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Surfer

SEEKING  AMBASSADORS


"Are you a Woman, inspired by the sun, salt, and the  health/wellness world?
We are seeking Gypsea Ambassadors to join our team to empower
our community through the lifestyle by the sea."

GYPSEA AMBASSADORS :

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CLAIRE VANDERMEIREN

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Claire (only one born in Australia in entire family, rest are Belgian)

27 years young

Occupation : anything that allows me to travel and surf

 

Hey I’m Claire,

 

Where are you from?

Born and raised in Perth, WA. 

I went to a Montessori school throughout childhood which initiated the desire to be independent and spend as much time outdoors as possible.

 

Sports growing up?

I was always an active kid and spent 15 years playing soccer as this was a heavy influence in my family. However slowly over time surfing took priority and the rest became history.

 

When did you learn to Surf?

I first learnt to surf around the age of 10 when I was watching my mum take surf lessons at Trigg beach, WA. I quickly became hooked and after getting my first surfboard for christmas I was out at every chance I could. I was lucky to have an incredibly supportive family who were willing to drive me to and from the surf before school at 5am during the brisk winter mornings. I continued to surf throughout highschool as they offered a pretty extensive program with several camps in the South West and Lancelin, WA.

After my first year out of school I spent my first summer down in the South West of Australia. From then on I grew a whole new addiction to surfing than ever before getting to surf two to three times a day alongside swim coaching at the beach. I had realised at this point in my life, that this was what life is all about. 
 

How Does Surfing make you feel?

Surfing is what fuels me, it's what keeps me mentally sane, it continues to teach me lessons about myself and about what it means to feel free and happy. Anyone who knows me knows that I just froth out on everything,

It’s not often I won't go more than one day without a surf of some kind. A pure deep connection to the waves and the big deep blue.

 

What is your take on travelling the world?

Travel has always been a big part of who I am (classic sagittarius). For me travel is how we learn, grow and connect. Travel keeps me excited and is genuinely the only reason I continue to get back to small work stints. Surfing became my means of travel and I spent many stints to and from Indonesia as well as over the East Coast of Australia.
 

Further learning/ study after school?

I decided to study Occupational Therapy. Spending semesters completing my degree in Perth and days off in the beautiful South West of WA.

I learnt a lot completing a degree, honestly something I never thought I would accomplish, and can bet that neither did my parents. I’ve always been someone who thrives off change, so it was shocking to see me smash out the 4 years in a row. As soon as I

I finished my degree (4 years ago now), I have moved around and explored somewhere new every 6 months. 

 

I wanted to complete my yoga teacher training in India until covid hit and changed these plans. So I  decided to complete my Yoga training in Perth when I arrived back from the East Coast. I was driving up and down every second weekend to complete it and man, it was the best decision I ever made. I know it's cliche, but I really haven't looked at life again the same way since my first day of training. I learnt so much about myself and about the way we can look at this world. Of course I had those underlying values of happiness and independence but this training just expanded my mind even further into thinking “what really is life all about”, “what is my true dharma”, “what is my life purpose”. And for me that dharma is travel and exploration.

 

Jobs I have worked in:

- bar work/waitress

- Swim teaching

- Surf coach

- Yoga teacher

- Occupational therapist

- Pizza maker, sushi cutter, smoothie blitzer

- Cleaner
 

Tell us a bit about your story?

A bit about me? I love to travel and not stay in one spot for too long.

A few years backI applied for jobs over east and managed to land one in North Queensland, in a small town just south of Townsville. So, me and my ex decided to pack up the troop again (we had previously tried that summer but got stuck just before the Nullarbor when the bushfires hit and closed the whole road) and hit the road.

So take two, and we took off on our adventure around May 2020. No fridge, no second battery, no power; just a tiny gas stove, a bed frame we made out of a few pieces of wood and a roof rack we found on gumtree. We spent nearly 11 months on the road with this exact set up, don't get me wrong, a fridge would have been a dream, but goes to show you can make things work with the absolute minimum. 

 

We spent some time in the North West of WA, exploring the coast and the absolutely breathtaking Kununurra region. Keep in mind this is when the pandemic was at its worst and nobody knew where we were headed. I remember just before leaving the WA border, all the news was saying how WA is the best state to be and nobody should be thinking about leaving because you will not be allowed back in. But times like this you just have to take the leap and acknowledge that you'll never know if you don't try. So we crossed the border, sped across NT and made it to Queensland. I thought that I would be working there for at least 6 months to a year but it turned out 3 months in, and I had realised it wasn't for me.

 

I had those doubts and thoughts, “This wont look good on my resume”, “what will everybody think”, but at the end of the day, the job and the place was not what I

had expected and it simply isn't making me happy. I was the number one preacher of never staying in a job just for the sake of it. Don't stay just for that promotion, just for the money, or just for the debts. If my happiness is suffering, then change needs to be made. 

 

So again, we moved further along the coast in the unknown of what was to come. We surfed our way along until we got stuck in a small town in NSW for longer than expected (border closures, classic covid). So I found myself a little job at a cafe to keep the bank account afloat to ride out however long we would be stuck there for. I managed to escape to visit friends in Tasmania which helped fill the cup and then once borders opened again we hit the road and slowly enjoyed more surf and made our way back home to WA. It was one of the toughest and interesting years of my life, it's not all that you see on the gram. Through this I was experiencing a lot of difficulties within my relationship and self.

