Q&A with globetrotting alumna
After four years of studying, sweat and tears, graduates leave college behind, stepping across a stage into the next chapter of their lives. For some, that chapter involves finding a job, finding a house or apartment and settling into a new order of things.
But that wasn’t what Jenny Mirambeau, a 2014 graduate with a degree in interdisciplinary environmental studies, envisioned for her future. Instead of taking the typical path after her graduation, Mirambeau chose to travel the country and then the world, all while starting up and running a natural deodorant company called OneLife.
The Central Florida Future chatted with Mirambeau about her travels, business and life after graduation.
CFF: I’ve heard you decided to go backpacking after graduating. Why did you decide to do this?
Mirambeau: Ever since I was a child, I've always wanted to be independent. I had a strong urge to be free and constantly dreamed of exploring places I hadn’t been before. After graduating from UCF, I still didn’t exactly know what I wanted to do. I was a bit nervous, but I went on a cross-country road trip (that I called Freedom Trip 2014) throughout the United States and caught the travel bug. After Freedom Trip 2014, I moved to Denver, Colorado, and then to Venice Beach in Los Angeles, California, where I quickly found my tribe of people with whom I connected deeply with on a level unlike any other before. I knew I wanted to travel the world, and not when I’m old and retired. I wanted to travel now while I’m young and my body is in great shape. I wanted spontaneity, wild adventures, fearlessness, love and experiences of all kind. I wanted to feel fully alive, not just getting by in a mediocre state of mind, but really thriving. So I strategized, worked hard in order to save up a bit of money, strapped on a large backpack and booked a one-way flight.
CFF: What has your experience been like? Where have you been? What have you seen?
Mirambeau: It has been amazing! I started off in the Amazon rainforest of Peru, then traveled by boat along the Amazon River to Leticia, Colombia, where I took a flight to Bogotá, Colombia. From there, I traveled mainly by bus (and a few hitch hikes) throughout many different parts of Colombia and, after almost two months, I flew to Mexico. It definitely took some time to release the fear of traveling alone, the fear of instability and the fear of the unknown, but once I did, the world opened up … I’ve seen wild animals of the rain forest, pristine waterfalls, gigantic trees, ancient pyramids, well-kept colonial towns, tribal dances, vibrant culture, amazing street performances, incredible art of various forms, children that seem like adults, adults that seem like children and wildfires a bit too close for comfort. Yet, of course, as we all know, the world isn’t perfect and having studied environmental science, it has made me very aware of the ecological degradation.
CFF: When did you get the idea to start your company? Why deodorant?
Mirambeau: It was a combination of a few aspects. Midway through college, I started to have many profound experiences that began to shift my perception of life. During my environmental studies courses at UCF and from a few breakthrough experiences outside of the classroom, I started to really feel and recognize the interconnectedness of all life … At the same time, I was learning much about holistic health, organic foods and natural body-care products. When I started to feel a stronger connection with nature, I instinctively began to want to live a more holistic life ... Upon realizing this, I felt it was my calling to inspire and help others as well. The combination of these learning experiences fostered the idea for OneLife. I decided to name it OneLife in order to spread the message of life’s interconnectedness while providing a natural alternative to the toxic ingredients found in traditional antiperspirant deodorant … OneLife’s mission is to uplift the global consciousness and shift the societal perspective towards a more cyclical and eco-centric view of the world.
CFF: How is your business doing? What has the experience been like?
Mirambeau: The business is going well, but the production of new deodorant bottles is on a bit of a pause right now. I jumped into it with many great aspirations, but then felt a strong calling to travel outside of the United States … I started the business on my own and thus, it has been on a small scale with sales mainly to local stores around where I was living in Los Angeles, during music festivals and other local events and various online sales … I have found that the natural deodorant industry is quite a niche market, as many people are becoming aware of the adverse effects of natural antiperspirant deodorant, but can't seem to find an effective alternative.
CFF: You’ve accomplished a lot since leaving UCF. What advice would you give to students who are about to graduate?
Mirambeau : Don’t be scared to get creative with your life and always remember you create your own reality. You can create whatever you want out of your life, it is only your own fear that can stop you. Know that all things people do and say is a reflection of what's going on within themselves and never has anything to do with you. It’s all their perspective. If we always keep this in mind we can’t be hurt we can only observe and be conscious of what our own reality is like since it is so unlike any one else’s. Trust in yourself and in the world around you. Listen to your heart, follow your intuition, dance, learn new things, spend time with yourself, be honest with your word, do what you say you’re going to do, remember that every experience is a learning experience so nothing is ever a fail, release the need to control, go with the flow, challenge yourself, look out for signs, be authentic, appreciate the beauty of life, read into the deeper meaning of things, be conscious of your breathing, meditation goes a long way, yoga is more than just stretching, seek balance, be present, love yourself, be the light, practice gratitude, smile, take chances, be careful and always stay positive. Your mentality shapes your reality.
CFF: What was the greatest piece of advice you received as you started your journey? Would you recommend other students follow it?
Mirambeau: "Give to the world what you feel is missing from it. This is why you're here."
Yes, definitely! We all have a calling, a purpose for our existence. I believe the goal is to discover it and create your life in such a way that aligns with it. The journey is the destination, so take your time, get creative, travel, see where you like, what you like and find yourself. Be love and trust that it's all happening as it should.
Deanna Ferrante is a digital producer with the Central Florida Future. Follow her on Twitter at @deannaferrante or email her at DeannaF@centralfloridafuture.com.