Bettina Peets is changing her life – one adventure at a time. And, with her new business Adventure Goddess Retreats and Events, she is also doing this for other women. In Bettina’s words,
“Adventure Goddess was created to bring women together to bond, to help women step out of their box, to give women adventurous experiences that help them reclaim themselves and help them dream again. I do all this by creating these amazing retreats that have physical activity, has bonding experiences, workshops. So it can be a five-day retreat, it can be a one-day excursion, but all of it is designed to help women connect with women and help women connect with themselves.”
As her friend, I have had the joy of witnessing and being a part of Bettina’s transformation because adventure has truly become her pride and joy. She has made it her life. (And – I admit – I sometimes think of Bettina as my Adventure Goddess…so what are we doing next, my friend?)
Although, Bettina and I often share our stories and support and share each other, I was excited for the opportunity to have a more formal conversation on Adventure Goddess, embracing change and living the adventure. On a Sunday night, I went over to Bettina’s home, and we have talked about inspiration for her business, representations of African-American women in adventurous activities and valuing ourselves as women.
Kim on behalf MissCareer/Less: Why did you start an adventure business for just women?
Bettina Peets: Because I think men do (adventure) so easily, from Little League to going to sports bars to sports. And once women start having children and families, it doesn’t happen so easily for us. We have to remind ourselves to have fun and support each other.
MCL: I know that you have received both positive and negative reactions to the concept. Can you please give examples of both?
BP: It’s so funny, once women come to an experience, and they’ve done it, afterward, it’s all positive. All positive. The hesitation I get from some women is that they think they should not go on trips or excursions without their husbands. And sometimes the price is an issue. Sometimes women easily spend money on their hair and their nails or spend money on their children and their husband, but won’t so readily give themselves an experience.
MCL: What do you say to (these women) then?
BP: I just put a question out there on Facebook: if women would (go on trips without their husbands) and I just kind of let the answers speak for themselves to those doubters. They were able to read other women’s responses and reflected on their own thoughts as far as alone time, and it’s value. And not just alone time, but time with other women.
MCL: Can you name one of those Facebook responses?
BP: One (response) was ‘We deserve it. We need it because we give our time to our husbands and our children. We need to recharge.’ And one woman even said ‘it makes me a better wife when I spend time away from my husband.’
MCL: Since creating Adventure Goddess, you have been very inspired to include more adventure in your life as part of your self-care. How do you make this happen for yourself within the constraints of having a full-time job and other obligations?
BP: Just like how we schedule our doctor’s appointments, our hair appointments, nail appointments. I just really started to manually schedule (adventures) and now it’s automatic. Like my car, the minute I turn it on, it goes to the beach. (Bettina laughed)
MCL: How has this changed you?
BP: Oh my god. I feel more content with myself. I’m happier. I enjoy my time alone, and I enjoy my time with other women. I think they enjoy me more because I’m happier with myself. I’m excited about life every day. And I don’t even have to be doing anything. I can be sitting still, and I’m freaking excited.
MCL: What are the primary elements you want to integrate into your retreats and what’re their purposes?
BP: I was actually working on something (today), in my retreat. I was trying to give it a name, and I thought about my favorite song, ‘Dream On’ (Aerosmith). I was thinking about the song and the name of the retreat is going to be ‘Reclaim Your Dreams Retreat.’
I want to create experiences that will help women realize all of their potential, the possibility of creating the best life possible. Realizing their own ability to create their own fun, realizing their ability to create excitement in their own lives and not waiting for anyone to do it for them – not waiting for a man to do it for them, not waiting for a job to do it for them. I’m hoping that out of these experiences; they realize that need for fun. I hope they realize the value of fun. And some of the experiences I’m creating are physically strenuous, and I’m hoping that they can push themselves past what they think their own limits are, and that will help them in their own lives.
MCL: Please give me examples.
BP: Like (one woman) showed up for rock climbing after just having hip surgery and she didn’t think she would be able to do it. And she – after having hip surgery 60 days prior – she was able to go all the way to the top, and she was so happy with herself. So a better answer would be creating activities that help women reach their full potential.
MCL: As an African-American women you have identified that such activities as hiking and boating are uncommon for many people of your ethnicity. Why do you think that is?
BP: I think, not so much, that it is uncommon, but people think it’s uncommon. Or maybe a little of both. I think because it could be simply economics; the way some people grew up. Because if you grew up in an urban inner city environment, no you’re not going sailing. You may not go hiking. Your parents might be too busy working to think even about those excursions. So some people need to be exposed to it, but some people of color are doing all of these amazing things; we just need to connect more and bring along our friends who aren’t doing it.
MCL: Although Adventure Goddess is for all women, you have purposely highlighted African-Americans engaged in activities that they tend to be poorly represented in. How do you envision this change?
BP: I’m hoping to have a bigger presence in social media, eventually have a bigger presence in some of the bigger hiking groups and maybe combine with bigger organizations who can collaborate.
MCL: Based on the pictures you have posted (in which) you’ve highlighted some of these activities with women of color, have you received any reactions to them?
BP: Yes. I’ve received a lot of positive reactions and feedback to my pictures. It gets people excited; more people want to go. I get responses like ‘Oh, my God, I can’t believe you did that; I’ve always wanted to try it.’ And that’s another goal of this business; there’re so many things that people want to do, but they don’t have anybody to do with it and they always wanted to try it, so the biggest response is ‘Oh, my God, I’ve always wanted to do that! When are you doing it again?’.
MCL: Do you see Adventure Goddess within a larger social movement or connection?
BP: I do see (Adventure Goddess) connected to the bigger movement of women living their best lives. And women valuing themselves outside of their children, outside of their marriage, outside of their career.
MCL: Can you name other examples you’ve seen this in?
BP: I see it in all the different organizations on social media. The 21-Day Meditation Challenge with Oprah Winfrey and more women in sports.
MCL: Do you think extend we use technology is supporting all these in some ways; you know, because we can see ourselves in other women?
BP: That could be. But take technology away – spiritually, women are evolving, and we have a desire to connect more. Maybe because of technology and because of the work- force; we’ve become so disconnected that today spiritually, we just want to connect with each other.
MCL: Do you feel like you’re valuing yourself more through these experiences?
BP: I do! Every time I climb to the top of a mountain, I feel so freaking awesome. Every time I just sit still in the mountains, I feel awesome. Every time I give myself permission just to drive to the beach by myself, I validate myself. Every time I create an event and I see women bonding, and women pushing themselves, it’s the most awesome feeling in the world. So the more I create experiences for myself, the more I have the energy to create experiences for other women. And it feeds my soul that I can feed others’ souls.
MCL: And how does that carry throughout your day – not just the moments that you’re having adventures – but other moments?
BP: It carries through my day because I know that I’m bringing meaning to my life and I’m bringing meaning to other people’s lives, and that gives me a sense of this deep fulfillment and a sense of contentment that I know what my mission in life is.
MCL: Is there anything else you want to add?
BP: Adventure on! (We both laughed)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR – Columnist at MissCareerLess
Kimberly Cecchini (@tonightatdawn) lives in the greater New York City area and is a graduate of Rutgers University. She is a freelance writer and photographer for a North Jersey newspaper and the founder of the blog Tonight at Dawn.