Solo Traveller and Kiteboarder, Cape Town, South AFrica
Ten minutes after meeting Jessica it became clear that she is a fearless woman. Her full time work as a customs officer in Germany affords her freedom to pursue her passion - water and wind and travelling all over the world chasing both. Jessica flew solo to Brazil, Costa Rica, Egypt and most recently Oman. There, in pursuit of kiting in Masirah Island, she drove (in the middle of Ramadan) 5+ hours from Dubai to Shannon Port and missed the last ferry. Without hesitation, she pulled out a towel and slept right on the beach. This young lady enjoys her life and seizes every moment. All the best to the next WOW WOMAN, Jess.
2. Where is your hometown?
These days my home is in Münster, Germany. Originally my family is from Zabrze in Poland.
3. What is your profession/career/title/self-label/designation?
4. What was the journey like to get where you are (in life and career wise)? What are some accomplishments you’re most proud of?
I've learned that reality isn't made out of matter, but what matters.
I started to work with Real Estate when I was 16 years old. Even if I was quite young, I started to behave 'workaholic-like' pretty early. I've been working every day after school and on weekends. I saw myself as a business woman in a power position one day. Society, even some people of my family, taught me, that it's all about having a big career and earning a lot of money. But that's definitely not the case.
Kitesurfing helped me to change my viewpoint. When you surf, you're just happy. You don't need no money. No make up. No big house. No fancy car. No WiFi. No shoes :-)
All those things won't make life better. That made me think.
I wanted to have more time for the activities I enjoy, like traveling, learning new things and rise a family one day.
And a high-pressure and high-paying position, a so called 'career', doesn't help with that. I was looking for a normal job to be free after 4 pm and on weekends. And luckily I've found it. Now I have a healthy work-life balance. I really enjoy my life and I seize every moment.
But I've also learned, that life is not about being happy all the time. It's not that easy. Life is suffering. And we have to choose, what we are willing to suffer for. We need to take responsibility and find meaning in life.
5. What did you study in school?
Real Estate Management and Financial Economies/Laws
6. How is your life different from what you pictured at 20?
Luckily I've changed my high heels into flip flops. I gave up aiming for a big 'career'.
I've learned to love myself without having a lot of money. The beach helped me a lot with that.
And I'm still single, what I really enjoy for now. It's really helpful to travel alone, to eat alone, to sleep alone. Once you enjoy doing this, you'll learn to love yourself. I always say: 'You must be able to bear yourself'. I mean... you're not that easy, right?! You're hard to handle sometimes. People are extremely complex. First you need to order your own life and be a person for yourself instead of somebody else's person all the time. If you've learned to love and respect yourself you can also give true love and respect to somebody else.
7. What was your biggest disappointment and plan to overcome it?
This is a very deep, intimate question. I won't share to many details but I can say that I had a tough childhood. We had a lot of problems in our family, especially with violence and lies. I've been disappointed by people a lot of times (but I think everybody have experienced that in different ways).
What helped me personally was a deep belief and trust in God. As a believer, I never gave up hoping and aiming for something better. I've tried to accept my suffering and to see higher values. Even as a child, I always felt something like 'no, that's not the end of the story. There's something more to life than that'.
Plus, I believe that nobody gets away with anything. Everything you do matters and has consequences. That made me sleep peaceful.
8. Advice for other women?
Be feminine. Be strong but also soft and warm. Raise a family. Keep a childish, adventurous heart. Laugh a lot. Don't let them tame you.
Shine on. You're an inspiration.
9. Where in the world do you feel “tallest” (i.e. where is your happy place)?
On the water. Especially with a board.
10. What extra-curricular activities/hobbies are you most proud of? Why?
I like all kinds of board sports. Kitesurfing is my all-time favorite hobby. It's so much fun. And it helped me to overcome my fears, which is important for life. Now I even enjoy doing things, I'm afraid of. That makes me grow.
I also love doing CrossFit, which is amazing. There you really lean to push yourself to the limits and get out of your comfort zone. This ability helps me in many different situations.
11. What do you want to be when you grow up? Future goals/challenges?
I want to grow constantly, so I don't believe in a state of being 'growed up'. I still want to learn a new instrument in the age of 80+ and write something of value.
