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Nature provides us with so much, from breathtaking views and fresh air to sweet smells and Vitamin D, that anyone who wants to enjoy it should be able to do so comfortably. Unfortunately, as a culture, only one type of person is typically thought of as outdoorsy, which leaves many people out of the narrative.
In an effort to cultivate community with other outdoorspeople who didn't fit that narrow mold, Jenny Bruso founded Unlikely Hikers. As a queer, plus-size woman, she not only wanted to see more hikers like herself, she wanted to see more diverse hikers in general.
While on a break from leading group hikes around the country due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Jenny chatted with me about all things the great outdoors, including benefits, barriers to access, and respecting the land you're on.
- What led Jenny to found Unlikely Hikers.
- The variety of benefits that we can get from spending time in nature, including gaining space in a shrinking world.
- How nature can reinforce our place in the universe.
- The advantage of many outdoor activities being divorced from a lot of typical fitness culture narratives.
- Barriers to access to getting to enjoy nature, including transportation and costs.
- Jenny's experiences on the trail of people assuming she doesn't know where she is or what she's doing.
- The need for more trails with increased accessibility for different bodies.
- How wherever we are in the U.S. we are on stolen land, including national parks, so it's important to educate ourselves about whose land we're on and treat it with respect.
- Ways in which non-outdoorsy people can still benefit from nature.
- How there are natural delights to discover even in your own neighborhood.
- How Jenny defines health and wellness for herself at this moment in her life.
Mentioned in This Episode
- @dietitiananna's #InaccessibleViews hashtag campaign (you can find examples in her Instagram Story highlights labeled “Views”)
- Accessible trail options at Mount Rainier National Park
- The Native Land app
- The Indigenous Women Hike post that Jenny referred to
- The Portland Rose Garden
- The Unlikely Hikers podcast
This Episode is Part of the Health and Wellness Changemakers Series Sponsored by Superfit Hero
I am so grateful to be collaborating with the body-positive brand Superfit Hero to introduce you to these changemakers who are taking the health and wellness industry in a new direction. The series runs from episode #37 to episode #48, so be sure to catch them all. Superfit Hero is an inclusive activewear brand that aims to provide clothing for ultimate confidence, no matter your size or sport. And if you enjoyed the Superfit Hero Wellness Tip of the Week, be sure to check out the dozens of amazing coaches and trainers in Superfit Hero’s Body Positive Fitness Finder.
Featured in This Episode
Jenny Bruso (she/her) is a queer, plus-size writer, hiker, group hike leader, podcaster, and the founder of Unlikely Hikers. Unlikely Hikers aims to change the narrative of who is getting outdoors and shed a more realistic light on the everyday outdoorsperson. As part of her work, Jenny leads hikes all over the country. You can find Jenny on her website and Instagram and learn more about Unlikely Hikers on Instagram and Twitter.
The Queer Agenda
The Queer Agenda is a newsletter dedicated to uplifting LGBTQIA+ folks (where our accomplices benefit too) by sharing thoughtful tools, strategies, advice, and encouragement to help us heal and come home to ourselves. It’s equal parts warm hug, gentle kick in the ass, and queer magic.