Thursday, January 14, 2010

I want to be a Gypset

They are people I’ve met–or been inspired by– in my travels who have perfected a high-low approach to life that fuses the freelance and nomadic wile of a gypsy with the sophistication and global references of the jet set. Its an alternative way of traveling and living that’s based more on creativity then money. Instead of a luxury hotel in St Tropez or St. Bart’s, you might find a Gypsetter in Montauk, Cornwall, or in a teepee in Ibiza.
- Julia Chaplin

I read an article in Paper Magazine this month about a woman named Julia Chaplin, who claims herself to be a countercultural wanderer. Her story was so interesting I came straight home to research her and her culture of "Gypsets", people who are gypsy-like nomads yet also jet-setters.

Julia says the gypset culture came from "a reaction to the conspicuous consumption of the jet set- a group who seemed cutting edge when they emerged in the 1960's but by the 2000's had become completely commodified and boring (aka the St. Tropez syndrome)." With horrible economic times for everyone and people losing their corporate jobs and turning to work via Internet or blackberry, the gypset lifestyle was born from this change. Ability to sublet apartments via craigslist for a month and use proceeds to live in a hut in Brazil- no one will know where you are emailing from! Julia was inspired for the lifestyle described, as she created her book Gypset Style, from British romantic poet Lord Byron, Victorian adventuress Jane Digby, and Hemingway; to the Surrealists in Mexico, the beats in Tangier and backpacking gypsies and hippies.

She says "a gypsetter doesn't take vacations, they barter residencies, crashing with friends and swapping apartments." So if a gypsetter does check into a hotel its short on comforts and big on characters. where waiters serve local rums and where sarongs.

She claims that most gypsetters will be artists, surfers, musicians, designers or "bon vivants".

Gypset Rule #1
Hang out in places that are hard to reach, preferably more than three hours from an airport and down long dirt roads.

Gypset Rule #2
Don't mind falling asleep with salty hair

Gypset Rule #3
Montauk, not East Hamptons; Ibiza, not Capri; Venice beach, not
Santa Monica

Gypset Rule #4
Mansions and villas are OK as long as they are someone else's and are seriously run down.

Gypset Rule#5
Never wear clothes with visible logos


Scarves are used for blankets, clothes or shelter.


When you have so much travel gear that you have to stack it up and use it as furniture. . . you may be a gypset.

Gypset style

The gypset style creates interesting and inviting spaces without feeling posh or swanky, yet they still feel rich and historic is a way that could never be bought with money.

Rich colors with interesting patterns match with cut metals or woven fibers or woods with many different colors and shapes.

Use cooking techniques and utensils from other regions other than North America. Friends and family will feel apart of your nomadic journeys as they eat from pounded metals, coppers or wood instead of an average porcelain plate.

Multiple patterns mixed and matched will find a way to look gathered through travels vs styled.

Easy living, simple needs and good company.

No matter how necessary planes and cars are at times, bikes, boards and feet will always be the most fabulous transportation a gypset can travel by.

A gypset will always look glamorous no matter how many hours she has spent on a train, boat or plane. Flowing material is comfortable and loose while stylish at the same time. There is no need to be sitting for hours in skinny jeans when a floor length skirt will look just as beautiful.

Headwraps do not have to be scarves, yarn, beads or different strings can become accessories for the traveler.
visit julia's website and follow her journey at

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