 

I then arrived home in the land of WA, and of course I had the thought of what's next. So I found myself a job at a brewery while I decided to complete my YTT (Yoga Teacher Training) with a studio in Perth.

 

After my training and leaving a toxic relationship I never felt more connected to myself. I realised I had to go on a deep healing and self love pathway in order to grow and at some point be able to allow love in again. I had felt so lost for so many years that I really had to learn who I was and what I wanted again. From this, I became so connected to myself like never in my life before, such a strong sense of self. The more you are connected to your truest self and highest self, the more you attract those around you with similar values and deeper connections evolve.

I have created friendships to last me a lifetime, so soul enriching and learnt the true meaning of love. 

 

I spent that summer at home in Yallingup before deciding that I wanted to do another lap around Aus, and this time do it my way, so I bought a van. I spent a month building it up and fitting it out before hitting the road with absolutely no plan at all. It was my dream, vanlife, to be on the road, complete freedom with nowhere to be, no concept of time. But, my dreams quickly were shattered after only a week of vanlife and my entire motor blew up, with the local mechanic quoting me more than the value of the van to fix it.

I was utterly heartbroken. Wanting to give up and come home. However i decided, it broke down in the beautiful place of Exmouth, and maybe just maybe, it's all for a reason. 

 

So I found myself two jobs, parked up the van in a driveway and spent 5 months using it as my bed and making life in Exmouth work. And I can tell you this much, it was one of the best times of my entire life. I made friends to last a lifetime, a sisterhood of incredible women who continue to inspire me everyday, and I really delved into my surfing and passion for the ocean.

I spent the entire season in Exmouth before deciding to go to Indonesia for a month while my van could possibly be fixed, unfortunately the van did not survive and i was paid only $500 from the wreckers.  

 

So, I came home from Indonesia and found myself another job. Yoga teaching and cleaning (getting to live my ultimate blue crush dreams of housekeeping and surfing everyday) to fill the bank account. 

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What does your frothy life look like now?

I left Aus a few weeks ago now after being invited on a boat trip in the Mentawais with a bunch of women in the creative/surf industry. It was something I could not pass up. I took that as my sign to leave Aus again, this time solo and with only a one way ticket. I hustled and messaged places to see who would be offering work in order to stay in the Ments as long as possible, and landed a job Surf Guiding at one of the resorts here. I will be venturing across to other islands throughout Indonesia, but I have no real agenda into where the next year will take me. 

The more i continue to connect with myself the more I know I will meet people and

find experiences that will truly nourish my soul and make me feel at home.
 

Life Lessons?

So, if anything you gain from my story, just know that life will always find ways to knock you down and alter your course. You can never truly control how these make you feel, you can however control how you react to those feelings and what you choose to do moving forward. I have a lot of trust in the universe taking me on the right course. I am always continuing to take lifes lessons and grow, and if anyone ever tells you that “you have changed” or “we miss the old you” tell them thank you. Isn't that what life is all about? Self growth, connection, and just doing what makes you happy. 

If there's a will, there's a way, and screw this capitalist society, just take the leap of faith and go after your dreams.

 

Future Plans?

I have a huge passion for women empowerment and making women feel safe, particularly in the water. I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve surfed and been the only chick out, especially when I first started. But it's so nice to finally see so many more chicks in the lineup. I absolutely love to see women of all styles on their boards doing what makes them happy. Surfing to me is my art form, my form of self expression; sometimes I love to dive into my masculine and go after that adrenaline hit of bigger waves and heavier turns.

However I also love the fact that I can flow within my feminine, use my hips to create more

movement and style and allow the wave to take me rather than me on the wave.
 

Who Inspires you?

Huge inspirations for me in the surfing world are Leah Dawson and Stephanie Gilmore, Two powerhouses who bring their own flare and connection to the ocean through surfing.

If I can leave you with anything, just know that you are the only one holding yourself back from your dreams. The sky is not the limit unless you decide it to be. Us as humans, our biggest fear is the fear of the unknown. The more you place yourself in uncomfortable scenarios and surrender to what you cannot control, the more freedom and less suffering you will experience. When life does throw you that lemon, you will be more willing to adapt and be less reactive to the situation at hand. 

 

Your Goals / Mindset for this year?

This year I completely choose to surrender to what is ahead, and my goal is to continue on this journey to self, and not allow society's idea of ‘success’ stop me from following what makes me happen. I think if we support each other and show each other how

resilient and powerful we can be we will make some bloody good lemonade out of all these damn lemons.

 

Favourite books?

- The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho

- The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Self - Michael Alan Singer

- You’re not listening: What you are missing and why it matters - Kate Murphy

- Rising Strong - Brene Brown

- The Courage to be Disliked - Fumitake Koga and Ichiro Kishimi

- Women don’t owe you Pretty - Florence Given

- The Sun and her Flowers - Rupi Kaur

 

Favourite Podcasts?

- The Waterpeople Podcast

- Specific episodes:

- Leah Dawson: Discovering Femininity

- Albe Falzon: Everything is Surfing

- Gerry Lopez: A Sense of Stillness

- On Purpose with Jay Shetty

- Ten Percent Happier with Dan Harris

- Do you F***ing Mind with Alexis Fernandez
 

“Life Moto”

Just doing whatever it takes to live freely; work a few months then continue to travel. Now looking for a more sustainable way to travel and work at the same time.

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