I reached out to Gale Straub, founder and creator of She-Explores a couple months ago. A dear friend of mine recommended I check out her site. Not only did I get to speak with Gale about her amazing platform for creative women of the outdoors, but I also got to pick her brain about the ways that she promotes herself. She gave me some wonderful advice which I still use to this day. She-Explores is a beautiful website dedicated to the "novel outdoors woman". It captures the essence of female explorers and adventurers. It makes you want to buy an old van and take off on an adventure across the world. Check out our interview with Gale:
1. What inspired you to create She-Explores?
I created She-Explores before I left on a long road trip. I wasn't sure what it would be like to live in a small space and be on the move all the time, so I started reaching out to other women who were living in vans, trailers, tents, and other types of RV's. I found out they had a lot to share- many were artists, photographers, and storytellers. I decided to expand the site to encompass some of my loves and to reflect the ways many women express themselves-photography, hiking in the outdoors, art, and travel. I write some articles, but most are submitted by talented women. To date, I've had 125 contributors.
2. What is the mission statement of She-Explores?
She-Explores strives to be a community of curious, creative, and daring women who are inspired by the outdoors and each other.
3. What gets you through the difficult days and what motivates you?
A lot of things. I'm motivated by the excited email I receive after I post a woman's artwork or story on She-Explores. I'm driven by the ability to reset my brain with a little fresh air and a walk in the woods. I am constantly inspired by landscape and light.
On the difficult days, I try to take a break. Or I'll get mad at myself, beat myself up over the smallest things. I know that's normal- it keeps me moving forward. If I was bored or apathetic, I wouldn't get frustrated. A large part of me hopes I'm never standing still.
4. What travel or road trip advice do you have for women?
Here's an excerpt from an email I sent a future solo road-tripper in the United States:
Packing: Before you leave, pay attention to your rituals. What do you do daily that makes you feel great? Maybe it's coffee (find a small French press to bring with you) or yoga (don't forget your mat). These are the little things that make a difference.
Pace: Try not to travel too fast. It's easy to get excited and fly through places. Also, it'll take you a few weeks to get used to traveling and find a rhythm. That's OK!
Camping: You can camp on BLM and National Forest land for free up for up to 14 days (more common in the West than the East). There is often national Forest land bordering National Parks.
Hiking: Don't feel like you need to have a plan - head over to the Forest Ranger and he/she will give you advice on day hikes. Make sure to tell someone (the forest ranger and a family member) before you head off on a long hike or out of cell phone range.
5. Top 3 favorite places you have been and why?
Olympic National Park, Washington: Mountains, ocean, lakes, rain forest -it sounds like an infomerical, but Olympic has it all!
Asheville, North Carolina: Great combination of the outdoors and town. There's access to the Blue Ridge Mountains and countless miles of hiking trails. In town, there are a lot of great restaurants, a burgeoning art scene, and too many breweries to tour in a weekend.
Cape Lookout State Park, Oregon: The landscape is incredibly beautiful at this ocean side state park. You can take an easy 6 mile hike to the end of the cape from the beach and be 1000 feet above the ocean taking in views, spotting whales, and marveling at the ever-changing light.
For more information on Gale Straub, check out her website, She-Explores.
Photos: Gale Straub & Jon Gaffney