SWOX Athlete Charlotte van Berkum is 24 years old and lives in Sagres in the South of Portugal. Her passion is surfing. This passion led her to leave home and live in a van long before #vanlife became a thing. Back then Charlotte van Berkum followed her dream of becoming a professional surfer. Now she is living the dream by surfing for various brands and creating content for them. Charlotte wants to inspire others to do the same, by connecting to themselves and the outdoors. We chatted with her between surf sessions and photoshoots for a quick interview.
SWOX: You lived in a van for quite some time and we read that you enjoyed living with a minimum and being conscious what you used. Can you tell us what that looked like and why this was so important?
CHARLOTTE: I actually lived in a van from when I was 17 for about 6 years until I was 23. During the first years it was a tiny van and I would move around a lot, waking up in different places – just me and the nature surrounding me. After a few years, I moved my van to a piece of land for a bit more privacy and stability in life. I enjoyed it a lot. This lifestyle brought me closer to nature and made me really conscious about what we use, own and really need. The most outstanding part was water. Filtering drinking water, having enough water to shower, cook etc.. It made me really aware of how precious clean water and how important saving water is.
More ideas and facts about saving water from our impact blog:
SWOX: What do you do now to live a sustainable lifestyle every day? What does this mean to you, which aspects do you think are most important?
CHARLOTTE: As surfers we are surrounded by nature every day. The more pure it is the better it feels. Nature is powerful, it does something to us that makes us want to be a part of it. I am all for keeping things simple yet effective, such as recycling, using reusable water bottles, avoiding single-use coffee cups, bags, buying things in bigger quantities and refilling, using sustainably made products, picking up trash … Spending so much time outside is also a game changer. Small adjustments, done every day, make a difference.
“Small adjustments, done every day, make a difference.”
SWOX: You live in Portugal, one of every surfer’s favorite destinations for many reasons, traveled by so many already. Can you share your TOP 3 impact secret spots – not in terms of surfing, but things that you would love to see more people would support and do while they are there?
CHARLOTTE: I love the concepts of my two favorite restaurants Pisco and Fermento. They offer a full menu based on locally grown products, are cozy and romantic places to go out for dinner and are absolutely delicious! Go check them out! Also, every Saturday morning there is an amazing farmers market in Lagos, where tourists can stock up on locally grown and made goods. And lastly, the little stands on the side of the road from Lagos to Faro – usually just an older gentleman and his truck – they have the best oranges ever!
SWOX: We are stoked to have you on board on the SWOX team! What do you love about SWOX and what are your go to products for you and the family?
CHARLOTTE: Swox is the best protection I’ve used and am loyal since day one! I love the SPF 30 Lotion and the mineral stick during my surf session. After showering the refreshing Cell Boost Aloe and the Aloe Hydro Repair Cream are the best!