Except from that, I want to be a great wife for a man, I honestly respect and look up to. I want to be a caring but also supercool mother. I'd love to see my kids on a board very early, shredding hard :-) I'd be so incredibly proud to see them rocking their first kiteloops. And I'd like to do crazy road trips with my family, go surfing together and discovering new things and places all the time.
12. What fears are you still hoping to overcome?
One of my biggest fears is, that one day I'll have a very bad injury so that I won't be able to move and kitesurf anymore. I love action and movement. Losing the capability to move would hit me hard.
13. Anything you'd do differently if you had another go at life?
No. I'm grateful for everything that happened to me.
14. What inspires you?
Especially the ocean, mountains and the night sky.
I love guitar tunes by Calum Graham, Don Ross and Justin St. Pierre. Ziggy Alberts and Matt Corby are also my favorites.
My Grandma :-) and my Cousin Damian. My CrossFit Coaches Allan and Julia. Leird Hamilton and Jesse Richman. Many many other amazing people, I've met on my journey.
15. What are you hopeful about?
I used to say: If everybody would surf, the world would be a better place :-) haha
But seriously, I'm convinced that surfing is a great teacher. Basically you learn to love yourself, people around you and the nature. And that's a lot.
But of course surfing is not the only teacher (you can also ask Yoda haha).
In general, I hope that people all over the world will start seeking for a better future. I don't want to talk about religion here. I just think that everybody should find a higher, truthful meaning in life. There are so many resentful people out there and you can see so much bitterness on the streets. I'm hopeful, that those people will find some peace and joy.
I also wish that everybody, you and me, will become more aware of how we treat mother earth. We should all work together and avoid pollution. It makes me really sad when I see all that plastic in our oceans or how people are wasting water all the time for useless things.
16. What are some ingredients to a good life?
Wind and Waves
And a little craziness
17. What advice would you give your 14-year-old self?
Something like :
- Girl, put up your suffering and bare it.
- Be grateful for your problems instead of letting them make you grumpy, arrogant and resentful.
- Something makes you cry?! Write it down and see where the pain comes from.
- Find a deeper meaning in life. Don't just vegetate. Move. Embrace the unknown and do things you're afraid of.
- Treat the people around you with love. Listen to them and pay attention. You might find wisdom and learn something of value.
- Choose your aims wisely so that you can make the world a better place.
- Tell the truth. ALL THE TIME. Don't hide things in the fog. Be honest with others and yourself.
- Trust in God, who is the truth. He got a bigger plan for you.
18. What are you reading now? (what books do you gift most and what are your favourite reads?)
Right now I read 'The Master And Margarita' by Michail Bulgakov.
I adore Russian literature, especially from Fyodor Dostoyevsky (his 'Crime And Punishment' is a masterpiece and I recommend that to everyone). But also books like '12 Rules for Life' by Jordan Peterson, 'Ego Is The Enemy' by Ryan Holiday or 'The Alchemist' by Pablo Coelho. And I really love 'The Lord Of The Rings', too . It's full of hidden wisdom.
19. Who is a WOW Woman in your life who inspires you, and why?
There are so many WOW Women in the world. We just have to pay attention.
Today I met one of them after surfing in Muizenberg, South Africa. She's from the US and working as a missionary in the Townships of Cape Town. Around 5-7 people get murdered there EVERY WEEK. And she's right there, trying to help children in need. Amazing personality.
My lovely friends Natalia, Isa and Sia, I used to share everything with. These girls bring out the best of me; My friend and talented musician Martina; Christa Merle (she is the founder of an amazing project in Herne, a small German Town where I grew up, and her daughter Julia (Crossfit Coach, Wife, Believer) ; Charlotte Consorti is my favorite female Pro-Kitesurfer. The list is endless... And the best thing is: I'll meet more of them. Every day.
20. Where can others find you/your work (links to websites, blogs, etc.)?
I'm not into websites and blogs. My little sister created an Instagram account for me a few months ago because she thought, that I'm incredibly uncool without it (haha)... Well, at least you can find me there. Name: jes_sea93