Everett Bogue, An Interview With a Minimalist Freedom Fighter (and How to Meet Him In Person)

Take your TV up on your roof, and drop it off. Trust me, you’ll feel much better after that. – Everett Bogue

Everett Bogue is controversial. He’s outspoken. He speaks the truth with no regard to being “politically correct.” And that’s why I, along with thousands of other people, really respect him.

As a 25-year-old minimalist blogger at Far Beyond the Stars, an A-List Blog that in just 13 months has attracted over 70,000 unique monthly visitors, Everett is paving the way to minimalist freedom.

From topics ranging from Yoga and eating healthfully (e.g., stop eating processed junk like chicken nuggets from McDonald’s) to burning your crap and destroying your TV (he encourages going up to your rooftop and chucking your death tube off the roof), he is a revolutionary leader in designing your own life where you strip all the excess away from your life (physical and emotional) so that what remains is what you need to be happy, healthy and fulfilled.

Everett is simply awesome. I want to deliver that same awesomeness to you, here at Castles in the Air, in an interview with Everett himself, a minimalist freedom fighter. Read on and be fired up …

Interview with Everett Bogue, A Minimalist Freedom Fighter

Nina: You studied dance at NYU. You were Photo Editor for New York Magazine. And now you’re enrolled in Yoga teacher training at Yoga to the People (YTTP) in San Francisco. I think that’s fascinating how versatile you are. How has adaptability enabled you to live the life you’ve always wanted, to make your dreams a reality?

Everett: All of these things look like very different pursuits, but they actually inform each other a great deal. The movement and physicality of dance informs yoga, the self-knowledge of yoga informs what I write about, the work I did at New York Magazine set the stage for the platform I created online with my blog.

Here’s the reason that I’ve been involved in so many pursuits before the age of 25. I make a point to retire a career as soon as possible when I get frustrated or bored with it. When I stopped dancing, I stopped dancing. When I quit my job at Nymag, I quit my job. When I stopped being a photographer, I gave my camera to my little sister.

Many people dabble in a lot of different things in a half-assed kind of way. They’ve got twelve different active pursuits, so they only have time for them once every two weeks.

Right now I’m only doing two things:

1. I’m maintaining my minimalist business by writing once a week, answering emails, doing interviews. I’m writing an update for which will go live soon. Total time per week: 10 hours.

2. I’m practicing yoga, as part of the yoga teacher training program at Yoga to the People. As part of this I spend my entire weekend learning from advanced yogis who are all amazing. I take probably 10-14 yoga classes per week. Total time from now until the end of December, probably around 30 hours per week.

Because I’m investing all of my energy into yoga (which bizarrely enough, actually BUILDS energy, because yoga is that powerful.) I’m able to expand my practice rapidly, and thus really expand my horizons in only a 10 week period.

Dabbling doesn’t quite cut it. I say all or nothing.

Nina: Have your friends and family supported your decision to quit your day job last year and move across the country with only $3,000 in savings, in pursuit of a location-independent minimalist life? If they didn’t, what kept you going? What kept you strong and steadfast in your life decisions?

Everett: Post-facto, yes! They totally supported everything, because now I’m making tons of money. Hah.

The reality of the situation is that human beings are inclined to resist change, especially friends and family. They don’t want you to change, because if you did, you might be a different person. They like you the way you are now, even if the way you are now is unhappy.

When I’m making difficult choices in my life, I tend to consult one person: me. Because that person already knows the answer, and it’s always yes or no. There’s no reason to double-check everything with friends and family.

Over the last year I’ve read a lot of books on success, such as Think and Grow Rich and every book by Seth Godin, they all say the same thing. Don’t listen to anyone, trust the instincts you have and go for it.

That and fail fail fail fail fail fail until you succeed, because failure is the best option you have. People who dwell on failure make failure into the idea that they make of it. In reality you need to fail for 10,000 hours until you can fly. I fall over on my yoga mat all the time, (last night I hit my edge, pushed passed it, and almost fainted –SPLAT on the mat) and every time I get right back up and keep going. It’s a yoga practice, not a yoga perfect.

