How I became an Oceanlover

– written by head ambassador Julia Brun

I personally don’t know a single person that doesn’t enjoy spending time in or around the ocean. Sure, some people prefer the cold to the heat or dislike the feeling of sand sticking to their skin after a day on the beach, some might be a little scared of waves or currents, but most people’s holiday plans or dreams of a laid back lifestyle include a beautiful beach setting somewhere on this planet.

Now imagine for a minute that you are looking at a gigantic swirling mass of plastic debris, literally a sea of plastic floating on top of the ocean’s surface getting bigger every day or picture bleached coral and an underwater world in black and white instead of it’s former colourful glory and let your imagination run wild with what happens to the marine life or life as we know it in general. Not such a nice vista, I know.
Most of us understand that our world’s oceans are the largest eco-systems on Earth, generating half the oxygen people breathe.
We can comprehend that in order for us to thrive and survive we all need healthy oceans. “Water is life” is definitely not a new concept and if you are reading this, you are most likely a lover of the ocean and of life itself and know the stats. I do believe it’s important to be reminded, to create awareness, without making myself or anyone else feeling hopeless, guilty or lectured, but reminded in an inspired, creative and positive way.

 am so happy to be the head ambassador for Oceanlovers, a brand on a mission to unite those salty and adventurous at heart, celebrating and helping to sustain this very precious resource, the ocean, envisioned by my dear friend, the brilliant Franziska Iseli.

I am very excited and greatly honoured to be part of this amazing tribe and sincerely believe that inspired actions of just a few can make a huge difference in the world!

An oceanlover in the making

I grew up in Switzerland, the tiny, land-locked, picturesque country in the heart of Europe. The keyword here is land-locked. There are lakes, rivers and even waterfalls but nothing that tastes salty and the only thing that comes close to an ocean sensation living in chocolate-land, is when you are standing on top of a mountain overlooking a vast sea of white fog during winter, oh yeah.

So how can a Swiss girl who has no apparent or direct relation to the ocean become an ambassador for an ocean inspired brand, a bit of a stretch you might think huh. It’s not because my zodiac is Aquarius or is it? Let me explain…

My fascination for the ocean revealed itself from a very young age and there’s a good chance that travelling and my genes had a lot, but not everything to do with it.

I was able to expand and explore my views of the world from an early age. My father worked for the national Swiss airline and I was fortunate enough to travel around the world. My mum was born in Finland, an island in Scandinavia surrounded by the ocean and we spent a lot of time in our Finish family’s homes, surrounded by wilderness and water.

Reflecting back, my Finnish heritage and spending time in nature, contributed to feeling comfortable with, in and around the ocean and water in general. There are all these experiences – whether it was learning how to swim, fishing with grandpa and providing dinner for the whole family with self-made fishing rods, rowing in his tinny with my sister and enjoying the secluded scenery, sailing with my dad, running into the ice-cold water straight out of the hot sauna in winter or the occasional windsurfing adventure with my beloved aunty. I became a water girl, maybe because of the combination of all my experiences or maybe because all of us have this innate indescribable feeling that we are a part of something bigger and because the ocean makes us feel good, carries us, brings us joy, inspiration and a sense of peace. How many of us look at the ocean, the semi-hypnotic movement of how the waves come in and go out again, when we stand at a crossroad in life, need to get some rest from our busy minds or simply want to feel comforted. Next to knowing that we are made out of 90% water and spend 9 months in a liquid birthing home. There has to be a deeper connection.

My love for surfing

Like every Swiss child I spent a few holidays in the mountains learning how to ski and later snowboard. And I loved snowboarding, probably because I was never the most talented skier, but I certainly liked having a board under my feet, fly downhill, draw lines into the soft snow. People sometimes compare snowboarding to surfing but the only similarities are a board, water in a frozen form and some of the names for tricks or airs and in my opinion surfing is way, way harder to learn.

When my parents decided to explore the volcanic islands of Hawaii, I fell in love with the beauty of the nature, the smells of the flowers, the native language, the hula dancing, the sounds of the ukulele and the idea of surfing. I remember the excitement watching these masters gliding and dancing on waves, wanting to mimic the salty fun I witnessed, thinking it was as easy as snowboarding and asking my parents if I was allowed to try surfing. Too dangerous was their reply. End of story. But as it turned out only for a few years.

Life really does work in mysterious ways

I never let go of the dream of being able to surf like these guys in Hawaii (never as good but just able) and it paid off. Years later I found myself surrounded by fellow traveller friends and believe it or not, a group of very passionate Swiss surfers. From my first wacky attempts in San Sebastian’s shores, catching my first wave, I was hooked and made a pact with myself, to go on an ever-expanding adventure, to surf in as many countries in the world as possible. This love took me around the globe, always chasing new salty adventures with friends.

Corona ads down under

These travels had to be financed. The more I worked in the advertising industry, the more I wanted to get out – into nature. Working in this field fueled my longing to be close to the ocean, mother nature. I needed her to keep me grounded and to feel connected to something more meaningful.

