Community, Mentors and Inspiration are the essence of a life where we belong to, feel heard being YOU. Life is a path and a never ending journey of experiences and we learn out of every single one. We all are impacted by each others and finding your mentors, your tribe, your community is precious.
When I closed my latest website a couple years and stopped my series "Pur Women" it was with
The PURE LADIES Series will feature every month one woman who went through a transition in her life and has a huge impact in her community and is a pure gem. Starting with Allison Jones from Wildwood Coaching. She is a writer, a photographer, life and health coach
"It takes a village to create and maintain a healthy lifestyle, and I'm excited to introduce you to mine." Allison Jones
Last year you moved out to the woods and closed the chapter as Portland Monthly’s Digital Editor (and Health & Wellness Editor) and you are now the Social Media & Digital Content Manager of ZOOM+. A year full of transitions and more exciting things happening in the moment for you. Would give us a little sneak what is coming next for you?
In 2014, I transitioned from one of the magazine’s food and wine writers to the editor of a new health department. I had drastically changed my eating habits a few years prior—giving up gluten, dairy, and most processed foods—and was finding it hard to maintain interest in the onslaught of new pizza joints, tasting menus, and sandwich shops when I couldn’t eat most of what was on the menu. At the same time, I sensed that Portlanders’ interest in fitness and health was reaching a fever pitch, and the really city needed a resource for PDX-centric health news and information—so I had a blast getting to know all the incredible people making wellness a vibrant lifestyle and vibrant sector of the local economy. When I left Portland Monthly and my incredible work family there, I knew that my future was in health and healing, and with a freshly minted yoga teaching certification under my belt, I knew that ZOOM+ was the perfect next step. The rapidly growing, Portland-based healthcare company is really doing things the right way by focusing on maximizing human performance, and because I truly believe in using food and movement as medicine before pills and procedures, joining that team was a no-brainer. At ZOOM+ I have had the pleasure of launching a series of free community food and movement classes, launched a new blog (because I’ll probably never escape being a writer), and have helped the company get out their incredible message to a new audience of health-savvy, creative Portlanders. But a few months in, I started getting this sensation that I needed to be using my skills in a different way (my sister calls that my itchy feet—a regular sensation in my life that pushes me forward to the next big thing). After nearly a decade of writing about local food, gyms, and trails, I realized that most people don’t need more information about health, they don’t need more dos and donts lists, healthy recipes, or tips for sleeping better. Thanks to collaborative internet communities, amazing doctors focused on holistic wellness, and books that are really empowering us to take health into our own hands, most of us have all the facts we need—but still find ourselves feeling stuck, overwhelmed, stressed out, and not creating the habits we know would make us feel more alive. That’s why, in April, I’m transitioning to part time at ZOOM+ and launching Wildwood Coaching, a trail-based health coaching practice connecting Portlanders with insight into their own personal roadblocks to wellness, plus a community of resources—from the best acupuncturists and naturopaths to personal trainers and juice companies—that can really help them put all that health information into practice in their own lives. I like to say that it takes a village to create and maintain a healthy lifestyle, and I’m excited to introduce people to mine. I’m so stoked to work with people one-on-one, instead of simply writing into a void that, frankly, sometimes leaves me feeling unfulfilled and lonely!
What are your favorites places for breakfast, healthy boost, and the getting inspiration?
I’m definitely a breakfast-at-home person—because the closest breakfast spot is at least 15 minutes away from my house!—but I spend a LOT of morning time in coffee shops. I love picking up the energy of creative people doing what they love in their community, be it typing a novel, brainstorming with their friends, raising rad Portland babies, or plotting routes for their backpacking trip. Since moving out to Skyline, I’ve been spending more and more time in St. Johns, so my current favorite spots are Cathedral Coffee, St. Johns Coffee Roasters, and Ristretto Roasters in Schoolhouse Electric (aka real-life Pinterest). I also adore The Arbor Lodge and Townshend’s Tea on N Mississippi because I’m a sucker for kombucha on tap.
What means happiness to you and why do you think it is important to create a life after your dreams and not after what other expect from you?
