Hello! My name is Melissa Ann Maida. To my nieces and nephews I’m Auntie Melis- which is where the twist on the spelling of the word Minimelist in the title comes from. I am a nomad, minimalist, hairstylist, teacher and storyteller. Originally from Chicago, I left home at 19 bound for Las Vegas. After almost a decade of living, working and studying in Sin City, I took off to indefinitely travel the world! I created this website to share stories, insights and personal musings from my journey. Let my story inspire you to make the tough choices and live your best life!
Exploration is my veins, adventure is something I crave, and I embrace change with open arms. In the 9 years I lived in Las Vegas I had 10 addresses and traveled to 19 states and 12 countries! I like to move around and shake things up. Comfort zones make me uncomfortable.
In September 2017 I took my nomadic lifestyle a step further by selling or giving away nearly everything I own to embrace a life of travel!
“So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservatism, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.”
My path to minimalism began unconsciously. With no reason other than to make my frequent moves around town easier, I started getting rid of stuff. From clothes and books to furniture and kitchen appliances, everything had to go. Clearing physical space cleared space in my head and my schedule which led to unimaginable freedom- freedom to learn, freedom to travel, freedom to create, and freedom to live.
Hair has been my passion since I was a small child! Anyone and everyone who would let me get my hands on their hair became my canvas. I graduated cosmetology school in 2007 and opened my own salon in 2014. In 2017, I closed up shop to pursue my dream of long-term travel. Now, you can catch me doing haircuts and French braids in hostels around the world!
In 2012 I graduated from the University of Nevada- Las Vegas with a Bachelor’s Degree in elementary education. Working as a hairstylist the entire time I attended college, my cosmetology career took off right around the time I graduated. I student taught third grade and substitute taught elementary school and middle school for awhile, but eventually opted to pursue my cosmetology career full-time.
People would often ask me if I planned to ever use my teaching degree. I’d say “probably not in the states, but maybe one day I’ll use it to teach English overseas.” I can hear my 22 year old self saying those words but never thought I’d actually get the chance to do it! In 2018 I earned my TEFL Certification from the International TEFL Academy in Chicago. Now, I have the option to teach English while I indefinitely travel the world!
At the ripe old age of 24, my dad died, I opened a salon and I called off my wedding. In that order and all within two months.
Trying to deal with all of these life changing events happening at once, I turned to the internet looking for a blog or a book about someone who’d gone through a similar experience. I didn’t find much. In that moment, I said to myself- If I ever get to the other side of all of this, I’m going to write my story down to help the next person who finds them self in a similar position.
Well, I made it to the side and am sharing my story!…
“Advice? I don’t have advice. Stop aspiring and start writing. If you’re writing, you’re a writer. Write like you’re a goddamn death row inmate and the governor is out of the country and there’s no chance for a pardon. Write like you’re clinging to the edge of a cliff, white knuckles, on your last breath, and you’ve got just one last thing to say, like you’re a bird flying over us and you can see everything, and please, for God’s sake, tell us something that will save us from ourselves. Take a deep breath and tell us your deepest, darkest secret, so we can wipe our brow and know that we’re not alone. Write like you have a message from the king. Or don’t. Who knows, maybe you’re one of the lucky ones who doesn’t have to.”
-Alan W. Watts