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How to be Bohemian in the 21st Century




a socially unconventional person, especially one who is involved in the arts.

he is a real artist and a real bohemian"


socially unconventional.

"she revelled in the Bohemian life of Montparnasse"

Being bohemian has always been the pinnacle of giving into your creative spirit. Being an artist is hard but being bohemian makes it a little easier to bare. Of course the traditional view of a bohemian is somewhere between the hippy communes of Hair and the Parisian painters that frequent the Moulin Rouge.

Unfortunately, we no longer live in a world where you can get by on the joy of life and squat in a romantically dishevelled old paper mill. No no, art has moved up the social system; squatting isn't glamorous, nothing comes for free and if you let yourself fall out of the system, the conservatives will keep you out for good.

So here's my guide to being bohemian in the 21st century. The best ways I've found to let your art be number one in your life without becoming homeless, delusional or addicted to anything that will numb the pain.

Have a day job you hate

Need to pay the bills but don't want to risk being distracted? Do something you know you won't love. Hate's a strong word and If you can find a job that gets your juices flowing and still allows you to follow all your creative desires then by all means do it. But unfortunately, in my experience, you can't have your cake and eat it. I find I'm pretty easily distracted and when surrounded by dynamic people can be easily persuaded to think that this is the path I should be taking in life. This feeling inevitably fades but by that point I've already wasted a lot of time. I also don't like letting people down so for me a not-so-perfect job does the job perfectly. Temp, work shifts, freelance… these jobs are generally not only easy to walk away from but also pretty easy to go back to. Make money to live, don't live to make money. But always be an asset to whoever you're working for; that way you'll have good references to ride on and employers that will always have you back. Just like performing, always leave them wanting more!

Live like a student

By this I mean be economical, resourceful and make your money last. Students are pros at blowing money on the things they enjoy and cutting right back on the boring day to day stuff. So don't be ashamed to go back to your young, free roots; its really a pretty good aspiration to have. Rid yourself of financial worries by chowing down on pot noodles and reaping the benefits of communal living. Sure, it’s not always ideal, but it will afford you luxuries that stretch far beyond material pleasures. Shift your focus onto socialising and experiencing all life has to offer… this section sounds a bit like a horoscope! Bonus tip: don't read horoscopes. Want something? Go get it!

Don't have kids

Kids are beautiful, amazing, life-changing bundles of baggage. If you want them, go ahead, but be prepared for your priorities to change and your life to start revolving around those little tornadoes of trouble. I’m not a Dad so can’t comment too much but kids are responsibility and responsibility makes things much more difficult. Once they’re in school you’re more than likely going to be tied to a location for a long time and kids cost money. Lots of money. If you think you can free-wheel your way through life with kids, you’re more of a man than me! 

Be ready to move at any time

Everyone always says to have a bit of “get up and go”, and they're right! If you’re bored- move! Say goodbye to what's now become mundane and go and experience something else. There's a million towns, villages, cities and fields in the world and every single one of them has different paces, people and passions. Plus, if you’re ready to move you can go wherever the work is. Give yourself the freedom to take that dream job you just stumbled across. And the more mobile you are, the less materialistic you are… unless you have a lot of money to piss away on moving fees, in which case you probably waved goodbye to a bohemian lifestyle years ago. Being ready to move also makes it easy to run from the cops if you ever find yourself in a spot of bother... just in case, you know.

Have friends everywhere

This is a great rule for people, bohemian or not. Make friends all over the place. Have someone to stay with or meet for coffee in every city going. Not only does this help with your free flowing, ever changing lifestyle but it also means you're bound to have a wealth of different characters and backgrounds to call upon for life perspective and inspiration. You can never have too many friends, so make as many as possible and don't be afraid of long distance friendships… if anything, a bit of distance is a good thing for lasting friendships!

Surround yourself with creative people

Being bohemian has always been about being part of a community. Embrace the people around you and don't step on people to get to the top. It's all about networking and karma is a powerful thing. Be nice and feed off other peoples creativity and achievements. Keep learning from those around you and don't forget that you probably have plenty to teach too. So when opportunities come along to collaborate- take them! Go and see your friends' shows or read their books or follow their Instagram. Try not to let what they’re doing highlight your personal failures but use them as proof that you can do it too. And find out how they did it. Keep asking questions and having exciting conversations over bottles of wine.

Embrace alternative ways of living

In this day and age, with a bit of research and imagination, you can find all sorts of interesting ways to live your life and escape the constraints of high rental prices and 9 to 5 jobs. Become a property guardian and live in an old hospital, try living on a caravan park or just be someone's lodger. Give something new a try and don't knock it till you try it. Its not always easy to avoid the trapping of modern day life, but it can be done so keep an ear to the ground and see what your options really are. If nothing else, maybe you can get a group of people like you and rent a big house together. Communal living is the future after all.

Change things up

Don't get stuck in a rut. Keep changing and growing and finding your own unique way through life. Redefine the word to suit your needs. Remember that being bohemian is as much about your outlook on life as it is your actions. Scrap this blog, tear up the rule book and just be true to yourself. Don't ever think that your goals are stupid or unreachable and if anyone makes you feel like they are then it’s time to get up and ship out because nobody needs people like that in their lives. Find a way to make it work and go out and do it. You only live once after all.

So in conclusion- It’s just a word; so modernise it, adapt it and become it.

ET VOILA, you're bohemian!

But lets face it… you probably were all along!

Dan x

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