Debra Hotaling is out to change how women explore: “I’m launching a project called Dareful that curates badass outdoor adventures like rock climbing and surfing for women —and men if they can roll with it — over 50.”
AGEIST: Why did you start Dareful?
I was sitting in a marketing meeting where a young woman explained to me — and I’m 61 — how older women were sad and lonely and needed her client’s product to cheer up our little lives. And I thought, “I just got back from surfing in Costa Rica. I’m going rock climbing next week. And I’ve never been happier, stronger or more badass in my life.” Many of my grownup girlfriends felt the same way but said they didn’t know how to get started in a new sport and where to find their adventure tribe. That’s what inspired Dareful — we connect 50+ women with outdoor adventure and each other.
AGEIST: How long have you been doing it?
We’re in startup phase now.
AGEIST: What sort of adventures do you go on?
We’re piloting two rock climbing weekends this summer in California. We also have beginner surfing sessions and kayaking. And in the wings, I’ve got women instructors available for skiing, off-road motorcycle riding and river rafting. We look to outfitters — many of them women-owned/women-run — who curate adventures that embrace participants of all ages, sizes and skill level.
AGEIST: What is different about how you are now at 60 vs when you were younger?
Now is now. I’m at a point in my life where either I commit to doing those things I’ve always wanted to experience or make peace with the fact that I’m moving on. I’m keenly aware that life is not a dress rehearsal.
AGEIST: What is it about climbing that you like?
As you get older — especially as a woman — you become invisible. Climbing won’t allow that. You’re up on a wall, alone, literally feeling your way through a problem and there’s no way around it. I also love that climbing reintroduces me to fear. In my work life, fear dresses up like anger or procrastination. On the wall or on a surfboard or a rafting rig, it’s just right there and you have to engage.
AGEIST: Any gnarly injuries?
Not today. But the day is young.
AGEIST: How do people join?
Find us at www.dareful1.com.
Debra also wrote a great piece in Lenny recently.
Read here for Shirley Thompson, Atlantic Rower
Read here for Rebecca Rusch, Mountain Biker
Read here for Patti Sheaff, Surfer