Searching for Guinea Bissau in Midtown Manhattan


I. The Pancake

On a crisp morning in November, you find yourself waking up in the center of the universe. You look out your window and see 5th Avenue and the New York Public Library.

You step out of bed and feel the impact of three hours’ time change from the west coast. It’s 4:30am back there, your body informs you. But you have a mission ahead of you, and you can’t be late.

The previous evening you had ordered breakfast for delivery and hesitated over the selection. At first you were thinking french toast, but then you remembered that Gary Leff recommends the lemon poppyseed pancakes. You’re not usually a fan of lemon poppyseed, but you decide to trust Gary and give it a try.

The choice is a winner. Fortified for the morning, you bundle up and head out to the world. You’re on a mission, after all. You can reply to your email and read every article in the Times later.

Stepping onto the sidewalk, you put in your earbuds and set off past Grand Central. It’s a weekday morning in Manhattan and the city bustles with excitement. You are full of lemon poppyseed pancake and a large coffee.

Everyone else is hurrying along, going to work or to see the Empire State Building, a few blocks north. But your mission is different.

This mission, which you first accepted seven years ago, has now brought you to the center of a universe in search of an uncertain destination.

The task at hand is to locate an office containing a representative of Guinea Bissau to the United Nations.

II. The Schlep

When you shared the news of this task, your friends had joked, “Is that even a real country?” Truth be told, you weren’t sure either. This country was one of your last four in the world to visit, and you’ve had no luck in finding any contacts who can help with a visa.

There is no embassy for Guinea Bissau in Washington, Ottawa, or London. No visa service will take on the job. Buried in the threads of a Lonely Planet forum, a secondhand story of someone who found an office in New York that offered visas in exchange for $100 in cash is reported.

It’s not much to go on, but it’s what you’ve got. Thus you set off in search of the last known address for Guinea Bissau on the east side of midtown Manhattan.

Stopping in at the address on Park Avenue, you see a sign for various foreign missions, which bodes well. Unfortunately, the listed missions do not include the one you’re looking for. The sign reads:

Saint Vincent

The specific address you found through various internet searches now appears to be occupied by representatives from the Gambia, which also happens to be a close neighbor of Guinea Bissau. Thus you stop in to chat, asking for any info.

You are told that a year or two ago, the guys from Gambia picked up the mail for the guys from Guinea Bissau. Alas, no further news is available. “Why do you want to go there?” the man asks. You tell him it’s a long story.

You visit another office in the same building, where representatives of the U.N. are more helpful. They supply you with a new address on Lexington Avenue, where the honorable ambassador from Guinea Bissau and his secretary were last seen.

You walk to Lexington Avenue and find another empty office.

You are then directed to a third building, only a few blocks from where you began earlier in the morning.

This building proves more fruitful. Upon signing in and taking the elevator to the fourteenth floor, you see signs for many different governments.

Finally you turn a corner and come to the holy grail. On this autumn morning in New York City, the grail arrives in the form of a sign on a door. The sign reads: “Permanent Mission of Guinea Bissau to the United Nations.”

You can hardly believe your luck. Victory is in sight! Except for one small problem: the door is locked, and a knock provokes no response.

A man from the Liberian mission across the hall steps out. You introduce yourself and ask if he knows when someone from the Guinea Bissau office will be turning up.

The man says, “Yes, there is a guy … he may be coming sometime … probably later.”

You thank him for this helpful advice, thinking of the times long ago when you asked for directions on the street in Liberia. More than once the response was just as helpful: “Yes, you go down the road … then you turn left … or maybe you turn right.”

You wait for a while, reminding yourself of the traveler’s rule: the real skill lies in waiting. Most people give up, but not you. You can win the game by waiting it out.

So you wait. And then you wait some more. When you’re tired of waiting, you continue to wait.

At long last your patience is rewarded, as another man who appears to be West African turns the corner and begins walking toward the office. You look at him hopefully. “Guinea Bissau?”

“Yes,” he says. “You need something?” Indeed, you do.

The man is surprised to hear that you are visiting his country, but appears to be willing to help. He asks the all-important question: “You have $100?” Indeed, you do.

