Friends For Life: Stories From 3 Adventure Women

Untold (until now) stories from fellow Adventure Women about the magic behind the friendships forged through shared experiences on their trips…

From Amy H.:

Where were you in your life before your AW trip? What made you choose to take the Costa Rica trip?

I was facing turning 50 in a year and I was knee deep getting my three children on the adulthood track.  My baby was heading into his senior year of high school and I was seeing some freedom on the horizon!  I was looking for an adventure – something for just me.

Adventure women travel to Tanzania in 2019 in search of adventure. Amy is back row third from right.

Where did you first meet? 

The trip to Costa Rica was EVERYTHING I was hoping for with awesome excursions.  What I didn’t plan on was the friendships and camaraderie of this group.  I really started to bond with 3 women closer to my own age.  Kelly’s laugh was part of that glue – you could not be around her and ignore that laugh!  It really kept things light and fun for our entire group!  #whereskelly

What have you received from this friendship that is unique to you?

It has been unique for me because the group of women all come from different backgrounds and walks of life than myself.

I live in Iowa (not on a farm) but still lots of corn and cows out here!  Over the past 25 years, I mainly stayed home to raise three children and worked part time at their schools and more recently part time at a small software company.  The women I got to know were from very different walks of life than mine.  Kelly and Robin lived in NYC at the time (Kelly as a marketing exec and Robin an NYPD detective) and Nicole lives in Bermuda (working with a sailing team).

“Shared adventure experiences really bond a group together.”

Why do you think this trip allowed for this connection?

Shared adventure experiences really bonds a group together.  I was amazed at the number of women on the trip who had never done ANY of the things we were doing.  I watched people overcome fears and it made me really respect their desire to do these things so far out of their comfort zone!  Everyone was very supportive of each other and it was an uplifting environment.

How often have you met since your trip?

With the end of the Costa Rica trip looming, discussion began about how we wanted to visit each other.  I was thinking “yes, I am either going to NYC or Bermuda”.  Nope, they were all excited about coming to IOWA and going to the Iowa State Fair.  Seriously??   It was a great weekend full of laughs, memories and an arm sling!

Adventure women in Iowa! Amy is third from right.

Adventure women at the Iowa State Fair. Amy is second from right.

Kelly, Robin and I reunited on an AdventureWomen trip in May to Tanzania.  SO MUCH FUN to have the six of us on the same trip again!  We talked about us all going together some day but I am amazed so many of us made it!

What’s your favorite memory with these women?

My favorite memories are the laughs, conversations and good times we’ve shared.  I have loved learning about their lives which are so different than mine.

Do you think you would be friends if you hadn’t met on the trip?

I don’t think our paths would have crossed without having met on the Costa Rica trip.  My life is richer and more complete having met these wonderful people.  They get my “need” to adventure travel!  Many group texts about where we all need to get next with AdventureWomen!

Amy (far left) and her AdventureWomen friends


From Cecelia R.

I have made so many friends on my AdventureWomen trips.  Stacy Bengtson. was my first ambassador.  She is the primary reason I continued to travel with AdventureWomen.  Her encouragement and kindness at a very tough time in my life gave me confidence to climb those difficult trails at Glacier.

Stacey (middle) and Cecelia (right)

I had just completed chemo and radiation for breast cancer and gone through a divorce.  She challenged me physically and boosted me mentally. The week after that trip, I lost my grandson to SIDS.  Stacey sat with me in the following June in the Miami airport on our way to Peru while I cried with joy when I found out that my daughter was pregnant again.  I always research which trips she is guiding when booking my trips.  And we still email and check on each other and our grandchildren.

“She challenged me physically and boosted me mentally.”


Cecelia (back middle) with group and Leslie (front left) as the ambassador

I also seek out  Leslie Stoltz’s trips.  She is amazing and we stay in touch. The first trip I took with her was the Winter Yellowstone trip.  She is not only an amazing ambassador, but a motivator as well with such great positive attitude and encouragement.  I was never interested in birds until I went to Africa with her.  Now, I notice them all the time and try to figure out what they are.

Cecelia (front right) with Russia group in 2018

And, of course, the ladies I met on our Russia trip were very special, including our sweet Emily (ambassador).  I look for trips with her as well.   She is an amazing young woman,  I loved traveling with her.  And Pat and Carol and I have continued to be friends.  We are all excited about doing the Camino trip together.  Both of these women are intelligent and insightful.  We had many interesting conversations.

Pat and I spent several extra days in Moscow and were fortunate enough to attend the World Peace music festival in Red Square.  There were bands from all over the world and many local artisans with beautiful native artwork.  We had so much fun and walked everywhere.  I think we were all amazed at how safe and friendly Moscow and St Petersburg were.  Pat and Carol and I all want to go back in the winter.

Pat (left), Emily (middle), and Cecelia (right)

I don’t know how I would have met these wonderful women and become such good friends without AdventureWomen.  I am looking forward to meeting many more wonderful women and traveling with them.

“I don’t know how I would have met these wonderful women and become such good friends without AdventureWomen.”

From Stacey B., an AdventureWomen Ambassador:

I have met so many wonderful women on the trips I have done for AdventureWomen. It always amazes me how fast we all bond. Some ladies keep in touch over the years and some join other trips I am on. And some let me know when they are in Montana and come stay with me. I love talking to them and remembering the experiences we have had on the trips.

Even though I may not see these women often, when we do get on another trip together, we start where we left off! True friendship.