John’s Path to Becoming a Writer

A Dream

John Strelecky was born and grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois. As a youngster, he dreamed of being an adventurer and traveling the world.

For almost a decade, he held two and three jobs at a time–trying to make enough money to pay for training to become a pilot.

After attending Embry Riddle Aeronautical University and working for two years, his dream was suddenly and permanently taken away because of a rare medical condition.


“ Sometimes we have to lose what feels like everything, to find what really is everything. ”

rejection letter


In an attempt to chart a new path for his life, he applied to the prestigious Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University. He was denied due to– “a lack of significant work experience.”

After writing a “You have got to be f*cking kidding me” letter to the admissions office, in which he vented his life’s frustrations, he spent the next six months trying to find some sort of footing.

To his amazement, at the end of the six months, he received a letter telling him he’d been admitted to the program for that fall.

“Never doubt that a single random act of kindness can change a life.”


At the age of 32, after spending several years in high-stress, high profile, long hour jobs, he left his “normal” life to finally follow his dream of traveling the world.

The overall consensus from peers was he was “crazy.” Despite that, he embarked on a year long backpacking adventure around the globe.

It was a year that would change his life forever, as he immersed himself in the people, places, and animals he had always dreamed of seeing. For the first time in his life, he felt truly alive.


“If I’m going to let my past dictate my future,
I should at least choose a positive part of my past.”


Shortly after his return, he had a stream of conscious typing experience that lasted for 21 days. What flowed through him became a little book called, The Cafe on the Edge of the World. The inspirational story went on to be translated into 44 languages, win Bestseller of the Year nine times, and inspire millions of readers around the world. This despite being rejected by fifty-four publishers.

The success of that first book inspired him to continue writing, including numerous cafe sequels, Life Safari (which is in part based on his travels in Africa), The Big Five for Life series, and many more.

“Life Doesn’t Happen By Chance. It Happens By Choice. I Am The Chooser.”


A Way Of Life

John is still an adventurer at heart. When he isn’t writing, he’s often outdoors in his kayak, riding a surfboard, playing beach volleyball, or traveling the world with his family.

It continually thrills and humbles him to learn his books have helped readers find fulfillment, a sense of purpose, and to take the leap into their own adventures.kangaroo

“The more we believe in our own self-worth,
The more we inspire others to believe in theirs.
That’s how we change the world.”

Someone is living your dream life.

It might as well be you.