Interview with Charlotte Van Berkum – surfer, model and artist

Interview with Charlotte Van Berkum – surfer, model and artist

After moving from her native Holland to Portugal at the age of six, Charlotte van Berkum, now 20, quickly began surfing during her free time with it becoming her favourite thing to do during her teens. After leaving school at 17, she met her partner and began living in her van, surfing every day and finding work as a model and through her artwork. She continues to live this life, surfing, modelling, designing mandalas and enjoying the good times.  
Charlotte recently worked with Surfdome on our SS18 photo shoot in Portugal and we all found her sunny personality absolutely infectious. We spoke to Charlotte about her life as a surfer/model and delved into how she stays so happy and humble.

You live a pretty nomadic lifestyle from your van, where are you currently based?
It is nomadic but at the same time it isn’t 🙂 We’ve never actually settled further than 40km from where we’re based in our van now. We used to live at various beaches and travel around in this beautiful little triangle in Southern Portugal, but for the past 18 months, we’ve been based on a piece of land where I keep a garden with several kinds of vegetables, fruits and flowers and where we have a bit more of privacy and stability. We loved travelling around but we felt the need for what we have now with this piece of land.

Why did you choose this lifestyle over the more traditional setup? E.g. full-time job, owning a house, permanent location etc. 
Because this way I am the one who decides what I do with my time; if I feel like working I work, if I know there will be good swell next week I will work this week instead. That’s what I call freedom and that’s what makes me happy.
Your motivation is different when you work for your own dreams and not for the dreams of others and I prefer living in our beautiful van because it’s tiny and we only have what we really need. We live outside more, we hear the wind, we feel the nature around us.

What’s your key piece of advice to living a happy life?
Appreciate the little things, such as waking up with the sun in your face, watching a flower, the noise of the wind through the trees, the fresh fruits every morning…just start the day like this and you will already feel the difference. Do more of the things that make you happy and make them your priority. Reflect at the end of the day and be grateful for every single little thing!
Your favourite place to surf?
Here! Every beach we have in this magic corner in the south of Portugal is different. I don’t really have a favourite beach, I just like to vary the spots that we have here.

What does a typical day look like for you?
Wake up slowly, make a powerful breakfast, have a walk around my garden, go to the farmers market and get some veggies, if it’s the right tide I’ll have a surf, then I’ll do something creative, prepare a good lunch, if I have any work planned I’ll do that otherwise I’ll just take it easy and go with the way the day flows.
What are your plans for the future?
I don’t really plan:) But of course, to keep growing the way I am, build our dream van/wooden creation, create a little family and have the best life anyone could ever have!

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