, you’ve wasted your time.

Another example: The news. If you’re not taking action from the news you’re reading, you’re consuming the news for entertainment, not because you’re a concerned citizen. It’s a dessert, so consume it in moderation.

Related example: Meditation. I won’t deny that meditation is a useful tool. But if you don’t socialize regularly, do daily creative work, exercise, get outside a lot, and sleep enough, I think you’re better off doing those in the place of your mindfulness practice.


11. 🙃 Unusual Practice

Q: Do you have any unusual practices that you think more people would benefit from trying?

My top recommendation would be lifelogging, i.e., keeping a log of everything you do.

I’ve been doing so since 2015. Lifelogging:

  • Makes me more conscious of how I spend my time.
  • Slows down the perceived passage of time.
  • Helps me direct my life in the right direction.
  • Preserves precious memories.
  • Doesn’t take nearly as much effort as the reward it provides.
My new backpack deserves a big thumbs up.
I’m a big fan of my backpack. If you’re interested, here’s the story of how I chose it.

12. 👍 Wonderful Thing

Q: What’s something you own that, if you lost it, you would rebuy the exact same model without looking at alternatives?

The first thing that comes to mind is my Osprey Nebula backpack.

The size and pockets are perfect for my day-to-day needs.

How to write a letter to your future self cover image.
Writing a letter to my future self: Don’t knock it until you try it.

13. 👊 Challenge to Readers

Q: What one thing do you challenge the person reading this to try this week?

My answer depends on how social you are.

Are you not very social?

Host a dinner party following the “Priya Parker” method I summarized from her book, The Art of Gathering. A fun and easy activity to organize is a blind taste test.

Are you super social?

Write a letter to yourself to read in one month.


  • Where are you currently?
  • What’s been going on in your life this past week?
  • What are you thinking and worrying about these days?
  • What do you hope to have accomplished in the next month?
  • Do you have any predictions on what will happen in the next month?
  • If you could ask your one-month-older self anything, what would it be?

Then hide it away and set a reminder to read it.

14. 🎤 Question for Readers

Q: What would you most like to get an honest, unbiased answer to from the person reading this?

Who would you most like me to ask these same questions to?

Please let me know in the comments, on Twitter, or by email at c at

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About the author

I'm Chris. Canadian, husband, dad, writer, investor, athlete, and obsessed explorer of the secrets to living a never-boring, always improving, unfollowable life story.

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