What Does It Mean To Be Neo-Boheme

The front end of a VW bug by Edgar Moran

If you haven't visited the main page of my blog recently, you may not have noticed that I've renamed this rambling space and given it a cute new banner (::sotto voce:: that sometimes doesn't load right on larger desktop ratios).

I've struggled with naming my blog anything specific over the years because an official name wasn't that important to me, plus the content wasn't all that cohesive, if I'm being honest. I've mentioned before that the early days of my blog focused more on freelancing and the lessons or advice I received that I did or did not agree with.

Then, over time, my blog became exclusively concentrated on arts & culture. This developed into something of a niche, but also incorporated essays and hot takes on holistic wellness and the intersection of the arts and mental health.

It was a natural, dare I say, organic evolution that suited me well, and opened the door to the authenticity I claim to value so much. And now the path from that door has brought me here a new name for a familiar space: Art, Soul & the Neo-Boheme.

My new blogger banner for AS & NB by Candace Nicholson

I imagine your first thought is, "M'eh. Not bad, but not great." And your second thought is, "But why that name?"

Well, dear reader, it represents another step in my (blog's) evolution. Of course, I'll continue to share news, reviews, and ideas about the arts & culture scene. It is, after all, the scene that's kept me sane in the face of adversity over the years, and fed me when the corporate world left me famished.

So that's the "Art" in the title. What's the "Soul?"

The soul is a continuation of blog posts unafraid to talk about holistic wellness, learned behavior, and the impact arts & culture have on both. It involves covering those topics where I share how what we repeatedly do affects our mind, body and spirit in some way or another.

And the "Neo-Boheme?"

Well, that's a little trickier.

You see, when I talk about bohemians, I know it will conjure up stereotypes of yoga enthusiasts, drinking kombucha and listening to Lana Del Rey on a cafe terrace, while sharing memories of their latest trip to Coachella. That, or it conjures up images of Roma living in makeshift settlements throughout 19th-century Western Europe, inviting selective passers-by to their caravans to have their fortunes told.

Musician busker in NOLA by Breanne Buchanan

I embrace neither of those interpretations here. I also don't claim to be a "New Bohemian" like Jungalow founder and influencer Justina Blakeney. For me, it's not about the Boho Chic brand or any branding at all. Because I believe true bohemia defies branding.

Sure, you'll find plenty of videos on YouTube or posts by social media mavens offering you instructions on how to decorate your home in a Boho style or how to dress Boho or Boho Chic or Hippie Boho. And some of them are even good and introduce you to some pretty cool people.

But I'm afraid most just seem to peddle clichés, reducing the label to the same broad markers that can be mass marketed for anyone who finds the lifestyle "on trend" and might want to wear it as a persona until the next hot trend comes along.

Trust me. I'm not gatekeeping here. If you want to wear crochet bathing suits, artisanal flip flops, and wide-brim hats from FreePeople, I say do it if it makes you happy. But to me, the neo-boheme means more than a list of expectations you check off on a list. It means throwing out that list altogether.

When you go beyond the aesthetics, neo-bohemes don't strive to be chic. They simply strive to be authentic and honest. It's not about purchasing certain items, engaging in certain activities, or consuming certain forms of media in the right amounts to obtain a specific image.

You don't have to ...

... eat a plant-based diet
... wear your hair in dreadlocks or long & straight
... be an artist
... detest all mainstream & popular TV and movies
... teach or practice yoga
... live off the grid or in a tiny home
... burn sage or palo santo
... enjoy watching art house or indie films
... shop at farmers markets or co-ops
... be a "plant mom" or "plant dad"
... decorate your home with macrame, mandalas, or Moroccan poufs
... give up driving a car
... feel comfortable when you're nude
... have a non-corporate career like tattoo artist or hair stylist
... travel all over the world
... shop only in thrift stores, garage sales & secondhand shops
... enjoy walking around barefoot
... adhere to Buddhism, paganism or atheism
... become a nomad
... keep a garden (herb, flowers or veggies)
... use phrases like "manifest," "raise your vibration," or "namaste"

                                                                                                                          ... to be a neo-boheme.

The neo-boheme simply seeks to live the most authentic version of themselves when and where it is possible. And the evolution of this blog is a testament to that. It means blogging about topics I find relevant to that authenticity while maintaining a platform to share what matters to me the most.

So you likely won't see me writing anything about going vegan, hating television, or how "experiences matter more than things." Why? Because I have no interest in going vegan, I love long-form visual narratives (aka TV), and having grown up in a working-class family, I know things are just as important as experiences, especially when you can't afford things.

But you may see me reference a great secondhand find I stumbled across in a local thrift store, my latest book about the life of a Taoist Master, or my desire to visit Peru for my next major milestone birthday. Other than that, this neo-boheme refuses to conform to any pre-conceived stereotypes.

You might not witness me railing against capitalism, but you might witness my disdain for Eurocentrism and white supremacists. You might not learn of my casual attitude regarding organized religions, but you might learn about my fascination with the occult and the history of spirituality around the world. You might enjoy my appreciation for the perspective of older generations, but you might loathe my frustration and impatience with younger ones.

Yet, ultimately, in the end, Art, Soul & the Neo-Boheme will be honest, and that honesty will never intentionally be unkind. And when you get down to the root of it, that is what it truly means to be neo-boheme.

Bohemian Manifesto Contest photo by Candace Nicholson

Top Image: The front end of a VW bug by Edgar Moran | Second Image: My new blogger banner for Art, Soul & the Neo-Boheme by Candace Nicholson | Third Image: Musician busker in NOLA by Breanne Buchanan | Bottom Image: Bohemian Manifesto Contest photo by Candace Nicholson

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