Our Wander Life: Lifestyle • Travel • Photography for the Wandering Soul
Victoria McGovern: a photographer, stylist, creative consultant, based in Richmond, Virginia. Working with small businesses, creatives & kindred spirits: helping them tell their stories and reach their goals.
Why would You move to Richmond, VIRGINIA from Paradise AKA South Florida?
Why wouldn't I?!
History, architecture, the James River.
The perfect amount of old mixed with new: industrial + nature.
Great weather: mild climate, changing seasons – snow, fall, I love it all!
What can I say? I fell in love with this city and knew I needed to do everything in my power to call it home.
So I did.
Along with the love of my life & wanderer in crime: Brad.
We sold it all, packed up our little car, and wandered into Richmond, on one cold, rainy day, of April 3, 2014: Brad's Birthday.
Not a day goes by without thankfulness, not a single regret. I am so happy we made the decision to take the leap, and I would do it again and again.
Why are you a collector?
What exactly do you collect and how can I get started?
I love this question! Every time someone asks it, I get excited. Like a little girl on her way to a carnival.
First and foremost, I am an old soul. At least that is what my 4th Grade teacher Mrs. Farrell always called me.
My collections are my treasures. They are my valuables. They connect me to the past, present, and the future.
They connect me to nature.
They connect me to people.
One day, someone will inherit my collections and my memory will go on through them. (I hope.)
I collect many things:
- Rocks & branches from the places I have traveled.
- Dried flowers picked during strolls.
- Other curiosities collected during hikes: skulls and bones, butterflies, wasps nests, snake skins, leaves. I am a scavenger of sorts, so anything that stands out to me on a particular day is collected, as a reminder and a token.
- Old books with inscriptions.
- Old Photographs of course.
- Found objects through nature walks – labeled with tidbits on where and when they were found.
- My most treasured: Old journals and letters written by others – I find wisdom and often humor in their words, even through difficult times. Sometimes I feel they were written just for me to find, that's how deep they speak to my soul.
I lost my mother as a young teen, and she never left any of her written words behind. I used to rummage through all of her things, hoping to find a slice of her wisdom. I guess you could say, that's what lead me to become a collector of these simple priceless treasures.
But really, even as a child, I was always a collector. I think it's always something within you, that develops more as you do. You grow together. And I really think it takes a sentimentalist, someone who has a connection to objects for how they make them feel, and who and what they connect them to, rather than what pretty Pinterest pictures told them to feel.
A collector has a reason and a passion for what they are keeping.
I can't really tell you exactly what to collect, all I can say is: find what you are passionate about. Find what you would like to preserve for the future and start collecting.
WHY DO YOU THRIFT + Resell, While Teaching & ENCOURAGING OTHERS To do the same?
WHAT EXACTLY IS MINdFUL CONSUMERISM?
Why are you a Small Business Advocate?
I have been thrifting for years! What started out as a hobby, to be more cautious of frivolously spending money + finding rare and unique items – I would never be able to find in big box stores, became a passion with a purpose.
We are a throw-away society. Simple as that. Driven by consumerism, overconsumption, and an excessive production of short-lived & disposable items.
Even the items we donate to charity, believing we are doing a good deed by giving to those with less, end up in landfills, or flood and devour the streets of developing countries (when I see images, I can't help but feel we are essentially using them as our landfill, pretending to have an ethical purpose behind ulterior motives).
Enter reselling: some people don't understand why they should buy secondhand + resell, but let me tell you, it is a great thing to do for our planet and its inhabitants. As many of the items today in production, are not being ethically made. Think about it: Do you know how your clothes were made? They are coming from countries where they have zero labor laws. Where citizens are dying due to unsafe working conditions, being treated less than humane – more like property, payed pennies a day to make crappy garments not even they wear. All so we can run around pretending we are fulfilled by what we own, and the more we own. When most of these items are made so quickly, to feed the hungry consumerist masses, they fall apart rapidly and eventually just get tossed away.
When you buy secondhand or resell, you can be part of the solution. You keep items out of landfills, you do not contribute to the unethical working conditions of others, and you get quality made items that were never meant to be thrown away.
I made a choice little by little, over the last 5 years, to live my life as part of the solution. One of those solutions for me: has been to find + thrift approximately, 90% of the items I own. My other belongings come from shopping with small businesses & makers (so I know where my products are coming from, who made them, learn about their process – all with the added bonus of being able to support their dreams and passions. I can't think of a better reason or place to spend my money, can you?). Only a very small percentage of items I own come from large chain realtors (I can assure you, you will never find me having a shopping spree at Target, I walk in to fill a script and I walk right out). Big Business is a machine, that relies on unwitting consumers to feed it, and I as an individual, have chosen to do my best to be mindful of what I feed.
I have been a mindful consumerist, long before I knew I even was one, or that it was a thing with a name. Thankfully, in the recent years, "Mindful Consumerism" has become a movement, and is a huge buzzword across the interwebs.
There are many great blogs following up on researching how our products are being made, while helping to educate consumers. Along with companies, getting involved in producing more ethically made goods. I commend them. I am thankful for them. It's been a long time needed, and I am grateful it is finally here, reaching the mainstream consumer.
But at the end of the day, if you want to be more mindful and intentional with your way of life. Do your own research, develop your own passion for the cause, strive to surround yourself with items you find meaning and connection in, and always remember: some companies jump on the bandwagon of fighting societal issues, just to keep selling you overpriced shirts, packaged as a cause.
I hope you dive into Mindful Consumerism, if you haven't already.
If you have and are looking for more like-minded friends, or If you are new to the concept and would like to talk more about it, please, contact me here.
That's it?! Wait, I don't see my question.
If you don't see your question here, don't worry! Send me an email and I will be happy to answer it. Keep an eye on your email, I answer questions: Monday - Friday 8am - 5pm (sometimes weekends, if I am just hanging around with my cats).
Too shy to say hi, or send your questions my way?
Just stalk this page! I have an inbox full of FAQ's I am still working through, so there is a good chance your question is already in the mix somewhere.