Hello Free Spirits, this is Nicole reporting from her ride back to Toronto from New York City! I was there for the weekend for tour leader training! Training was lots of fun, I saw and learned a lot about NYC and I got a great idea about life in the “Big Apple”. What I learned is that NYC is a great commercial place, you need to pay your way into having good time.
Let me explain… to participate in the NYC culture it is recommended that you watch a broadway show(no less than $70), visit the buildings(top of the rock or empire state), do some shopping in and around SOHO, chinatown, or wherever. You get the point, a big city thrives on businesses and commercial activity. But it had me thinking how much of all this material stuff I personally need. And how all of this material consumption affects the environment we live in. These thoughts have been on my mind for a very long time. The last year has been a period of self transformation for myself and during this time I realized that the material and consumerism hype is not the lifestyle I want for myself. I do not want material possessions and brands influence my self esteem, and money spending habits. So with that realization I decided to go 6 months without buying new clothes and makeup.
Here is what I learned during this time:
First few weeks: It was difficult. Very difficult. I used to be the type of person who bought at least $100-$200 worth of clothes a month. Why? Because it was fun and because I was bored, and maybe the fact that I live right beside Ontario’s largest mall 😉
So I dumped my fashion magazines which were only fuelling my shopping obsession. And I started doing other things with my time. and oh I was at least $100 richer, so that felt good. I reminded myself that I was saving a lot of money. And I used that as a motivation.
First 3 months: The first two months were a bit difficult. We are bombarded by stores and advertisements all the time. Working in the travel and tourism industry everywhere you go you are faced with commercial activities and stores. I learned that shopping is very psychological. The way stores and malls are designed are made that way to encourage spending. Around this time it was Christmas, or what I would like to call the “big commercial holiday”. Everyone is required to buy presents for their loved ones to make them happy and somehow prove their love with material things. This is ridiculous no holiday should have you go into debt in order to prove your love to someone.
With that realization, and with my new set of beliefs this Christmas I informed everyone that I would not accept any presents or giving any this christmas. I informed them about my six month shopping free challenge. They were very understanding and some kept insisting they would still buy me something but I told them I would throw it out. So they didn’t buy anything for me. Instead of spending money on material things we took a nice christmas family vacation to Niagara Falls. And for my friends I insisted I take them out for dinner instead of buying them useless crap they might not like, but say they do just to be polite.
The last few months months 4-6:
I felt very empowered. I saved a comfortable amount of money from not spending. This money I put aside for this years Europe travel fund. During this time my perspective about the fashion industry drastically changed. I learned that the fashion and beauty industry thrives on insecurities. If you are insecure about your appearance or appearance conscious you go and buy a product which makes you feel good about yourself or one that will makes you look better. If you are comfortable with who you the industry doesn’t make any money. Example: Pimples and acne are ugly go buy our creams. That sweater is so outdated and last season go buy another more fashionable one. You get the point. Not buying any clothes and makeup forced me to become comfortable with myself. I focused on ways I can become more spiritual and I started getting more in touch with nature. I learned that societies shopping obsession is destroying the environment and the lives of other people. For example many of the clothes you buy are made using slave labour. These people spend their whole lives working in a clothes factory making the cheap clothes you would wear a few times. I know this sounds harsh but I could care less, this is reality. If you have a negative reaction reading those facts I presented, I would like to congratulate you in proving that you have a consciousness. The best way to change this situation is to spend your money on companies that don’t destroy the environment and that don’t use slave labour. And that is exactly what I will be doing from now on. I refuse to buy any clothes that are not made using fair trade, organic and vegan materials. Overall this whole experience has been amazing, I learned a lot about myself, the environment and how I can improve it and create the type of world I would like to live in. I do not want some other person on the other side of the world suffer because they have to make some cheap disposable clothes for me. I do not want any animal to be specifically genetically modified for their skin so that I can have a nice leather jacket. Hell No. I am a changed person, and I will no longer support companies that exploit humanity. I encourage you to do the same because humanity desperately needs it. You can start small example: avoid buying coffee that isn’t fair trade or buy organic and fair trade clothes. I will have a blog post out about things you can do to start living a minimalist and more environmental friendly lifestyle.
If you read this article thank you very much I love sharing my wisdom and advice about to improve your life and the environments. Listen to my full story about my 6 months without shopping experience and opinions Here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A-KTYp5aouk&feature=youtu.be
Have a lovely day free spirits and I would love to hear your experiences about your eco-conscious lifestyle changes <3
Lots of Love,
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