Ages ago I wrote a post called You Know You’re A Gypsetter When…, which you all loved (thank you!) but I felt like it was inadequate. It didn’t embrace the full meaning of what I consider the Gypset lifestyle and mindset to be all about. There’s just so much more to it!
So today, I’ve decided to take on the elephant sized task, of explaining gypset in more defined terms. With a little help from my friends (you!).
The word Gypset was originally coined by New York journalist Julia Chaplin, which I discovered in my own thoughtful meanderings on the lifestyle I live.
I am a nomadic free spirit like a gypsy, yet I also believe in being both soulfully as well as financially abundant. How could I express this in a way that feels good?
The answer was Gypset. Combining the soulful, nomadic wiles of the gypsy, with the wealthy and expansive lifestyle of the jetset. A little bit traveller, a lot bohemian.
But let’s start with a bit of gypsy history.
According to the New World Encyclopedia, there are three kinds of nomads: hunter-gatherers, pastoral nomads, and peripatetic nomads.
I (and most likely you too, unless of course, you’re a shepherd or a lumberjack) fall into the final category: peripatetic nomad, which is defined as such:
‘Peripatetic nomads offer the skills of a craft or trade to the settled populations among whom they travel. They are the most common remaining nomadic peoples in industrialized nations.’
These types of gypsies originated in north India, specifically Rajhastan, and migrated all throughout Europe over 1000 years ago. This is where my personal gypsy blood-line begins. There’s a gorgeous film about this journey called Latcho Drom; watch it on You Tube for free right here.
People called them “gypsies,” “gitanes,” “tziganes,” “ciganes,” and “nomadi”.
But we have a name for the settled people too. We call them “gorgias” or “city / country folk”.
Nowadays, most of the gypsies that I know, are remarkably entrepreneurial, and are comfortable finding ways to make money anywhere they go. They are jewellery-makers, authors, photographers, dancers, journalists, surfers, coaches, musicians, permaculture gardeners, fashion and web designers, DJ’s etc; and generally über-creative in a myriad of ways. They have to be, in order to sustain their lifestyles.
Many of them speak more than two languages, are chameleons, actors and artists, who know how to fit themselves into any culture and environment. Their open-ness, flexibility and linguistic skills are impressive, especially those of the women.
The gypsy culture was one of the few in which women were encouraged to earn their own money, traditionally going to “gorgias” settlements where they would “dukker” – tell fortunes – and “hawk” – selling lavender, heather, holly, pegs, flowers and such things. There was no such thing as a gypsy-girl sitting at home, cooking, cleaning and not working. And gypsy-men tend to be mean culinary artists and hairdresss themselves! The dividing line between male and female roles is much finer in gypsy culture.
This entrepreneurial spirit, and support of women to provide for themselves instead of simply being dependent on their men-folk, really attracted me to the culture that I felt so strongly running through my blood.
The consistent point that every gypsy I know has ever shared with me is that they always say “I have built a lifestyle and an ethos that reflects me. It’s about me, connecting to my nature, and the nature of all living things; the universe.”
Seeing how it is possible to live a nomadic life, that’s also soulfully and financially abundant, I wanted to use a different term to describes that.
The ignorant view is that most gypsies live below the poverty line, a price they pay for cleaving “freedom, independence and flexibility in their lives, and in earning their livelihood” according to some “gorgias” societies.
I however, see the gypsy life preferable to the forms of psychic servitude and clocked-on torment that capitalism inflicts on so many people.
And I also see the possibility for another way; the middle way as Buddha would say.
Nomadic and grounded.
Free and successful.
Abundant in wealth and in experience.
A life lived fully alive and alignment with who we really are. With our true natures.
What is Gypset?
We are Gypset.
An emerging group of creative professionals – artists, musicians, photographers, coaches, yogis, designers and so on – Bon Vivants. People who lead semi-nomadic, unconventional lives, on their own terms. From their hearts and souls.