Alyssa Ravasio: Open the Door and Explore

June 1 - On The Dot
It’s a great day to be a woman! Melinda Garvey here as your voice, with the mission to give women everywhere a place to be heard and tell their stories. We’d love to hear from you!

FIRST THOUGHT: Fostering a Deeper Connection to the Wild World

Who wants to camp out? I’ll admit that I’m more of a glamping kind of girl. Glamping is glamorous camping, it’s lounging in something like a cabin or yurt in the great outdoors with an operating bathroom and phone charger at your disposal. Need I say more?

Whether you’re a glamper or a camper, there’s something special about communing with nature. Today, I dare you to get out of your office or classroom or wherever you are, and take a walk around the block. Sure, it might not be as scenic as a stroll through Yellowstone, but hey, you deserve a break. So go find yourself outside!

WOMEN IN NUMBERS: 2 to 3 Percent

According to a report from the Outdoor Foundation, girls and women are going outside more than ever. Girls and young women participated in outdoor activities 2 percent more in 2013 than in 2012, and teenage girls have participated 3 percent more.

Sometimes, seeing others enjoy nature makes you want to get out there and explore. Think about it: When you see a photo of a scrumptious plate of pommes frites, don’t you pretty much sprint to the nearest fast-food joint?

The same is true with nature. When you see your friend’s cool Instagram photo of a hiking path or a zipline voyage, you’re more likely to pursue those kinds of adventures for yourself.

WOMAN TO WATCH: Alyssa Ravasio, CEO of HipCamp

Is there anything more terrifying than seeing the dreaded “no service” message on your cellphone? Dun dun dun! Usually, this happens when you need it most, like when you’re on the bottom level of a conference center or when you’re driving past vast fields of golden corn stalks on a road trip.

Plenty of us want to just get up and go, but when figuring where to go becomes stressful, we often resort to Netflix binging instead. Between backpacking forums and hiking blogs, it takes a lot of work to plan an excursion, especially if you’re a novice like me.

Alyssa Ravasio is the renaissance woman who is changing all that. For New Year’s Day, Ravasio wanted to see the sunrise (sounds ah-mazing!). It ended up taking her five hours to plan where to go. Once she got there, she missed out on a sublime surfing opportunity because she didn’t bring her surfboard.

Missing that gorgeous wave motivated her to devise HipCamp, a comprehensive website that enables users to search nearly 300,000 campsites in all 50 U.S. states. Ravasio was one of two winners of the GitHub Scholarship, which allowed her the opportunity to take a course on product development through a company called Femgineer. She grew the roots of her company by learning how to code.

At the time of HipCamp’s creation, more than 30 percent of California parks were on the verge of closure because of a lack of revenue. By making it easier to find camping sites, Ravasio aims to increase visitation, which will keep these natural spaces open.

Ravasio says there’s a resurgence in connecting with nature. Most of us have a minute-to-minute obsession with focusing our eyes on web pages and text messages. But when we set our phones down and look up, we’re given space to think and grow.

It’s apparent that this is what Ravasio was meant to do. At UCLA, she studied “digital democracy,” a major she created that looked at how technology affects the world. With HipCamp’s simple beauty and user-friendly search engine, Ravasio has created a truly special online space that helps us open the door and explore.


I leave you with these words by wise-beyond-her-years actress Rowan Blanchard:

“Go and make things you’ve dreamed about. Only you make your own rules. Who cares what middle-aged men think?”

That’s all for now. Be sure to share this so more women can have a voice! Thanks for getting ready with us.

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