Katherine Donnelly | 07.05.2018

As part of Outdoor Project's Women In the Wild series this summer, I have had the honor of working with outdoor women from all over the industry to dig a bit deeper into who they are, how they got to where they are now, how they approach the outdoors, and more. These women are all rad in their own right, regardless of where they come from, what they look like, or how "badass" they might be. Whether they're mothers, daughters, sisters, professional athletes, beginners, weekend warriors, "instafamous," or anywhere in-between, their unique stories, journeys, opinions, and perspectives are incredibly valuable and insightful as Outdoor Project - and the industry as a whole - progresses and evolves to become more inclusive to every type of outdoors person. 

Through in-depth and often thought-provoking interviews, I hope to highlight these women's stories, their work, their adventures, and so much more with an eye toward giving them their well-deserved share of the spotlight while inspiring and empowering even more women to get outside!

In this feature we talk to Dani Rodriguez.

If you're ever looking for some good old-fashioned inspiration on Instagram, I highly recommend checking out this Woman In The Wild for her epic explorations and incredible photography (just take a look at the photo gallery to see what I mean). In addition to providing top-notch adventure inspiration to people all over the globe, she has single-handedly started the well-known Mountain Chicks - a women's adventure group and online site providing outdoor events, international retreats, and more! Get the full scoop below.


Probably one of the best sunsets I’ve seen to date! The white sand turned into glitter with a hint of purple in a matter of minutes?. What’s your favorite spot to watch the sun go down?!⠀ ⠀ Photo by @scottyreichard, edited with my presets- link in my bio!⠀ -----------------------------------------⠀ Email: [email protected]⠀ Portfolio: danielletheexplorer.com⠀ Founder of @MtnChicks ⠀ ------------------------------------------⠀⠀ @beautifuldestinations @wilderness_culture @stayandwander @earthfocus @artofvisuals #beautifuldestinations #wildernessculture #stayandwander #artofvisuals #earthfocus #agameoftones #fantastic_earth #earthpix #ourplanetdaily #discoverearth #optoutside #earthofficial #illgrammers #createcommune #exploretocreate #lifeofadventure #keepitwild #discoverearth #visualsoflife #theglobewanderer #tlpicks #exploremore #travelstoke #dametraveler #mountaingirls #whitesands #newmexico #sanddunes

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OP: Give us the skinny on who Dani Rodriguez is.

Dani Rodriguez: I'm a female outdoor adventurer, photographer, blogger and the founder of the women's adventure group Mtn Chicks!

OP: When did you first know that you were going to spend your life in the outdoors?

Dani Rodriguez: When I moved from Chicago to Arizona, I had no interest in the outdoors. I thought nature was silly. It wasn't until I lived in Florida that I realized how much hiking was waiting for me in the desert. Once I completed one trail, I completed 5, 10, 20. I couldn't get enough of exploring! That's when I knew I was going to be spending a good chunk of my time outside.

OP: What does it mean to you to be a woman in the outdoor industry?

Dani Rodriguez: Being a woman in the outdoor industry has helped me realize what leaps and bounds women go through in their lives. Through the Mountain Chicks community, I have met amazing women from all walks of life that just want to get outside! Some want to show off nature to their kids while others travel the world solo. It feels good to be a part of a tight community that empowers one another.

OP: What has the outdoors done for you, and how do you pay it back?

Dani Rodriguez: The outdoors has given me a way to escape and meet some amazing people. One of the ways I have made my mark is through Mountain Chicks. My mission is to get women together outdoors, ensuring they find as much joy as I do out there.

OP: Conservation and protection of our public lands are central themes in today’s outdoor recreation narrative. As someone who spends a significant amount of time outdoors and on public lands, what role do you think outdoor enthusiasts and women-specific outdoor organizations should play in this evolving conversation and landscape?

Dani Rodriguez: Women-focused groups tend to stick together like sisters through empowerment. I think it’s important that we continue to empower one another, but also educate each other on topics like public lands. We need to have conversations about these sorts of topics and practice sharing solutions with one another. That’s how we can empower both one another and the planet, especially since the planet doesn’t have its own voice!

OP: What does adventure mean to you?

Dani Rodriguez: Adventure is the ability to explore the world around you, whether it’s something new or an old favorite.

OP: What mantra or set of words do you live by?

Dani Rodriguez: I really love Maya Angelou’s quote, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

OP: Let’s talk gear - what are your thoughts on women-specific gear? Love it, hate it? Are there any companies out there doing it right? And how so? When does it matter to you most to have gear specific to women versus unisex products?

Dani Rodriguez: I love women-specific gear! I sometimes find that the fit of clothes, backpacks, etc. is much better since the curves on a woman are different than those of a man. I do wish women-specific gear had a wider variety of colors, though. I don’t always want my gear to be pink and purple. I like orange and yellow too!

OP: What is the greatest piece of advice or direction that you’ve ever received and what’s the story behind it?

Dani Rodriguez: My parents have always told me to “go for it.” There are times when I question myself more than I should, and I make “safe” decisions. Recently, I’ve tried to do more of the things that scare me and take risks I think will pay off in the long run.

OP: If you could give one piece of advice to yourself when you were just starting out with Mtn Chicks, what would it be?

Dani Rodriguez: If I could give one piece of advice to myself when starting Mtn Chicks, I would remind myself to be more patient. I always want everything to move faster than humanly possible, even though I’m a one-woman show. I’d ask myself to be more patient and give myself more credit for what is accomplished with the time I have.

OP: In a world seemingly run by online personas, how do you approach social media and how does it play into your lifestyle - both work and play?

Dani Rodriguez: Social media is the whole reason I have my job and why Mtn Chicks is what it is today. Social media connects people in more ways than we could have imagined years ago. I love how folks of a similar interest can come together over one app or Facebook group. As a photographer, I love being able to share my work and inspire others to get outside.

OP: What’s next for you in the coming months and years?

Dani Rodriguez: In the coming months, I want to continue to travel and see some new countries on my list! I see long-term traveling in my future, where I can shoot more epic locations. As long as I’m getting stamps on my passport and fueling my wanderlust, I’m a happy gal. That’s why I’m super excited that Mtn Chicks is finally planning international retreats! This November, we’ll be hosting our very first one in Sri Lanka. It’ll be me and 18 other people on a multi-day adventure in the country!

OP: In your next life, you will come back as...

Dani Rodriguez: A pine tree. They remind me of Christmas, and I have an affinity for lush pine forests! I also love the idea of providing for my surroundings, whether that’s shade for a hiker or a home for animals in the area.

OP: Tell us one thing about yourself that no one knows.

Dani Rodriguez: While I love to be around people, I also love my alone time. After a group hike or get-together with friends, I love coming home and doing a bunch of cooking or binge-watching movies for hours on end! The movie watching is a guilty pleasure, I’ll admit.

OP: If our readers were to take one thing from this interview, what would you like it to be?

Dani Rodriguez: All I want from this interview is for people to get to know me better. Those that you see online and read about have back stories and walk their own paths. I hope those reading this can find a piece of themselves in what I said or at least feel a bit more inspired to get outside.

Learn more about Dani online and by following her on Instagram. Plus, don't forget to check out and follow Mtn Chicks and join in on the adventure fun!


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