Nina: I often get the “oh, she’s just going through a phase” reason of why I quit my day job to pursue my dream of being a writer and artist. I’m sure you’ve been told this too. What is your response to this, that your minimalist blogging career with no “real job” is just “a phase”?

Everett: I look at anyone who says that and ask 1 question: have they settled? The answer is always yes. It’s not hard to go find someone who’s given up, who doesn’t want to try anymore, who just wants to sit in front of the TV pretending to be living.

The reason for this is simple: it’s way easier to give up, so most people do.

There’s another reason though, especially for our parents. They didn’t have the Internet when they were our age. Only a few people were able to make a living being creatives, and these people had to suck-up to gatekeepers in order to get published. To sell art, they had to be in the Chelsea art scene. To be a writer, they had to send manuscripts to Madison Ave publishing houses.

If you read any books about how to be a writer that are more than 10 years old, they will tell you to send manuscripts. It was THE ONLY WAY. All of my journalism teachers in college told me interning at a newspaper writing obituaries was the only way to become a reporter (P.S. why would you want to be a reporter anymore?) That’s because that’s how they did it.

Now we have, what Julien Smith likes to call ‘Gatejumping’, which we all have the ability to do now. Yay Internet.

We’re living in an era of creative renaissance where anyone has the possibility of finding their 1,000 true fans on the Internet.

Nina: What’s the one thing to keep in mind for beginning minimalists starting out in their minimalist journey?

Everett: Look to the people who’ve done it, and don’t ask people who haven’t. I met a guy the other day who was learning to be a fiction writer, but he was getting advice about his writing from other people who were learning to become fiction writers instead of actual fiction writers.

How is your aunt with her 5-bedroom house full of junk going to know what it’s like to wander the globe living out of a backpack? She isn’t.

Instead, look to people like Colin Wright, Karol Gajda, etc. who’ve been practicing this lifestyle successfully for longer than a year. They know the freedom that comes from living with less, they’ll show you the way.

Nina: A lot of what you write about at FBTS and your 2 bestselling ebooks and raises a lot of great questions, such as “how much do we really need in order to be happy?” How did your current life philosophy come about and evolve over the years?

Everett: I keep revising the number downward, though I haven’t counted my stuff in a bit. Last time I counted for the CBS interview I had 50 personal possessions and 88 total things with the bed and the kitchen stuff.

I’m starting to believe that all we really need to focus on is our body though. It’s so important, it’s the vessel that carries us through our lives. So many people are defining themselves by external forces, junk, stuff, what other people think of them, etc.

If I lost everything, I’d just go buy one of those new 11″ Macbook Airs (drool, yes sometimes I AM a consumer, but only for sexy new computers), a few pairs of underwear, and start over again.

Nina: You kick ass in life left and right in spite of any criticisms you receive regarding a minimalist’s life. What do you have to say to those people who are trying to live a simple life but yet are constantly pulled back from society or their own material wants and desires?

Everett: Step outside society, and maybe even yourself for a moment. Why do you want this stuff? When I ask myself that question, the answer is always incredibly simple: “because I saw it in an advertisement that made me think I’d be happier, cooler, or maybe it’d help me get chicks.” Now, maybe a new Macbook Air might help me pickup hot San Francisco entrepreneur girls at The Summit SF, but I doubt it. They’re looking at my biceps, not my laptop. You can’t buy biceps at the mall.

What really matters is the work you’re creating every single day. Buying stuff is just creating artificial desires, giving you a momentary boost of adrenalin that makes you feel good until you get back from the mall.

Nina: Freedom is a powerful word. The pursuit of freedom starts wars, feuds, riots and debacles. You’re a leader in the minimalist movement. How does it feel to have the whole world watching you, following you, and listening to what you have to say?

