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Spouse in focus: Brittany Catanzaro

Travel blogger inspires JBLM one hike at a time

Brittany Catanzaro enjoying the beautiful views during a recent hike. Photo courtesy Brittany Catanzaro

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If you follow social media travel sites such as Travelers from JBLM or Hike Washington, chances are you have seen Brittany Catanzaro's hiking adventures. While she's only been stationed here since March, she's made an impact in the Joint Base Lewis-McChord hiking community through regular posts about the best places to get out and be with nature. She includes great detail such as distance, difficulty, kid/pet friendly, and whether you need a pass, and she is always quick to answer questions and offer advice.  

"Don't restrict yourself with distance and go visit amazing places like the Olympic Peninsula, Columbia River Gorge, and the North Cascades. Stretch your boundaries and go a little bit further," she has said to encourage other hikers.  

Brittany suggests thoroughly researching your destination before heading out. She says the only times it's disappointing is if it's closed, but you need to know where to park, if you need a pass, and if you have to head a certain direction on a trail. Also make sure you properly pack your bag with a compass (Brittany uses google maps for tracking -- which still works even with no service), tons of snacks, water, extra clothing, sunscreen, a knife, a flashlight, a safety blanket, emergency fire kit and a first aid kit. Brittany also loves to bring her hammock and bright pink flamingo inner tube.

While stationed in Italy for three years, she traveled to 33 countries, regularly hiked the Dolomites, and even went as far as Norway to cross Trolltunga -- a difficult 16-mile hike to a cliff with breathtaking lake views -- off her bucket list. It's no surprise that in the short time she has been here, she's already made her way up to Whistler, Canada. Being a mobile military spouse won't stop her from living her passion. "No matter where I move I will always do what I am passionate about -- I moved to El Paso for a year and found amazing places to hike!"

Before moving to a new place, she loves to research the area and save all her favorite hikes and travel destinations to google maps; "so then if I'm in Issaquah or Seattle, I already have everything saved that I want to see!" Brittany recommends trying to make at least one new friend when you find yourself at a new duty station. 

"Our husbands are almost always gone, so my advice would be to seek a girlfriend as soon as you move. I usually try to find at least one friend, and when our husbands are gone we usually adventure together. It would make time go by so fast and then when they come back you're okay, and you're happy."

Brittany grew up in Southern California, minutes from the beach and only an hour from the mountains. She began hiking in high school, and has since made it part of her lifestyle. She then went to college to study art and loves to paint with watercolor. She finds her inspiration while hiking and is happiest when she is able to go at least twice a week. She is a talented photographer preferring to use her iPhone 8 and Go Pro 5 while hiking. 

"My favorite picture recently was taken at Paradise at Sunset. You cannot take a bad picture there at that time of day." She also finds her inspiration by following other travel blogs and seeing where people are going. Her next bucket list travel destinations include Machu Picchu and the mountains of Patagonia. Follow all her adventures and travel blog on Instagram @brittanywanderlust.

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