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“Share something vulnerable about yourself. ” With Ming Zhao & Johanne Jacobsen

I feel such a big connection with the ocean and as I live by the beach I often go for a walk by the sea to relax my mind. I also try to create habits that help my mental health — next month I’m doing a 30-day morning routine challenge that I created to help […]

I feel such a big connection with the ocean and as I live by the beach I often go for a walk by the sea to relax my mind. I also try to create habits that help my mental health — next month I’m doing a 30-day morning routine challenge that I created to help me have great mornings to start the day off in the right way.


At times it feels like wellness or elevating one’s wellbeing, is diametrically opposed to high achievement and high performance in one’s career. The stress, mental energy, long hours, lack of restful sleep and preoccupation that result from a high-achievement life seem to directly inhibit wellness. And yet, in order to sustain the creativity, flexibility, mental acuity and resilience that are necessary for high performance, wellness and wellbeing of the mind, body, and soul are also mandatory. So how do we achieve both? This is the question I’m hoping to answer through conversations with high-achieving leaders and influencers who are practicing their own philosophies about how to maintain their wellbeing.

As a part of our series about “Social Media Influencers Share Their Top Self Care, Wellness, and Beauty Tips, I had the pleasure of interviewing Johanne Jacobsen.

Johanne Jacobsen is a documentary filmmaker, environmentalist, activist, sustainable influencer and business owner. She just got home after spending 3 months sailing the north coast of West Papua with an environmental organization researching plastic in the ocean and filming a documentary about the project. She shares her eco-friendly lifestyle on Instagram (@climatevagabond) and writes a blog about how to live a more sustainable life on www.climatevagabond.com.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory of how you came upon this career path and to where you are today?

Igrew up in a small town in the north of Denmark. Ever since I was a little girl I have been interested in everything to do with the internet and technology. I was only about 10 years old when I had my first website and got my first video camera to film with. From there it just kind of snowballed into something bigger. I started making youtube videos in 7th grade and that became my whole world for 3 years. I had almost 20.000 followers on Youtube at that point. Then I started high school and didn’t have as much time to film, edit and publish youtube videos, so I started to focus on my Instagram instead. In 2015 I became really interested in sustainability and began to talk about that on my social media. A couple of years after the sustainable wave hit Denmark and my Instagram started to gain a lot of attention and my followers doubled in just a few months. Then in 2019 I graduated high school and decided to pursue my social media full time. In the fall I saw that a danish environmental organization working with plastic pollution was looking for volunteers to come sail with them. I spend 3 months with them working with plastic pollution and started filming a documentary about the trip. The documentary came out in February 2020. I traveled from Papua to Bali without flying to live as a digital nomad — Or that was the plan at least… Now I’m back in Denmark because of the coronavirus.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I never really knew anybody when I grew up that did the stuff that I wanted to do, so I was hugely inspired by people that I followed on social media. I don’t think I would have become the person that I am today without the amazing role models that I found online. I was a very stubborn and independent kid — I would spend hours teaching myself everything online instead of asking for help. Because of that, I learned how to build websites, how to edit videos, how to do graphic design and more before I was 16.

But I would like to thank my parents for supporting me, even though I sometimes had to do a lot of convincing. They got me my first camera, helped me set up my first website and are my favorite critics.

Can you share a story with us about the most humorous mistake you made when you were first starting? What lesson or take-away did you learn from that?

I made a lot of mistakes when I first started out. I was 13 and had no idea what I was doing. I made the most embarrassing videos that I hope can never be found by anyone again. I made videos that nobody watched and I made videos that were a huge success. Most importantly I never stopped creating — no matter how awful it was. I’ve had multiple youtube channels, countless blogs, and projects that crashed and burned. But something will always stick if you keep trying.

As an influencer, you have been blessed with great success in a career path that many have attempted, but eventually gave up on. In fact perhaps most people who tried to follow a career path like yours did not succeed. Do you have any words of advice for others who may want to embark on this career path but know that their dreams might be dashed?

First of all, you have to do it because you are passionate about a topic and want to share it with people — no matter if it is just your mother and your friends that are reading your stuff in the beginning. If you keep going, failing and improving eventually more people will notice. The worst thing you can do is get discurished because nobody is following you and then stop creating — rather influence 5 people than nobody at all. Never underestimate loyal followers, even if there are few of them in the beginning.

Can you share with our readers some of your strategies you’ve used to build an engaged, loyal, and large online community?

