I published my first magazine when I was 11 years old. It consisted of four pages filled with interviews with my family and our neighbours, and included beautiful Clip Art only available in Word 95. After printing a handful of issues, and stuffing them into mailboxes up and down the street, I stopped production and shut it down—but I left the computer turned on.
After a failed attempt at going to school for business, I found my way back to writing when I was 19. I completed a two-year communications diploma program, where I learned both the editorial and technical skills required to produce digital publications (like way better versions of my first magazine), as well as audio and video work. From there, I got my degree in Communications with an interest in media and cultural studies; this basically means I’m curious about how media + technology affect us. Now, I’m also curious about how it impacts consumer trends (aka what we buy and why, our relationships with brands, how we consume information, etc.). Too nerdy? Sorry, not sorry.
I haven’t always been smart or made the best decisions. In fact, when I was in the middle of finishing my degree, I realized I was maxed out with nearly $30,000 of debt. I had a really unhealthy relationship with alcohol for 14 years. I also have a few tattoos that I would happily remove. Fortunately, I made one great impulse decision in 2011, which was to start this blog. Here, I have written about all the ways I continually challenge myself to change my habits, my mindset and my life; this includes paying off my debt, completing a two-year shopping ban and doing a year of slow living experiments. And in January 2018, I published my first book, The Year of Less (a memoir), which became a Wall Street Journal bestseller.
My intention for writing the book was to start a conversation around the topic of mindful consumption. As humans, we are consumers—in that we are constantly consuming, whether we realize it or not. And this goes beyond just the goods and services we spend money on, and the food and drinks we put into our bodies. We are consuming information around the clock, and it comes in many forms: media (television, news, radio, podcasts, blogs and so on), social media, and even the people we spend time with and the conversations we have. We are constantly consuming, and I’m obsessed with two things: figuring out how it affects us (makes us feel, impacts our decisions, etc.) and sharing ways we can become more mindful consumers of everything.
For the past 7 years, I’ve been doing this by sharing my own personal stories, challenges and lessons learned. And I’m happy to keep experimenting on myself and sharing the results, so to speak. But I’m also trying to think a bit bigger. I want to produce the type of content I wish I could find on this topic. Because if I’m going to sit here and say the answer is to consume less, I also want to talk about what I think you can do instead, which is to live and create more—and there’s a gap in that conversation that I want to fill. I’m still figuring out some of the details of what that could look like, but I can tell you this: I am currently mapping out two projects that will allow me to bring the outdoors into my work. I grew up on an island, and now live in the mountains, where I am still within walking distance of forested trails that lead me to the ocean. There are so many reasons spending time outdoors matters to me (as seen here), but one is that it helps me create my most inspired work.
If there’s anything else you want to know, I might have answered it on my FAQ page. :)