We’ve been following Rachel Lewis for sometime now. Not as a stalker, but as a fan of her brilliantly unique web platform Wild Swimming Australia. If you haven’t heard of it, well, you must be hiding under a rock somewhere… or perhaps swimming under one.
We Are Explorers continues to astound me in many ways, but attracting such incredible team members really excites me to my very core. Joining Ellie and Tim at WAE HQ is Rachel, someone with oodles of talent, a back-catalogue of bonkers adventures and a penchant for really off-the-beaten track swimming holes.
What were you up to before joining WAE?
Right before joining the team I was doing some copywriting for a non-profit called Starfish Initiatives, being a mum to my daughter Milly and trying to get outdoors and in the ocean as much as possible!
I had been really ill for about two years and being in nature was a huge part of getting well. Being able to use my body again is SO joyful I can’t get enough of it.
What will this job entail for you?
I’ll be uploading submissions from our amazing Explorers to the website (which means I get to read loads of inspiring content) and managing We Are Explorers’ social media output.
Over the last few years you’ve also been creating Australia’s go-to resource for Wild Swimming. It’s immense. How did that come about?
My husband, daughter and I are all water babies and wherever we go we always end up gravitating to water. Over the last few years ‘wild swimming’ has become a big thing in the UK with a load more people getting outside to swim.
Obviously Aussies are already all over that, but we wondered why there wasn’t a central resource for finding places to swim in the wild here in Australia and decided to create one. We’re documenting all the amazing places we go to and any that other people send in. It could take a while to cover the whole of Australia! But I’m proud of what we’ve achieved so far and think it will just grow over time.
If you’ve woken up at camp with a hangover from the depths of hell, where’s the one river or waterfall you’d want to roll into to cleanse your sins in Australia? What makes it so special?
Haha! I don’t actually drink so that’s an unlikely scenario. But I also don’t need any excuses to get in the water, so I’d choose Booloumba Creek in the Conondale National Park. There are just so many little swimming holes along that stretch so you can find one to yourself. You can also camp right next to the creek, the water is turquoise and the riverbed is made up of smooth pebbles in every colour imaginable. So special!
You’re a essentially a mermaid who has travelled the world as a surf instructor. Rad. Favourite place and why?
Argh! There are so many. Living on the Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica for three years has to be the pinnacle for surfing. The water is so warm, the waves are really consistent and fun and I used to surf pretty much alone every single morning at dawn.
You’ve called the Northern Beaches of Sydney home – why here?
It’s an interesting choice for me actually as I’m definitely more of a countryside person and even the Northern Beaches feels very busy and built up to me. My husband is a food and lifestyle photographer though, so he needs to be based in a major city.
As far as cities go Sydney is pretty awesome for proximity to the ocean and how easy it is to access loads of amazing natural spaces.
What are you most looking forward to about working with WAE?
I’m super passionate about getting people outdoors and developing a real connection with the natural environment. WAE is an amazing platform to inspire people and I’m so excited to be a part of that. Also, the team is completely awesome, with great communication and positivity, so I’m really happy to be spending my workdays with such wonderful peeps.
Where would you like to see WAE in one year’s time?
I’d like to see it be the go-to resource for people to figure out how to get in the wild at the weekends. It’d be great if everyone living in an Australian city knew that if they want to get out in the wild, there’s this website called We Are Explorers where they can go to get inspiration and information. I know that’s a big dream, but wouldn’t that be awesome?