Saltwater Social Club Interview – living the dream
Saltwater Social Club in Ericeira just did an interview with me. It made me think a couple of times extra on living life with no regrets and how to be happy. It must be the ultimate recipe for life! Below you can read the entire interview:
“Å være midt i smørøyet”
Translation: To be in the middle of the butter eye: Meaning to be in a great place (the smørøye is the lovely buttery hollow left by the melting scoop of butter atop a warm bowl of porridge such as risgrøt).
And that’s exactly the place in life where we found Elizabeth Killi. Since turning her back on a life filled with pretentious parties and lavish excess that’s often glamourised with international modelling, she’s carved out her own path busting at the seams with a big emphasis on nurturing her holistic health and fitness.
You’ll now find her throwing barbells around at a CrossFit session, or shredding the pow pow on the slopes rather than walking the runway. This was hands down one our most memorable and down to earth interviews with an amazglt humble women who we learnt loves her horses, dog and the simple pursuit enjoying life.
You are originally from Norway, a country known both for its breath-taking fjords and vibrant cultural life- .Can you tell us how did you end up choosing to settle in the tiny fishing village of Ericeira on the coast of Portugal? and what are you doing down there?
Great question..! Do you want the short version or the full back story haha? Short version is that I wanted to learn how to surf. Actually I was looking for an alternative to snowboarding as I was going travelling for a while to tropical places. This led me to the idea of surfing. I also realised that to start surfing I had to deal with my fear of the ocean as well. Yup, I was super scared of it when I started surfing. So I concluded that I would definitely need some help learning. I saw an ad for an all girl surf camp in Ericeira back in 2007 with Lapoint Surfcamps and decided to go.
My initial idea was just to stay for 2 weeks, “learn to surf” and then continue on to Mexico. Well… Needless to say; surfing is NOT a sport you “learn” in 2 weeks.. My idea of surfing my way down the coast line of Mexico got postponed, and I decided to stick around for a while longer. As luck would have it Lapoint was looking for staff and offered me a job! Since then I have been working together with them, and Ericeira became my home base 🙂
So how did that all change your life? Could you have imagined that 10 years ago when you were living in Barcelona, modelling and studying that you’d end up living by the sea!
Back when I was in Barcelona and all, I was still trying to find my own voice so to speak. I was juggling a relationship in Norway, a career in Barcelona and full time studies. I was studying something I had no interest in, but in society its considered valuable.. I was also following a career in modeling that I never really asked for to be honest and was never really a big fan of. I didn’t like that they constantly tried to make me loose my athletic body in order to fit the profile back then, which was a very very unhealthy look in my opinion. So ironically back then, I woke up and went for a run in the busy streets of Barcelona while missing nature, then home for some tea and a shower, then off I went walking like 1.5 hours every day to get to a shoot or downtown to study. I was motivated mostly by exterior goals, for instance; I went the extra mile to get that “important” photo shoot job even when personally I would rather continue doing my sports. And I always, always was 2 years ahead in my mind. I never lived for the day I had. I had plans that reached years ahead. Luckily I learned from life that its better to be more flexible and to solve the cases as they come along as much as possible.
So now, everything is reversed. I realised, after a series of life events, that the most important thing is to be honest with yourself with what is important to you, and follow that. To me it became important again to be healthy, both mentally, physically and spiritually. So I said bye bye to the busy city, and hello surfer town of Ericeira. I returned to my childhood passions; dance, horses and now also surf (took over for snowboarding) and I turned health into a priority.
This might lead into my next question: What is once a strong belief that you recently held that now you have recently changed your mind on?
Well, I hope I understand the question right, but I have definitely made some big changes in relations to how I define success, and what tools I use to obtain that. I have also changed my mind on how I define good health and how I obtain that. It used to be just about exterior strength and endurance and if my body actually looked strong or not. But now I have a greater picture of what good health really is.
The two new definitions go hand in hand for me now actually. As I define a successful person as someone who has truly identified what makes them happy, and who takes action to get there. Success is not something that someone from the outside can tell you that you have or have not obtained. That idea to me now is ridiculous.
For me now success is having a healthy body, mind and soul, and to have my life full of passion and love. It sounds very hippie and abstract, but its actually fairly simple. I dont need much to obtain it. Its more about your lifestyle I would say. So I get good health from living out my dream life, in tune with nature, with love from family, friends and my animals.
I am healthy because I chose to live out my passions of surfing, dancing and working with horses. I am healthy because I am fairly stress-free. I am healthy because I actually relax more and think less of what I should be doing. I am healthy because I enjoy my days most of the time and worry a lot less about tomorrow. I will sort that when I get there, I am also healthy because I am active, every day. I love to work out, and I love to move. And I also incorporated this into my work days.
I use yoga and physical training, not to look a certain way, but to prepare my body and mind to do the work it needs to do for me to be able to surf, dance and ride for as long as I possibly can. I eat good so that I can live long, super long actually, doing what I love to do. This is the biggest change. That our biggest gift is to be healthy, the rest is mostly clutter.
One of our favourite Norweigan saying is “Man skal ikke skue hunden på hårene” which we think translates to “you shouldn’t judge the dog on its hairs”! So on the surface you have a background in equestrian riding and classical ballet.. So it must come as surprise to a few people when they also hear you love surfing, snowboarding and even Crossfit!
Hehe, yeah I am a bit of a split personality case if you look at it very quickly, I think the main force within me is that I love to move, I love to be physical. And I am kinda impatient sometimes, or restless. Routine makes me tired. Also in training and sports. That is why I never fell in love with sports that have the same movement for hours and hours like cross country skiing, bicycling, what ever.
