Photo Credit: Elena Pressprich
A super short version:
I am 27 years young. Getting closer to 30 now then 20… scary thought. But embracing every step I can! My birthday is on January 22… Yes I am an Aquarius! I am a huge animal lover, and just got my own pup (Timber in April of 2017) so have had him for almost a year now! I enjoy collecting bracelets from my travels. I drink wine in moderation and coffee excessively. I LOVE my comfy stretchy clothes – baggy hoodies and outdoor gear for the win. I am a runner at heart though thoroughly enjoy hiking, road biking, camping and kayaking the most (Though I will basically take part in or try activity if in involves being outside!). I love meeting new people. I have traveled to 19 countries. I am not a ‘professional’ photographer – though I very much enjoy playing with my camera and learning’
I have 3 sisters. Family is #1. xo
A ‘tad’ bit little longer version:
Born and raised in Red Deer, AB, Canada, currently living in Canmore, a small mountain town in the Rocky Mountains. I have a thirsty heart for adventure and travel. Growing up in a family with 3 sisters… I was always known as the ‘tomboy’, ‘Daddy’s girl’, ‘Curious’ one. I was outside as often as I could be, getting dirty, exploring and socializing.
I worked towards obtaining my BSW Social Work Degree) while working in the Red Deer Public School District for 5 years as an Educational Assistant with at risk youth, before transitioning to the schools Youth Worker/Resiliency Coach. I was always taking part in the Outdoor Education programs and acting as the female chaperone on field trips. This is where I saw the greatest growth in the youth and where I found I ‘shined’ the most and really connected with the youth. I made the personal decision to leave the school district in June 2015 to take on some new goals full time and try my hand at combining my passion for people, empowerment and inspiration with my love for the outdoors. After stepping away from the school district for a year I began to miss the kids…. I return as a substitute EA while doing marketing part-time then decided to apply for my Education Degree with U of A. I got accepted into the program for fall of 2017, the Middle Years collaborative program with the University of Alberta. Even though I have been back in University I am still finding time to work with companies on projects, and taking advantage of my weekends and time off.
Instagram has played a HUGE role in connecting me with other like minded people and I am so happy to have had the opportunity to meet so many amazing individuals through the tiny app. We all have reasons as to why we get outside and reap the benefits of the outdoors. Each personal story is unique and I LOVE hearing people speak about their passion for mother nature. I have my own personal growth story and the outdoors surely helped me get through some tougher times. I transitioned slowly from being quite the ‘addicted runner’ to a more balanced outdoor enthusiast: kayaking, biking, hiking, camping, trail running etc. The more I chat with other outdoor enthusiasts the more I begin to see how the outdoors have similar impacts on the lives of others.
I truly believe that ECO-THERAPY is > any other therapy.
I am currently working with a number of outdoor companies through my instagram @brookewillson / Tourism Boards, in the ‘Social Media Marketing world’ on various projects. Whether it be through ambassadorship or sponsorship, creating content for them through: blogging, photography, consulting, gear reviews, promotion, etc. I often collaborate with other photographers/videographers on project, as I do not promote myself as a ‘photographer’ per say, where instead it is my ‘lifestyle’ that people are following along with (Though hey, if I can improve my photography skills then AWESOME!)
Balance is something I am slowly trying to figure out… my heart is constantly being torn the desire for freedom and routine. I am very focused on community connection and empowerment and I will just keep doing what I love: staying active and getting outside, in hopes of inspiring, connecting and encouraging others to get outside and share their own stories. I am very much looking forward to incorporating my lifestyle and values into my own teachings as a teacher in the future, with my own students.
Sure pictures inspire us, though it/s the conversations and stories that truly connect us. ‘Get Inspired. Get Connected. Get Outside.’ is my motto, and my hashtag #freshairandfreedom speaks for itself.
A longer way more detailed version:
A 27 year old gal born and raised in Red Deer, Alberta, Canada. I just recently moved to Canmore (A small little mountain town 15 minutes East of Banff). I was constantly commuting 2+ hours each way to the mountains and have found it’s best I just ‘live’ here!
