Rebecca Lane Global Guardian Project

Interview with a Minimalist: Rebecca

How we live minimalism is very personal. Sure, when you search Pinterest you might think minimalism is all about white walls and owning less than 100 things, but this is only one version of minimalism. When I say that minimalism gives a sense of freedom, it can be hard to reconcile the word ‘freedom’ with the version of minimalism that gets the most visibility on Pinterest and in the news (because it’s the most photogenic). Minimalism, having and doing less, releasing and unburdening ourselves from unnecessary habits, thought patterns and emotions, is freeing. And with this freedom we can choose how we use our time, our energy and our money. That is, we have the opportunity to craft a life more closely aligned with our dreams, our beliefs and our values. For me, this is the real appeal of minimalism – the freedom it affords me to live in a way that is more aligned with what is most important to me: family, community, adventure and sustainable living. So, what is important to you?

Think about what you can stop doing, stop spending money and time on, and what habits do not serve you, so that you can do more of what you love and do more good for yourself, others and the world.

Rebecca Lane is a friend of mine. We first met about a year and half ago on a project to raise funds for Free2Luv, an anti-bullying organization dedicated to empowering youth, celebrating individuality and spreading kindness. I feel so fortunate that we happened to connect through this project because Rebecca is a truly amazing human, mother, artist and activist. Over the past year I have witnessed Rebecca push herself to align her way of life with her values. This meant she had to make big, scary changes – but her commitment to live true to what was, at the root, most important to her: family and global stewardship, did not shake. What was important to her were her boys and giving back to the world by raising environmentally-aware change makers.

In what follows, Rebecca explains how re-embracing minimalism helped her find a path to aligning her life with what mattered most to her. Not only this, but she was finally able to bring to life a project she’d been dreaming of for years, the Global Guardian Project, by letting go of the parts of her life that were weighing on her focus and productivity.

  • By the way, for those who want to know more, I will be making a separate post about the Global Guardian Project later this week, so come back for more details about that! In short, GGP will develop learning capsules for families about different countries and ecosystems around the world with a mind to cultivating a sense of global environmental stewardship and cross-cultural appreciation. If you’ve already heard of it and want to sign up you can use my code: HIPPIEINDISGUISE for 10% off a single capsule or full subscription.

I hope that Rebecca’s story inspires you, as it did me, and that you are able to find your own path to a contented life aligned with what matters most to you.

Rebecca Lane Global Guardian Project

All photos in this post were taken by Coleen Hodges

Let’s start with a little bit about you. Who are you? What’s your background?

My name is Rebecca Lane.  I am a (very new) single mom of two lovely boys, Giovanni and Matteo. I’m an artist and the creator of a couple social businesses, including Children Inspire Design, Fresh Words Market and Kindred Sol Collective.  I’m most recently the founder of my most favorite creation (besides my children), the Global Guardian Project. I also consider myself a reborn minimalist.

What part of the world do you live in?

We currently live in Southern California, but we travel every chance we get. We split our time between the north woods of Wisconsin, where I grew up and Isla Mujeres, Mexico where I lived for 3 years during which time my first son was born.

Rebecca Lane Global Guardian Project

What are your children like?

I have two lovely, creative boys. Giovanni is 13 and Matteo is 9.  They are my inspiration for the Global Guardian Project.  I built my businesses around teaching them about the world and how they can be a positive force in global change. They are my muses.

Rebecca Lane Global Guardian Project

You have an unconventional approach to educating your children. Can you tell me more about this?

I’ve been fascinated with homeschooling and world schooling since my children were born.  I knew from my own past experiences, that traditional public schools weren’t going to be enough to help me cultivate a globally educated, well rounded child. And I knew travel restrictions would prevent us from extensive exploration.  After much thought and a few trials I realized that with my work demands straight homeschooling wouldn’t work for us.  So I found a lovely charter school in Southern California that supported and embraced education through travel and we moved from Arizona to California to enrol them in the program.  They’ve been there for four years and it’s been such a blessing.  I’m able to pull them from the on-campus program when we travel, homeschool them while abroad, then reintegrate them when we return.  It’s worked very well for us so far.

Rebecca Lane Global Guardian Project

The education my boys have received from travel has been incredible, and ended up being the seed from which the Global Guardian Project was born. Each time we travel, my boys research an environmental organization.  We tour the organization, learning as much as we can about the good work they do.  Then the boys create a video about their work and teach ways kids can help their cause in everyday life.  It’s a brilliant way for them to both learn and teach.

What is your story, how did you start on a path toward a minimalist lifestyle?

I kind of started as a minimalist, fell off track, and then recently re-centered myself. I’ve been a gypsy at heart all my life, so when I was younger minimalism was easy.  It’s not convenient to acquire a lot of things when you’re on the move.  But it became more of a challenge when we rooted ourselves back in the United States. We started to consume more, in part because we bought a home and thought we needed to fill it. We fell into the ease and convenience of US consumerism.  I have to admit, at first I didn’t see it for what it was. But there was always this ambiguous knot in my gut that reminded me that something wasn’t right.

Rebecca Lane Global Guardian Project

I believe there are many ways to be a minimalist and many forms of minimalism. What does minimalism mean to you? And, in what ways are you a minimalist?

I think my transition back to minimalism came by force when my life was flipped upside down. This past year I went through a divorce.  And, as painful and challenging as it’s been, it was also a gift.  It provided me with the opportunity to release: physical items, emotional baggage and my negative patterns. At the same time as my divorce, I also sold my business, Children Inspire Design — which was a huge part of my identity.  Within the period of a week, I filed for divorce and sold my business. I had, in a very big way, pulled the rug right out from me and stripped away my identity.  And when the dust settled, it ended up being a beautiful mess because I was able to look at everything in my life, the physical, emotional, spiritual parts of who I’d become, all the accumulation of the good and the bad, and I got to choose to pick up only the pieces that served me and my boys from that moment and into the future.  I was given the opportunity to create a new blueprint. It’s been the scariest time of my life, but also the most transformative and empowering.

