Jim Rogers could give the Dos Equis beer “most interesting man in the world” a run for his money. (Mr. Dos Equis is the man “The police often question just because they find him interesting.” And he’s the guy who “learned to speak Russian… in French.”)
Jim is an investing legend, best-selling author and Guinness World Record holder – and one of the most well-traveled people you’ll ever meet. He’s visited most countries on earth – many while traveling around the world on a motorcycle and by car (forming the basis of two of his books, Investment Biker and Adventure Capitalist).
In addition to his great investing insights (see here for more of them), Jim is an authority on where to travel… and how to follow your passions.
I recently sat down with Jim (who is a fellow Singapore resident) for a chat… below are excerpts of our conversation.
The places he’d like to visit again
During his travels, Jim has been to lots of places that most people have never even heard of. So I asked him what parts of the world were so captivating and compelling that he’d like to go back.
Me: [Regarding your travels], what are places that… you would go back to visit, [places] that really captured you during your travels?
Jim Rogers: Well, that’s a good question. I usually think in terms of countries I haven’t visited, that I would like to visit. Chad, I haven’t been to Chad [in northern Central Africa, just south of Libya] for some reason, so it pops into my mind. China is always fascinating to go, but I go to China a fair amount. Russia, I was very pessimistic about Russia. Didn’t even like to go there, but now I like it. It’s changed, or maybe I’ve changed. Something’s changed so I do like to go to Moscow now, very much so.
I’m going to take my children to the Grand Canyon… I’ve been to the Grand Canyon several times, but it is an astonishing natural sight. If you approach it right, if you fly over it, there’s nothing quite like it…
Taj Mahal, that’s another thing. They shouldn’t let people take pictures of the Taj Mahal because you go there and you think, “Well I know what the Taj Mahal is,” but when you see it in person, it’s entirely different, still bowls me over when I walk in there and see it in person.
Likewise, the terracotta warriors out in the Chinese desert in Xi’an. They knock me over every time I see them. And, again, you’ve seen the pictures. You think you know what you’re going to see. The pictures do no justice to it.
How to have an exciting life
Me: If you were speaking with a young person who is just finishing, let’s say, high school, who said, “Mr. Rogers, I want to have an exciting life and make money.”… what would you say to him or her?
Jim Rogers: Well, the most important thing for everybody is to only get involved with what you, yourself, know a lot about, or… figure out your own passions and pursue your passions. Don’t listen to me. Don’t listen to your teachers. Don’t listen to your parents. Don’t listen to your friends – especially your friends. They all want to do whatever is popular and hot at the moment, your parents too, and your teachers too, probably.
No. Figure out about your own passions. And if people laugh at you, you’re really onto a good thing. You’re really probably going to be very successful, if you pursue your own passions and figure out how you would like to spend your life and that way you never go to work. You wake up every day, you have fun… just start doing what you love, you don’t care about weekends, you’re just having too much fun to worry about work.
… Those are the people who are most successful, and of course they are the happiest people. And if they’re not successful they don’t care, because they’re happy. They don’t care if they’re successful or not, they are so happy having so much fun.
… I mean, Kim, if you want to be a gardener, you should be a gardener. Now, your parents are going to say “What is going on here? We didn’t spend all this money raising you and educating you to be a gardener,” and your teachers are going to say, “Why are you even here? Why don’t you leave and go be a gardener? What a waste.” Your friends… they’re going to laugh and giggle.
But then someday you’re going to be the gardener at the White House, or Buckingham Palace, and someday you’re going to have a chain of garden shops, all across Asia. They’ll be listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, New York Stock Exchange… Your parents are going to say, “Kim, we used to give you seeds because we could see. We knew you had it in you.” And your teachers are going to say, “We always used to encourage you, remember how we encouraged you to be a gardener?” And your friends are going to call up and say, “Kim, oh my God, it’s been a long time…”
… that’s how you become successful and happy.
See the full Jim Rogers unplugged interview
Jim had a lot more to say during our extended interview… including where he’s investing right now, and the biggest mistake he’s ever made. For immediate access, click here.