Monday January 25, 2016

Bruce Poon Tip on travelling your way to happiness

Social entrepreneur Bruce Poon Tip is defending Birdie by Tracey Lindberg in Canada Reads 2016. He is the author of Looptail and Do Big Small Things.

Social entrepreneur Bruce Poon Tip is defending Birdie by Tracey Lindberg in Canada Reads 2016. He is the author of Looptail and Do Big Small Things. (HarperCollins Canada)

Bruce Poon Tip is a born entrepreneur. As a kid he subcontracted his paper route, and he started his global travel company, G Adventures, with a credit card loan when he was 22. Business seems to be in his blood, but making money is only part of the goal — he's built his company around socially conscious principles. His 2013 book, Looptail: How One Company Changed the World by Reinventing Businesswas a bestseller. The Dalai Lama liked it so much, he wrote the foreword. Bruce's new book, Do Big Small Things, is a travel diary-slash-manifesto that invites readers to write their thoughts and ideas right in the book. 

Bruce is a contestant in Canada Reads 2016, defending Birdie by Tracey Lindberg. He spoke to Shelagh Rogers in Toronto.

ON WRITING AN ACTIVITY BOOK FOR ADULTS

We were celebrating our 25th year [at G Adventures], and we wanted to have a culture book of our brand. That was the first thing — the idea of inspiring people to travel in a very different way. We believe that we're born explorers, and society makes us tourists. And so we wanted an adult activity book, but we also wanted to document a moment in time for people and inspire them to see the world. Because there's a lot of inspiration all over the world, and if you don't venture out of your comfort zone, you'll miss it. 

FOUR PRINCIPLES FOR HAPPY TRAVEL

Freedom is one of the four pillars to happiness that's represented in the book. We take it for granted because we live in a free country, and until it's taken away, you don't realize how lucky you are to be free. We should take advantage of it by thinking differently, being free to make mistakes, being independent and unique. That's a beautiful thing about living in Canada. [The second pillar is] being part of something greater than yourself. Whatever you do for work, whatever you do on a day-to-day basis, you are part of something greater than yourself, and you need to respect that, get involved, follow your passion. Another pillar is growth — to be constantly growing, whatever you do in life. And the last one is connectedness. We need to be connected to really achieve happiness.

ON BEING A RESPONSIBLE ENTREPRENEUR

You don't have to reinvent an industry to be an entrepreneur. You can work at a coffee shop and be entrepreneurial in your thinking. When you're leading teams of people it's such a responsibility, no matter the level at which you're doing it. You get better performance out of people who are happy. A lot of social entrepreneurs could relate to this book beyond travel, because life is a journey.

Bruce Poon Tip's comments have been edited and condensed.

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