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Interview With Surf Instructor & World Traveller Chris Stevens

Welcome to the 24th of the weekly interview series where I will speak a wide range of people who have embraced the working remotely opportunity. We will speak to entrepreneurs, business owners, large organisation workers and freelancers about their trials and tribulations when delving into remote working.

This week I am delighted to interview someone  who I have worked with on a few occasions and go to know as a friend over the past few months. Chris Stevens is a world traveller, plain and simple. His attitude to life is one which you cannot help but admire. He lives his life with a smile on his face and works to live the lifestyle he wants to lead. Some would say Chris defines ‘lifestyle design’.

His main passion is to surf and Chris has made a living in all corners of the earth by pursuing this passion and experiencing the planet at the same time. Talk about job envy!

Chris doesn’t really need much of an introduction as his interview speaks for itself. It’s an alternative way to lead ones life but one which Chris is enjoying every step of the way. Not only this but he also documents his trials and tribulations through his blog which Chris links to later in the interview. If you want to know more about Chris then you can grab him through his personal twitter handle.

Q: Hi Chris tell us a little bit about yourself, where are you from, where do you live now?

I’m a 25 year old surfer, photographer and traveler from Devon in the UK – although I haven’t been there for some time now with backpacking around the world! Right now I’m chilling on the roof terrace of my new place in Taghazout in Morocco watching the sunset after a hard day surfing! tough life hey?!

Q: What company do you work for and what is your role within the organisation?

Currently I work for Surf Berbere as a surf instructor, but I also deal with all their social media and blogging stuff too! Surf anf tech, my two passions! I’m actually running their “Zero to Hero” gap year programme this season – basically taking newbie surfers and training them through to instructor level so they can go hit the road and live the dream too! There’s a heap of volunteering and learning about tourism etc thrown in there for good measure too, a solid CV filler!

Q: You label yourself as the ‘banter machine’ offering advice for those travelling the world. What makes you qualified for this? Any crazy stories?

hahaha a banter machine, like that phrase! you basically can’t shut me up about my travels really and I love to share stories. It’s always a “when I lived in Byron Bay…” or “that time in the Galapagos…” or “that reminds me of when I was drunk in….” I just love to talk about whatever I get up to on the road! Yeah a few crazy stories too – like breaking my face on my surfboard, being attacked by stingrays, being in a nudist video when I ran out of cash in Oz, getting kissed by a Ladyboy….that kind of thing!

Q:  We are inundated with advice about ‘following our passion’ and ‘living the dream’, as a travelling surfer you seem to be doing just that.  What do you love most about your lifestyle?

EVERYTHING! I get paid to be at the beach all day, surfing waves, topping up my tan and mingling with some epic backpackers from all over the globe! what is there not to like?! except maybe the pay….I could do with some more money (I’m hoping my boss is reading this!)

Q: How do you deal with stereotypes from friends in regards to productivity when working on the road?  i.e.: Sleep until midday, 2 hour lunch breaks etc.chris-stevens-office

Well to be honest there’s always a stereotype for a reason and at the moment I’m defo that person! I try to “work” as little as possible! Coaching on the beach doesn’t really feel like work to be honest, just passing on my stoke for the sport! When i surf coached in Ecuador earlier this year I was in a routine of wake up at 11, sink some coffees, coach two lesson until 5pm, grab food, grab a cheeky evening surf and then spend the night partying until 2pm! There’s no bars here in Morocco so I’m getting up earlier, surfing on my own more and busting out my yoga skills! And to be honest I like annoying my buddies….it’s their choice to be in 9-5 office jobs!hahaha!

Q: What is the most challenging part of living via your passions? What do you do when money gets tight?

Money is definitely the biggest obstacle. I’m lucky enough to make some good cash through my travel sites BackpackerBanter.comRTWbackpackers.comand iTraveliShootiPhone.com so I’m stoked to have that supporting me. Surf coaching is more about the lifestyle, most positions in awesome places tend to including accommodation, food and a local wage – so it’s more about not spending cash than trying to earn heaps!