III. The Stamp

Inside the office you fill out a form and hand over a passport photo with the money. Once again, you can hardly believe your luck.

The man stamps your passport, but then grows silent. You wait patiently, because waiting is your skill. Finally the man says, “I think I made a mistake.”

You look over his shoulder where he is attempting to cover up your passport with his hand. He looks somewhat embarrassed as you peek over to see what happened.

Yes, it’s true—the man has made a mistake. He has stamped your passport with the RETURN ADDRESS of his humble U.N. mission.

For a moment you are annoyed at the loss of an entire page of precious passport space, but then you realize how funny it is. It’s even more funny when you see that the address is wrong—the address on the stamp is the second non-existent place on Lexington Avenue you visited earlier in the morning on the quest to find the current office.

“That’s true,” the man says when you helpfully point this out. “We don’t work there anymore.”

After some consideration you decide not to suggest applying a portion of your $100 donation to the purchase of a new stamp.

The man gets out the correct stamp for the visa and applies it to another page of your passport. This stamp rewards you with the prize you have been seeking on the visit to the center of the universe. And just for good measure, you tell yourself, you now have the former address of this obscure office readily available wherever you go.

For this process you have paid $100 in cash, no receipt provided. You leave the office, thanking the man who has also proffered his business card and an invitation to a nightclub where he works part-time as a DJ.

IV. The Rise and Fall

It’s hard to describe the feeling you experience upon stepping outside.

For much of the past decade, you have been visiting random offices around the world in search of permissions and plane tickets. You have been rerouted countless times; you have experienced numerous setbacks and failed attempts. But you continued to move forward, pressed but not crushed, perplexed but not in despair, as you saw more and more of planet Earth.

And now, you suddenly realize, it’s almost over. This may in fact be the last random office you track down. In recent times, the understanding that you may actually succeed with this quest has produced the occasional sense of mixed feelings, including a nagging concern over what you’ll do next.

At this moment, however, you have no such concern. You feel no more fatigue, only joy. A spring is in your step, fueled by lemon poppyseed and the realization that your dream is coming true.

In less than six months you will finish seeing the whole world.

“Hell yeah!” you say out loud to no one in particular. “The end of the world is almost here!”

Passers-by take note and walk a few steps away from you. A man grasps the arm of his companion and leads her to the opposite sidewalk.

You continue down the street with a smile on your face and a passport held close to your chest.


Later that day, part of the dream comes crashing down again. You find yourself stranded in JFK, a victim of the second big storm in two weeks.

The night begins by settling into your British Airways seat, ready to sleep for much of the flight. Most flights were canceled due to the storm, but at first you think you’ve lucked out.

The captain announces your imminent departure. “Ladies and GENTLE-men, this flight is bound for London’s HEATH-row airport.”

Except that it isn’t. You are #1 for departure, yet you wait more than four hours on the runway without taking off. No drinks are served, no food is delivered, no progress is made.

Various problems are communicated from the cockpit. The plane needs to be de-iced, but the de-icing machine has run out of fluid. Negotiations are commenced to borrow fluid from the rogue agents at Jet Blue airlines. Alas, the de-icing pump at JetBlue is no longer operable—or so they say.

For a brief moment, you imagine the JetBlue corporation as an evil Bond villain sent to foil the world traveling blogger as he sets out to visit his final countries. You decide this movie would be a big hit among all five of its viewers.

The captain notes that no other flight has left JFK the entire time you’ve been waiting. Inbound flights have been diverted to Montreal and Washington. “Ladies and GENTLE-men, it’s chaos out there tonight.”

Indeed, it’s chaos out there in the world beyond your pressurized cabin. But you’ll get there. You are pressed but not crushed, tired but not worried.

After the four hours on the runway, you are returned to the terminal at 2am. You are not allowed to disembark until 3am due to the lack of ground staff personnel. Upon gaining your reprieve at last, you grab blankets and head for a quiet space in the airport to lie down.

