Meet Your 2019 Dream Team

A Recap of our Team Training in the Red  

Greetings Explorer Chicks! 

Last weekend we held our first-ever Dream Team Training Retreat in a very lovely Lodge in the Red River Gorge. You see, this has been a vision of mine since 2015. I distinctly remember being in Denver and imagining how Explorer Chick Training would play out. Not only would it be packed full of your traditional operations training (Who is Explorer Chick, your Role, Pre/During/Post Trip duties, Client profiles), but more importantly it would be a bonding experience. 

Why the emphasis on bonding? Well, if you have ever traveled with us, then you already know. This is precisely what happens on our trips. How can we, as guides and back office, effectively orchestrate the Explorer Chick experience, if we have not experienced it for ourselves? It was an exercise in empathy – albeit an extremely fun exercise. Definitely, not your typical corporate training. 

And, I knew it worked when during our final dinner together we went around the table to share our “Thorns, Buds, and Roses” from the weekend (Our bad, where we can grow, and the beautiful). Jenn shared that her Rose was feeling as if she had the Explorer Chick experience. 

Our team is now 10 women strong. Last weekend we welcomed aboard three new guides and several of our current team members had yet to meet. (We are committed to working without boundaries). Hmmmm….Doesn’t that sound like the women on an Explorer Chick trip? Solo Travelers, friends, people who had just become friends on Social Media?

So, how did this whole thing play out? Well, for starters, I laid in bed at home on Day 1 sick as a dog. Explorer Chick Guides, Becca and Lynsey, confidently took the reigns to kick start the training. (Mind you, Lynsey had already done an incredible job with the planning, logistics, and agenda 💗). They led the team in round table critiques and discussions, before kicking off SHE-Nanigans. I woke up the next morning to texts, missed calls, Whatsapp and Facebook messages all coming in around 1 am to check in on me, let me know they miss me, and to give a quick training update. 

I arrived Friday afternoon to a group of women who had instantly bonded. A group that was laser-focused during training – asking quality questions, sharing ideas, listening. Then, that same group would erupt into hysterical laughter or share one on one conversations with each other the second we finished. 

This was a group that met my idea of Explorer Chick Professional: Strong, smart, confident, compassionate leaders with enthusiastic energy and witty, fun humor. I mean, this is the kind of woman I want to travel with! (Not some fuddy, duddies!)

What really impressed me the most about this group was completely unplanned and unanticipated. After our training on Saturday, I randomly shared this crazy idea I have had for well over a year now. Not even two seconds went by before the vision was in motion. Everyone fell into their natural roles working together as a team to make this project happen. There was an eruption of Unicorn Snot, dancing to Cardi B in our sports bras, intense moments of silence, bongos, creativity, and hysterical laughter. Three hours later the project was finished. (All shall be revealed in a couple of months!). 

Every one of us is still in awe as to how we pulled that off. (Seriously, you’ll see what I mean in a couple of months). All I can say is this Explorer Chick Dream Team is solid – Passionate, Energetic, Smart, Funny, Caring, Supportive, and Bold. 

During our final dinner, I shared my Rose. I shared with the team how I had been extremely stressed out leading up the weekend. Not only was I opening up the inner workings of my company, but also the women who we travel with to nearly perfect strangers. We are a small, boutique operator. Our Explorer Chicks have become our friends with shared stories, secrets, and jokes. We’re not a multi-million dollar corporate tour operator who sees their guests as dollar signs. We see the actual faces of our women, know their stories, and genuinely give a damn about them. This scared the bejeezus out of me!

Then, I looked around the table at these 9 women, and I told them that our Explorer Chicks are lucky to be adventuring with us in 2019. I am extremely proud of and confident in our Dream Team. These women are the real deal. 

I could go on and on about last weekend, but I won’t. I’ll finish by simply saying I am humbled by this team of women who understand the value and share the passion for adventuring in the outdoors with like minded women. 

I introduce our three newest members of the Dream Team below. You can also scootch on over to our TEAM PAGE to meet all of us. 

Cheers to Boundless Adventures! 

Nicki Bruckmann
Founder, Explorer Chick

Jaimie is an Explorer Chick Guide, a cyclist, a chief tent-erector, an off road driver, a free diver, and an enthusiastic hiker whose passion for mountains and adventures fits right in with the Explorer Chick ethos. Her love for the outdoors began when she was just a child and has never stopped. She’s been lucky enough to travel to some incredible destinations throughout the world like chasing cattle across glaciers in Pakistan and swimming with sharks in French Polynesia. Originally from England, she moved to California over 5 years ago and hasn’t looked back. Road-tripping and laughing her way around the country has led her to some fun filled adventures including solo hiking 265 miles along the John Muir Trail including a Mt. Whitney summit, cycling 700 miles from Portland to San Francisco, and camping in the Redwood forests for fun. If she’s not exploring the Sierra Nevada’s, she driving around Mexico, or immersed in the local cultures and nature. Her hobbies include sleeping under the stars, surfing really badly, making strong coffee and jumping into lakes. Nothing makes her happier than to share her love of the outdoors with as many people as possible.

Katie is an Explorer Chick Guide, with a passion for adventure in…well ANYWHERE. Katie was born in Georgia, but has lived in multiple states and overseas before making her way to her current home in Arizona. In her former life she was a Project Coordinator for a company in luxury real estate before deciding to hang up her ‘corporate hat’ to earn her NOLS Wilderness First Responder Certification and to get lost outside for a bit. Katie has guided and completed the 30 mile round trip trek to Havasupai over 20 times and has extensive experience guiding in the Grand Canyon National Park and Sedona. Her favorite places to play include Yellowstone, Zion, Rocky Mountain National Park, Jamaica and Havasupai. Katie enjoys meeting new people, backpacking, hiking, laughing until she cries, pizza, party spin class, bubble baths and is always down for a last minute/spontaneous adventure.

Erin is an Explorer Chick Guide who loves to travel to wild places with wild people. She has over a decade of experience in the outdoor industry, and has worked as a backpacking and canoeing guide, a climbing instructor, environmentalist, and adventure program coordinator. She has hiked, climbed and paddled across more than 30 of the US National Parks, as well as in Canada, Central America and Europe. Erin is a NOLS graduate and WMI certified Wilderness First Responder, and holds a degree in Hospitality & Tourism Management. She is a mom to one adventurous boy and a sweetly mischievous pup. She is happiest when hiking, and spends every free moment exploring the Red River Gorge, in her home state of Kentucky.

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