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Women-owned travel company donates to breast cancer research

When travel pioneer and founder Susan Eckert lost her battle with breast cancer, the company started to donate 5 percent of profits to research.

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Adventure Women
The AdventureWomen Team: (left to right) Eliza Hatch, Nicole Wineland-Thomson, Judi Wineland, and Erica LandersonCourtesy

In celebration of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we’re shining the spotlight on this mother daughter adventure travel company who donates 5 percent of its profits to researching the disease.

AdventureWomen is a women-owned and women-run adventure travel company that operates tours exclusively for women. We spoke with Judi Wineland, co-owner of AdventureWomen, to talk about the roots and goals of the company, and why they’ve decided to give back in this way.

Q: What is Adventure Women all about?

A: Our personal love of the outdoors and actively engaging with the world around us allow us to create itineraries full of insightful exploration and challenging adventure. These moments of engagement empower our guests. We know that women of all ages and physical fitness levels love to get outside and get active, and we welcome them all!

By creating a safe and supportive platform for women to challenge themselves, we allow female outdoor enthusiasts to take risks and reach outside their comfort zones. All of our women enjoy the outdoors, and our surveys indicate almost 30 percent of our women even like “challenging” to “high energy” activities. They can fuel their sense of adventure, resulting in a sense of triumph and empowerment. On our trips, women cross boundaries and break barriers, sometimes surprising themselves with what they can accomplish.​

Q: How has AdventureWomen changed since its start in 1982?

A: AdventureWomen started as “Rainbow Adventures,” which were camping-based backpacking trips where everyone drank “cowboy coffee” and spent significant time hiking. As the company’s founder, Susan Eckert, grew, so did AdventureWomen. Today, we stay in high-comfort accommodations and eat delicious cuisine. We hike, raft, and ski but also take cooking classes, go to traditional hammams, and taste wine. We meet with local women in the destinations we visit, whether it be a female beer sommelier in Canada or women who free-dive for pearls in Japan. While the accommodations and destinations we visit have changed, the connections women form on these journeys are the same – both within the group and with themselves. The camaraderie, fun, and friendship abounds and the spirit of those shared moments around the campfire continue.

Today, we operate AdventureWomen as a mother-daughter team: three women who love adventure. The company has grown since its start in 1982. However, we still have a core group of travelers who come back to us year after year who make up our “Advisory Board.” These nineteen women believe in our mission and work with us to create trips. They come back to us because the essence of AdventureWomen remains the same: to challenge yourself and forge new connections with women and the world around you. Our travelers tell us they gain life-changing experiences from our trips and leave with a new outlook. This powerful ability to transform our travelers remains, as the women who make up AdventureWomen grow.

Q: Why are you donating 5 percent of your profits to Breast Cancer Research?

A: As a company devoted to women, we feel it’s important to put our resources behind a philanthropic initiative which can impact women’s lives around the world. Furthermore, we want to honor the legacy of the company’s founder, Susan Eckert, who passed away in May after a long fight with this terrible disease. Susan was a pioneer and visionary. She took great risks and worked incredibly hard to create a community that empowered women and allowed them to grow. We are incredibly proud to be carrying on her legacy through this effort. Her courage, determination, brilliance, and heart will always be the foundational energy which continues to power AdventureWomen long into the future.

By donating to the Breast Cancer Research Fund, we want to actively put our resources towards research initiatives which will help the many women around the world that have been afflicted by this disease or know someone who has.