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Getting It Together on the Road to Ithaca [Day 8 – 28 Days to GYST]


This is Day 8 of 28 Days to Getting Your Sh*t Together.  Yesterday, Elizabeth Marshall led an awesome discussion on how to handle our inevitable fears. Today you are in for a treat as Chris Guillebeau shares his thoughts about what it’s like to be on this vision quest we’ve all committed to.

Getting It Together on the Road to Ithaca

By: Chris Guillebeau | @chrisguillebeau

Many of us are on quests, either real or representative. Since my quest is real, I like the metaphor of journeying. Going on a journey involves unexpected surprises, challenges, setbacks, and rewards—and any good journey is as much about the process as the destination.

It’s kind of like how the Greek poet Constantine Cavafy put it, exactly one-hundred years ago:


When you set out on your journey to Ithaca,

pray that the road is long,

full of adventure, full of knowledge.

The Lestrygonians and the Cyclops,

the angry Poseidon — do not fear them:

You will never find such as these on your path,

if your thoughts remain lofty, if a fine

emotion touches your spirit and your body.

The Lestrygonians and the Cyclops,

the fierce Poseidon you will never encounter,

if you do not carry them within your soul,

if your soul does not set them up before you.

Pray that the road is long.

That the summer mornings are many, when,

with such pleasure, with such joy

you will enter ports seen for the first time;

stop at Phoenician markets,

and purchase fine merchandise,

mother-of-pearl and coral, amber and ebony,

and sensual perfumes of all kinds,

as many sensual perfumes as you can;

visit many Egyptian cities,

to learn and learn from scholars.

Always keep Ithaca in your mind.

To arrive there is your ultimate goal.

But do not hurry the voyage at all.

It is better to let it last for many years;

and to anchor at the island when you are old,

rich with all you have gained on the way,

not expecting that Ithaca will offer you riches.

Ithaca has given you the beautiful voyage.

Without her you would have never set out on the road.

She has nothing more to give you.

And if you find her poor, Ithaca has not deceived you.

Wise as you have become, with so much experience,

you must already have understood what Ithacas mean.

-Constantine P. Cavafy (1911)


Your Action Plan

Many of us are waiting for someone to come along and tell us where to find Ithaca, how to begin the journey, and what to do when we get stuck. Essentially, we’re waiting for permission—someone to say, “It’s OK, go right ahead.”

But you don’t need permission from anyone else to pursue a dream. Instead, give yourself permission to take the next step. Then take it!

What can you do right now (today) to continue on the journey? Where are you going, and how will you get there? Feel free to share your next step with the rest of the group, and I’ll jump in from the other side of the screen.

Chris Guillebeau travels the world and writes for a small army of remarkable people at His first book is The Art of Non-Conformity, and you can also find him at

If you’d like to step up your commitment to getting your sh*t together, I invite you to sign up for the GYST list. You’ll get a daily email in your inbox, nudging you to keep at it. 🙂 Sign up here:

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