This week, we had the opportunity to talk with Jess Dales, aka @jess.wandering on Instagram. She took some time out of her busy schedule to share how she makes it possible to pursue her love for exploring the great outdoors. Like many of us here at ISOJI, time in nature gives us a way to recharge and see things from a brand new perspective. Jess has traveled to many parts of the world and is an example to us all when it comes to taking control of your life and really making your passion a reality.

Jess Dales, @jess.wandering /// Moment captured by @everchanginghorizon

Tell us a little about yourself & whats your IG name?

I am a Seattle based outdoor enthusiast, photographer, and visual story teller. As a kid I would spend countless hours playing in the woods behind my house, collecting bugs, building forts, and camping out with my brother. That sense of wonder that I got from nature as a child never went away, and it’s still where I feel the most grounded as an adult. My Instagram is @jess.wandering

What influenced you to begin exploring nature and the world around you?

The outdoors have always played an important role in my life. Always eager to learn and share my passion for the outdoors, I see every new adventure as an opportunity for self-growth. I believe that our experiences shape our world view and ultimately who we are.

What is it about the great outdoors you enjoy the most?

When I’m in the great outdoors all the world’s distractions and expectations fade into the distant background and I’m able to focus on my thoughts and be truly present.

What has been your most memorable trip and why?

I studied abroad for a semester in Australia at a tiny environmental sciences school. There were 24 of us in the entire program, and we lived in these little huts in the middle of the rainforest up in Northern Queensland. I remember being so nervous about going. I almost didn’t get on the plane in LAX! But when the van finally rounded the last turn on the long dirt road to the school, I looked out over the most beautiful forest I’d ever seen, and I knew I was home. I’ll never forget that feeling.

What are 3 essential items you pack on your trips that you can’t do without?

It really depends on the trip, but I always pack my camera, candy, and hair ties!

There are definitely challenges on being able to go on so many outdoor trips. What are your greatest challenges and how did you overcome it?

My greatest challenge is just finding the time. I can’t say that this is something I have overcome, because I think time management will aways be a challenge in my life. But I realizing that many of the things I spend time on are a choice, and prioritizing accordingly has helped a lot.

Do you have a favorite quote that summarizes your view on nature and the beauty of exploration?

“It’s a terrible thing, I think, in life to wait until you’re ready. I have this feeling now that actually no one is ever ready to do anything. There is almost no such thing as ready. There is only now. And you may as well do it now. Generally speaking, now is as good a time as any.”  – Hugh Laurie

If you could give your readers one piece of advice, what would that be?

Comparison is at the core of a lot of unhappiness. I think in large part this is due to the common misconception that success as a limited resource. In part, success is not limited because it means different things to different people. In my own life, I’m most susceptible to falling down the rabbit hole of comparison when I stop focusing on my own growth, and start using other people’s measures of success. My advice would be to figure out why success means to you, go after it with all you’ve got, and know that there is enough to go around.