You finally make it to London on the next evening’s departure, 24 hours later than expected. Exhausted from the unexpected layover, you attempt to sleep on the floor again but are evicted by another Bond villain in the form of a British policeman who is unimpressed by your plight. You head to a hotel in the city and sleep away the afternoon.

All of your itineraries are disrupted and you spend the rest of the day making a new plan. But none of this matters, because you know you will make it work.

You will persevere as you have always done.

You know that the end of the world is near. And you know it will be worth it all.


Image: EJP

Subscribe now and you’ll get the best posts of all time.


  • Alain Chautard says:

    Great story, Chris! I can relate to some of what happened to you and reading it made me feel good somehow. I got stuck a couple of times in Philly and Chicago because of bad weather conditions. Enjoy your trip. Enjoy the end of the world!

  • Beth says:

    Oh the life of an adventurer. I didn’t realize it included that much waiting. Looking forward to hearing about all that you plan to do after your world travels are completed.

  • Shirley Hershey Showalter says:

    Loved the story, which I read while visiting Manhattan also. Have to go find those pancakes!

    Some of your adventures happen on native soil.

  • Lana says:

    TOTALLY can’t wait until that’s me. 😛 Travel is exhausting but thrilling.

  • Kathy Bosin says:

    What I love most about reading your stories, is how much I enjoy experiencing your goals without sharing the dream. Going to every country in the world isn’t even on a list of things I might think about doing. At all. But your style and passion engages me and I honestly care about it, and look forward to watching you meet that goal. And like Beth, look forward to what comes next…..

  • Mandy Lender says:

    Hi there Chris:
    Your story is entertaining.
    I could easily identify with your plight(s).
    And… You are a great non-fiction writer.
    Have happy travels.

  • Jill Colorfulheart says:

    ahhh…the running futilely from place to place…the hurry-up-and-wait of life in most of the less-rushed, less-“developed” world. Guess learning how to throttle-down the pace is one of the benefits you have gained from your quest to meet the world! As Alain says: “Enjoy the end of the world!”

  • steve cubel says:

    This was one of your best ever for me! I don’t know if you see it however this article relates to life in it whole. The challenges we face and overcome during our journey throughout life are what give use the strength we need to make it through the struggles of old age to the end. It was a great reminder of that and a great help.

  • Patrenia says:

    LOL! I loved reading this story. I can only imagine the looks on the faces of the people after you screamed that the end of the world was near. If they only knew…

  • Will says:

    Since we are on the move so often the real key is knowing when it is worth waiting. Thank you for the sharing the ‘end of the world’ with us.

  • Gabriel says:

    Great story of your trip around NYC! I can’t believe even the UN doesn’t have an up to date address for them. I remember the sense of elation when I got my Kyrgyz Republic visa from the London office in barely 10 minutes. Easiest visa I ever got from an embassy!

  • Kai says:

    What an inspiring story. Even when on an amazing adventure there is ebb and flow. It seems realizing this and accepting it is how you persevere.

    Love how you turned a search for a tiny office into a suspenseful quest. 🙂

  • Justin says:

    Great morning read! I just was looking into India and China Visas and then I get to read this. 🙂 Good luck on the final few countries! Thanks for everything, including endless inspiration.

  • Lee Gascoyne says:

    Keeping it real. Keeping the faith. Keeping cool. There’s only one winner. We had a similar search for a visa into Sikkim via an office Darjeeling back in 2000.

  • AZ says:

    Wow! Chris, such an amazing quest. I had a lot of fun reading this story. Safe travels!
    Too bad you already visited my country, otherwise I could be your local guide.. 🙂

  • Tim Patterson says:

    I like what Kathy said: I like to experience your travels from afar without sharing your dream. And yes, you’re a very entertaining writer. Totally love the blog and all I’ve learned from Travel Hacking.

  • Helen says:

    This made me laugh – It’s so similar to my own search for a Guinea Bissau visa in Banjul, Gambia… it makes me wonder if it is all part of their entry requirements. It’s a good way of letting you know what to expect! Some would call it basic training, others an initiation!
    Either way, Guinea Bissau is beautiful and the people great… and it’s much easier once you’re there.

