Women Who Explore - Rebecca Walsh
Rebecca Walsh has worn many hats before founding Hike like a Woman. Professionally, she was a military veteran for eight years before she decided to share her lifelong passion for outdoor adventure.
Hike like a Woman (HLAW) started as a simple blog and podcast, but her inbox soon began flooding in with notes of outdoor experiences from women around the globe. Today, Hike like a Woman not only shares a gamut of experiences from women all around but is also working at having women savour these breathtaking experiences together.
As Rebecca Walsh embarks on adventures with Avenza Maps, we decided to reach out to her this International Women's Day to inspire you to hike into the unknown in confidence. With Avenza Maps, you enjoy access to nearly a million maps even when off-the-grid. Also, if you happen to be trail-blazing by yourself or in a group like Rebecca Walsh, there is much more you can take advantage of, like, creating your own route even!
Here are some responses to questions we asked Rebecca Walsh that are certain to inspire you:
What does International Women’s Day mean to you and who inspires you to be the explorer you are today?
I think that women should be celebrated every day! We're amazing. But it is nice to have a day devoted to celebrating women all over the world. For me, the day is about remembering amazing women who have come before me and trying my best to think about how I can be a better example and role model to the girls who are following in my footsteps. The outdoor industry needs more female leaders, I hope I can encourage young girls that there are professional opportunities for them in our industry.
Having been a military veteran, what does it mean to be a woman explorer in the part of the world and society you live in?
On my last deployment to Iraq, I was very involved in women's initiatives- helping Iraqi women start small businesses, everything from hoop houses so they could start small-scale farming operations to purchasing sewing machines so they could become seamstresses. Watching the grit and perseverance of those Iraqi women was inspiring, it gave me the courage to start my own small business after I left the Army. Women are strong and capable no matter where they live.
You run a successful blog that encourages women to participate in in-person guided hikes and share their gamut of outdoor experiences. However, during these unprecedented times, how would you suggest women continue to be motivated and encouraged?
If the pandemic has taught us anything, it's that nature is a place of health and healing. All of our adventures certainly look different today than they did a year ago. But I still think we can all lace our shoes up and go for a walk outdoors and instantly feel less stressed out, less overwhelmed and happier in general. There's comfort in nature, even if it's just a few minutes outside every day.
Could you elaborate on the opportunities that helped you build the 'Hike Like A Woman' Community?
I started HLAW several years ago, it started as a simple Mommy blog sharing experiences that I was having on the trails with my young children. It grew really quickly, almost too quickly and we lost our focus and we lost sight of what was important to us, our community of really rad women. The past few months we've really simplified things and gone back to our roots of providing quality online content, outdoor education experiences and guided trips. In many ways we had a map with where we wanted HLAW to go, we didn't stay the course but we learned a lot along the way. So, I'm excited to bring new life in HLAW.
How do you stay motivated and inspired to be the model you are to explorers out there? Any woman, in particular, you would like to acknowledge for the same?
I love it when I get an email or a message from someone in our community telling me about an adventure that they went, something new that they've learned or a fear that they've overcome. That's what it's all about. HLAW is not about me, it's about helping women explore the backcountry safely and with confidence. I'm inspired by my community of every day women who get out onto the trails and encourage others to join them.