Chris Guillebeau: Do Well, Do Good, Have Fun

HUNT VALLEY, Md. ( TheStreet) -- If you didn't catch last week's post, I'm celebrating the release of my new book, The Ultimate Financial Plan, by featuring guest posts from four of the nation's top authors and bloggers who have inspired me in the realms of money and life. This week I have the pleasure of introducing you to Chris Guillebeau.

Chris is the most unassuming revolutionary I've ever met. He's soft-spoken and appears not to have a self-interested bone in his body, yet a couple of hundred thousand people follow his every move online through his blog, The Art of Non-Conformity. He lives the title -- he quit high school and finished his college degree in two years. Still in his early 30s, he's traveled to more than 150 countries in support of his goal to visit every country on the planet, educating his audience on travel and life every step of the way.

I love the way Chris describes the central message of his book:

You don't have to live your life the way other people expect you to. You can do good things for yourself and make the world a better place at the same time.

If you don't want to pay a dime for some of his wisdom, read the manifesto that kicked off his writing career -- A Brief Guide to World Domination -- or the sequel, 279 Days to Overnight Success. And of course, read this post from Chris, written just for you.

Chris Guillebeau writes: When I went to Vietnam several years ago, I was excited to find a local hotel that offered nice rooms for $25. An upgrade was available for $5 more. Sight unseen, I took the upgrade -- and was glad I did.

My own balcony! Free soup for breakfast! And truth be told, for someone who usually lives in the Pacific Northwest, the air conditioning while visiting Southeast Asia was nice too.

When I came home, I told the story of my $30 room. Some people said, "That's awesome!"

But others had a different take. "I wouldn't feel comfortable staying in a place like that," a friend of the family said. "Wasn't there a Western hotel nearby?"

Well, yes, there was a Marriott -- and it cost $270 a night.

Others were unhappy for a different reason: "Dude, you got ripped off!" a fellow student in my graduate program told me. "I paid $5 a night for a bed when I was there."