Interview with Anne, 26, surf artist from the Netherlands

Where did you first learn to surf and how did it feel?

I learned to surf for the first time in Lombok, two years ago. I remember there was so much going on in my head that I didn’t really register how I was feeling! I am pretty sure I didn’t even manage to pop up during the first two sessions. But after a couple of waves I started to become more aware of the adrenaline rush it gave me and how much good energy I had afterwards! As anyone who ever tried surfing knows, the beginning is so damn frustrating most of the time, but for some reason we keep coming back for more, haha.

Where do you currently live?

I live in a small fishing village in the South of Lombok [neighbouring island of Bali, Indonesia].

How would you describe your surfing style and preferences?

Lazy, relaxed and a bit girly… I guess? My style is definitely not aggressive and spectacular. After surfing a mini mal for about six months, I turned to a smaller twin fish which has probably influenced the way I surf. I haven’t quite decided if that’s a style thing or just a lack of skills, HAHA. I would love to be able to do some really skilful big smooth turns.

What is your biggest passion (after surfing, of course 😉 ?

I have many passions, but I mostly spend my free time making art. I am currently working on my first series of abstract paintings that are inspired by the patterns, textures and colours of ocean and other natural magic of this island. This is a project I have wanted to start for over a year and it has been quite a struggle to get all the materials, because this is a pretty undeveloped area. There aren’t any art stores on the entire island so improvisation and patience were the main ingredients for this mission. It is super exciting to finally be able to work on this idea that I have been obsessed with for so long! I also work for a local surfboard shaping studio where I do all the designs and custom artwork for the boards. Besides that, I am usually working on other commission work on the side.

Another great passion I have is for animals. One of the big problems where I live (and in loads of other places around the world) is street dogs. I have never seen so many dead, dying, injured, skinny and sick dogs as here. I have had to bury more puppies than I ever imagined I would and I made countless puppy saving missions in the past two years. Some successful, some not. But I think that as humans, we should always at least try. It is difficult here sometimes because the main religion is Islam and the majority of the local community isn’t too pleased when we give dogs attention and food. Although I have respect for the people and their beliefs, an instinct deep inside of me can’t stop myself from helping animals when I am in the position to do so.

When and why did you choose your kind of lifestyle, rather than the regular working lifestyle?

Looking back, I think I always subconsciously knew I wasn’t going to fit into a ‘normal’ [capitalist, Western] society very well, I always questioned everything and didn’t understand why things were the way there were. From age 15 onwards, I started getting very interested in the idea of travelling, leaving everything behind in search of freedom, adventure and I guess, belonging.

In the past, I have worked numerous random jobs – fun ones and flat out shitty ones – but always with that one goal in mind: Financing a trip. This is how I did it during my teenage years and early twenties. I am lucky to have found a way to do work that I actually enjoy and that allows me to do things that make me happy as much as possible.

How do you support your surf-lifestyle financially?

Because of my boyfriend’s job we are supported with a free house (with an amazing view over the jungle and ocean!) and food, so we are incredibly fortunate! I don’t really have a lot of bills and outgoings. Life is cheap here and I make it work fine with what I have. It is however a bit tricky when it comes to saving up bigger money and buying flights back to Europe. However, having a lot less money has made me more creative and appreciative of things I would normally take for granted back in Europe so that has been a good lesson.

Do many of your friends also live a surf-lifestyle?

When I was growing up, my best friends had the same travelling mindset as me, so we pushed these dreams together. We are still friends today, all living on different continents and doing different things. I have one friend in the Netherlands who surfs and she was actually the one who recommended Lombok to me… so I owe her one. My friends who live here all surf. There is not that much else to do here, haha! More and more girls who surf are moving here so it’s great to always have a little crew available.

How many times a year do you see your family/relatives?

Luckily, my family was able to come and visit me here, some already twice. I have been back once since I moved to Indo but I am going again this upcoming summer, after one and a half years of being here consistently. I am super excited to see everyone and eat lots of good food, have fresh hot showers and play with my dog!

What is your favourite quote, or do you have a motto that you live by?

I have too many quotes that I love! Here’s a few:

„Obstacles are placed in our way to see if what we want is really worth fighting for.“

„Take care of your body. It is the only place you have to live.“

„The soul usually knows how to heal itself. The challenge is to silence the mind.“

„The time will pass anyway. You can either spend it creating the life you want, or spend it living the life you don’t want. The choice is yours.“

„She who is brave is free.“

„To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people just exist, that’s all.“

The way I try to live my life is to be true to myself, to always listen to that voice within… Trusting my path and trying to be good for others and myself. There is a writer/poet named Cleo Wade, she writes such empowering reminders for women that keep me going when I need it! (@cleowade on Instagram).

What would you recommend to somebody who wants to live like you?

Make your own plan, don’t try to live somebody else’s dream. Live a life doing things that make you happy and that keep you inspired; don’t make choices just to impress others. In the end, we all are the main character in our own story, so nobody actually cares what you do. Don’t listen to people’s judgments about your life choices. Get a job, save up, buy the ticket, leave. You will see what happens next 🙂

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