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Meet Caitlin — Woman of a Thousand Words

Where are you from?

I am from Yankalilla, a small country town in South Australia. But my latest hometown of ten years before moving to El Salvador was the city of Perth, Australia.

What got you into writing ?

I have always written, ever since I  learnt how. My grandma still has a pen-and-paper story I wrote when I was like eight years old. About a girl who stole a horse and galloped off to freedom or something like that. I was obsessed with horses back then, even though I’d ridden one once in my entire life. I was convinced we had a secret language. Ha! But yeah, I’ve always written. That stuff is in my veins.

What is your favorite topic to write about and why ?

My personal experiences and observations, and in such an honest way that other people read it and go ‘someone else feels that too? I thought it was only me!’ I love doing that for people. To be that reminder, you are perfectly okay, you are not broken, your experiences are so normal, you’re not crazy. Or maybe you are, but hey, in that case, we’re all right there with you! I like to put into words things that are sometimes hard to describe, or people are ashamed to admit, based on my own experiences navigating this world.

How do you stay inspired?

My life has to always be a story that I’d want to read. I can’t just keep doing the same thing and expect new ideas to come. I have to sometimes put myself in uncomfortable situations and just watch, like a scientist with a clipboard, how I react, what kind of things it brings up in me.

I recently went to Santa Fe, New Mexico and put myself in all sorts of positions out of my comfort zone, like bathing nude in a womens-only spa with seven other women, and breath-working myself into a trance, and staying alone by myself in a refurbished wagon in a dodgy part of Downtown Albuquerque, just to see what happened, what came up, what I learnt about myself and the world around me.

I also get a lot of inspiration from surfing. There’s so many parallels that can be drawn between how you interact with the ocean and how you interact with life, they’re both constantly shifting beasts, so that always keeps me inspired with new content as well.

What impact do you wish to have through your writing?

I want women to feel sure of themselves and their abilities to go against the status quo and create a life they truly want, even if it doesn’t make sense to others, even if it doesn’t make sense to themselves, at first.

I want them to feel confident to stand up to sexism and not just ‘go with it’ as they’ve been taught.

I want them to stop waiting to be validated from external means and just do what they want to do, already.

Through my writing I want to help abolish the inherent shame and fear so many women feel purely because they inhabit a woman’s body. I want women to embrace their wild, their sensitivity, their soul-calling. I want them to stop minimizing parts of themselves this world seems to have to space for.

That’s not to say I write for other people. I’m no martyr. I love if people can glean value from my words, but I write first and foremost for me. Because it’s fun. Because turning my experiences into powerful sentences and paragraphs makes me feel jazzy and alive. If people also vibe that is a bonus.

How did you end up working with the Salty Souls?

This is so cool to think about, even now, how all the pieces came together from completely unlikely circumstances. I had a friend who was from Australia but lived in Montreal, which is how he knew Erika (Drolet- co-founder). He basically listened to what both of us desired to create in the world and said to each of us “you need to meet this girl.” Erika hadn’t launched Salty Souls yet. It was still on the countdown to launch.

We clicked over email straight away and I became her intern for a year while I was finishing my journalism degree at university, writing articles for the Salty Souls blog. One year later, I finally flew to El Salvador to meet her and we wrote my paid contract, and I’ve been working with the Salty Souls ever since. And never left El Salvador.

The team in Bali. Photo: Israel Barona

What is your daily routine?

Wake up at about 6am, hug my puppy super tight until she finally manages to break free, make coffee. Feel my heart start to race from caffeine. Tell myself I definitely don’t need more coffee. Coffee smells good, so have another coffee. Go check the surf. If surf is good- surf, if surf is not good, go back home and set up to write/ work for a few hours. When I start getting antsy after a few hours I might put on some music to dance around the room, or move somewhere I can stand up and type. Have lunch with my manfriend. And depending on how busy my schedule is in the afternoon either surf, or go for a walk and listen to a podcast, or work some more.

I also have to journal every day and meditate for at least ten minutes, somewhere, or I suck at life.