  • Cheryl says:

    Love this story! The pancakes…the waiting…and more waiting. I think I’m infatuated with the waiting part of things because that’s how my life has seemed for a good bit now. Realizing you have to close some doors before new ones can open..that’s what I’m working on now. Can also relate to the exhilaration of NYC…there’s a buzz in that city that you can’t get anywhere else.

  • Grace Bell says:

    Inspiring in your persistence, that something is so important about the goal it doesn’t matter what–you’re doing what it takes to get there. Thank you.

  • Dezy Walls says:

    Great article – keeps you reading all the way and wanting to know the final outcome – well done. Inspiring.

  • Benny says:

    You must have stayed at the Andaz on 5th. Love the location. I remember those pancakes. So good and so filling!

  • Melinda says:

    Loved the article. As a previous comment said, “keeps you reading all the way to the end.”

  • Trish L says:

    Fab piece Chris, really loved it. Made me smile, made me remember all those hours I’ve spent waiting and waiting some more and more than anything else made me want to pull out my passport and jump on the next plane to somewhere exotic! Keep travelling well, thanks again, Trish

  • Bob Eldridge says:

    Great story Chris, and beautifully written. If you have any further problems, the Portuguese embassy/consul will probably be up to date on access to / communication with G-B.

  • Steven Crisp says:

    So here’s my question to you Chris. Must this be a solo trek?

    Given all of the waiting, sleeping on floors, etc. Can a couple navigate these obstacles and remain best of friends?

    I loved your story, and can imagine doing it myself. But I’d rather do something that grand with my wife. But oh, the runarounds and perpetual tests.

    I wonder, indeed, I do.


  • Joseph Bernard says:

    Chris, this is the determination of a marathoner over the last couple of miles when it seems like not matter how far you run the people on the sidelines keep saying only 2 miles to go.

    What will fill the space of adventure in your life when you reach the finish line of this quest? It seems it has to be something that keeps you learning and growing in the way this journey invites self-awareness and presence? Seems like a primary way you learn grow through your physical encounters,

    Your an inspiration in determination and flexibility. Thanks

  • Natalie the Singingfool says:

    Woohoo! Congratulations on the nearness of your goal!

  • Elizabeth Potts Weinstein says:


  • Susan Frenz says:

    “For this process you have paid $100 in cash, no receipt provided. You leave the office, thanking the man who has also proffered his business card and an invitation to a nightclub where he works part-time as a DJ.”
    This cracked me up! So “Portlandia” – HaHa!!

  • Elaine Johnston says:

    OH….soooo many memories you have brought back to me! Being a New Yorker and working in Manhattan for many years, I know exactly what you are talking about. People and places change on a daily basis in NYC. Exasperating – but you do get used to it in time…and…trying to get out of JFK even in good weather is not always easy. Safe travels to you. Please let us know what the end of the world is like! I’m dying to know….
    elaine j

  • Ceci Lam says:

    What a great posting. I am sure everyone who has ever been stuck on a runway shared your ‘non-pain’. Loved the part about getting your passport stamped…started my day with a smile. Thanks.

  • Billy Warhol says:

    thass odd I was just reading about the Cocaine Coup in Guinea-Bissau – I guess they’ve cleared jungle for small planes to land so that bodes swell for Travelers. 😉 Travel Safe*

  • Linda G. says:

    Bravo Chris! I love your story. I love that you shared it. I can’t wait to read the whole book about your travels when it comes out.

    You are also doing it for those of us who never will, but dream of it…

  • William says:

    Chris, Why Guinea-Bissau? To brush up on your Portuguese language skills? Of all places…..

  • Brandon says:

    Your determination inspires. You are so right, waiting us the ultimate asset of the long time traveler. And seeing the humor in these ridiculous circumstances is an asset of importance nearly on par with waiting. I had a situation like that on my first International flight. We were flying from Dallas to Buenos Aires, but the volcanic ash from the eruptions last spring forced the plane to fly halfway, hover over Venezuela and then land in Dallas. It was a ridiculous thing to happen on the my first flight. However, I figured that all the rest of my flights will seem much better. Laughing at the absurdity of it all and waiting to begin the adventure anew, that is all we can do.