Everett: I define freedom as the pursuit of a better life. Right now we’re at an interesting point in time when we can live and work from anywhere. This wasn’t possible 20 years ago, and that’s why our parents think we’re nuts for doing it (at least until you show them that it actually works — then they want you to register a blog for them and teach them how.)

Now, the whole world is definitely not following what I say! If they did, we’d definitely be in a much better situation than we are now. I’m just happy that there are a few people out there who get it, and a few more people who are trying to get it.

Bonus Question: Why are you so cool?

Everett: I’m not cool at all actually! I’m just doing my best every day to be genuine and support the interests of people who are trying to do the same. The world is changing, we can choose to live this way if we want to. Yes, some people are going to think we’re insane. If you do anything, people are going to think you’re insane. The choice is between doing nothing and doing something and people thinking you’re crazy.

You know what’s crazy? Trying so hard to be normal. That’s crazy.

Nina: Thanks so much for your time today, Everett!!

Be sure to stop by his blog if you haven’t already. He’s doing amazing things at FBTS, literally changing our world as we speak.

How to Meet Everett Bogue In Person

Want to meet Everett in person? Attend Chris Guillebeau’s World Domination Summit in Portland in June 2011 and you’ll not only meet Everett, you’ll also meet a whole slew of fantastic world changers. World changers and remarkable folks such as Leo Babauta, Pamela Slim, J.D. Roth, Jonathan Fields, and many, many more. Oh, and you’ll meet me as well. Sweet! :)

  • http://joelrunyon.com/two3 Joel Runyon | [BIT]

    You’ll be headed to the WDS as well, right Nina?

  • http://www.1yearsabbatical.com Matt

    Looking forward to meeting both of you in June. I agree with many aspects of the minimalist lifestyle. I think reducing our consumption of resources and products is not only good for the environment but also good for our mental and spiritual well-being. Personally I prefer to live a more simplified lifestyle and not pack crap away in a closet where it never sees the light of day. I purchase things because I either have a specific use and purpose or because it makes certain aspects of my life easier. For me this means less clutter, fewer distractions and complications. But I also have a family. I’d like to think that this way of living can apply to not only the young single person but also to a family. Obviously the two situations are quite different so I’m curious how the minimalist way of life as you define it could translate to a family situation?

  • http://www.lifeshouldbethecatsmeow.blogspot.com Cat’sMeow

    It was from Everett that I heard the term “unschooling” the first time. Since then I have read books and stuff in internet about it and I’m conviced that unschooling would be the best thing for my child. I’m probably already considered unconventional but that will probably make people think I’m off the rails. I just really don’t care and I follow my heart, always.

  • http://twitter.com/reachourdreams Jen Smith

    Donu2019t listen to anyone, trust the instincts you have and go for it. – Spot on! Thanks for a great interview Everett and Nina.rnJen

  • http://twitter.com/MattMadeiro Matt Madeiro

    Fantastic interview, Nina! And great answers, Ev. This is a winner all around. :)nnLooking forward to seeing you both at the WDS!

  • http://lisasfoods.com Lisa Fine – lisasfoods

    Love this interview. Normally I don’t have the patience to read them at length, but this one was well worth reading. Things like this always make me feel energized and wanting to change the world.

  • https://castlesintheair.org Nina Yau

    Wow, even better. Love the way you think!

  • https://castlesintheair.org Nina Yau

    Of course! I’ll see you there, too, right Joel? :)

  • https://castlesintheair.org Nina Yau

    Easy! Whatever you believe your simple lifestyle to be to you as an individual, just have the same principles applied to your family. Like you said, Matt, you only purchase things because you either have a specific use or purpose for it or because it helps make your life easier. The exact same reason should be applied for any family/shared items within your household. nnI also believe ensuring everyone is “on board” and actually want to live a simple life makes it a hundred times easier than just one person wanting their family to live simply when everyone else could care less. Having open, candid discussions about how this can benefit everyone at home, as well as the world, will only help further the understanding of why a simple life is a worthy pursuit. And if they still need further “evidence”? Point them to blogs, such as this one or Everett’s, for more articles, tips, and reasons why. nnHope that helps get you started, Matt! Looks like you’re already on the way. :) Best wishes.