But it’s not a rigid schedule, it’s intuitive. It sounds like I don’t do much work but the truth is a lot of my ideas come to me in the sea, or walking along the highway listening to an inspiring Podcast, or at any other random point in the day. If I sat down for a rigid 8 hour day, I promise you I would not be able to write as much as I do. It’s taken a while to decondition myself from what a work day should look like, but now I just do what works for me.

How do you get into surfing ? When was the breaking point, where you realized you were hooked?

I was hooked on surfing when I was 13. My dad took me to a Roxy-sponsored event called ‘girls get out there day’ where volunteers spent two hours throwing groms into whitewash at a beach in South Australia (we have always lived close to the beach.) I remember being so sunburnt and stoked that day. The hooks were in and I knew it.

It took me a long time to give myself fully up to surfing though. None of my friends surfed and in a male-dominated line-up it did feel super hard to feel like I belonged, which eventually shamed me on the beach for 10 years, like, ‘maybe it’s just not for me.’ I now surf almost every day and feel so supported in a community of women and men who like me, live and breathe surfing.

Photo: puro surf

What is your life MOTTO ?

I don’t have a motto so much. But I have a little photo of myself I keep in my phone when I was like 11 years old. She was loud and honest and wild. I often go back to it to check in with her and ask her; are you proud of me and what I’m doing right now? Am I taking care of you? Am I working to keep your beautiful, crazy spirit and wild imagination alive? Am I surrounding you with people who honor you for the weird and wonderful creation you are? That tends to keep me on track with the kind of life I want to live.

You have now been living in El Salvador since about 1 year and a half…

What do you love the most about life here?

The town operates on surf schedule! All throughout the day we trade reports back and forth as we pass in the street. Is it high/ low/ or mid tide right now? Is it clean or choppy? Did you go out this morning? Has the swell come in yet? It’s cool living in an environment where surfing is the first priority. If you want to spend all day in the water and leave only to eat and re-apply sunscreen, ain’t no one judging you.

Also, another amazing thing about life here, is there is a joke here that there’s “normal time” and then “Salvadoran time” so if someone says they’ll arrive “6pm Salvadoran time,” they can pretty much arrive any time between 6:45pm and 11:30pm and there’s no hard feelings. This works for me as I was always perpetually late to everything in Australia. My boss used to say “if you’re not ten minutes early, you’re late.” Yeah. I’m not about that life. Overall, I feel very lucky to have been welcomed into such a beautiful country with insanely hospitable people with giant hearts, and grateful to be on this land.

 

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What is the biggest challenge about life in a 3rd world country?

There’s a few, the glaring reality of poverty and shameful realization of how blind I’ve been to my own privilege, for one. But on a lighter note, another challenge is, everyone is so social! And never seem to get sick of each other! I’m social, I love humans, but I also need a lot of time to recharge, solo, no matter where I am in the world. Also, I work from home, so I don’t have a definitive line between ‘work’ and ‘life’. Here, anyone shows up at any time through the day, any day, like ‘hey! What are you doing? Let’s hang out!’ It’s beautiful to be so welcomed, and also can be tricky to navigate. I once explained what an introvert was to one of my friends here and the response was ‘I have never heard of such behaviour.’ So yeah. There’s that.

What’s your biggest dream?

I wanna publish a book! So bad. I know exactly what my first book would be about too. Just looking for a way to manifest it now.

Where can we find out more about you?

You can follow my Instagram or my Facebook. I also recently started sending little love letters in email form out a few time a month. If you want to be in and amongst that you can send me a DM to my Insta with your email and I’ll add you to the list 🙂

About the Author:

Australian-born Caitlin grew up in the ocean. She's had sand in her undies and salt in her veins since day 1. She's a feminist, empath, traveller, writer, Scorpio and professional feeler of feelings and noticer of the world and people around her. She gets fired up about equality and women's empowerment and is always down to learn more. You can follow her heart-driven messages and sometimes angry rants on Instagram: @caitlincreeper and FB: facebook.com/caitlinecreeper/

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