Happiness to me is making decisions every day that increase my ability to show love and feel free. I’d be kidding myself, and anyone who reads this, if I said I don’t about care what other people expect (I certainly have stayed in plenty of situations longer than I’d want to because of how it would look on my resume or, dare I say it, Instagram) but at the end of the day, I know that I need to be living life according to my priorities—love and freedom. Freedom means a lot of different things to me, and I love talking to people and what it means to them. That’s a large part of what Wildwood Coaching is about, helping people define what makes them happy and free, and consciously creating a life that leaves them feeling that way more often than not. When we’re honest about what makes us feel truly free, not just buying into what we think we should want or what we’re told to want, we can really start living the life we were born to live.
What are two suggestions you can women give who are either fearful or don’t have the option to step out of their 9-5 life but want to make a change in their life?
First and foremost, make it a priority to get some prescription-strength nature on a regular basis. Working out in a gym is a blast—I love seeing familiar faces in spin, yoga, and bootcamp classes and sweating to great music—but I think it’s just as important for our physical and mental health to connect with nature. Here in Portland, we have access to some of the best public parks and trails in the world (plus top-notch local rain gear) so there’s no reason to do all of our working and playing inside. The time you spend walking from your house to your car to your office doesn’t count! Surrounding yourself with trees, flowers, and dirt is a proven way to reduce anxiety, lower your stress hormones, and spark creative thinking. It’s always worth it, every time. Second, I think it’s really important to be honest about the amount of time we spend watching television or mindlessly poking around the internet. On the days that I’m the busiest and feeling the pressures of work, I can typically find at least an hour of accumulated time that I spent scrolling through Instagram or watching videos on Facebook. When you cut out tv and limit your screen time to what’s truly necessary, you’d be surprised how much free time you actually have to start creating the life you want. (And a bonus tip: if I’ve learned anything in all the changes I’ve made over the past few years, it’s that in order to get what I want I need to ask for it. If you know there’s a change that you need to make, work with a coach or a counselor to work through the blocks or fears that are keeping you from making it happen!)
How do you stay grounded in those times of your life?
I tend to take grounding pretty literally—when I’m frazzled, I look to the earth and getting my feet in some dirt (or, more often in Portland this time of year, in some mud). I’m a big fan of “traditional” meditation, but nothing calms me down faster than breathing deep while taking a walk in the woods. If I don’t connect with nature, I start going a little crazy and my creativity plummets. That’s a big reason my boyfriend and I decided to leave the city and move out to a little house in the trees. Sure, my commute is a lot longer, but coming home to a mossy forest, endless trails, and deer outside my window makes it all worthwhile.
You have a record player at home, what role plays music in your life?
Music is my love language! I’ve always had this habit of scoring my life like a movie soundtrack, from driving through the woods to dinner parties to new friendships and romantic moments. I actually still have the mix I made to be the background music of makeout sessions with my boyfriend back when we were in high school—it’s called the “doing homework” mix, and yes, sometimes we still snog to it (ask me about the epic tale of love of my life sometime, but that’s a story for another interview). I still make a new mix every month, using iTunes and now Spotify, with music that fits the mood of my life at the moment. It’s fun to look back at years past and go, man, I was really in a funk that August or aw, that was my adorable pop-punk phase. I’m also a nostalgia junkie, and because I associate music so strongly with certain moods and people and places, I use albums, mixes, and artists as a form of time travel.
Who are your mentors?
My parents are truly my mentors, because they represent success to me in so many ways. They
Where can we find you when not enjoying your life in the woods?
At the farmers market! The Portland Farmers Market was really the beginning of my life in Portland. Back in March of 2007, after six months in town, I hadn’t really found the groove of the northwest and missed the California sunshine. I happened to show up at the (very rainy) opening day of the Portland Farmers Market at PSU and knew I’d found the beating heart of my city. The food, the farmers, the buskers—I was in heaven. I waltzed up to the information booth and pretty much begged them to give me a job, and because they gave me a camera and a microphone I pretty much owe the farmers market everything—my career as a food writer, my relationship with Portland chefs (I hosted the weekly Chef in the Market cooking demos for seven years and will be back on the stage this year to celebrate the market’s 25th anniversary!), my social media know-how, and my health. I still shop at the market every Saturday, so you’re likely to find me taking photos of the first asparagus or weeping in joy over the reappearance of Diva cucumbers.
Say Hi to Allison when you see her or hop over to wildwoodcoaching.com