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 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! :)