A Cup of Coffee With Miss Minimalist

[A minimalist lifestyle is] not about having as little as possible, but rather just enough to meet your needs – so you have the time, energy, and space to focus on what’s really important to you. – Francine Jay (aka Miss Minimalist)

You’ve seen a lot of male minimalists on the blogosphere. Minimalists such as Everett Bogue, Colin Wright, Leo Babauta, Joshua Becker, Mike Donghia, just to name a few. Think it’s because males tend to be more of a risk-taker, less of a compulsive hoarder, more open to living with less?

Think again.

If you haven’t noticed, look at the picture on the front page of this blog. Hi! See that? Asian female.

And the excellent photo of Francine up above? Totally female.

Females have the innate power and inner strength to do anything, anything at all, including living a radically minimalist and simple life. This type of lifestyle and philosophy is not just reserved for males. And we talk about this topic in my eBook The Radical Minimalist.

So it’s just appropriate that today, we sit down and have a nice chat with Francine Jay, aka Miss Minimalist, author of and .

An Inspirational Woman Living An Inspirational Life

Francine is a lovely woman and is inspiring thousands of people all across the globe to live a simple, beautiful life with less stuff. She’s an American writer living in London and traveling the world. Already, this sounds like a dream come true.

Why? Because it’s her dream — and it came true. :)

When she’s not out perusing beautiful and historical European cities, Francine is living in a gorgeous, simple flat with her husband, writing, practicing Yoga and simply enjoying the beautiful life we have been given.

Francine also provided a delightful story of her own in my new ebook The Radical Minimalist. Pick up an e-copy today if you haven’t yet and you can read her story and get the full scoop on more powerful, radical thoughts, tips, ideas and strategies for a radical minimalist lifestyle.

As for today, sit back, relax, have a nice cup of delicious hot coffee, and enjoy the interview with the fabulous Miss Minimalist. :)

Interview With Francine Jay, The Lovely Miss Minimalist

Nina: You’ve recently shared a delightful guest post on Leo’s Top 25 blog, Zen Habits, about traveling light, as well as how having less is incredibly freeing, on Joshua’s blog, Becoming Minimalist. How has owning less and being a minimalist traveler helped you and your husband go to all the places you’ve always dreamt about, places such as Greece, Budapest, Vienna, Istanbul and even the country fields of England, not far from your home in London?

Francine: Traveling (and living) minimally has enabled us to be very spontaneous. It’s not unusual for us to plan a weekend trip just a day or two in advance. Our small bags usually stay half-packed and ready to go, so we can take off for the English countryside, or a European city, on a whim (and take advantage of last-minute airfare and hotel deals!).

Nina: What are the 3 key things to remember for the traveler setting off on a simple vacation, an adventure in one’s hometown, or a trip around the world?

Francine: First, pack lightly: travel (and life) is infinitely more pleasant when you’re not dragging around a load of stuff. Second, scrap the itinerary: instead of scheduling each minute of your trip, let things unfold of their own accord. And third, chat with the locals: travel is such a fabulous opportunity to connect with other people.

Nina: For the fervent planner and list-checker, how does one even begin to let go of such detailed itineraries and the need to always have a schedule to adhere by when starting one’s travels?

Francine: Start by including a little flex-time in your trip: say a morning or afternoon with no plans other than aimless wandering. As you become more comfortable with the concept, work up to a completely unscheduled day or two. Before long, you’ll be perfectly happy hitting the road with the vaguest of itineraries!

Nina: Has friends or family questioned why you and your husband opted to live in 390-square-foot, 1-bedroom apartment rather than the 1,000-square-foot, 3-bedroom house you used to own? What was your response to their inquiries about such a small living, simple lifestyle?

Francine: Well, our friends and family saw how empty our 1,000-square-foot house was– so it came as no surprise to them that we decided to downsize. Our simple lifestyle is questioned more often by new acquaintances, as it’s not exactly the norm for our peer group. But once they get to know us, and realize our leisure activities are based largely outside the home (traveling, hiking, etc), they generally understand our choices.

Nina: Please describe a day in the life of Miss Minimalist.

Francine: Every day is different – and I love that! Typically, it includes some combination of writing, web design work, email, interviews, and yoga – though never in the same order. If it’s the weekend, I’m either wandering around London, rambling through country meadows, or hopping a flight (or train) somewhere.

Nina: How has living the minimalist life helped make your dreams a reality? And what are those dreams?

Francine: My dream was to move to a foreign country, be a writer, and travel the world– sometimes I still can’t believe I’m actually living it! My minimalist lifestyle was key: having no debt, and very few possessions, made everything much easier. Traveling lightly through life opens up so many possibilities.

Nina: Any last words or advice you’d like to share with our readers regarding a minimalist life?

Francine: I think a minimalist lifestyle has something to offer everyone – and you certainly don’t need to sell your house or travel the world to embrace it. Just lightening your load a little bit (for example, by clearing out some closets or de-junking your basement) can be very liberating! It’s not about having as little as possible, but rather just enough to meet your needs – so you have the time, energy, and space to focus on what’s really important to you.

Nina: Thank you so much for your time, Francine!!

Be sure to stop by Francine’s blog Miss Minimalist and say hi to her. You can also check out her latest book , which was just named as one of Amazon’s Best Books of 2010! Congratulations, Francine!