Freedom. Passion. Magical. Surreal. Wonderland. These are the words that spring to mind when I cast my thoughts back to each diving experience and each underwater adventure I'm grateful to have had. It's my happy place, my life force, my ultimate meditation. But beyond that, there is such a deep connection to that underwater playground I love and a respect that goes beyond words.
Today's Feed Me Friend, and the first of 2015, is someone who not only mirrors my adoration for the ocean but also spends her days fighting for it whilst at the same time actively designing the lifestyle of her dreams. She embodies true passion and commitment to all forms of life on this planet, and inspires me every day to actively seek new ways to make this world and our ocean a better place to be, for us and our animal friends.
Her key message... Do what you love and forget about the rest. Find your passion, put in the work and do whatever it takes to live that passion day in, day out. Make your lifestyle revolve around everything you love, and everything else will fall into place. Yep - she is one helluva mermaid! I had the pleasure of interviewing this beauty towards the end of last year and am so thrilled to share this it with you now.
Feed Me babes, meet Marine Biologist, Brinkley Davies...
Tell us a little about yourself and how you got to where you are today?
I am 21 years old, have grown up surfing, spending most of my time at the beach, and have a huge amount of compassion and love for animals. I have gotten to where I am today by working hard, learning, being observant and aware, taking advice from people I admire, volunteering and travelling!
What is your mission in this big ol’ world? What drives you to wake up each day and be the best version of yourself?
I think my biggest mission is to promote and raise awareness for issues I am passionate about, which is almost always to do with either oceans, animals, or marine conservation. What drives me to wake up each day is the things I have to look forward to, the places I want to see, go to and experience. I like making the most out of each day, and being productive. Being healthy and happy is my ultimate goal, everything that I can do to achieve that I try to do in parts each day.
What have been your biggest challenges in achieving the lifestyle of your dreams, and how did you overcome them?
I think that the biggest challenges have been travelling and working on my career outside of my degree, while being a full time science student for 3 years. Multi tasking is something I have become a lot better at, and I guess working on many different things at one time. Also I do my best to not worry so much about money, I guess a lot of people work and earn a lot of money in jobs they don’t necessarily like. I definitely would prefer to work a job I love, even if it means earning less. I have volunteered a lot over the last few years, and have worked very sporadically, and have just saved the money I did earn, for travelling.
What does a typical week look like for you?
Well right now my weeks consist of, studying, and a whole lot of exam revision. I live right near the beach and pretty much every day I am in the sea for some reason, whether its surfing, diving or swimming. Apart from that I like to hang with my friends, exercise, walk my dogs, and play guitar.
What feeds you on a daily basis? What makes your heart sing?
The beach, getting in the elements and eating well! Being outside is what drives me to have the most energy. If I have to study inside, ill go outside in intervals to keep motivated. Some days I honestly feel solar powered!
Who do you admire? And why?
My two biggest inspirations are David Attenborough and Jane Goodall.
David has created a lifetime of documenting wildlife without interfering with their natural ways in any way shape or form. He is an icnredible role model, unbelievable naturalist, and knows more about the natural world than most people could ever imagine.
Jane has dedicated her life to the conservation of many species, she is someone that I have looked up to my entire life, her work with Great Apes is something that inspires me every time I read about it. I follow all her conservation efforts and updates, and hope one day to work alongside her on a project.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
Forget about money, forget about what people tell you is impossible, travel, meet people, have an open open mind, find what you love , work hard and do what it takes to make your life revolve around it.
What does it mean to you to live a healthy lifestyle?
To be able to achieve everything I want to achieve without physical boundaries. Eating well, exercising, and getting out in the sunlight. Too many people spend too much time indoors. I'm a vegan, and eat mostly fruits and vegetables, so my diet is always about eating things closest to their natural state.
How do you keep healthy whilst traveling?
When i'm travelling, I usually am travelling to surf or freedive, so exercise isn’t an issue.I try to eat the local fresh produce as much as I can, and rice and vegetables. Along with getting enough sleep.
Describe your ultimate adventure?
Somewhere warm, where the water is clear with people I love, friends and family, surfing or free diving all day. I love free diving with marine life. Most tropical places have amazing coral reef systems to dive and awesome wave set ups - these places are dream places for me.
What does the word ‘Freedom’ mean to you?
The ocean is to me what freedom is. I think freedom is doing what you love with endless opportunities, and that is what the ocean provides for me.
Can you tell us about a time where you felt intimately connected to mother nature?
I think the most I have ever felt really connected to nature was recently off the islands of Vava’u in Tonga, free diving with whales. This one specific day we came across a mother and calf Humpback, who were being escorted by a singing male. When I dived down to watch these beautiful creatures, the acoustic vibrations from the males song, were so loud, and powerful that my fins and chest were vibrating. It was an incredibly humbling and grounding experience, and I really felt like I was meant to experience that, to appreciate the incredible nature of those animals. Humpbacks are acoustic mammals, and so are we, and it really makes you question if there are ways we can communicate with them.
Another time was in Ningaloo Reef in WA. I was free diving off the back of the reef at Exmouth, and I was just sitting on the bottom of the sea floor, and was watching black tip reef sharks, white tip reef sharks, bronze whalers and a tiger shark, just cruising around their natural environment searching for food and swimming amongst the coral - it was incredibly peaceful.
What is your favourite thing about being in the ocean?
Being in the elements. The fact that every time you go in the ocean it is different; you see and experience different things. The opportunities to explore are endless, it is the ultimate sense of freedom.
What is one thing about our oceans that you wish everyone in the world knew or understood?
How crucial it is to the earth's health, the sustainability of the planet and our existence. So many people choose to ignore the issues that are so important to the survival of species, and the health of our oceans. I want future generations to be able to experience what I have experienced, and to see the world and it's natural wonders. These things are being destroyed by many things which mostly are for the end result of money. Look past greed, look outside the square, and go back and pick up that piece of plastic you just walked past on the beach.
What is one thing that readers can do today, that can help support the conservation of our marine life? How can people become actively involved, in the most effective and practical way?
The biggest beginning to being actively involved is by not supporting the companies, and mass production organisations, that are causing these issues to occur. For example, don’t take your children to SeaWorld, the Orcas kept in these habitats are torn from their families in the wild to spend a lifetime in a prison, so that we can watch them perform tricks, so that these companies can earn money.
Be aware of what your eating, and where it comes from. We do not live in the day and age where we need to go out and hunt to eat and survive. We do not need to trawl the ocean floor for fish, and kill millions of marine animals as bi catch to survive. We do not need to eat the fins of sharks, in a soup. Be aware, make decisions that support what you believe is correct, and once you learn, share it with others.. If there is not demand for these things, then profits cannot be made, and over exploitation will slowly decrease.
What advice would you give to young women who are ready to take their health, lifestyle and passion to the next level?
Figure out what your passion is, work hard, and make goals that will lead to achieving a lifestyle where you can be surrounded by things you are passionate about. Be consistent with health, don’t eat bi products of food, eat food, from it's natural state. Keep active, whether it be walking, running or doing a hobby you enjoy, get outside, surround yourself with exciting and new environments.
What’s next for Brinkley Davies? How will you be spending the next few months?
After I finish up my degree I am going over to the west coast of South Australia to work with Great White Sharks for approximately 4 months. I will be doing research, along with guiding Cage dives, and sea lion swims, and also working towards getting my coxswains ticket. After that I will be coming back to SA for my graduation ceremony, then I will be heading over to Hawaii with my good friend Natalie, for marine conservation, and new projects.