5 Online Adventure Communities Built by Women for Women
Does it really take balls to get outside, huck that jump, go backpacking alone or hike the mountain you’ve been eyeing for the last year? Maybe, all it really takes is a nod of support from a crew of likeminded women. Luckily, with the Internet being as widespread as it is these days, getting connected with these amazing women is easier than ever before. In fact, there are incredible gals all over the world who are stepping up to create communities to serve just that purpose. Here are a few that are dedicated to sharing knowledge, empowering women and inspiring them to unleash the explorer within, proving that you really don’t need balls to be an adventurer.
Women Who Explore
It’s a given this one had to come first, you are on their site after all. Women Who Explore started with two sisters + one design goddess. Now however, it is so much more than a family of three. Women Who Explore has quickly branched into a community for likeminded, can’t-stop-me-now women to encourage each other, share their stories and discover new adventures, products and pals.
“The term ‘explore’ means a lot of things,” says Lindsay, Part I of the sisterhood duo who founded the project, “it may just mean walking the trails behind their house or taking a run after work. To others, it may mean extreme sports and to some it may just be reading the stories on the website […] everyone is welcome here.” It’s one thing to build a community, however, and another to make it into a support system. Women Who Explore isn’t just a channel on a social media outlet, it’s become a massive source of empowerment and new friends built on adventure: “The women, the community, the support, the outpouring of love, this is what makes our project so special.”
Outdoor Women’s Alliance
Like Women Who Explore, Outdoor Women’s Alliance truly believes that being a woman is more than enough to take over the world and dominate adventure – any human-powered adventure that is. Geared towards getting girls out trying that new extreme sport, up the next mountain or just kicking back on a favourite trail, you will find a priceless pool of knowledge and encouragement. They even have groups of Grassroots Teams in different parts of the world to get people started. All in all they strive to strengthen communities, build confidence and teach leadership skills
Founder of Outdoor Women’s Alliance, Gina Bégin, took a moment to respond to some questions about what having a strong, outdoor women’s presence both online and outside really means:
What has been the best part about OWA since its creation?
“Seeing the progression of women-centric community in the outdoor industry. Though Outdoor Women’s Alliance has been around since 2007, the past two years have brought a huge shift with the outdoor industry’s deliberate focus on women’s adventure. We’ve seen not only new social media pages pop up, pushing the visibility of women in adventure, but also women taking it to the streets (er, trails…) and creating community […] Outdoor adventure is one way to share with the masses—both women and men—that women are capable, strong, and out there pushing boundaries. “
This one is for all you West Coast skier girls (bless your souls). Realizing that there was a severe lack of women-geared learning environments for back-country and big mountain skiing, two go-getter adventure pals from British Columbia started up a group to help get more girls shredding out back. Soon, the Facebook group consisted of more than just their friends looking to ski. It became an entire group of awesome mountain babes who were seeking a crew that would get them out to the mountains. In many cases, the girls who joined the group simply sought likeminded friends. They were looking for people that would give them a hand in either pushing themselves to take the sport further, or learn how to do it in the first place. Thus, Mountain Mentors was born! The concept is simple: 1) find girls who love and know what they’re doing. 2) Pair them with girls who love but don’t yet know what they’re doing. 3) Go ski. Not for profit and volunteer based, the system provides a way less intimidating environment to learn the ropes of the back mountain. Plus, it’s always good to have a new crew (the après don’t hurt either).
Women Who Hike
The hiking community to trump all others, Women Who Hike basically guarantees you will only have to get out of bed to slug up a mountain solo if you want to. This is a place that understands that wild doesn’t have to mean scary and that hitting any trail, no matter the length or difficulty, is reason to celebrate. Bringing together women from all over the world (for real, their branches are extensive) in the form of group-hikes and encouraging them to share their stories, the inspiration is endless. No matter the experience level, Women Who Hike allows girls from all over the world to show that conquering any summit is an accumulation of the steps taken to get there. They want to let women know that they shouldn’t be afraid to share where those steps have taken them, and that they’re not alone in those endeavours. Each step is key, and each is easier with a hiking pal to encourage you along the way.
Go Girl! Travel Guides
Realizing that women are often discouraged from traveling alone simply by virtue of being a woman, Kelly Lewis dedicated her travels to a newfound purpose: Creating guides specifically for women to encourage them to take that plunge into booking a flight for a solo-adventure. Through it, she’s managed to build a strong online community of women who, although travel solo, come together to share what they learned on the road. Together they encourage others to step out of their comfort zone and explore. Here’s what she had to say about these pages of pure gold and the community they’ve built:
“I started Go! Girl Guides about five years ago to help inspire women to travel the world, and give them the tools they need to stay safe. Unfortunately, fear holds too many women back from pursuing their dreams of traveling. Our books and our website hope to be the extra nudge they need to make the decision to book the flight– because once you start traveling solo, you realize you’re hardly ever alone!”
These 5 amazing communities are just the tip of the iceberg. With the Internet stretching its web as far as it does, there is an endless well of encouragement and inspiration that will truly never run dry. Not only that, the groups are only growing in size – now’s the time to take the leap, find your crew and create your own definition of “Explore.” No balls required.