What was the best part of growing up in Far North Queensland?
I think the fact that there are so many beautiful areas around the rainforest and reef that are still mostly untouched makes growing up there pretty special. Not a lot of people will get to have that kind of experience in the future, especially as the world population increases.
How do you think living in that part of the world has shaped your relationship with the environment?
I’ve noticed that myself and the friends I grew up with are generally a lot more comfortable in those environments than friends of mine who grew up in cities, which is understandable. It’s definitely given me a huge respect for nature as a whole, because there’s that sense of attachment to it in a way.
I think it’s fair to say that naturally you’re laid back to a slightly ridiculous extent. Have you found that’s changed since moving from the beach to the city?
My stress levels increase dramatically every time I’m faced with having to use public transport, but other than that we’re all sweet.
Do you think embracing a natural lifestyle tends to come more easily in Australia than it might in other parts of the world?
I think it would make it easier to an extent, because it’s already quite a big subset of Australian culture as a whole. We’re also lucky enough to have insane natural beauty in our country that everyone has reasonably fair and easy access to – so that type of lifestyle is a lot more accessible here than it might be in other countries.
As laid back as you are, in the last few years you’ve earned degrees in both business & design, and started your own clothing label alongside maintaining YouTube and now a traditional job as well. How do you balance everything?
Poorly. So poorly. It’s difficult staying motivated but I’m really lucky to have supportive friends and family who I can bounce ideas off, or rope into coming on little adventures and helping me film different videos.
Do you think being so active on YouTube throughout high school and uni has changed the direction you would have gone after graduating?
Definitely. I wouldn’t have gone into marketing after I graduated if Youtube hadn’t been there to spark my interest in digital marketing and how that world is constantly changing and developing. I doubt I would have had any interest in design either, if I hadn’t had to start making Youtube banners and simple forms of web & graphic design back when I started in high school.
It’s pretty common to talk about starting a clothing brand, but less common to actually follow through. How did the idea for Rift come about, and how did you turn that idea into a reality?
I remember back in like 2010, a guy from my hometown started his own clothing line, and I was obsessed with that, and with the idea of being able to just make clothes exactly how you want them. Then some time in 2014 I designed a t-shirt and just got one printed for myself; I put a photo up on Instagram and everyone kept asking if it was merch and if I was going to sell them, so I did. That pretty much started it – then Rift came about a year or two later because I thought it could become something beyond just typical Youtube merch. I never set out to turn that one shirt into a clothing line at the start, but the opportunity to take it further kind of presented itself and knew I had a huge interest in it, so things just developed from there.
What’s your favourite part of that creative process?
I like the initial stages of brainstorming and creating mock-ups of the types of products that I want to make – what they look like, how they sit, what the comfiest material would be. That’s the most exciting part for me, because working out the logistics of sourcing everything from that point can get quite tedious.
What’s your ultimate goal for Rift in the next few years?
Turning Rift into a full-time job and being able to focus a lot more of my energy on it is definitely the goal for the next few years. I’m keen to see where it goes.
We love that you approach serious topics on Youtube in essentially the same way you would anything else on your channel. Do you ever feel more pressured to comment on certain things because you have an audience?
Sometimes when some fresh horrors present themselves in the world and serious topics seem to be at the forefront of everyone’s minds, I do get people asking for me to make a video about it or to share my opinion on it. That can sometimes make me feel slightly pressured to comment on it, but most of the time someone else has already covered it a lot better than I would’ve so I don’t feel the need to.
What do you think we can do to encourage people to actually engage with bigger issues, without being preachy?
I think the biggest thing that stops people from caring about larger issues is that they don’t always see how it relates to them in the bigger picture. If we can get people to join the dots and realise that a lot of issues – such as the state of politics or climate change – actually affect everyone’s daily lives, even if the consequences aren’t immediate and obvious, then I think humanity would be making much bigger strides.
You may not be preachy, but you are pretty well informed. Are there any specific environmental facts that stick in your mind, that you think more people ought to know?
The fact that rainforests are still being cut down at a rate of 100 acres per minute is pretty mind blowing and concerning. We’ve got so many better and more sustainable options now, and it’s so surprising that a lot of people ignore that fact.
It seems like you’re always out doing something, whether it’s skateboarding around Brisbane or diving in the middle of the Great Barrier Reef. How can you see Dr.Lipp fitting into your adventures?
A lot of my adventures are spent in salt water, so constantly having dry skin or lips is always an issue for me. Dr. Lipp is a bit of an all-in-one, so having it with me when I’m out is a no-brainer.
That being said, your adventures don’t always go exactly according to plan. What’s the most ridiculous injury you’ve had?
I have a lot of stupid injuries that don’t even have any kind of cool story to match. I broke two of my toes jumping the fence into a tennis court to go skating one day, I’ve broken another toe slipping over on the top of a waterfall, I’ve fallen off a balcony for no real reason, knocked myself out trying to drop into a half-pipe… Most of the time I feel like a baby deer trying to learn how to walk for the first time.
Do you ever question whether you should censor yourself or change how you act online based on reactions from people in your offline life?
I’ve definitely questioned this in regards to getting a traditional job and how my online presence might affect that. That has made me bite my tongue on some occasions, but not nearly as much as I probably should have. My thought process, though, is that if I’d happily act a certain way in my real life, then I’ve got no issues with putting that online.
Which of your videos are you most proud of?
I don’t think I have a specific one. My last few vlogs I’ve been pretty stoked about, because I feel like they capture those periods of time really well, and being able to document those times in my life is what has been motivating me to create videos recently.
Considering so much of your life is online, how do you switch off?
The ocean is definitely where I switch off. You can’t take electronics in the ocean, and it’s pretty much impossible to do anything but be present and occupied by what’s happening at that exact time. I find it pretty healin,g and it just pushes the refresh button on your whole mindset. Even if it’s just because you’re getting slapped in the face with a wave.
What’s been the best thing to happen in your life as a result of youtube?
The thing I love most about Youtube is the fact that I’ve met so many different people from different parts of the globe. A lot of my close friendships were formed because of Youtube, and they’re with people I would never have known otherwise. That has shaped my life a lot, and has exposed me to people and perspectives that I wouldn’t have come across otherwise.
Given you have so many other things on the go alongside making your videos, what part do you see Youtube playing in your future plans?
I have no idea what I’ll be doing in the future with Youtube, but I hope I’m still filming adventures and making content I’d be happy to look back on when I’m older. I’d like to still be documenting where I end up with things like Rift, my friends & life in general.
Finally, what are your words of wisdom for potential tourists who are too scared to visit Australia because of the notorious local wildlife?
I mean I’m not dead yet, so it can’t be that bad. Watch out for those drop bears though.