The Wanderlust Dream: a longing for a life filled with travel, of following your inner compass – and that compass points to the sea. Saltwater in your hair, blue skies up above, and the open road before you.
Siren Williams is the embodiment of that dream: a surfer, traveler, and songwriter that treats each day as an adventure. On her latest expedition, Siren packs our Lace-Up Rash Guard and gives us an inside look at her free-spirited philosophy.
You live a great part of your life on the ocean and the open road, what do you think it is about travel that captivates you?
I could sit and talk about my travels for days… I am passionate about travel because I have loved geography since I was a little girl, and I love learning new cultures. I love moving around a lot, experiencing and photographing new places, learning the local language and getting involved with local families and communities.
As a competitive surfer, you’ve clocked a lot of time on the water. What is one of your favorite memories from a day spent riding the waves?
I have so many! There’s nothing like watching a shuttle launch into space while you’re paddling out into a thick school of dolphins swimming all around your board, or being stalked by the largest bull shark you’ve ever seen in 3 ft of crystal clear water. One of my favorite memories has to be while surfing St. Andrew’s State Park and the dolphins were surfing the waves with us. A few hung around my board for a while and would jump and land on their sides, splashing me repeatedly. It was so amazing and I think they were having as much fun as we were!
How did you learn to surf, and what led you to surfing on a competitive level?
I started surfing when I was around 12 years old on Cape San Blas, Florida. I was sort of talked into giving it a try by a few of my guy friends at the time, and I’ve been surfing ever since. When I moved from the Florida Panhandle to the East Coast back in 2007, I began teaching surf lessons full time and began competing in local contests. It was in Cocoa Beach that I started competing regularly and began traveling the state for contests. I still love competition and I’ve been doing more professional longboard contests in the last several years, but I’m currently on a bit of a hiatus, as I’m finding that performance can sometimes ebb and flow.
You’ve come to call Florida home, what places would you recommend a tourist visit as a must-see in your neighborhood?
Born and raised in Florida, and growing up living in Florida’s state parks, I grew up in an environment that supported conservation of “Real Florida.” I recommend my hometown of Apalachicola, Florida, where the Cattahoochee/Apalachicola River meets the bay. St. George Island has beautiful beaches just over the bridge. The small, historic town has eclectic shopping and a great historic theater, with lots of history and culture. Apalachicola is also the oyster capital of the world. The surrounding area has caves, springs, and Native American history. Second, I would say the Florida Keys for a quiet get-away with beautiful water and sailing tours. Third, I’d recommend doing some air-boat tours on one of our small inland rivers to experience a side of Florida that most people don’t realize even exists. Beaches are always a short drive away, no matter were you stay.
As an experienced traveler, often by way of VW bus, what are your top three travel locations?
I lived in Morocco for five months and worked as a surf instructor and photographer there. There were always waves, plenty of right-hand point breaks, and the culture was amazing. Next on my list would have to be Australia. I spent one month there about ten years ago and it was really incredible how diverse it was, with rain-forest and beaches, cities on rivers, mountains, and lots of undeveloped land. The people there are absolutely amazing and really co-exist with Mother Earth in a respectful way. I’d say that the Virgin Islands are third on this list. I lived there for a while and was lucky to have a small boat at my disposal on most days, which really makes all the difference in the world. Island hopping and taking the boat to surf is really a great experience. We explored and camped on small, uninhabited islands with views that could hardly be dreamt of.
What are your words to live by?
“Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”
Frequent traveling must cause a lot of negotiating on what items to take with you. What is the one thing you can’t leave home without?
The one thing that I always MUST have is a bikini. Even if I’m going to the middle of America, I must have swimwear! I generally pack anywhere from five to ten bikinis on average.