When Danielle Thorton and Allison Fleece met while planning a trip to Kilimanjaro in 2012, the ladies realized that they had two major things in common: a zeal for adventure and a high energy level to pursue it. After going on their life-changing excursion, these fast friends founded WHOA (Women High On Adventure) Travel, a boutique business that brings women together through Bucket List itineraries to provide transforming travel experiences.
Recently, I had a virtual Q & A with Allison about WHOA travel and how females can venture more into adventure travel. Here’s what she said to say.
Why does WHOA focus on adventure travel?
There is something very exciting about adventure travel, that forces you to physically and mentally step outside of your comfort zone. We believe in the idea of women coming together to meet challenges that sustain other women. Our model has been to connect women to take on adventures together while simultaneously connecting with and giving back to women locally in the regions we visit. This has been an amazing way to combine physical activity with culture and sustainable travel all at the same time.
From your perspective, how does adventure travel appeal to women? Also, what misconceptions do you think women may have about it?
Women want adventure just as much as anyone. Sometimes people are held back from taking on adventures that are outside their comfort zone because they may not have friends or others to adventure with or there is an innate fear of the unknown.
But, WHOA really brings together like-minded women, women who should know each other, but their paths haven’t crossed and that makes these adventures more comfortable for people. Some misconceptions that we’ve heard women have about adventure travel is that they don’t think they are fit enough to do some of the trips we do. But in actuality, we stand by the notion that our trips are 90 percent mental.
You don’t have to be a marathon runner or a triathlete to hike Kilimanjaro or to hike to Machu Picchu. You just have to have a little drive and will. We love the expression, “Mind over Matter” because that really is what it’s all about. Where there is a will, there really is a way.
What advice would you give women interest in giving adventure travel a try?
You have to go for it. If you have any desire to push yourself and experience the world in a new and different way, you just have to do it! We have a really supportive group of women who come together to take on adventures, and that creates such a positive energy on our trips, we promise you it will be worth it. Also, there may never be the perfect time, but you have to make it a priority and try…Don’t let fear of the unknown hold you back, because you will regret the chances not taken.
How can they physically prepare themselves for these types of trips?
We always say the best training is to just get out there and walk, hike, run, do anything you can to get on your feet and stay on your feet! Break in your boots, and wear your backpack (daypack) that you will be using on our trips. Stairmasters are great and taking the stairs instead of the elevator is a plus too, to get used to the vertical trekking.
What’s next for WHOA Travel?
We are heading to India at the end of the year to do research and exploration for a WHOA trip in 2015. We have big plans to turn WHOA into more than just adventure travel, but for now we are looking to have an adventure on every continent… and we are almost half way there!