Bria Justus: The Simply B

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Bria Justus was born and raised in Portland, Oregon, spending every weekend of her childhood on the trails or in a tent camping. When she went off to college in Washington, DC, she realized that something was missing and that her heart was meant for adventure and the outdoors. Now, she spends her summers and any off time back in the Pacific Northwest, traveling or adventuring and documenting it all on her blog.

“My goal is to encourage myself and the other 20-somethings out there to find themselves and live their life for them, simply and unapologetically. And for me that means adventuring whenever and wherever I can.”

We just love your adventures from your blog, The Simply B. What inspired you to share your adventures? What are some of your goals with your blog?

Writing more was my new year’s resolution for 2017 and I knew if I didn’t publicly declare my resolution to the internet (and family and friends) then I probably would never actually stick to it. So, I made a blog. At first it was a hodgepodge of life rants and stories from my travels and now it has slowly turned into a somewhat consistent combination of travel guides, experiences I’ve had and a documentation of how the outdoors has guided my journey to self-love and finding my true self (a daunting task for a 21-year old but hey I’m trying).

At the end of the day, my main goal of my blog is to encourage the 20-somethings (and older-somethings) of the world to be intentional about finding themselves. I want people to know that it’s okay to be different and to not succumb to all the societal expectations and norms telling us that their is a formula to success and happiness, and that at the end of the day all that matters is that you are living your true self, simply and unapologetically.

You state that one of your missions with your blog is to encourage yourself and your readers to live the life of their dreams and to unapologetically be themselves in a world dominated by ridiculous social norms, often seen in social media. How do you believe a life of travel and adventure is advantageous to becoming a more confident and powerful individual?

Being a women in an American society, there’s a set of expectations put upon you, many that contradict each other. You have to be skinny but not too skinny, you have to have big boobs and a big butt but no cellulite, you have to have ambitions but not be selfish, you have to assertive but not bossy, you have to find love but establish independence, you have to have fun but not too much fun. It can be A LOT. So, to avoid that, to not let those expectations dictate what I do I seek adventures. Because on the trail, exploring a new city halfway across the world, camping in the middle of nowhere, summiting a mountain, I’m away from all the people, the marketing, the social media campaigns telling me who I am supposed to be. Out there, I’m just me, simply and unapologetically.

When I’m halfway up a mountain and my calves are shaking, my legs are weak, my hands are covered in dirt and I’m struggling to catch my breath let alone keep going I’m not worried about what I look like, I’m not worried about how much I weigh or what I look like in a bikini I’m just focused on making it to the top. And once I’m at the top I’m still not concerned what I look like because how can you scrutinize your body when it has the ability to take you to these beautiful places that cars cannot reach.

So, in a vague answer to that question is that I find confidence in my own happiness. If I can find a way to be genuinely happy, doing what I love and accepting myself for who I am, then I feel confident and if I’m confident I feel pretty dang powerful. Because when you love yourself, like truly love yourself (which is a constant journey) then no one (including society) can have control over you.

Where do you currently live? What are some of your favorite local spots for adventure?

I currently am living in Portland, Oregon. I spend every possible free time I have in the Columbia River Gorge or Mt. Hood National Forest, hiking, discovering new and old trails and seeking out new spots for a sunset picnic.

What are some of your favorite hiking spots from your travels?

I fall in love with Dog Mountain during wildflower season.

I never get tired of a sunset picnic at Trillium Lake during sunset.

And I love to climb up to Coyote Wall because you get a 360 view of the whole Columbia Gorge.

What are some of your favorite hiking spots from your travels?

I fell madly in love with the hiking in Interlaken, Switzerland, a medium size town at the base of the Swiss Alps. I hiked Harder Kulm (a popular hike there) twice and still want to go back to do it again. The hiking is endless there as well as the adventures. I’m hoping to go backpacking there once I graduate.

How did you get into hiking? What is it about hiking that sparks your passion for the activity?

You could say that I’ve always hiked. Since I was 4 months-old my parents would strap me into a baby carrier and hike with me. I grew up 40 minutes from the Columbia River Gorge (home to over 500 hiking trails) and every weekend we would load up the car and go either hiking there or camping near by.

However, I continued hiking (on my own two feet this time) because, as cheesy and cliche as this sounds, it refuels my soul. After pushing your body to it’s limits to see absolutely beautiful views, you leave with a clear and refreshed mind. My most creative thoughts come when I’m hiking. You’re away from reality for a little and just surrounded as life should be, untouched, unprocessed and beautiful.

How has hiking made a positive impact on your life?

Follow her on Instagram: @simplyboutside

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