    A related issue on my current trip.
    Right now I am in Peru, and I needed to talk to the US consulate. The office is closed for 3 weeks and the agent is unresponsive. Luckily for me i resolved my issue and won’t have to go to Lima to deal with it.

    It’s a wild world out there and exploring it takes great determination and desire. It was great to get into the head of the artist of noncomfomity for a bit. Awe-inspiring as you always are.

  • Wyman Crane says:

    Next adventure could be a family history quest spending enough time in each place to seek out stories of your family.

  • Donna McLoughlin says:

    Chris, I too, was at JFK stuck that same night in a Delta airplane bound for the west coast for 4 hours. Our plane was de-iced twice…got stuck in a snowdrift and had to be towed out…took a tour of JFK tarmac as we drove around because there was no gate and no place to go while we waited for the storm to change.

    Captain & crew were stouthearted and gave us all hope for going home. Bottled water and snacks were served during the 4 hours which was so appreciated. Bathroom breaks were delicately but kindly handled. I had just flown in from Italy and barely caught this connection for home as my other flight was delayed because of the storm. 20 hours in planes that day made for a very long day of travel. Grateful that the storm had lifted enough for Delta to make the decision to take off for a warmer and calmer place.

    My hat is gratefully tipped to all the ground crew who were scampering around in 30 degrees weather out there, guiding and towing planes to get everyone to their destinations. Thank you, too for “taking” us… to travel along with you.

  • Charlotte Joyce says:

    Love this article, the suspense of would you get the visa or not, well written blog. It reminds me of different but similar situation when I tried, failed , times that infinite times to do a simple task like get money from an ATM in Colombia, and that’s not even back of beyond! The sheer frustration, something that seems so simple is so hard to do, that’s something that’s infectious about traveling.

  • Elise says:

    Oh the memories of west Africa beuracracy. I remember trying to leave guinea conakry, needing to pay multiple bribes to “make sure my luggage would arrive safely to its next destination!”

    I have no doubt you’ll come up with something wild and crazy after you’ve reached your last country.

    How bout internal travel to all the places of consciousness through visiting every ashram /retreat centre in the world? #justanidea

  • Joe Marshall says:

    This is pretty impressive if you ask me. While reading this, I immediately thought of the quote by Thomas Edison: “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” Big ups to Chris for pushing through and staying persistent. It would have been easy for Chris to have called it a day after the second and third time that he failed to find the representative, but he kept pushing and ultimately got what he wanted. Nice job!

  • Susan wiggins says:

    If everyone could wait with such patience and grace the world would be a different place. Loved your story!

  • Murtuza says:

    Inspiring for travel hackers.. Thanks for sharing.. Looking forward to “end of the world”.

  • Wendy Reese says:

    As a fellow marathon runner, I can’t help but share your excitement about reaching your goal after all this time. I also can’t help but wonder, what’s next? There is that moment after every marathon, every half marathon, every big goal accomplishment that we wonder, now what? You don’t have to get up and run, you don’t have another visa to attain on this goal. So, Chris, inquiring minds (or at least this one) want to know…. what will be next for you??

  • Steve M says:

    I really enjoy when you write in a more creative, narrative style like this. It is a treat when you focus on the story and set aside the straight advice for a moment. I wager that your readers still find the advice and philosophies wrapped up in the experiences. And once you’ve been to your end of the world, the dream might have been reached but the stories will endure forever.

  • Joanne Diepenheim says:

    “There is a life-force within your soul, seek that life.
    There is a gem in the mountain of your body, seek that mine.
    O traveler, if you are in search of That
    Don’t look outside, look inside yourself and seek That.”

    Nice to know that when the outside world ends, the inner world remains.

  • Rose Wintergreen says:

    Wow, what a run around! Glad to hear that despite the set backs, you’re still enjoying yourself. 🙂 Don’t worry about “what next”, these things have a funny way of sorting themselves out, particularly if you continue being mindful of your intentions, follow your interests, and keep focusing on connecting with other people in a meaningful way.

