In the mood to hear a fulfilling story? Look no further than Chelsea Yamase. Social media would have you thinking that this 34-year-old lives a life taken straight out of an adventure storybook, but there’s even more to her lifestyle than meets the eye. I recently had the chance to speak with Chelsea on the podcast about everything from her personal journey as a creator to current outlooks and future plans.
Meet Chelsea Yamase
Most people know Chelsea through her Instagram presence, which currently attracts the likes of over 1.2 million followers around the world. They enjoy frequent updates on her outdoor travel adventures as illustrated through photos and videos of everything from sunsets to trips at sea. But that’s just one very small piece of the puzzle. Despite social media being a great vessel for inspiration, she tells me that real-world down-to-Earth living is her true raison d’etre. Beyond likes and comments, she yearns for explanations to life’s biggest questions: What does fulfillment mean? And what does living a fulfilled life look like?
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In her quest to discover answers, Chelsea has been on countless journeys – both physical and emotional. The Hawaii native is a certified freediver, passionate slack-liner, and acroyoga enthusiast. For her, finding true happiness started with breaking free from the beaten path – from a career as an architect to full-time online creator. Like many on the quest of self-discovery, it took her several years and spaghetti throws at the wall to figure out what makes her truly happy.
She toiled with a variety of opportunities, from creating jewelry to copywriting for a boutique company to working as a local tour guide. But none were enough to scratch the itch. “I always felt this thing inside me that was like, ‘Hmm, I don’t know. I wanna travel, I wanna connect people’, I wanted to do all these things that there was no container, job description, or job title for at the time.”
Eventually, her restlessness boiled over to the point of life change. She walked away from her job and gave herself six months to take a leap into something else. That was four years ago, and she hasn’t looked back since.
Intentional Living Defined
Today, Chelsea is a staunch advocate for what’s known as ‘intentional living’. For many people, it’s proven to be the one and only answer to fulfillment in today’s day and age.
But, what is intentional living? Sounds kind of oxymoronic if you read it at face value.
The concept of intentional living is one that refers to the conscious decision-making processes and actions we take in our daily lives. This means taking the time to think through why you do what you do, instead of mindlessly going through the day.
By approaching life with intention, you can start to live a more meaningful and purposeful life. And that’s exactly what Chelsea started doing in her mid-20s.
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Finding a New Way to Live
Chelsea began forging a new path by dropping regular responsibilities and pursuing new passions. Social media played a big part in this, as did the many individuals she met along the way. When in search of direction, she says that they were her guiding light.
“I just started surrounding myself with people I wanted to be like, or whose thoughts I admired or lifestyle I admired. It wasn’t so much that I wanted to copy someone else’s journey, but it’s just that I found their thought process intoxicating and inspiring.”
Among these inspirations included a close friend who was already living her own ‘true North’ life as a spear fisher. Chelsea also came to know a number of other photographers, creators, and Bohemian lifestyle enthusiasts who she says showed her what was possible should she choose to stick to the journey.
The key to her ultimate transformation lay in doing what felt natural. She started using Instagram for the fun of it; Chelsea and several friends would eventually endeavor deep into free diving and underwater photography. And it was there, in the middle of a crystal-clear ocean that she found her spark.
People quickly took to Chelsea’s content as she shared her captivating creations with the world. It didn’t take long for brands to take notice, either, and she eventually found herself traveling to promote them through the mediums of art and photography.
However, Chelsea insists that it was never about the money—it was and still is about the experience. She quickly realized that to truly enjoy life, she needed to live outside of her comfort zone and savor every moment as if it were her last.
Now, with over a million followers on Instagram and countless collaborations under her belt, Chelsea is living the life of her dreams; one filled with exploration and adventure. She has become an ambassador for sustainable travel and practices what she preaches.
So, what does the future hold for this maverick of free-living? Whatever comes naturally, of course.
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“In the past six months to a year, I’ve really scaled back and wanted to get back to the roots of those things that have made me happy and served as the impetus of this whole creative journey. And so I’ve been turning down things left and right and spending more time at home and making that a priority.”
Chelsea is living by a simpler set of rules now, but her journey is far from over. It’s hard to predict exactly what this young traveler will be up to in the future. But if her past is any indication, she’ll bring something new and exciting our way soon enough.