Unleash Surf Participant — Catherine Bernier
You asked to hear more about the incredible people who come on Unleash — so here ya go! An interview with one of our participants — Catherine Bernier, Creative and Sustainable Strategist at Plenty Humanwear.
Why did you come on Unleash Surf?
The idea of surfing as much as possible, while experiencing Peruvian culture and being around interesting people is what drew me in. To be able to work remotely while on a surf trip in Latin America is a rare gem — in my experience the wifi is usually terrible in good surf spots.
I also wanted to be a part of the inspiring Unleash community and also be active every day while eating clean food (from garden to table is for real in Peru!) Also, being somewhere new, learning a new language and generally getting outside your comfort zone is so good for the brain — it’s especially important for people like me who work in the creative industry.
What was the biggest challenge to making Unleash Surf happen for you?
I am a new employee at Plenty Humanwear, a Canadian company that crafts clothing that lasts and is designed to suit your mountain or city (or surf!) adventures. I was worried about asking them if I could take a month to go on Unleash. But they had all read Let My People Go Surfing, the story of Patagonia — in which the founder talks about the importance of letting your staff go on the adventures they need to live balanced lives. I’d recommend everyone leave it on their boss’s desk and challenge them to monitor the results when they apply those principles.
What do you like about your job?
It’s important for me to do work that is aligned with my lifestyle and environmentalist values. With Plenty Humanwear I get to bring my social and environmental values to an industry where that is generally lacking. I am lucky to work with an open-minded team who is willing to let me try to change the rules. And they enabled me to participate to Unleash, that demonstrates their open-mind philosophy!
They also have a super-cool office in an old factory building in downtown Quebec city, near great coffee shops and the artistic community. We’ve got ping pong tables, a lounge area and local art on the walls.
I am also a freelance writer-photographer. I like to dive into people’s environment to capture photos of people in action — real moments, not staged! I also write for Beside Magazine, a Canadian Magazine that aims to bridge the gap between humans and nature — with high-quality editorial content.
What do you like best about Unleash Surf?
It’s a 360 immersive experience that is connected to environment, people, culture and history. I’m not sure how to express the value of the month I’ve had with Unleash — it’s allows you to offer yourself this special and captivating chapter of life — which is so much more than surfing and working. Seriously, I am going to do it every year.
Is there anything you will do differently now that you’ve been on Unleash Surf?
I’ll plan a longer trip next time! There’s a lot of business opportunities through networking with Unleash participants, local entrepreneurs and other travellers that you meet in the water or at my favourite local cafe there. Also, every business needs content nowadays for their social media so, next time, I’ll plan more shoots and collaborations while I’m there for marketing content.
What advice would you give to someone thinking of coming on Unleash?
There’s a lot to see and do while you’re with Unleash. Ideally you take a few days off work when you arrive to just soak up the vibe of the place and settle in — but if you need to get to work (or to surf) right away they’ve got it all set up so that you can.
Don’t hesitate to ask me directly what I thought about my experience! Here’s my email if you want to get in touch: email@example.com
Catherine is the Creative and Sustainable Strategist at Plenty Humanwear and writes for Beside Magazine. She is a ridiculously talented photographer (see links below) and creative soul that brings practical approaches to sustainability wherever she goes. She lives her values and we think she’s just the best human ever.