Share something vulnerable about yourself. People want to feel like they know you — not just see pretty pictures. You need to show that you’re a real person. Share a lot and share everything. Share your opinions, share the ups and downs, share your feelings. It took me a while to get used to the fact that so many people now know so much about me and my life, but it’s so worth it.

Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of our interview. In my work, I focus on how one can thrive and care for oneself in three areas: body, mind, and heart.

You are a busy person with a demanding schedule, can you share with our readers two self care routines, practices or treatments that help your body thrive? (Kindly share a story or an example for each.)

Being an influencer and sharing your life online, you practically never have days off or a vacation. All life decisions that you make are up for debate and sometimes you have to put down boundaries for people.

I am very passionate about my work and can drive myself to the breaking point if I’m not careful. In the last year of high school, I pushed myself too hard and ended up depressed after being stressed for too long. After that, I have implemented self-care strategies to prevent that from happening again. I now have clear boundaries and am more realistic about how much work I can take on. I know how important it is for me to get outside in nature, so I now go for about an hour’s walk in the woods or on the beach every day. I spend a lot of time in front of the computer or on my phone, so I try to make time to move my body also — like yoga, gardening or walking.

As I now work with distressing topics like the state of the planet, my mental health sometimes gets very affected by my work — I try to meditate and limit how much bad information I take in at once. After almost a month on Papua, I got so burned out from seeing all of the plastic pollutions that I felt so hopeless for a long time. Sometimes the state of the planet makes me really anxious, but I found out that taking action (whether big or small) is the only thing that helps me.

I have always been a kind of chaotic person with lots of ideas and I am not very good at structuring. I now have a to-do list app where I try to write my ideas and schedule when I am going to do them, so I don’t lose track of it all and get stressed.

Can you share with us two routines that you use to help your mind or heart to thrive? (Kindly share a story or example for each.)

I feel such a big connection with the ocean and as I live by the beach I often go for a walk by the sea to relax my mind. I also try to create habits that help my mental health — next month I’m doing a 30-day morning routine challenge that I created to help me have great mornings to start the day off in the right way.

Can you share 3 ideas that anyone can use “to feel beautiful”? (Please share a story or example for each.)

  1. I try to follow a wide variety of people on social media with different body shapes, looks, and backgrounds. It’s easy to only follow models on social media. Don’t do this. Social media can be so inspirational and educational if you use it right — follow activists, authors, public speakers and so on.
  2. I stopped using make up a couple of years ago as I found out that it made me feel bad about how my face naturally looks. After years of using makeup every day to make me feel good about myself, it was hard to stop — but it was one of the best things I ever did for my self-esteem.
  3. Follow the activist Florence Given on Instagram and remember that you don’t exist in this world to be beautiful. You can be so much more than beautiful. Be inspiring, smart, adventurous, brave — Be you.

Is there a particular resource, a practitioner, expert, book, or podcast that made a significant impact on you and helped you to thrive? Can you share a story about that with us?

That is a tough question as there are more people, books, videoes, podcasts that have shaped me and my life than it is possible to mention. But a big thank you to my environmental idol Jane Goodall, Florence Given for teaching me how to be unapologetic and focus on myself instead of relationships(I spent too much of my teens worrying about boys haha), Gretha Thunberg ofc, all of the rebellious female characters in the dystopian books that i loved growing up and all of the amazing women that I know!

Do you have a story about the strangest, most bizarre or funniest wellness treatment that you’ve ever experienced?

On West Papua, after spending many days on the sea we had to go into a small harbor to fix the engine. My body and especially my back was completely wrecked after steering the boat all tense and sleeping in a small bunk bed. The whole crew went to a small massage place in the harbor city. I got showed into a small room and got the weirdest massage of my life. She would pull at my toes until they cracked and I had no way of communicating with her as she didn’t speak a word of English. My friend who also had a massage there even had her massage person burping like crazy the whole time which apparently should release evil spirits from the body. That was an odd experience for sure.

As an influencer, you are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

Starting a movement that sparked radical environmental change in the world would be my biggest dream. Having under 10 years left before we reach the tipping point of irreversible climate change something drastic needs to happen soon and inspiring a movement like that would be amazing.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world with whom you’d like to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this. 🙂

I would love to have lunch with Jane Goodall as she is one of my all-time idols who is filled with so much wisdom. I have watched her documentary many times and read her book. In many ways, she as a young woman reminds me a lot about myself and what she has achieved is what I dream of doing.

What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?

The best way to follow me is on my Instagram @ClimateVagabond. On there I share my everyday life, eco-friendly tips, my travels and more. On my website, I share guides, tips, and insights on how to live a sustainable life, gardening, eco-travel, vegan recipes and more.

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!

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