: A morning at Wategos

Tree Of Life Blog: A morning at Wategos

Meet Stephanie Schechter; a Californian ball of sunshine, who is currently on solo adventure around Australia, but like many others has found herself based in Byron Bay living her best life.

Shaanti caught up with Steph at one of her favourite place, Wategos and chat about all things surfing, freelance work and friendships in the bay. 

Where are you originally from?
I grew up on the gorgeous north coast of San Diego County in California. 
 
Why did you choose to move to Byron?
 I’ve always wanted to see what it’s like to live in Australia, so I planned on moving from the states after finishing uni last June. I didn’t know exactly where in Australia I’d be living, but over the years I’ve had a lot of friends tell me I’d love it in Byron, so I sort of knew I’d end up here! Within my first week in town I decided I would be sticking around for a while. 
 
How long have you been based here?
I arrived in Sydney last October, and road tripped up the coast for just over a month, so I’m coming up on six months in Byron!
 
What is it that you do here? / What do you do for work?
Well, aside from surfing and eating smashed avo every day, I work remotely doing freelance marketing and writing. I have a bachelor’s degree in communication and business writing, and I feel super lucky that I’m able to use it for jobs that can be done anywhere with internet access!
Three favourite things about the bay?
The Surf – One of the main reasons I’ve chosen to make Byron my home base is the consistently amazing waves, at some of the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever seen. As a long boarder, surfing The Pass every day is a dream come true… and not needing a full steamer in winter is a definite plus!
The People – In general, Australians are super friendly and welcoming, but in Byron, everyone is especially inclusive. I have formed so many lovely friendships in Byron Bay with incredibly kind people from all over the world that I can confidently say will last for life.
The Natural Beauty – Southern California is basically a desert, and greenery is either sparse or manufactured (and high maintenance). It’s absolutely gorgeous there, but in very different ways than Northern NSW. Living in such close proximity to beautiful rain forest and the rolling green hills of the hinterland continues to blow my mind!
What is something you hope to give back to Byron with you being here?
 My goal is simply to add my individual personality to the colourful cast of characters that makes up Byron town, whilst respecting the locals and the land. I want to do my part to preserve the beautiful environment by reducing my carbon footprint as much as possible. I also hope to somehow help keep the peace in the lineup whenever possible… On a crowded day at The Pass, things can get really heated, and I would love for everyone to remember that surfing is meant to be fun! 
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Interview and photography: Shaanti Senaratne
Styling by Tree Of Life