  • Sarah says:

    This is up there with my favourite AONC posts of all time.

  • Monique Rubens Krohn says:

    Great story and equally great writing. Congratulations on seeing your goal in sight! I look forward to reading all about it and to more of your adventures. You’ve obviously just begun!

  • Kate says:

    You gave me chills! A brilliant description of your journies!

    Saw you speak in at Inspire 9 Melbourne recently, thanks!

  • Antonia Lo Giudice says:

    Chris, thanks for sharing this one! I know, it probably sounds selfish or weird, but, somehow reading about someone who has “been there, done that” in experiencing similar travel adventures, makes all them seem worth it! Now, looking back, I can laugh. The waiting….oh and the flexibility you acquire in having to change plans:) Like you said, it is all worth it!

  • Kelly Wagner says:

    A well-told, funny & captivating story, Chris. Just ten minutes before reading this post – no joke! – I heard of Guinea-Bissau for the very first time when looking up some info about visiting a child I sponsor (he’s not there, but in Ethiopia, which is not even nearby!). But in looking at my map of Africa I happened to take note of Guinea-Bissau for some reason, which made your story all the more relatable. I totally get the spring in your step you felt after getting that stamp! whoop! whoop!! You’re on your way to the finish line!

  • Akiko says:

    love this post 🙂 And thanks Chris, for sharing, now I know what I may need to go through when it’s my turn to go to Guinea Bissau some time in the future! Enjoy your last few countries!

  • Eilish Bouchier says:

    This country is definitely a gap in my education and portuguese to boot!

    I had never thought of it like that but yes travelling is a real practice in patience.

    Well done on all counts great writing

  • Karen says:

    Just wanted to say thanks for a laugh and inspiring story – just what I needed on a rough day.

  • Dawn says:

    This is the story of anyone who follows their passion…it should be all our story.
    congratulations and I can’t wait to see the rest of this adventure come …

  • Joanne says:

    Is there a way to edit my previous comment?

  • Sharon Johnson says:

    You have helped me get out of my comfort zone. I am going to key west florida. I know that it is not another country, but for someone who is afraid to leave the house, I am leaving and being gone for two weeks. I think of you going to diffferent countries and I say to myself, if he can go to a country and not speak the language I can leave the house and go out and do something. Thank you

  • Krista says:

    This is, quite possibly, one of your most delightful posts to date. Keep on keepin’ on!

  • Penelope J. says:

    Motivating story about the value of perseverance and not giving up on your goal to visit every country in the world. Your account about the Guinea Bissau mission is hilarious. I believe “The Amazing Race” went there in one of their series. What’s to promote if it’s so hard to find the unattended mission and get your passport stamped?

  • Alisa Kennedy says:

    I think this is the best post you’ve ever written. Really engaging – and I cant’ believe your quest is almost over! Enjoy the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow and I am looking forward to seeing what you decide to do next.

  • Tom Summerfield says:

    Excellent story. You can almost taste the adventure even though much of the story was in fact about waiting around 😉

    Good luck with the end of the world!

  • Nancy Da Costa says:

    Chris, your determination to see every country in the world is super super inspiring. Most of us wouldn’t be willing to spend the time or have the patience to chase random country mission offices in the hopes of getting a visa, but you’re determined and it’s inspiring. I can’t wait to hear about the rest of the journey!

  • Philip says:

    Great post. I’ve always thought Guinea-Bissau is one of the cooler-named countries out there. Them and Iceland (no pun intended). Congrats on seeing your dream to fruition, through wrong addresses and flight delays and all.

  • Meecho says:

    “We don’t work there anymore.”

    Anyone else have this song pop in their head?

  • Stevie says:

    Love it!

    “You will persevere as you have always done.