I decided to freelance and take as many breaks from the sometimes artificial world I chose to work in, in order to be able to fulfill my desires. I gave in, to the calling of the ocean. There’s so much depth to the sea – usually not so much to ads. I was hungry to live that Corona lifestyle. During my surf travels I used to carry a diary around with me. Making notes, sketching, memorising…I wrote about the life of my dreams. One day I would live close to the ocean and surf as much as I want, not knowing that this would soon become a reality.

One of my longest surf and travel adventure took me to Australia,

a continent to tick off my list. Upon arrival I was immediately intrigued. There was something mysterious about this isolated island, it’s ancient history, the purity, inhabited by some of the most deadliest and rarest animals in the world. Together with a dear friend of mine we began our surf trip in a funky van along the East Coast. We surfed as much as we could, laughed, cried, endured wipeouts, bruises, watched sunrises and sunsets and enjoyed the outdoors. There was that feeling of connected-ness again. The ocean and nature itself became our best friends and sometimes worst enemies. We were living in a corona ad.

Two years later I was drawn back to Australia and met Ian, the love of my life. We got married by the beach, no shoes needed and the rest is history. I really did end up living close to the beach, living my dream. Not in an ad, but in real life. I remember when Ian, who is also a passionate surfer, made a comment about picking up rubbish from the beach one day. I was stunned that I didn’t realise there was a big problem at first. I thought Australian beaches are clean and didn’t think any further. He told me that every single time he goes to the beach, he’s picking up pieces of rubbish crossing his path and that it all makes a difference. For the first time, after witnessing litter problems in Indonesia and recalling similar tragedies at other beaches around the world, after watching documentaries about the largest floating plastic island in the world, still thinking it’s not a big problem here, it really hit home. I wanted to help protect this life affirming, pristine and beautiful natural wonder.

My husband became an even bigger inspiration to me because he made me aware of the fact that every little action matters and offered me a gift, the ability to open my eyes and to take action. Something activated deep inside me when he made me realise that all individual actions matter, even if they feel foolish at times.

An understanding of responsibility for the love of the ocean and my duty of care as an oceanlover were born.

Love and connection.

Today the ocean means way more than just surfing, swimming or diving to me. The ocean became part of my life, a part of me, a dear friend.

It gives me strength and shows me compassion whenever I need it, it reminds me to play and not to take life too seriously, to keep adventuring. It can evoke my biggest fears in brutal honesty and I seek its advise in the most significant moments of life. Every time I dive into this vast, fresh, crystalline blue, my cells feel refreshed and revitalised and I feel connected to myself and to our blue planet. The ocean feels healing and balancing and the movement of ebb and flow act as a reminder of how life works, ever changing and adapting to its cycles. It all comes in waves, everything.

In recent years I became a passionate researcher. I really enjoy learning new things and making discoveries about the most elementary things in life and water is one of them.

Given there are studies about how water is affected by emotions, how we can affect its structure and how water affects us, I believe there is so much more to water than we understand today. We are just starting to realise how powerful the interaction between us and our environment can be. Science is showing our connection to water in books like Blue Mind by Wallace J. Nichols. Maybe the outside environment is even an extension of ourselves, a reflection and therefore, why wouldn’t we want to protect our priceless natural resource and treat it with as much care and respect as we care for ourselves.

Keeping our beaches clean

Here I am, years later, doing what I love, living my dream, organising beach clean ups together with friends and fellow ocenlovers. Sharing the gift of ocean awareness my husband gave me years ago. The more I look back on how I ended up in this beautiful place, the more fluid-like it all becomes, as if life’s currents carried me all the way to where I needed to be. It all fell into place. I started working in the most amazing business I ever worked in, together with the most brilliant minds, best friends, all determined to make a positive impact. I am now able to give back and help create positive ripple effects around the globe.

How you can help keeping our oceans clean and create positive ripple effects around the globe:

  1. Organise a beach clean up:

Email salty@oceanlovers.com and we will help you with everything you need to organize a fun beach clean up

  1. Go plastic-free as often as you can:

This ranges from reusable water bottles to coffee cups and shopping bags. Be mindful of straws and little plastic lids.

Recycle and reuse and reinvent whatever you can, this can be fun and you can be creative!

  1. Use eco-friendly and non-toxic products:

Become aware that everything you put down the drain ends up in the ocean eventually, even if you live far away from any beach.

Tiny micro plastics from cosmetics and harmful chemicals in cleaning products affect marine life in our oceans.

  1. Eat responsibly:

Whenever you consume seafood, if you can, make sure it comes from a sustainable fishery close to where you live. You can reduce the carbon footprint and help struggling species.

  1. Reduce your carbon-footprint:

Walk, ride your bike or skate more and drive less. I know, I know it’s not easy to do, especially if living in a huge country or reducing flights if you are a world-traveller. But tiny actions matter, even if you eat a little less beef, use rechargeable batteries and less paper or buy local products. You don’t have to offset all your emissions but if you become mindful you can help reduce the rising sea temperatures.

  1. Pick up litter along the way:

This needs no further explanation.

  1. Learn, grow and share:

Keep learning and finding more ways to help make ripple effects. Also teach our young ones how to take care of our environment.