My mind needs more change to keep alert and interested I think. My body needs a greater range of motion to feel good. So dance was perfect for me. What you can express with dance is never ending. And snowboard and surf also have a lot broader movement spectre than a lot of other sports. Snowboard maybe even more than surf, but hey, surf is catching up! Its endless opportunities basically. Crossfit is the odd one out here. It was the idea of Crossfit that interested me; its about preparing the body for any kind of sport and physical challenge. And I like that idea. So I wanted to give it a try. And as I love to learn, I ended up getting certified as an instructor.
So yeah, maybe people should not judge so much a book by its cover. People might surprise you… For me, training now is surfing, running with my dog, yoga to stay flexible, dancing to stay creative and good old functional strength training and crossfit to maintain a certain level of power.
How important is it to you to try and continually challenge yourself and learn and grow? Do you feel that hunger is missing in most peoples lives?
For those who know me, they know that I actually am always studying something. Right now I’m studying dog psychology, since I just got me a street dog 😀 I love to learn. I love to improve myself, and to be maybe of better use to others. And I love to fix my own problems, so that is also why I try to learn first. Learning makes us humble and open to other peoples opinion I think. The more I study and learn, the more I realise that I know so little, and there is so much out there to learn from. I learn from the ocean, from my students in yoga class, from studying the body, from my dog, from my friends, from my job, from life. Not being afraid to do the work an learn has given me a very versatile background indeed. If I told you everything you would not believe me I think… Among people there might be more of an attitude of “ I know better “ out there, rather than “ teach me “ Which is very limiting I would say.
Maybe people are afraid of challenging themselves and “failing”..? I dont know.. But some smart guy once said; “Either you win, or you learn”, so in my opinion its always a win – win situation then! I have thrown my self into situations and fell flat on my face many times believe me. But you know what I think the biggest reason for that was? That I didn’t go whole heartedly into the projects. Looking back I think that is where I have failed many times.
So if there is a lesson to be learned it would be to leave the fear of loosing at home, and just do like Richard Branson said: “Screw it, lets do it!” Its taken me a lot to get close to that attitude, and its a constant work in progress, but its definitely fun and it will get you into all kinds of crazy, fun adventures.
What makes you happy and give you simple pleasures in life these days?
Oh my gosh, this is what life is all about right! Love the question. Its waking up and realising my street-dog- to-house-dog El Guapo slept next to me the whole night looking out for me. Its realising that I can roll out of bed and Im already at work with my job in Lapoint. Its eating my superbly healthy home made bread or a smoothie bowl. Its knowing my family back home are happy and healthy. Its seeing my eco farm project making another step forward. Its working my horse and seeing him all happy and playful.
Its putting on my favourite song, you know that song that gives you just that urge to dance, and to be able to go create some shapes with my body to the music. Its feeling my body flexible and strong when giving a yoga class and hopefully inspire the participants to reach a bit further. Its playing with my nephews, its that cup of tea with my best friend and then to end the day sunset surfing with her here in Ericeira. Things like that…
We know that Norwegians are passionate about their coffee we once read they consume more than every other country in the world, and we also know that you are a certified nutrition coach so we have to ask what are your tips for the best spots to visit next time people come to Ericeira?
That statistic is so true.. I read the same thing. Norwegians are mad about their coffee. I actually never started drinking it. I dont know why. But that being said, I am learning now hehehe.. And there are some truly awesome places in town that have great coffee, and a great menu! You will often find me at Foz Do Lizandro beach at the Limipicos Cafe. They have an amazing, healthy menu, great prices and good coffee along with super friendly staff. Then you have Nalu Bowls for smoothie bowls and coffee closer to summer time, right by Villa Galé. Another one I visit a lot is Casa Portuguesa in town. Nice and affordable menu and lots of classic portuguese dishes. Green is Good close to Praia Dos Pescadores is a new place, great for brunches and healthy vegan options. You will also find me often at the Quiksilver Boardriders shop where the vibe is always good, the galão is delicious and where you will always find another friend or two.
Lastly the question we finish all our interviews with: What is your one key advise to encourage someone to listen to their true self and follow a path to a happy life.
Oh wow, great question.. I would say that brutal honesty with yourself is a must to be able to truly figure out what makes you happy. If it really isn’t what others (society, your family, your boyfriend, your boss) are telling you it is, then at least be honest with yourself. Then work up a courage to make the necessary change in life to be able to have as much as possible of what makes you happy in it. If it helps to think that you maybe only have this one life, this one chance, then use that! And what helped me was to imagine myself at 40, and at 80 years old and thinking that I wanted then to be happy with what I had already tried out, and that I learned about what was for me, and what was not for me by trying, not by turning away from my ideas.
Example; I had this idea that I wanted to be a professional snowboarder when I was young. And I went for it. Got sponsors and everything, despite what my family wanted me to do. Because I knew I was good at it, and I loved to do it, and I definitely didn’t want to think back 80 years from then with bitterness thinking that “I should have gone for it, I would be GREAT at it, and my life would be soooo much better now”.
So I went for it, but as it turned out, I didn’t love the pressure of the sponsors or competitions at all. Now they gonna tell me I had to snowboard, for them.. And I had to perform in competitions if not I was nothing. No for me I realised, I actually dont like this part. Its not for me. I would rather have this just as a hobby. So this, and a crash ending with my arm in a cast for 10 months, led me to think that “ok this is not my future. I love the sport, but I dont love competing, and I dont love all the attention, so I will not become a professional snowboarder”. End of story. And I have no regrets. That is the amazing part! So try out your ideas, they might work, they might fail, but then at least you know and can feel good about tomorrow. No regrets.