Figue Favorites: The Boho Manifesto

June 11, 2019

We sat down with Julia Chaplin, the author of the incredible Gypset books to hear more about her new book, The Boho Manifesto: An Insider's Guide to Post-Conventional Living. 

What inspired you to write this book?

When I coined the term “Gypset” about 10 years ago, it was an aspiration. It was a prescription of where I hoped society might go. Gypset means gypsy + jet set and is an approach to life based on experimentation, soulfulness, and creativity—a rejection of crass consumption. In my Gypset book series, I promoted living in a solar-powered yurt or going barefoot as more chic than designer heels. It was a recalibration of status and a fringe movement.


But now my dream of a more boho world has actually come true. In fact, it has exceeded what I thought was possible. The world economic crash in 2008 precipitated the rise of the freelance workforce. The rise of smartphones and social media has enabled us all to be grassroots entrepreneurs. Suddenly, everything has changed—it’s like a boho perfect storm. Yoga studios are a staple at strip malls, coworking spaces are the norm, Amazon owns Whole Foods, and “wellness” is a household word. I wanted to document all of this and try and make sense of it all.


But The Boho Manifesto is also an extremely personal, ongoing search for identity. I had hippie parents and rejected a lot of the idealistic dogma. When I’d get in trouble as a kid, instead of getting punished, I had to go to my mom’s astrology circle. She insisted that I could read auras. Now as an adult, I’m experimenting with meditation and self-help modalities, trying to find where I belong in the confusing and beautiful sprawl that is contemporary bohemia.


What are some of your favorite moments in the book?

I love The Boho Business Meeting, p. 160 (sample snippet: “Meeting starts with a five-minute intention-setting meditation”); The Boho Date, p. 68 (“Instead of champagne, he serves live spring water in a flute glass”); The Professional Houseguest, p. 137 (“Flirt with your hosts, but avoid polyamorous hookups”); and The Self-Help Socialite, p. 25 (“Keeps an Italian camping cot for vision quest outings with her shaman in the jungle”).


I think people will also enjoy a few terms that I made up. There’s “microguru” (p. 182), which is the idea that everyone can be a guru now—all you need is minimal to moderate charisma (this can be learned), a refined message, and a small following. And there’s the idea of the “laughing symphony” (p. 49), which I came up with while leading a yoga retreat, even though I don’t actually teach yoga. I had a lot of fun extrapolating on reality and got to be very creative, which really is the biggest reward of being a writer.


Tell us 2 things people don’t know about you? 

I'm very into paleontology and 80's freestyle club music.


What star sign are you?



What is your favorite animal? 

Crickets. The really loud ones.


Who is your dream person to have a meal with?

Obama and Diplo. 


What is your biggest wish? 

To exist totally in the world I create in my books. 


What is your dream destination?

I really want to go check out the contemporary art scene in Ghana, and I hear there's great surfing there, too.


Order The Boho Manifesto now!