Explorer and storyteller at heart, I find inspiration and stories waiting to be told everywhere. From international shores, to my own backyard in Seattle, it’s never hard to find. When I’m not giving into wanderlust and traveling, you can find me kayaking the waters of Washington, snowboarding the Cascades or Rocky Mountains, and climbing everything I can get my hands on.
Calling the Pacific Northwest my home and favorite romping grounds has had a huge impact in my journey and my story. It’s where I grew up and where I discovered two of my deepest passions in life, photography and the outdoors. They allow me to create amazing relationships with the environment, the people of the outdoor community, and to build a life I love. I call myself a sports and lifestyle photographer but everything inspires me and it’s constantly evolving. In the end, all I hope is to meet amazing people, see the world, love the environment, and live a life that tells a great story. Explorer, photographer, hippie, my name is Jess Brown. Check out more at Trekking around with Jess Brown.
1. Honestly, do you find it hard to stay fit when traveling? If so, what is the biggest challenge for you?
It depends on how long you are staying somewhere I think. It is so easy to stay fit when you are constantly on the move, the momentum of traveling sort of just keeps propelling you to move. But when you stay in one place like I am currently and all your work is on a computer, sometimes you have to be really intentional about moving your body. I’m a photographer, videographer, and writer and yes some of that involves moving to get the photos, the videos, and to experience the things to write about. But what people don’t realize is the behind the scenes editing and writing involves sitting on the toosh, for hours and hours at a time, day after day.
Luckily I love moving my body, I crave adventures, and I am really into sports. So in that sense it’s really easy to stay fit when I am doing the things I love. But it is a little harder to motivate myself when I am in the groove of editing and sitting and being lazy feels really good. But I never look at it like I have to exercise today cause I feel fat, or I need to get my body in shape, or get the body I want, for some reason that’s never motivated me. What motivates me is knowing how I feel when I am moving my body, I do it to stay sane, to get out of my head, to get inspired, to get into the present moment, to interact with the environment around me, and to feel happy, all of those things really motivate me. When I am not doing the fun adventurous stuff I love like climbing, snowboarding, hiking, I love to bike, swim, and do yoga. Biking is probably my favorite and it’s an awesome way to explore a town. I really think it’s about the headspace you are creating for why you are staying fit. It’s to keep my head and heart fit, and the body sort of just follows suit when my head and heart are in the right place.
2. What do you think about vegetarian/vegan/raw food diets? Do you follow any of them?
I tried the vegetarian thing for 8 months a few years ago, and it was great, I really got to discover food in a new way. I realized though that I really love meat and so does my body, in moderation. When I do eat meat I try to make sure it’s responsibly fed and cared for, and try to keep the portions smaller than my iPhone. I also discovered a year and a half ago that I am gluten intolerant, like severely intolerant. So that changed my diet for sure and I got to explore so many news foods because my old go-to’s were basically plates of gluten ha. Now I have incorporated a lot more raw fruits and veggies because I know you get more nutrients from them that way, un-processed foods, and more fish and meat.
I think there are a ton of benefits to being a vegetarian, vegan, or following a raw diet. But when it comes down to it I think everyone’s body is different and no one way works for everyone. I think everyone needs to listen to the needs of their own body and try to nourish it in the best way for them, not necessarily following a strict regime and that is what I try to do and sometimes that means no meat, sometimes it means raw, sometimes it means I need a big bowl of ice cream. I just try to listen and love my body.
3. What sports do you practice on the road?
What sports don’t I practice would be easier. I started sports when I was young. I was into gymnastics at age 3 and then a select soccer team by the time I was 6. I will join in on anything when sports are involved. I usually seek out climbing, board sports of any kind (snowboarding, surfing, longboarding, wakeboarding), biking, swimming, yoga, and dancing. But I will join in on Frisbee, beach volleyball, a pick up game of soccer. To be honest I am usually on the road because I am going somewhere to do some sport of sport.
4. Do you think mental or spiritual side is also important when staying fit? Is meditation close to you?
100% yes. I think it takes huge mental stamina to be traveling and still make time for a workout. But like I said I do it for the mental benefits but sometimes the internal debate I have with myself to just change to go workout is exhausting in and of itself haha. Meditation has been huge for me in that department. When I meditate I shut up my head and get to hear my body, I also find myself meditation when I am moving my body whether it’s yoga or a bike ride a mantra will usually pop up and carry me through the tougher movements. Meditation has been a game-changer for me. I used to be really weak mentally, sort of beating myself up with negative talk in the middle of a workout. Meditation not only taught me to quiet that nagging lying voice and gave me strength to tell myself something new over and over again until it sticks. So it’s sort of re-wired my brain for positivity and strength.
5. Your top 3 tips for other travelers to stay fit when traveling?
My number 1 tip is always to find ways to move your body that you absolutely love. Whether it’s swimming, biking, yoga, or dance make sure you love it. When you love it you look forward to doing it and working out isn’t a drag.
Number 2 would be to pack and wear clothes that you can walk around in and workout in. This has a few positive effects. One it leaves more space in your bag when clothes are multi-purpose. Two if you are intentional about making them for walking around and working out you’ll probably buy cuter workout clothes. When you have cute workout clothes you feel more confident and want to wear them. And most of all this makes it easier to participate in fun ways to move your body, and when the mood strikes to workout you are already dressed and ready to go.
And number 3 is just do it. Work it into your travels with fun excursions, explore a new city by bike, stay in a place with a gym or close to the beach. It’s easy to make happen and usually you get to experience a place with such new eyes when you are doing it from a fitness perspective and it’s a fun way to bond with locals or fellow travelers.