First: Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I made my coffee ¼ Carolyn’s in honor of my quarter-Irishness, so please pardon even more ridiculosity than usual. Actually, that’s a lie. Probably the Guin-hic- talking.
I must’ve drunk something, because I could swear that the Chicago River is green.
Either way, I definitely didn’t spend much time at home in the past 3 days, that’s for sure. And that is largely the fault of Ramblen co-founders Natalie and Danielle. Unless you’ve been under a rock, you know that I have recently become a Ramblen Brand Ambassador and Reviewer, and that I, in support of Natalie and Danielle, attended the inaugural Women In Travel Summit to represent Ramblen.
Brought to life by Go Girl Travel Network and sponsored in large part by Ramblen, the conference of 150 women focused on the development of the women-in-travel industry. Three tracks organized the content of the various sessions: blogger, entrepreneurial, and traveler. “Just for Fun” tours and get-togethers were also offered throughout the weekend, and some great prizes were also awarded via raffle. In fact, the Ramblen table proved to be quite lucky: Danielle and Natalie both won prizes (including a brunch for 2 at swanky NoMi, which Danielle generously re-gifted to me (YES)), and we always seemed to be in close proximity (as in, next to our table) of other winners. Proof that Ramblen is a bankable idea!
Most importantly, response to, and interest in, the Ramblen concept was overwhelmingly positive. For those of you unfamiliar, Ramblen aims to provide the active traveler with health and fitness resource in one-place and organized according to criteria often overlooked by larger, mass-review sites such as Yelp or even Map-My-Run.
As I discussed on Saturday, when I travel, I like to continue my healthy and active lifestyle. However, this can be difficult in places I have never before visited. Where should I look to find safe but pleasant running routes? Are there any public tracks in the area (we all gotta do speed work, whether we like it or not)? What is parking like? Water fountains? Help! I forgot my lacrosse ball—where are the specialty sports stores? I just want a healthy, affordable meal that I can feel good about with regards to my digestion and my wallet, and I might be dining alone—where can I go where I will feel comfortable and truly satisfied? Now I have a date—will there be things for them as well? Can they accommodate my diet?
Ramblen is the site to visit in search of answers to these questions without the overwhelming number of reviews (from the high-highs to the low-lows) of a Yelp, etc. Ramblen curates its information to offer the very best—the places that we would tell our best friends to go, not just the places that are convenient. As a result, you are not inundated by numbers or choices, but instead you get the best of the best, provided by people like you and I. Currently, the site has information available for 16 cities across the US, with anticipation for further expansion nationally as well as internationally.
Natalie and Danielle launched Ramblen last year and are currently receiving funding from an angel grant. However, as with any start up, they need your feedback and help to continue to grow. If you are interested in becoming an Ambassador, or perhaps have a particular review you would like to contribute, please let them know via the site Ramblen.co (NOT COM) and SPREAD, SPREAD THE WORD! The concept is one that I feel is important to all of us in this blogging community, and one that, if allowed to achieve its full potential, will be able to fit many voids every one of us feel when traveling or even within our own cities!
Natalie and Danielle had a great number of conversations about how to continue to develop the concept, and I was incredibly fortunate to tag along to several meetings—including one with Lacie, Shami, (Co-owners) and Marissa at Swirlgear HQ!
Not only did the meeting prove to be incredibly productive and informative, but I also got to see the new line in person ahead of the preview party and fashion show this coming Thursday. AND Y’ALL. The fabrics are fantastic, the colors are even better in person, and details are attended to. Now I just have to find financing of MY own!
Other highlights of the weekend include introducing the girls to the gloriousness of Hannah’s Bretzel (x2, haha)
and dinner at Farmhouse with Danielle. Again—I swear I was seeing green….
Must have been the Humdinger. I also met some fabulous local women that I am eager to connect with on both a business and personal level. As I delve deeper into this new direction that I have chosen, I find myself increasingly content, excited, and a bit overwhelmed—but in a good way! Thus far, March has only confirmed for me that I am finally on my way. I am not entirely sure where this route is going to ultimately take me; but for once I am enjoying traveling along it.
Probably because I involved Ramblen. ; )
I hope that your weekends were as marvelous as could be, and even if you are still feeling a little bit hairy, consider that maybe some of that leftover green will soon become nature-produced green!
Would you find yourself utilizing a resource like Ramblen when you travel, or even in your own city?
What is your next travel destination? How do you plan to spend your time?