  • https://castlesintheair.org Nina Yau

    Let’s change the world, we can totally do it!!

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  • http://17000days.wordpress.com/ Cara Stein

    fail fail fail fail fail fail until you succeed, because failure is the best option you have… Itu2019s a yoga practice, not a yoga perfect.nnLove this. He’s so right–yoga and life overall.

  • Chase Night

    One of the best interviews I’ve read on a blog. You really asked the interesting questions, and it was very educational for me as I think about asking some cool bloggers for interviews. Great work, Nina! And of course, great work giving answers, Everett! Always thought provoking.

  • Justin Guzan

    Fantastic job tracking down the EB. And what a great interview as well. Nina I have been making little teeny attempts to interview the big time bloggers but a couple things seem to be happening. rn1) I think that my questions have to be perfect so I dont ask any hehern2) My questions suck so bad I get no reply or a 1 linerrnrnDo you have any advice on tracking down a person and formulating an impactful interview?

  • https://castlesintheair.org Nina Yau

    Hey Justin! To answer your questions:nn1) Questions need not be perfect. What they DO need to be are genuine, thoughtful questions that you are actually curious to know about and which will provide the most value to your readers. Questions can be light-hearted and fun too. No problem in that at all!n2) Your questions suck because you think they suck. They should not be questions we can easily find out after reading that blogger’s e-book or blog. For instance, I wouldn’t ask how Everett became a minimalist during the interview because he covers that extensively throughout his blog. And if I’m an avid follower and reader (which one *should* be, prior to requesting someone’s interview), I would already know the answer to the question.nnHope that helps and best wishes!

  • http://twitter.com/katydunnet Katy

    Great interview! My favourite answer is the one about making difficult choices. Too often we ask other people because we’re worried about what others will think, rather than going with what we know is right for us.nThank you.

  • Anonymous

    Interesting. I like the idea that we just need to focus on our bodies. I remember seeing someone on TV (sorry, I haven’t dropped it off my roof just yet) who lost everything in an earthquake and it took months before she lived anywhere but outside by a fire pit to keep warm. She said, “To live, you need nothing.”nnPowerful. Stuff is really irrelevant.

  • https://castlesintheair.org Nina Yau

    SUPER excited! It’s going to be dynamite!!!

  • http://www.minimalistadventures.com Dusti Arab

    Listening to your own advice is such a big step, and it is really hard to take for a lot of people. There is always someone they have to be approved by, which only causes your lizard brain to be able to step in and cause problems. I know this has been something I’ve worked really hard on for the past year, and now, I tell people no much more often, among other things. :pnnI loved this interview! Being a huge fan of Everett and you, Nina, I really enjoyed this. I’ll be seeing you at the World Domination Summit! (It’s practically in my backyard.)nn

  • http://twitter.com/eminimalista Pedro Paulo

    Amazing post ! Every interview from Everret is so inspiring! And great work to you Nina, you choose just best question to ask.

  • https://castlesintheair.org Nina Yau

    That is awesome, I can’t wait! To meet such inspiring, gutsy, bold individuals with the passion and zest for life … man, I wouldn’t even need caffeine, the energy will just be through the roof! :P

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  • Justin Guzman

    Ah perfect thanks Nina I had a feeling you would tell me something like that. But sometmies we just have to be told.

  • http://www.proofbranding.com Matt Cheuvront

    Great guy, Everett is! And (believe it or not) this is the first I’ve heard of the World Domination Summit. Looks AWESOME! Hope all is well, Nina.

  • https://castlesintheair.org Nina Yau

    Well then, my friend! You need to check it out! And possibly join in on the fun? :)

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