It’s been an absolute joy producing the second season of the Gurucast this year – I hope you’ve all enjoyed listening to it as much as I have making it! Being able to chat with so many lovely figures and bloggers in the travel industry has been an eye-opening experience for me, and it’s been a fantastic insight into the inner goings-on of the blogging world as well as seeing what incredible challenges people are putting themselves too.
Today I thought I’d have a little look back on my interview with Chelsea Yamase which I did for the 9th episode of the podcast. The Hawai’ian native has built up a fantastic community around her using her various channels and platforms, and her amazing snaps and lovely stories make her one of my personal favourites to follow.
Exclusive Interview with Chelsea Yamase
Background | Social Media & the Adventurers’ Collective | Sustainable tourism
Chelsea Yamase’s Background
Chelsea Yamase hails from the island of Kua’ai, the northernmost island in the Hawaiian archipelago. It’s home to some of Hawaii’s most breathtaking landscapes such as the Nā Pali Coast and the Waimea State Park. The breathtaking nature plus the inspiration she’s garnered from her parents, has imbued Chelsea with a great sense of respect and appreciation for the world around her. Her childhood was spent hiking in the mountains and swimming in the Pacific, so ever since a young age Chelsea has always been eager to get out there and enjoy the great outdoors.
Her background in journalism has lead on to a vibrant and diverse foray into social media, where she’s since built up a large yet close-knit community of fellow minded travellers and explorers. Yet while many would be quick to define her as a social media influencer or Instagrammer, Chelsea herself doesn’t have as much of a concrete definition of the role that she has! She photographs a wide range of subjects, edits and curates her edit all by herself, writes about a range of topics, is an avid athlete and has even modelled – with such a wide range of interests and activities, I think anyone would find it hard to try and find a fitting job title!
Chelsea’s largest and most prominent following is over at Instagram. Over the years she’s managed to amass a following of just over half a million followers thanks to the amazing feed that she’s been constantly expanding on and curating herself. In addition to the landscapes and views, she also shares insights into her own interests, whether it’s her new-found interest in slacklining or simply discussing the journey of mindfulness and self-improvement. However, there’s only so much you can write in the captions. Chelsea found herself wanting to be able to expand on meaningful content and break free of the limitations that Instagram provided. In order to enjoy a bit of extra space for creative freedom, Chelsea founded the Adventurers’ Collective.
I wanted a space that was my own. Somewhere I could let my thoughts run wild and vulnerable and for that to be OK.
The Adventurers’ Collective can be seen like an extra layer on top of her Instagram. The blog has enabled her to broaden her creative scope and simply let her thoughts run wild. It’s a place where she can document her travels in detail, compile photographs, provide useful advice and insights, and simply share her own personal thoughts on topics important to her, such as the fire which devastated swathes of forest in the Columbia River Gorge.
The blog is also an opportunity to get a feel for what it’s like “behind the scenes” as well. Instagram often gives us a one-dimensional view of full-time travel – the pictures have to be beautiful to ensure an ever-growing following. Yet it can leave out a lot of the less glamorous aspect of the job. After all, behind all of those breathtaking views lies a very arduous hike, and there’s always something that goes wrong. “When I speak to other people who travel full time or who are in the space, it’s a really really common thread that I feel connects all of our experiences,” says Chelsea.
Chelsea shared a great example in the interview, where a hike in South Africa was leaving her question why she was up on this mountain in the first place. Thunderstorms and lashing rain were just the start of it – her brand-new tent had also managed to break along the way, and the water supplies they had with them managed to freeze overnight. Yet waking up in the morning and being greeted with views of the sun rising on the mountain valley below reminded Chelsea exactly why she does what she does.
In addition to the blog, she’s also started her own book club which has been received incredibly well by her followers. Such a simple idea, yet it’s a fantastic way to share inspiration. Again this touches on Chelsea’s desire to promote self-improvement, bringing that extra layer of meaning to her work and allowing others to come forward with their own ideas and inspiration. Just goes to show how the simplest of ideas can have such a great effect!
I’ve noticed how the issue of “overtourism” has been hitting the headlines more and more as the year goes on. Recently the famous Maya Bay in Thailand has been closed, and there have been restrictions being implemented on day visitors to the city of Venice. Since Chelsea is from an area considered a dream destination, I thought I’d ask her about how she feels about the issue and her thoughts on environmental conservation.
She brought up a very interesting example of a system in place in the USA run by the Bureau of Land Management. For particular areas of managed land, there’s a strict limit on the maximum number of people who can receive permits and passes for that day. Sometimes it’s on a first-come-first-serve basis, other times it’s just a simple lottery. I think it’s a fantastic way of managing the flow of people, without denying them the pleasure of actually being able to experience these incredible places.
However she also emphasised the importance of really taking the time to find alternative destinations. The world is a big place, yet we tend to flock to the same places. Instagram has certainly played a part here – people are eager to seek out the places are crop up on their feed and want to seek out the same photo opportunities. I agree with Chelsea when she says that we need to simply sit down and do some research! See what other places are out there in the world and plan adventures that are off the beaten track. After all, it’s these adventures into the unknown that can be the most exciting of all!
Listen to the interview over at our Gurucast!
I really enjoyed listening to the insights that Chelsea shared during her interview, and I have to say that she’s certainly given me plenty of inspiration! If you haven’t listened to the exclusive interview with Chelsea Yamase just yet, then be sure to check it out over at YouTube, Soundcloud or iTunes! :)
Take a look at some of my other interviews with inspiring travel bloggers!!