Women Leading Women

28 04 2010

Part of the purpose of this blog is to encourage women to believe in themselves, to challenge themselves, and to take the time to reconnect with themselves.  Sometimes, however, doing something on your own for the first time is scary.  If you know you want to try outdoors activities, but charging into the woods alone is more than you can handle just yet, there are other options.  Lots of them.  I’ve talked before about local classes and group hikes to join.  Today, I want to address another phenomenon that has grown in popularity in recent years: women’s adventure vacations.

Google “women’s adventure travel,” and you’ll be overwhelmed at the number of companies out there offering active trips for women.  These outfits encourage solo travelers, and focus on the comraderie and community that develops between women in a non-competitive environment.  They take women up mountains, down rivers, and into canyons…and can give you the opportunity to learn about outdoor adventure without having to worry as much about relying only on yourself.  The list below is just a few of the companies offering these trips.  (Disclaimer: I haven’t taken any of these trips, so can’t endorse a particular company.  However, I can endorse the idea, which is what I’m doing.)

  • Adventurous Wench: Started in 2003 by founder Deanna Keahey, this women’s active travel company specializes in trips for solo women.  While you’re welcome to bring along a sister or a friend, AW seems to cater specifically to solos looking for company.  Trips currently advertised include hiking in Sedona, Ireland, or Napa, hopping around Greek Islands, and confronting wildlife in Costa Rica.
  • Canyon Calling: Founder Cheryl Fleet decided to start Canyon Calling when she realized that women traveling alone bonded easily with other women travelers and were more willing to open up and show interest than in co-ed groups.  Starting with a trip through Northern Arizona, the company now offers trips all over the world, including Alaska, Australia, Peru, and the Swiss Alps.
  • Adventure Women: Founded in 1982, Adventure Women specializes in group trips for women over 30.  Founder Susan Eckert explains, ” [o]n an all-women’s trip, women tell us that they can be totally and unequivocally themselves.”  The company is currently offering trips to places as varied as Kenya, New Zealand, Egypt, and Montana.
  • Adventures in Good Company: This eleven-year-old company specializes in active outdoors trips for women in Europe, Africa, and North and South America.  Trips include backpacking, kayaking, riding, climbing, and other outdoor activities.
  • Call of the Wild: When Carol Latimer lost her secretarial job in 1978, she decided to start organizing wilderness tours, and Call of the Wild was born.  This company specializes in trips for women from all walks of life, traveling together or solo, who want outdoors adventures.  Currently offered trips include backpacking in California, day hiking in Hawaii, and doing all kinds of things in Guatemala (among others).

For something a little different, check out the Women’s Wilderness Institute.  This organization provides “wilderness experiences and outdoor adventures for women and teen girls in the Rocky Mountains and the deserts of the Southwest.”  This organization is different because it primarily offers trips that are “courses,” in hiking, backpacking, mountain climbing, fly fishing…even “Wilderness Yoga.”  The focus is on instruction, guidance, and growth, teaching women and girls skills to build their self-sufficiency, confidence and strength.

So take a look at what’s out there.  Women are leading women into adventure everywhere you look.  If you’re not ready to commit to an extended trip, look into your local adult education centers and wilderness clubs for day hikes and courses, or short overnights.  Go ahead, dangle your toe in the water…and see how long it takes before you start heading out on your own.

© Her Side of the Mountain, 2010.



3 responses

28 04 2010

After the day I’ve had, I’m all about women leading women. I will totally do the Wilderness Institute with anyone who wants to go. I’ve noticed a leaning, lately, in my own life and in the lives of my friends, to rely on men not just for technical skills… but also for emotional growth and stability. Which is kind of unfair for everyone.
Men are wonderful, loving, amazing creatures.. but they don’t understand why it’s important WHICH flower it is ( shoes you buy, song you hear, girl who dates your brother…) that is chosen
. Men are built, mostly, to focus on one thing and get it done. Details are for loooosers. (Looooosers found trampled under the mammoth, done to death while trying to find the perfect arrow head…)
Women are predisposed to multi tasking: baby is fine, toddler is fine, hey what’s that the teen is smoking?, beans need fertilizing, baby is fine, these berries are red, red is good, I think, toddler is headed towards river “Hey! Get the baby!”, men will be home soon, should start dinner..”
So, trying to learn out doors skills from a man can be… frustrating. For everyone. Women power isn’t any more important than man power.. but it’s damned important to know the difference!

29 04 2010
Travel Tips Newsletter

It was really good to hear there are women who support other women. I have had many a good friend ditch me for a guy. Do you think women are just wired to need men more?

29 04 2010

Travel Tips, I don’t think women are wired to need men more. I do think that women relate to men differently than they relate to other women, and I think that women are socialized to let men charge ahead. Studies on women in business demonstrate that women are consensus-builders and team players, and thus tend to downplay their own role in any success; since men tend to be more action-oriented and declarative, their leadership roles are more obvious. Thus, when women are around other women, they do not feel the need to go against grain to be heard, seen, and recognized, and this can encourage women who would otherwise take a back seat to step forward and take on challenges.

All generalities, of course, and a side note, not meant to be controversial. I definitely think that women supporting women is important — and the ditching for a guy? Usually temporary.

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