I graduated high-school in 2008 and jumped right into the Social Work Diploma Program at my local college where I spent 2 years running for the x-country running team. I enrolled in Social Work due to my HUGE passion for people and helping others. I LOVE listening to people’s stories and am intrigued by people’s differences and the diversity in our population. After receiving my diploma I saved up some money waitressing and then took off on a 4-month solo trip to Asia, where I traveled through 5 countries (Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Laos and Cambodia). I can hands down say it was the best time of my life thus far – talk about changing my whole perspective on life, the challenges that came with it, learning, growth, experiences and friendships made. The travel bug definitely got the best of me.
I came back and was instantly like ‘yep traveling is what I want to do and I am going to some day figure out a way to incorporate my passion for helping people, adventure and travel’. I have travelled to 15 countries, and when I am not traveling outside my country I am enjoying everything my country has to offer me in my own backyard… which happens to be the BEAUTIFUL Alberta Rocky Mountains.
I can be honest and say that I surely wasn’t ALWAYS as into the MTNS as I am today. My story is a little more complicated…
As a runner throughout College I can say I definitely became addicted to the endorphins and running lifestyle. I was running 20+ km a day and it was taking a toll on my body. I loved routine. I would run morning and night and surely wasn’t fueling my body properly. I was always injured. I was tiny. My body was tired. I was put on crutches at one point due to a stress fracture in my hip. Basically my body was telling me ‘Brooke you need some changes in your life’. So I was more or less ‘forced’ to take on new activities. My friend and I both bought road bikes, then we bought snowshoes, skate skis, camping gear, kayaks and more gear to go hiking! This is when my love for the MTNS and the outdoors really began. The endorphins that were produced from summiting MTNS, hiking far and exploring beautiful lakes, valleys, and by pushing myself in new activities other then just running, had my body loving me a lot more. My mind was also more at ease and I began to feel much more ‘balanced’.
As young women we all struggle with self-esteem and confidence. The pressure to be ‘perfect’ and to fit that ideal image is a lot these days, especially for the younger generation who is growing up amongst social media. I can say that by spending time in the outdoors, among others who were also enjoying nature’s benefits I really began to veer away from that. Don’t get me wrong, I am still a runner at heart and I enjoy being fit and healthy but like I said earlier, I am a lot more balanced now and I can thank Mother Nature for that! Mother Nature doesn’t ask questions, or judge us, she understands, and so do many other people that spend most of their time outside! Instagram has been a huge help in connecting me with like-minded people and I have found many of them also have amazing stories, as to why they feel most like ‘themselves’ outdoors. It’s inspiring and I love connecting with others.
My hashtag #freshairandfreedom encompasses so much meaning for me, and it seems to do the same for many others (With over 55,000 shares!). I believe there is HUGE benefit in nature and getting outside and breathing the fresh air. It brings us a sense of freedom. Freedom from the chaos at work, the hectic life in the city, difficulties we may be having in relationships with friends, family or significant others. The fresh air has a way of setting things in order, bringing us back to center and answering questions. My hope is to continue to connect like minded people and inspire people to get outside and reap the benefits (Eco-therapy I like to call it).
Due to my larger following on Instagram and active lifestyle, I began receiving emails from companies looking to collaborate, and from followers who were inspired and/or wanting advice on getting outside, traveling etc. These types of messages began to become more frequent as I began to grow and soon came a point in time where I thought to myself ‘I think I am onto something here’. I ended up making a personal decision to leave my 8-4 Mon – Fri secure job with the school district, at the end of June this past year (June 2015) to take on new projects/goals full time. I was going to try my hand at ‘Social Media Marketing’ thing and work towards combining my passion for people, empowerment and inspiration, with my passion for the outdoors and attempt to carve my own route in ‘eco-therapy’.
I would like to be able to say what my EXACT end goal is right now, though I am unable to say exactlyyyyy so I am just going to leave it at that and take things more day by day for a while and continue to do what I do best, and what I love: getting outside, while inspiring others, connecting them and encouraging other people to share their own personal stories as to why they chose to get outside (Like I just shared with you). Sure picctures may inspire us, but it is truly the conversations and stories that connect us.
‘Get Inspired. Get Connected. Get Outside.’