I stumbled upon Ellen’s Instagram feed many months ago long before starting Stowaway. I was instantly drawn to her style of photography – she has a natural gift for capturing light and conveying an authentic beach loving vibe which really resonated with me.
During the first week of launching the Stowaway website in November 2018 I contacted Ellen to see if she would be keen to take some photos for me. As a new brand I was over the moon to receive a reply from her and I soon discovered that she is not only a talented photographer but also a pretty amazing human being.
You currently live in Gisborne. Did you grow up there? What’s your favourite thing about living there?
I was living in Gisborne the past few months and hope to return there soon, but I’m actually from Christchurch. It’s one of my favourite places in New Zealand, the sunrises and sunsets are magical and I’ve got a close group of friends up there that keeps bringing me back.
Where’s your favourite local spot to head to for a weekend adventure?
Something about the Catlins keeps me going back. The coast line down there is like nowhere else in New Zealand. So much to explore and lots of wicked camping spots if you take the time to explore off the beaten track a bit.
Your photography style is gorgeous. Can you tell us a little about how you got into photography and what inspires you.
My late father was always obsessed with photography and filming and was a photographer as part of his job so naturally from a young age I have been very interested in cameras. I think that we are pretty similar in that respect. I finally bought my own DSLR when I was at uni, wanting to explore outside of study and capture everything. I also studied photography at high school and we mainly did black and white film which is what re sparked my interest.
You have an image featured in the latest journal by Axel & Ash called Press PAUSE. How did this come about?
This is quite a cool little story actually. When I was in Paris in 2017, I picked up a book called ‘Life's a ROADTRIP’, one of Axel & Ash’s, and I remember saying to my boyfriend, Tiago, that I’d love to have a photo in a book like this one day. And then 6 months later I received an email from Axel and Ash asking if I would want to contribute to their next journal. I didn’t hesitate at the opportunity. Their books are so inspiring, and it was such an honour to be featured amongst so many incredible artists and travellers. I have two of my favourite images featured in their Press PAUSE journal. One I took in the Mentawai’s, Indonesia in 2017 and one from a photoshoot for Playa Luné Swimwear with some mates.
You were planning to run a wellness retreat in Aussie in January but then you decided to postpone it. Can you share what happened and a little more about it; it sounds amazing!
The accommodation had been double booked, so we are organising to do it at a different location in Noosa. I’m running this retreat with an incredible Aussie gal named Aja, who I met while working in the Maldives last year. She has organised a few yoga retreats before so we decided to combine our passions of plant-based foods, sustainable living, yoga, surf and the environment into a series of retreats. Our next retreat will be in Noosa in September 2019 and we are so excited! We go by the name Lavana Retreats, Lavana meaning salty in Sanskrt.
This year you’re also heading off on a trip around South America and Mexico, this sounds like a dream adventure, can you tell us a little more. Where are you most looking forward to going to?
I’m heading to Uruguay as my partner is from there so we thought that it was time to explore his part of the world. A flight sale came up for about half the price of the usual airfare so we booked it immediately. I am visiting Uruguay, Argentina, Peru, Chile and Brazil first and we have an exciting road trip planned. Mexico is on the list but we haven’t made any further plans yet.
You’ve done a bit of travelling, where’s your favourite place that you’ve been to so far and where’s still on your bucket list?
Portugal is my dream place. I want to live there one day. On my bucket list is Greece and Italy, but will save those places for when I’m older and not on the backpacker buzz.
Do you have any tips for travelling on a budget?
Live like a uni student haha. I don’t eat out much when I travel, usually cooking or making cheap meals where I’m staying. I also don’t buy anything material. I’m always looking for the best deals, discounts, and checking reviews before I book accommodation.
You’re passionate about our earth and living a sustainable lifestyle. How do you try to minimise your impact on the environment while you’re travelling?
I always carry my reusable water bottle from Dawny Adventure Club. When in Indonesia we buy 5 Gallon drums of water to fill our bottles from rather than buying single use plastic bottles daily. These drums are re-used. I always tick the option to offset carbon emissions when booking flights. I don’t buy takeaway food anymore, we usually eat a restaurant or buy ingredients from a market to avoid containers. I also travel with my shampoo bars and soap bars from Ethique and Lush. Lush has the perfect tin for storing them and there is no waste involved.
And lastly, what words do you live by?
Everything happens for a reason. If you have a dream, then work for it and don’t let anyone discourage you. Be confident and take chances. I believe anything is possible and we can achieve our wildest dreams if we set our minds to it.