2020 Schedule Announced For Wild Terrains

The first travel company to lead women-only group trips that support female-owned businesses, Wild Terrains announces its schedule for upcoming journeys to Mexico City and Portugal.

Washington, D.C.-based Wild Terrains, a boutique travel company, recently announced 2020 trip dates for its women-only group experiences in Portugal and Mexico City. Wild Terrains specializes in small, curated group trips for women, focusing on vibrant and culture-rich destinations for the creative minded.

Q. Why do you think there is a demand for women-only travel opportunities?

A. A very long time ago, we used to live in villages where it was easy for all the women in the community to gather, talk and support one another. With the advancement of cities and increasing globalization, it’s very common for us to be scattered across the globe. For example, I live in Washington, D.C., my mom lives in New York, some of my best girlfriends live in San Francisco. Thank goodness for things like FaceTime and group texts, but if we want to spend time together in person, we have to be intentional about planning it. No matter what, someone is travelling somewhere. This scatter effect also means that it’s becoming harder and harder to build lasting relationships and friendships wherever we are. Yet, as human beings, we crave that connection to others. I truly believe a little bit of magic happens when you give women a space to connect with each other. And, so, I think women-only travel is one of the solutions.

Q. What makes this sort of trip popular among today’s travellers?

A. There’s nothing more transformative than travel. Doing it by yourself or with a group of other women makes a super- powerful statement about how far we’ve advanced in the last decade. Again, women want to connect with other women, regardless of where they’re from, what age they are, what their history is. We’re seeing this idea hold true with female-fuelled businesses in other industries as well — for example, The Wing for co-working and Bumble BFF for friendship/networking. I think travel is the next powerful medium for women to take charge, show independence and live a fulfilling life.

Q. Where did the inspiration come from to create this company?

A. The idea for Wild Terrains came to me when I was looking for a women- only group travel experience to go on myself, and I couldn’t find what I was looking for. Most women-only trips are centred around a specific activity (yoga, trekking, surfing) or a specific age group. That frustrated me on a personal level, because I’m a more dynamic traveller and I wanted a more dynamic travel experience – something that incorporated local culture, food, art, design, shopping and history, and exposed me to a more diverse group of women, not just women like me. It also frustrated me on a broader level, because I believe globally we tend to market to women in a very one- or two- dimensional way that misses the mark on what women are really craving in terms of experiences and connections. Just because you like yoga doesn’t mean you want to do yoga every day on vacation, and just because you’re 70 years old doesn’t mean you want to be on a seniors-only trip.

So, I started a travel company where those labels don’t exist. Wild Terrains exists for women from all walks of life, in all stages of life. We want to give women not only a safe space to explore the world, but also a space to nourish their creativity and build relationships with each other.

To bring things full circle, we’ve also made it our mission to always collaborate with the local women doing cool things in the places we visit. If you look at the itineraries of other women-only group tour companies, you’ll find the majority of the local businesses they support with their tours are male-owned. That felt like a true disconnect to me. If I were going to be bringing groups of women to a destination, I felt a responsibility to support local, women-owned businesses.

At Wild Terrains, we curate group trips for women and every aspect of our itinerary partners with women business owners, chefs, artists, designers and architects. What we’ve seen with Wild Terrains is that this actually creates an incredibly powerful and inspiring dynamic between our travellers and our partners. There’s something truly beautiful that happens when we give women a space to connect with each other.

Q. What is the most popular tour and why?

A. Mexico City is by far our most popular tour. We are sold out for 2019, and many of our 2020 dates are already half full. I think it’s done so well because the itinerary is so special — we stay in woman-owned design hotels like Ignacia Guest House and Nima Local House; we have a private cooking class with one of Mexico City’s star female chefs, Mercedes Bernal; and we do one-of-a-kind workshops with talented Mexican designers like Carla Fernández and Mariana Villarreal. Most of the experiences included in our itinerary are not available to any other tour group, and we build in time with the women business owners behind them. It’s a really special itinerary.

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Q. What is your definition of success?

A. My definition of this word has definitely evolved over the past decade. The more time I spend in this business, the more it has changed. We are in the people business, so success is when everyone we interact with feels included, accepted, happy and fulfilled. I think a lot of companies forget to focus on the people. Ultimately, it’s all that really matters.

Q. What life lessons have you learned from your travel experiences?

A. I have learned so much about myself and relationships. I also have learned the very valuable skill of how to pack for two weeks at a time in a carry-on.

Q. Tell us about your childhood, where you grew up and what your family dynamics looked like.

A. I was born in Houston. I have a twin brother, which is funny to consider now, because I spend so much of my job now thinking through group dynamics and I basically lived my entire childhood as part of a twosome group. My dad was an entrepreneur, and my mom worked in the hospitality industry, so I guess the apple doesn’t fall very far from the tree. As you can imagine, I make lots of phone calls to them for entrepreneurial and hospitality advice.

Q. What makes you happy?

A. Oh, the list is long. I am lucky that I have always been the type of person who wakes up on the bright side each day. My family, my friends, my cosy apartment in Washington (that I barely see.), our Wild Terrains partners, our travellers, exploring new places, meeting new people, deep conversations over coffee or wine, beautifully designed spaces or products … I could go on for pages.

Q. Where do you see your company going in the future?

A. Our mission is to create spaces where women connect. Travel is just one medium that makes that possible. We are starting to explore the others.

Q. What are some of the things your guests are able to do that they would not have been able to experience if accompanied by a male companion?

A. I honestly don’t love to distinguish the genders in this way. I think men would also love our trips. That said, I do think women tend to have more open, honest, heartfelt conversations at a dinner table or over drinks if men aren’t present.

Q. What is your favourite city to visit and why?

A. I can’t pick. All I can say is, there is a reason our groups go to Mexico City and Lisbon. I could visit those places a thousand times over.

Q. What do you like and dislike about social media?

A. Social media is complex. On one hand, it’s so vital for a young business like ours. Many of our travellers discover us on Instagram. On the other hand, it definitely presents a curated view of everyone’s life. I’m sure our feed makes my life seem pretty glamorous – travelling to far-off places, meeting with super-cool women and eating amazing food. In reality, that’s my life one week a month, and the rest of my time is spent in airports, living out of a suitcase — and it’s not all that glamorous.

Q. What is one place everyone should visit in their lifetime and why?

A. I think where their family originates from. What’s more important than understanding where you came from and how it’s influenced you?


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Michelle Zerillo-Sosa

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