“She was free in her wildness. She was a wanderess, a drop of free water. She belonged to no man and to no city” – Roman Payne
Lately I’ve come to realize that the place I feel happiest is in the wilderness. It can be a forest, mountain, or even a beach or desert – as long as it’s unadulterated nature, I feel at home.
Earning a breathtaking view, endorphins running wild, is magical. Climbing, swimming, boating, or walking to get there makes it all that much sweeter and limited to those who are willing to go the extra mile (or 20).
Though I hadn’t really thought about it or realized it previously, active vacations and the great outdoors have both been the focus of my travels from the beginning and, by extension, my Instagram channel:
While climbing down the Huemul Circuit on day 3 of 4 in Patagonia
Patagonia is phenomenal and really inspired me take my photos to the next level.
The following are the accounts of amazing outdoor women who inspire me to keep improving with my photography, to keep getting outside, and keep pushing myself harder:
“Growing up on an old dude ranch tucked away in the mountains of Wyoming, my earliest memories involve being outside exploring our beautiful natural world. This love for all things wild has stayed with me over the years and helped shape me into who I am today!” – Elise Sterck
Elise is proof that Rapunzel does exist, and she’s in the form of a badass mountain girl. Almost all of her photos depict her climbing, playing in the snow, and trekking in absolutely breathtaking places.
“I grew up in a household where we valued experiences over stuff, always. It took me getting a little lost and doing some soul searching in my twenties to rediscover that being outside and experiencing life is the key to my happiness. There is no limit to exploration and experiences when you venture outside… It is constantly changing and my time spent outdoors is always fulfilling.” – Breeze Turner
In contrast to the mountain and cold weather accounts I love to follow, Breeze’s account is usually about paddle boarding and summery, blue places. It doesn’t hurt that her adorable dog makes plenty of cameos.
Tiffany Nguyen is a fellow Southern Californian and a dentist in her day job. I started following her around 20k followers earlier in the year and have been impressed, though not surprised because her photos are amazing, at her quick climb to nearly 50k.
Her photos are inspirational and well thought-out. I always get ideas from her awesome account.
“Defining exactly who I am or what I do is an ongoing process: adventurer, graphic designer, model, equal parts yogi, diver, surfer, hiker. I’m captivated by the world around me and the people in it. Exploring outdoors feeds all the facets of myself that I want to cultivate: the part that is brave and energetic, the part that wants to slow down and savor, the part that cares equally about self, others, and the earth, and the part the falls in love over and over again.” – Chelsea Yamase
After receiving the quote above from Chelsea via email I liked her even more. She adventures around one of my favorite places (I visited Kauai often when I was younger) taking gorgeous pictures, communicating emotion eloquently in each one. What I like is how relatable she is when she says that defining herself is an ongoing process. I feel you sister!
“My heart truly does belong to places I haven’t even explored yet! The outdoors have been world changing for me, meeting and connecting like minded people along the way. I want to continue to expand and grow my level of activity in the outdoors, travel and inspire other people to do the same. My hashtag #freshairandfreedom speaks for itself. I feel the most ‘free’ and at peace when outside, disconnecting from the fast paced world in the city.” – Brooke Willson
Brooke is a 24 year old from Alberta, Canada, which is the perfect place to have as a backyard for nature lovers and converts. She’s instantly likable from her photos which feature a nice mix of warm and cold places.
“On the skin of things I’m a writer, diarist, photographer, yogini, nomad, explorer. A curious storyteller, to tie it whole. Since I was young I’ve always had this manic urge to explore and deep down I knew that my life was never mine to keep. What floods through my senses becomes words and photographs for others to witness. Through this, I want to unify people with the belief that there is beauty in light and darkness. And that we are all tied to one another and experiencing each other in reflection. I let myself fall in love with the world moving through me everyday, that’s where my inspiration feeds from” – Stephanie Dandan
Stephanie is the only girl on this list whom I’ve had the pleasure of meeting in person. We were both brand new bloggers and instagrammers back then but the subject didn’t even come up while we were hanging out. Instead we were occupied playing in waterfalls and riding motorbikes around Pai.
I love her account because everyone she photographs looks beautiful thanks to her expert wielding of light in her photos. Given I know how awkward I can be in front of the camera, she must be a great photographer in order to get her models to always look so relaxed and calm. Kudos, Steph. We’ve come a long way!
“I love the great outdoors because they serve as reminders for how beautiful the Universe truly is; reconnecting us to our Self & like beauty, while alleviating us of our troubles as we venture forward and travel deeper into beautiful, natural destinations – all the while disconnecting to reconnect with what matters most: our Self & our Earth. This is where we thrive (without chaos or distractions), and where we can simply BE” -Dulce Ruby
This account combines meditation and mindfulness practice with the great outdoors. It’s a source of beauty and inspiration, and a little reminder to come to the present whenever possible.
“I love spending time connecting with nature. What I love about being outdoors is it really puts things in perspective for me. I often find myself humbled by the vast amount of beauty there is to see and experiences to be had. I always come back from my adventures feeling refreshed and ready to tackle on new challenges.” – Lisa Bao
San Francisco native Lisa has gorgeous photos of California, something I always love seeing because it’s a beautiful state and underrepresented on outdoorsy Instagram accounts!
Annie’s account makes me think, ‘girl power’ every time I look at it, and that’s what I love filling my IG feed with. Depicting mainly mountains and hiking, it’s perfect for hikers and fresh-air lovers.
Those are just a few of my favorites, but I’d love to discover more! Leave your favorite outdoorsy women Instagram account (or just favorite in general) in the comments!