Q: What are the main positives about the lifestyle you lead?

Job satisfaction! I love what I do and it makes getting out of bed in the morning easy as! And I get to travel the world and live in warm places with heaps of culture and amazing people. Life is rarely boring in a world like that! I feel healthier, I’m exercising lots and I’ve always got a smile on my face! Happy days!

Q: Are you an advocate of work/life balance and how do you try and balance both?

Work hard play harder! I do have a habit of coasting along doing the bare minimum! hahaha! People are caught up in this whole work hard, save hard thing – I’d much rather be broke and smiling than rich and stuck in a shitty job! I love the quote “the biggest gamble is to put life on hold in the hope you can work hard enough to afford the time to do the things you love later” – that’s not the exact quote (in fact it’s a rubbish recollection of it!) but you get the idea!

Q: What’s a typical day for Chris at the moment while working as a Surf instructor? Realistically….start to finish. I’ll run you through my current position as it has some structure!

– 8am wake up

– 8:15 – 9 breakfast, organise students

– 9:15 head to the beach!

– 9:15 – 4:30 surf lessons, surfing, relaxing on the beach, football, volleyball, sun tanning etc etc

– 4:30 – 4:45 wash down boards, wetsuits, pack everything away

– 4:45 – 6 go surfing for myself

– 6 – 7 yoga

– 7:30 BBQ on the roof terrace with everyone

– 8pm few cheeky beers

– 11pm bed

not a bad day huh?!

Q: What is a typical office space for Chris?

Somewhere sunny and tropical with a lot of beaches and waves! or from the blogging side of things hammocks, flights, trains and buses!

Q: Any pictures of your current office?

Here are a couple shots of me at work recently!

Not a bad office space.....Beats mine anyhow!

Not a bad office space…..Beats mine anyhow!

Lunch Break Workout

Lunch Break Workout

Q: How important do you feel family support is for the lifestyle you lead? I noticed recently you spent time with your girlfriend in Switzerland. Is she a supporter of your lifestyle?

I’m luckily enough to have parents who encourage me to go see the world, I think they’re grateful for the peace and quiet! haha! Yeah spent some time visiting the girl – she’s at University at the moment and although she hates me leaving to travel she’s stoked for me and loves hearing about what I get up too. Plus I’m an epic excuse for her to take awesome holidays during her term breaks!

Q: You also run an extremely successful travel blog which serves as an inspiration for those looking to travel the world. Do you have any productivity tools you use to keep yourself efficient while on the road which may help our readers?

Wouldn’t say EXTREMELY successful….but successful enough to warrant putting in the work! haha! Can’t say i really have any tools to help…I’ll happily delay work in favour of enjoying myself and doing something cool! I use my reminders app on my iPhone alot though to keep track of blog posts ideas and to do lists though, I’m always forgetting stuff and being distracted! The best tools to being productive and efficient on the road though are definitely keeping an eye on your bank balance and having a girlfriend! Both of they remind me to do some work!

Q: Do you believe organisations around the world should allow those with web based roles to work remotely? If so..How come?

Of course! Cuts their overheads and people are much more happy with their lives. If you know you can chill on the beach as soon as you finish a task your more likely to finish it and get it out the way surely?!

About the author

Ryan Gibson

Hey! I'm a 28 year old digital marketing guy residing in Leeds, England. My skill is in search marketing and I have gathered over 6 years experience of working on large multilingual campaigns for a number of FTSE 250 Organisations. After accepting a role with a business based in Singapore I began questioning traditional business practice and employee retention. This blog GenerationY.com was therefore born with focus on Y in the workplace. A millennial child at heart I aim to provide a voice for the 'misunderstood' generation and my goal is simply to change perception and corporate mind set on work/life attitudes; inspiring companies and individuals to seek change.

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