Episode Description: 

Whether staying at home with our kids or not, moms are going to face many times when they  crave “getting out of the house”, but either not knowing what to do, or who to do it with.  Whether they’re envisioning a hike, walk or a run, for instance, moms can sometimes feel quite vulnerable without a community to share like-minded pursuits with. And even in this age of technology, many, many moms very alone if they don’t know the right communities to connect with. 

Today’s guest Shanit Hodges, mother of five year old Mason who hikes and travels with his mama quite frequently,  wanted mamas to feel empowered to feel less alone and more connected with the outside world around them. So what did she do? 

She decided to create a non-profit organization around her passion for hiking, motherhood and the outdoors. She calls her organization Hike-It-Baby and is currently connecting hundreds of thousands of families with one another to take on the trails together. Shanti wanted to make Hike It Baby less of a mommy group and more as a family group, and has plenty of stay at home dads joining in on the hikes. 

Shanti, a former social media consultant and writer, who is a columnist for Outside Magazine and Backpacker Magazines, just recently published her second book  Hike it Baby: 100 Awesome Outdoor Adventures with Babies and Toddlers.” and just finished her summer book tour presented by SUBARU with her family in tow. 

Shanti does not want to give off the false appearance that traveling or hiking with little ones is easy. In fact, she often blogs and posts about how challenging it can be. She is not immune to meltdowns, potty-emergencies, and exhaustion. In fact, she provides families with tools and tips for how to work around these occurences. 

She has grown Hike-it-Baby from a few hundred members in 2013 to over 300 Hike it Baby branches, and close to 25,000 paid members with an average of 2,000 hikes monthly across North America. And how did she do this? Through passion, persistence and a true desire to educate and empower families to live healthful, community based, outdoor lifestyles. 

Today, Shanti hopes to continue building communities, both online and offline, that mamas and families rediscover their passions and purpose through nature and in turn effect positive change on the whole world. She also hopes to bring diversity to the hikes and encourage families to get out and support one another.

Episode Take-Aways: 

4:04: Shanti reflects on how being a mom later in life was the best thing that ever happened to her.

8:31: Sometime as moms we feel like we have to have a “tool” to go adventuring, but Shanti suggests simply going outside as a moving meditation if you are feeling insular.

11:05: Kids have an inherent way of slowing us down because of the power of their presence.

13:45: Shanti saw a need for spontaneous, spur of the moment hikes that connect families and new moms, instead of having to arrange way ahead of time, so she created Hike it Baby out of this need in her community.

29:32: Shanti speaks of how the connections we make in nature with one another and the communities we connect with outdoors can be the most profound of all.

37:05: Having children can be tough on a relationship. She almost split form her husband when her son Mason was little. Shanti believes re-connecting with her husband in nature really saved them.

44:49: Self care for moms needs to be an absolute priority or it can go by the wayside.

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