Pilates and Paragliding; A Look Inside the Life of Kristen Dallum
By Isaac Escovedo, Columnist
The way Kristen Dallum exercises is not exactly conventional, so we went for a walk instead. Dallum walks fast — she likes to get the blood flowing. She walks for at least an hour a day, often with her dog, an Australian Shepherd named Charlie, and sometimes during her planning period.
However, walking is not the only exercise Dallum does. She has a love of the outdoors born from a childhood spent at summer camps on Vashon.
“I grew up going to Camp Sealth and that was really where I learned to love living outside and camping and hiking and just enjoying the outdoors with others and building community there,” Dallum reminisced. “That was definitely my favorite place growing up”
She spent her childhood all over the country, living in Tacoma before moving to Atlanta, Georgia, only visiting Seattle in the summers. After graduation, she returned to Seattle to pursue a studio art degree at the University of Washington.
“I was so focused on getting back to Seattle,” she said as we stood over a table her ceramics students were building. Her classroom is full of projects at varying stages of completion. Clay and paint fleck every wall. Dallum exudes a sort of friendly chaotic energy. Even her stretches are energetic, involving lots of hip swinging and motion.
“During my planning period, it’s very important to me to get up for a walk if at all possible, or do pushups, jumping jacks, stretches, yoga, etcetera,” Dallum said.
It goes to show that there is no wrong way to move and get in shape. For some people, an hour in the gym five days a week is the best way to get fit, but it is equally valid to go for a hike or walk and stretch every day.
Dallum’s ways of staying active are not always the most common. For example, she casually mentioned that she recently became licensed as a paraglider pilot.
“I would say that literally flying like a bird over these gorgeous areas has been a huge gift in my life recently,” Dallum told me, as I finished picking my jaw up off the ground. “That is something that I want to continue to incorporate in my travels, both in the U.S. and abroad.”
She described hiking up mountains with 30 pounds of paragliding equipment on her back and then paragliding off, like a Redbull swigging adrenaline junkie with less Redbull and more pottery.
My overall impression of Kristen Dallum is that of a person who is deeply in touch with themselves. She knows exactly who she is and that gives her the confidence to live her life the way she wants. Even discussing her hour long commute didn’t seem to get her down. Negativity does not seem to exist for her.
“I think for me … the key to happiness is I can’t get what I want if I don’t take time to check in with myself about what that is,” Dallum said.
She has her life together. I left our interview with a new outlook on self care and mental health, but perhaps more importantly I left with the realization that you can be in amazing physical shape without a strict regimen. Wellbeing isn’t about that one day a week you spend three hours in the gym; it’s about consistency. It’s about doing those push ups during planning period and walking your dog every day.