One of the coolest parts of running an adventure soap company is getting to meet incredible people who are doing totally awesome stuff. Nicki Bruckman is one of those people.
We're SUPER thrilled to announce Redbudsuds' new partnership with Nicki at Explorer Chick, "an active adventure travel company offering women only, small group trips, retreats, and workshops." Their mission is simple: Get outside and Play!
How it Started
I met Nicki in early April as a fellow panelist for the Tomfoolery Talks "Adventurous Women" in Dayton, Ohio (a.k.a. "the adventure capital of the midwest. Did you know!?)
Nicki embodies the best ever combination of straight-talking, spicy language and personal warmth. Her laugh comes easy. She is clearly a thrill-seeker, but also passionate about safety first. This blend is hard to find! It was only minutes before I knew we could be friends.
We each approach our adventure businesses from a different angle, but we speak a common language:
We believe that people need connection!
Real connection. To each other, to real experiences, to awesome places. And the outdoors is the perfect playground.
So what exactly is Explorer Chick?
I invited Nicki to share that with you herself. Grab yourself a cup of coffee (or a cold one), sit back, and get ready ....
In a former life, I was a wife, a full-time corporate employee, and the mom to a crazy and murderous, orange tabby cat named Riley Kitty. I lived in a lovely 2 bedroom, Sears catalog home (Yes, you used to buy homes from the Sears Catalog) within the city limits of Cincinnati. I even volunteered on our neighborhood's Business Development organization at one point and directed fundraising efforts for the installation of a new mural at the main intersection. I belonged to the local country club and I don't even golf or play tennis. My career in financial advisory services was promising and positively tracked. Talks of upgrading to a bigger house and starting a family found their way into conversations. I had it all.
And, then I didn't.
“I can’t do this anymore.”
Those six words I muttered to my husband transformed my life. The mold I was forcing myself into finally cracked.
My first thoughts were “Where am I going live?” I was essentially homeless with my future erased, wiped clean, a blank slate. My life as I knew it was gone. Just like that. Poof! Holy shit. That was scary.
But then as an epic hang over faded and my brain began to fire on all cylinders again, I realized I was a free woman. I was presented with the greatest gift of all. A Do Over! I had failed the conventional American Dream, so the “rules” no longer applied. I could do whatever the hell I wanted. I made the decision to recreate the life that I wanted to lead. And, that’s what I did. I took off running with boundless liberation.
But, first, I needed a vacation.
Not the same old, ubiquitous beach vacation. No. I needed a trip that made me feel alive. As an athlete and adrenaline junkie, I needed travel that fed my adventurous soul while pushing my boundaries. Of course, there was one teeny tiny problem. I was out a travel buddy. I was rearing to go, but at the same time stuck. I felt completely at a loss. There was no way I was the only woman in this predicament.
The brain gears started churning and an idea was born. I decided I would create a company that brings together women looking to truly experience real adventures on their vacations. (Remember, no more rules to follow or someone to tell me “No!”). There would no agendas! Hell, there is enough of that in a woman’s daily life! It would just be playing in extraordinary destinations with zero expectations attached. To put it simply, we would do cool shit in cool places with cool chicks!
But what the hell would I call this rambunctious tribe of adventurous misfits? I found the answer at the bottom of a wine bottle and a page from a coffee table book. A good way into enjoying my wine and relaxing on my balcony, I randomly decided to open a coffee table book that had been dutifully collecting dust. The very first page I turned to was 25. I read the following quote by Evelyn Lauder:
“I’ve always believed that whatever you are when you are young, as you age, you become more so.”
In the margins, I immediately wrote: “I am an Explorer.”
Explorer Chick officially launched in November of 2014, but I spent the entire first year traveling. I rappelled from a 75 foot waterfall practically in tears at the bottom. I second guessed a jump from a 35 foot waterfall, before learning to shut down my brain and trust myself. I climbed my first big mountain learning to ‘focus on the task at hand’ approaching the summit and scrambling down a boulder field. I checked surfing off the bucket list in Costa Rica. I met incredible people from around the world throughout my travels forming lasting friendships and business partnerships. Mind you, I always believed I was socially awkward. Travel reminded me I never have a problem finding new friends (if even for 24 hours)! With each terrifying, new experience I grew. This growth seeped into all aspects of my life –friendships, family, business, and happiness.
In November 2015, 3 women joined me in Cabarete, Dominican Republic for Explorer Chick’s inaugural adventure. Since, we have traveled with hundreds of women embarking on Explorer Chick Adventures to incredible destinations.
These days, I have the privilege of witnessing that same empowering growth in the Explorer Chicks on our adventures. I never know when it will happen or the form it will take, but at some point during an adventure there exists a monumental shift. It’s beautiful. It’s powerful. It’s impactful. THIS. This is why Explorer Chick has quickly grown from a concept to a brand to a fiercely strong community. Real Women embarking on Real Adventures. I’m just grateful to be along for the ride.
To close our interview, I asked Nicki to share her top three essentials she must always take on any adventure. They're a mix of practical and symbolic: my favorite!
- Chapstick ... No comment necessary
- Sleeping Bag ... Freedom!
- My Green Hat ... "When I have it on, it means I'm doing something adventurous."
To see Nicki in her green hat, hop on over to her Instagram @explorerchickadventureco or visit ours @redbudsuds. You can learn more about her adventures at www.explorerchick.com.
We're thrilled to be collaborating with Nicki and empowering all the Explorer Chicks with thoughtfully clean shower bars so that after their adventures they can at least get their bodies and hair clean (if not their mouths!), hassle and worry-free.
Small drops make an ocean. We're so proud to be making waves with other awesome women like Nicki!
If you're an Explorer Chick or an outdoor adventurer and want to show us the ripple effect of outdoor adventure in your life, share with us:
- Email your story with a photo
- Tag us on Facebook or Instagram (@explorerchick @redbudsuds) #thoughtfullycleanexplorerchick #RBSintheWild
- Or share in the comments below!
Nicki – Perfect match. :)
JB – Hopefully it’ll happen again soon! :)
Great Blog. Sorry i missed the talk with all the panelists.
Yay! SToked to be partnering with you all!