Name: Julie Walmsley
Age: 33
Place of birth: San Fransisco, California, USA
Current residence: Boa Vista, Cape Verde & London, UK
I was born in California and me and my family moved to New Jersey when I was a year old. I lived an active life – my best friend’s parents owned a roller skating rink and we would skate every hour of the day listening to our favourite Madonna songs. I spent every summer at summer camp running wild in the natural landscapes of New Jersey. When we moved back to Essex in England, I hated it. I only started to appreciate my British heritage in my late 20s. My accent confuses everyone, my American friends think I sound British’ while my British friends think I’m a yank through and through.

I’m a professional photographer, specializing in portraiture, fashion and product photography. I decided to freelance because I became frustrated working under people in big organizations and not having creative or artistic control.

I love the freedom and independence of finding work and building contacts. Photography wasn’t my first choice; I studied marine biology because it was something I wanted to do from a young age. Although I did not follow that career path, I volunteer in my spare time, mainly working with sea turtles

The first voluntary project I got involved in protected leatherback turtles in Costa Rica, and then through a friend I found out about a project called Turtle Foundation set up in Cape Verde.

I visit every season and I have been promoted to camp coordinator. Small groups of us camp out in tents for four months on Boa Esperanca, one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever visited.

I never heard of Cape Verde before doing the project, , but I was passionate about endangered turtles and curious to find out more about the culture.

I wish I could, but I can’t explain why Boa Vista means so much to me. The first time I visited it felt like home in a weird way. Life passes at a different speed and people’s priorities are completely different. It really appeals to me.

Around the world the oceans inhabitants are becoming endangered. We have over-fished so many species that we are at risk of them never fully recovering and Europe, Japan, China and the USA are taking more than their fair share. Commercial fishing is one of the main culprits for the numbers of sea turtle crashing by 90% over the last two decades! On top of this turtle meat and eggs are eaten as a delicacy in Cape Verde and other parts of the world. The Turtle Foundation was set up to protect turtles from poachers and raise awareness about the issue.

When you are watching the turtles and protecting them during their reproductive journey, you can’t help but have the utmost respect for what they have achieved- the number of boats, nets and hooks they have avoided to lay their eggs is startling. I feel a sense of responsibility and pride in what Turtle Foundation is doing, especially when the turtles return safely to the ocean. It is one of the most rewarding jobs I have ever done!

Women have the power to be both sexy and strong.
I am Complexd because I want it all – a great career, living abroad, learning new languages and the determination to make it a reality!

See the original article in Complexd magazine

See Julie’s photos of Boa Vista