Hi guys, Olivia here! I have the absolute pleasure of bringing you an interview with a longtime friend and one of my favorite people on this planet, Casey.
Casey and I met when we were only 15 and freshmen in high school. I still remember how I would skip my math class so we could go to her house for a long lunch. We would eat peanut-butter and-jelly sandwiches and talk about our big ideas, the future, and about leaving the small town we were in. I have always seen Casey as my lifeline, I can tell her anything and we can joke around about nothing for hours!
Even though we don’t live close to each other, she still manages to inspire me on a daily basis for just being herself. I know you will totally fall in love with Casey with this interview!
Without further adieu, ladies and gentlemen, Casey Voigtlaender.
Where are originally from?
I’m originally from Kingston, NY and lived in Boston, MA for several years before moving to Hawaii.
How did you end up in Hawaii?
“In 2012, I left my job as a marketing analyst, packed up my Boston apartment and bought a one-way ticket to the Big Island. Eric, my husband, and I were looking to purchase a coffee business and wanted to learn more about the farming and processing side of coffee which brought us to Kona, Hawaii a place known worldwide for its amazing coffee.
We lived and worked on coffee farms for months and met a lot of people from the industry, including a couple of folks that were planning to open a startup coffee company right here in Kona. I never thought I would actually live in Hawaii but we both fell in love with the island and decided to officially move here and help open Daylight Mind Coffee Company, a brand new restaurant and café. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made and I absolutely love it here!”
What are some things you love about living in Hawaii?
“This could turn into a really long list but I’ll list my top three:
I love that I feel at home on a small island in the middle of the ocean, so far away from the rest of the world..it’s a unique experience. I love being a part of a small community where you bump into people you know everywhere you go. Maybe it’s because we’re on a small island so you kind of have to get along but people seem to genuinely care and aren’t trying to keep up with or compete with the next guy. I love being surrounded by all the natural beauty. The ocean, the sun, the mountains, the native plants, the lava—everyday I have an opportunity to surf the ocean, practice yoga on the beach, go hike the mountains, and to just be awed by this beautiful environment.”
What advice would you give to our readers wanting to venture out to live in a new place or even Hawaii?!
“1.Visit first and get a ‘locals’ feel for the place. I think anywhere you go, you have to scratch the surface and get a feel for what it’s really about not just what you saw when you were on vacation. 2. Have a plan but be open-minded. 3. DO IT! You just never know where it will take you.”
You are currently training to be a certified yoga instructor, tell us about that?! What type of yoga are you doing and who are you training under?
“I have been practicing yoga since I was 16 so this feels like a really natural step for me. I have tried a lot of different styles of yoga but am mostly drawn to vinyasa (flow series) and restorative styles like Yin. I’ll be completing an intensive teacher training with Shambahva School of Yoga this summer. ”
I have never been to Hawaii– but intend to visit you soon! What is it like to live in Hawaii?
“Let me know when you book your tickets! Everyday I feel so grateful to be here on the Big Island because I feel so at home. I feel like I have found a place that allows me to live the life I want to live. Everyone has a different experience but for me, things are mellower, time doesn’t seem to be flashing by before me, and I am able to live more simply. I moved here with 2 boxes of belongings and have made living with less work for me. There is something powerful about being so connected to your environment. Every day people are out playing in the ocean or exploring parts of the island and every night people crowd around the shorelines to watch the sunset, it is a magical place.”
You’re married to a really cool guy! Tell us about your husband.
“I have known Eric for over ten years now and we’ve been married for just about two years. It has been really special to be able to experience so much together and to kind of see each other grow as individuals. Eric is the most positive and optimistic person I know and I really admire his ability to take chances and to be open-minded about the world around us, I couldn’t imagine making such a big move without him. We make a really great team and I feel like together we can do anything.”
You live in paradise, so this may be a tough question, but what is your favorite travel destination?!
“These days I think my favorite travel destination is back East to New York to see my family. Moving so far away is a trade-off when it comes to time with family and friends.”
What was the last place you traveled to? How was it?
“I went on a ski trip to Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Going from ‘tropical paradise’ to a ‘winter wonderland’ actually felt really good! The best part of the trip was Eric teaching me how to ski and being able to ski these crazy trails together. I picked up skiing a lot faster than surfing.”
I am constantly wondering what inspires the people around me, so I wonder, who or what inspires you?
“I get a lot of inspiration from the people around me. There are so many entrepreneurs on the island that have made their passion into their jobs. That lifestyle seems the most natural and what I strive toward.”
Who would you say you admire?
“I admire anyone who has created his or her own way of living by creating opportunities for themselves and not depending on others for their own success or happiness.”
You have some incredible photos of you surfing! Tell us about your journey in surfing.
“Another thing I love about living in Hawaii! Learning to surf is pretty humbling. I have never had such an appreciation for the ocean and how powerful it is until I started to surf. In the beginning, I had no idea what I was doing but would get in the water every chance I got. I would watch the local surfers and get tips from them and eventually figured it out. For me, it’s all about having fun with it but I am working on letting some of my fear go so I can start taking bigger waves.”
What is the best advice you’ve ever gotten?
“I actually think the support that I have received is better than any advice I’ve ever gotten. I have made some big decisions that not everyone agrees with or understands but I have gotten so much support from my family, friends and even people I hardly know that really has made me confident in my choices and pushes me to keep going. Having the support of people I care about makes me want to do more, live more, and accomplish more because I feel like I’m not only doing it for myself but for those that get to experience things vicariously through me.”
When do you feel your best?
“I feel my best when I am thinking about the present moment. Years of yoga has conditioned me to come back to the present especially when thoughts about the past or future are filling your head. There is always something to be grateful for in the present moment.”
What is one thing you want the world to know about you?
“One of my good friends told me she sometimes shares my story when people are trying to make big life decisions. I want people to know that everyone has the ability to make a change- it doesn’t have to be drastic like leaving your career to move to an island 5,000 miles away. If you are unhappy, feel stuck, or have a passion don’t be afraid to create a life that is more aligned with what makes you happy. Even if it doesn’t work out, it beats the alternative!”
You are out-of-this-world inspiring, tell us what’s next for you Casey?
“The one thing I have learned is to embrace the moment, enjoy the ride. At the moment, I am enjoying being happy, spending time with my husband, and pursuing my yoga teacher certification. What’s next is hard to know but that’s the exciting part!”
It’s so beautiful to see Casey pursue her dreams and act on what we would talk about at such a young age. I encourage you to follow her journey through her instagram.
writing and editing // by Olivia
photography // by Casey Voigtlaender