    You know that the end of the world is near. And you know it will be worth it all. “

  • journey says:

    Reminds me of a flight back to SF from LHR. I arrived at a heavily guarded LHR. Upon entering, I questioned the heightened security and chaos inside. I was told: “…and everything must go into a tiny plastic bag!” Fortunately, I had no need for medication, didn’t wear glasses and so on. Am at an age that my everything was my passport and debit card. All else, was checked baggage!
    After weaving through an incredibly long line, I made it to screening. I was held up. (These damn shampoo bombers!) Strange, as I tended to dress in very simple clothing, and with jewelry (watch and bracelets) easy to slip off. Not this time: “Ma’am you either leave it with us to be destroyed or you check it.” Downstairs I go to check my bracelet, an apparent weapon of mass destruction.
    Now, on the plane and ready to go. We wait and wait hours before America gives us clearance to take off. We’re off. Flight was okay, but at some point my seat/row mate-Afghani or Paskistani man-had apparently alarmed the flight attendant with his behavior. He was slow to respond when asked, “..again, vegetarian or meat entree? C’mon man, you gotta work with me.”
    In LA: he was seized; lonely bracelet appears! Fin.

  • Gerard J. Kuykendall says:

    Chris, I loved this story. Congratulations! “The end of the world is almost here!” And, it has nothing to do with 12/21/12.

  • Brett says:

    Enthralling. Awesome. 🙂

  • Sharyl says:

    Loved this story! Congrats, the end is in sight!

  • Adrienne says:

    I look forward to hearing about your trip. All the best.

  • Hugh says:

    I think I was one of the people on the street that morning that heard you yell out about the end of the world. Wait…or was that the homeless guy on the D train? : )
    I have to tell you, you inspire me with every post. Since reading your blog and your book I’ve now begun to think in a completely different way about my life. Thank you for that!
    Have fun in your travels and be safe.

  • Chris Scott says:

    This was a great read. It took me back to some wild times I’ve had while traveling on the world race. My team and I were coming close to over staying our welcome in Malawi. We went to the office in a random city to ask about an extention, but we didn’t have everyone’s passports. Of course, the gentleman gave of us his cell phone number to call him once we returned to the city with all the passports. When we gave him a call, he was at the bar, so we meet him there. After having a beer with this man, he asked us to drive him to his office to discuss our extension. Once we landed on his compensation, he proceeded to extend our stay for an extra 2 months even though we only needed a week. He then asked if we would take him back to the bar to have a celebratory beer. After our celebration, when we were sure our business was done, the man asked us if we would be so kind to take him home, to his mom’s house. It was a wild night, but we got our extension with minimal fees and no real trouble. The world is so much fun. Thanks for sharing your journey.

  • Rita says:

    This is your best article yet.

  • Simon says:

    Great post, this has to be one of my favorites in a long time.

  • ANDREW SIMMS says:

    Great story-telling, Chris. You got great value from your Guinea-Bissau New York adventure, eh?

  • Yahya Abdal-Aziz says:

    Waiting is murder, isn’t it?

    Thank you for taking us all on that journey with you. Even the wrong turnings were fun, but, boy, by the end, the suspense of your story was killing me!

    It’s obvious to me what you’re going to do “after the end of the world”. At the very least, you’ll keep on writing, to share your various adventures – whatever, and wherever, they may be – with anybody smart enough to read your tales with an open mind and heart.

    Years after you started writing AONC, I still learn something fascinating about people every time I read a post. And the Art of Non-Conformity was never more worth cultivating than in an age when big bureaucracies still treat us all as mindless clones designed only to suffer their interminable, thoughtless impositions and to conform in all respects to their expectations. But a person with adequate internal resources will never be beaten down by such callous indifference to our common humanity. Your writing helps us see how to cultivate those resources.

    As you’ve shown us, time and again, every challenge is an opportunity to learn and to grow, and so to live more fully today than ever before. That’s the ultimate non-conformity!

  • Happy Holi messages says:

    The previous evening you had ordered breakfast for delivery and hesitated over the selection. At first you were thinking french toast, but then you remembered that Gary Leff recommends the lemon poppyseed pancakes. You’re not usually a fan of lemon poppyseed, but you decide to trust Gary and give it a try. bfgbfnghmmjh

Your comments are welcome! Please be nice and use your real name.

If you have a website, include it in the website field (not in the text of the comment).

Want to see your photo in the comments? Visit to get one.