Launching our Resort 2020 Collection, we asked Chelsea Yamase if she would bring some of our collection to life – taking us on a Journey of her daily life in Kauai.
An adventure-seeking intellect, we sat down to ask some hard-hitting questions. In this exclusive interview Chelsea gives insight into her daily rituals and practices, personal journey as an influencer, things that inspire her and topics of importance; sharing knowledge and information on the pressing global issues we face and how she uses her platform for the greater good.
Videography: Sam Kolder
1. For those that don't know you, can you explain a little bit about yourself - background, prior job, study, and how you got into full time social media work?
Hi! So I was born and raised on the small island of Kauai in Hawaii where I've lived most of my life. I got my degrees in Journalism and International Studies of the Middle East (thought I wanted to be a foreign diplomat or correspondent!), but I worked during and after college as a graphic designer. I fell into doing social media after I started sharing my freediving journey on instagram about 5 years ago. Now I've been a full-time creator for the last four years in the outdoor adventure and travel space with a focus on ocean centered advocacy. I backpack, do acroyoga, highline, surf, horseback ride, and share mindful living practices.
2. What is the most fulfilling part of your job?
The most fulfilling part of my job is the ability to deeply dive into things I care about and create community around that. I get to share anything I learn, anything I love, things that are better for our planet and people actually care – it's like baffling and amazing to me. I get to be a lifelong learner! It's just so me.
I think the best best part is also being the spark. I've been able to see how my storytelling around a cause like my friends over at @coralgardeners has had huge impacts for the good they are doing. It feels amazing to be that doorway, to introduce people to the right people, or just be the encouragement to keep going.
3. What are some of your daily rituals that you practice?
My daily rituals all start with the way I wake up. I've found that it frames the entire day and how I feel within it. So basically I've started to sleep with my phone on airplane mode out of reach and replaced it with my journal and pen. I could never make it a habit until I literally sleep with it in my bed. I free write every morning for 15 minutes, stretch, then I make a cup of tea with coconut protein creamer. I light a few candles or incense and then get to work. The whole thing only takes about 35 minutes, but I feel SO good. Being outside for sunset is also an inviolable rule of mine. Those are my book ends. What happens in the middle always changes.
4. How do we (collectively) grow, expand and continue on the journey of improvement for our selves and the greater good?
I don't have all the answers, for me growth and a desire for improvement have come from a deep gratitude for the experiences I've had in nature. I don't really know who I would be without those experiences – would I care as much? I tend to think not. I get to see these incredible places and also our impact on them. It's so real to me that I can't help but want to strive for the greater good. I believe we can only change out of love otherwise convenience, greed, and what “I want” versus what is good for all will win out.
If you can't travel, read books, listen to podcasts, watch documentaries! There are so many ways to connect with what is going on in the world. And don't feel like you have to care about everything, everywhere, all the time. It can be exhausting, so I just choose to see it as an urgent, but lifelong journey towards being better.
5. What are your key messages or visions that you promote or want to encourage with your community?
I have a few themes that I've established for myself:
1. Growth mindset – I love encouraging an openness to learning, goal setting, and self improvement. Courage is only brought forth through the possibility of failure and I want people to own that and fall in love with it in the same way I have. It changes everything.
2. Connection – Connection to myself, to others and to nature are some the great joys in my life. Online I find a big part of this is being relatable and vulnerable. I call it “the art of the unperfect” and to me it just means being honest. We live in a time where there is more volume of interaction than ever before, but less true connection. I want depth and I want real, doesn't mean it can't be pretty, but I always want people to leave my page or my presence feeling like anything I can do they can do. I want empowerment not comparison and I think that starts by sharing our struggles with each other. No one has it all figured out so why the heck does it look that way online? Haha. Connection with nature is also so part of my DNA I almost forget to talk about it. But yes, I think that's the most obvious one and message I consistently share. It's not all about big adventures either, one of my favorite habits is just going outside for 15 minutes during sunset.
3. Positive impact – Explore often, consume mindfully has been in my bio for about as long as I can remember. The more I travel, the more I dive or hike or surf, the more it becomes clear to me that my connection to these places gives me the motivation to make hard changes in my own life. I've recently gone plant- based, have cut back on 75% of my travel, and am getting less shy about sharing ways to be better with others as well. As my audience has grown I've felt the need to take more responsibility for my outdoor ethics, the messages I share (both implicit and explicitly), and hopefully translate my love for the nature world through images and videos that will inspire action. There is a lot of work to be done in almost every sector from social justice to climate issues and it is vitally important to me that my storytelling be of service. I just want to grow, do good, and raise everyone up around me.
More recently I've been pushing more into educating myself (and my audience) on oceanic issues. It's felt good, but I have so much more to learn and do!
6. What are some non-negotiables you believe all brands should be implementing within business given the climate crisis issues we face?
There are so many, but I think the simplest way would be to require companies to pay for carbon offsets/credits for the entire product lifecycle, work extremely hard to use recycled materials and avoid virgin material use. I would love to see a system where swapping or buying secondhand was a bigger part of stores. I know it's difficult and we're used to immediacy and everything new all the time – but it just doesn't work.
7. Do you know what B Corporation is? If yes - can you explain in your own words what it is? Furthermore can you explain more about what corporations and certificates like this do in industries such as the fashion industry?
From my understanding B Corporation is a legally certification that means a brand adheres to high level of specific social and environmental standards. In the fashion industry this is a huge step in the right direction for a sector that desperately needs more transparency when it comes to ethical business practices. It is also an global industry that touches every single one of us which means there is an opportunity for impact on a mass scale.
I really applaud companies that go the extra length to obtain this certification as I know it's not easy and adds cost and effort into an already competitive marketplace. The trend is shifting though and as a customer and as an influencer advising people on what to buy, B corp certification is one of the first things I look for.
8. They say, it's about the journey, not the destination. Does this resonate with you? If so, how?
It does, more than you know. I had the chance to go to many places. Destination to destination, place to place, one end goal to the next. I will say this, and it is personal but I think it is also true: You will never arrive. The destination, the money, the relationship, the luxury, the mountain top, the numbers on instagram – I have had it all and none of it made me fulfilled. There are amazing moments, happy moments, but it is all the in between moments of progress, and uncertainty, and falling in love with the process that keep me motivated and inspired. The joy is in the way there, not in arriving. Have goals, I'm all about it, but I know that enjoying the journey is key to crafting a meaningful and sustainable life.