Rebecca Lane Global Guardian Project

What has been the greatest benefit of minimalism?

For me, the sense of freedom is the biggest benefit.  With every thing I release, whether it physical or emotional, I feel less suffocated.  I can breathe. Pressure lifts from my chest.

Is your parenting influenced by minimalism?

Yes, in a very big way. My boys have had the experience of living on the road and in a physically rooted home. At this point, they’ve spent more time rooted than wandering, and I’ve started to see their attachment to things grow and become a problem.  This is part of the reason why I’ve decided to sell our home and homeschool for most of next year while on the road.  They are at such a critical time right now, being 13 and 9.  I have a window of opportunity to take them back to a truly minimalist lifestyle, so I’m going to take advantage of it.

I’ve received mixed responses when I tell those close to me about my plans. And every negative response boils down to this question: “aren’t you afraid of raising your kids without a home?”  The answer is no, not at all.  It’s so important for me that my children really understand that home is a feeling. A house is walls and a roof.  I need them to know that wherever they are in the world and in life, they are home.  I am their home. Our family is their home.

 

Rebecca Lane Global Guardian Project

In what ways do you struggle with keeping things minimal? What is your weakness?

I cry just about every time I have to let go of one of the boy’s art projects.  If it were up to me, I’d have a storage unit filled with finger paintings, noodle necklaces and monster doodles. { Me too, Rebecca, me too! }

Have there been any struggles with the other people you live with about living in a minimal way?

The minimalist philosophy was a challenge in our marriage.  We had very different views about acquiring physical things.  Which is, in part, why I feel now that I’m a minimalist reborn. It’s a new opportunity for me to become more true to myself.

What have been some unexpected experiences you’ve had with minimalism?

There have been moments where I’d get this overwhelming feeling of panic when I toss out an art project.  But, other than that, for me the less the better.  We recently went on a camping trip in Idyllwild, CA and I was so smitten with the very few things we had and needed to function.  I’d wake up extra early in the morning to make a pot of coffee on my tiny burner. One cup, one spoon, a thousand trees. That’s it. That’s all I needed. { Long-time readers of this blog will remember Tiffany shared a similar experience }

Rebecca Lane Global Guardian Project

What advice can you offer to people interested in living a minimalist lifestyle?

Baby steps are great.  There’s no need to change the world in a day. That’s actually a philosophy we’re teaching with Global Guardian Project. In each monthly learning capsule, we include a family challenge for the month. A simple, sustainable change that the entire family can get on board with. In this way, each month you can build on your efforts to live more sustainably. Small acts transform the world.

You recently launched the Global Guardian Project, can you tell me more about this? Why did you start it and what does it mean to you?

Global Guardian Project (GGP) is a subscription based learning platform designed for global families who understand the importance of teaching children how to care for the Earth and all who inhabit it.

Each month, we launch a digital Learning Capsule, filled with educational stories, videos, interviews, art projects, and challenges designed to teach families how to become global stewards and changemakers in their own home and in everyday life.

GGP content focuses on  three topics:  Explore, Inspire + Challenge.

  • Explore focuses on a specific country, it’s culture, natural environment and endangered species.  
  • Inspire focuses on introducing families to important causes and individuals who are already making positive changes both in that area and globally, specifically little changemakers.
  • Challenge offers activities, or challenges, to help become a more sustainable, environmentally aware family.

Global Guardian Project has been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember. From the very first business I launched, I knew that my role in this world was to empower individuals to make positive changes for the Earth and all who inhabit it.

I designed GGP so that I could allow my children to be a part of the solution. They watch me dream, design and launch something with promise for positive change. That experience alone is so valuable.  They are not learning in theory.  They are watching their mama in action.  They are learning that they can do something like this too.  I intentionally incorporated travel and interviews as a way for my boys to continually learn about our world.  They get to see new places, interview changemakers, come up with videos to teach other kids how to help in everyday life.  They are an integral part of the Global Guardian Project. I feel like these opportunities are rare and important and will help form their sense of global responsibility as adults.

 

Rebecca Lane Global Guardian Project

Do you have any goals for this year or the next few that you want to share?

This year is a huge transition for us.  We’ll be renting out our home and traveling for a year beginning in January (2017).  We’ll be researching, planning, digging deeper into creating more for Global Guardian Project’s offerings.  We have plans to launch our first volunteer family retreat by the end of 2017 and also have long term plans to create the Global Guardian Foundation, where we can offer resources and programs to global youth changemakers.  We see community programs, workshops, retreats and international challenges, all for Global Guardian kids and families.  There’s never a lack of ideas when it comes to educating on how to care for the Earth!

***

Thank you Rebecca for sharing your story and way of life. Readers you can follow Rebecca on Instagram @globalguardianproject on Facebook or on her site Global Guardian Project.

There is currently a free Oceans learning capsule available for download while we await the release of the first full-size capsule in mid-August. If you are interested in subscribing to the Global Guardian monthly capsules you can use my discount code: HIPPIEINDISGUISE for 10% off.

Let’s be friends! Please come find me in other places:

3 thoughts on “Interview with a Minimalist: Rebecca

  1. Sam says:

    This is so great. I’ve followed both of you. I dream of worldschooling and letting go of the “stuff.” It’s heavy carrying around so much baggage in so many ways. Thank you both for such inspiring words.

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