This morning as I was laying in bed scrolling through Facebook, a memory popped up that a year ago today I announced that I was one of 22 women chosen to be an Ambassador for Hike Like a Woman (HLAW). At the time I was chosen I did not know what this meant other than I would get to connect with women who had the same passion I did, the great outdoors. Well this year has changed me in more ways than I could imagine.
Being an Ambassador had some pretty cool perks, I got to get my name out there through blogs and various publications which help promote my own website, Getting Lost Together. I got some pretty awesome gear to review. I was featured on a pod cast with the creator, Rebecca. But there were three things that stood out to me this year that I was able to do because of Hike Like a Woman.
I became more comfortable in front of the camera. I know this may sound a little silly in this day and age, but I am not 100% comfortable in front of the camera, most of my pictures were of my daughter, husband and or scenery. Since HLAW wants to see women out there on the trails and doing what they love in nature, it was time for me to get over being uncomfortable and put my face in front of the camera. The moment that really pushed me out of the comfort zone was when I was teaching an online class on how to dress for the winter. I figured if women were paying for the class I needed to do my best. I put myself out there in my base layer for all the class to see, even though this was an uncomfortable moment for me it taught me a lot about not worrying about being the perfect size, as that is not what HLAW is about. Now most of my posts, public and private now show me and not just my family.
I got to connect with amazing women who share the same passion and love of the outdoors without the drama. Can you imagine over 25 woman in a private facebook group, working on various projects and ideas without any drama. Well it actually happens, I was surprised myself. I cannot think of one moment when I was part of this group that anyone was petty, dramatic or I felt uncomfortable because of what was being said. This group was so uplifting and supportive it made me realize there can be positivity through social media and with a large group of women. We all shared the same goal of encouraging more woman to get outside and feeling comfortable with being outside. Even though I am unable to attend the HLAW Retreat this year, I will be there in spirit and hope one day I can meet these amazing women in person.
My biggest accomplishment this year has been my hiking group, Hike Like a Woman Monadnock. If you have attended any of my hikes or presentations you know that creating a local women's hiking group has been a dream of mine for a while. I tried to do it through my local recreation department, but due to legalities I was unable to. When I became an ambassador for HLAW it was what I was most excited about. To this date I have lead over 25 group hikes, mostly for women, but I have done special hikes involving kids and spouses. I have also done a group cross country ski where I took women out who had never cross country skied and taught them how to ski.
This group had opened my eyes to the need of having a local women's hiking groups, especially when you have a lot of trails in the area like we do in the Monadnock Region. I have found that so many women want to get out and hike, but they do not want to go alone and do not have anyone that will go with them as I talked about in my blog post, What it Means to Hike Like a Woman. I have had woman from just a few months old to in their 70's. Women of all shapes, sizes, abilities and backgrounds on these hikes. I have had women who live locally, who travel to the area and who are summering or vacationing join a hike. Every hike has been completely different. There is usually a lot of laughing, luckily so far no drama and just enjoying the great outdoors with like minded women.
Even though I am sad that my year is up with Hike Like a Woman, it is not the end of me promoting my love of the outdoors especially towards women and children. I will continue to be giving presentations about HLAW and leading local hiking groups. I am fortunate enough to be a mentor for this years 2018-2019 class of ambassadors. My advice to anyone out there hesitant to follow there dreams and passions, go for it, you never know what amazing things will happen when you do.