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The Courage to Start Again

The Story of Explorer Chick began when a woman was fed up with the mold she was forcing herself into.


Our founder Nicki Bruckmann never sought out to start a travel company. When she got divorced, she was quitting the American dream to learn how to breathe again and in doing so, created this magic community of women who choose living over existing. One year of travel taught our girl to get up out of that office chair, trust her bad self, and lean hard into other women.

The Explorer Chick Story

The Story of Explorer Chick began when a woman was fed up with the mold she was forcing herself into.

My name is Nicki Bruckmann and I am that woman – The founder of Explorer Chick.

Rewind to 2014, I was married living in a 2 bedroom home with a corporate finance career and ticking all the right boxes. By all accounts, I was doing the damn thing.

Yet somehow… I wasn’t happy. I wasn’t fulfilled. I was just going through the motions letting life happen to me.

Deep down, I knew there was more I wanted from life.

So, I called it quits and all the walls that had boxed me in came crashing down.

I got divorced.
I quit my job.
I questioned my sanity.
I stepped into the complete unknown scared as hell.

But I was also 100% free to finally start living a life designed by me. To change my reality.

One thing was certain – This brand new life had to be filled with travel and adventures.

Of course, it took an entire bottle of wine to piece it all together into one coherent grandiose idea – I was going to start an adventure travel company for women.

What would I call this collective of adventurous misfits? I found the answer one night when I randomly flipped open an old coffee table book that had been collecting dust. The very first page I turned to was a quote by Evelyn Lauder:


“I’ve always believed that whatever you are when you are young, as you age, you become more so.”


In the margins, I immediately wrote: “I am an Explorer.”


In 2014, I officially launched with a whopping ZERO bookings! Quite the reassurance and vote of confidence after risking everything I had to pursue this little endeavor I dreamt up while a wee bit drunkie on the wine.

But I still had all of the freedom. Instead of wallowing in failure, I set out to travel that first year. And I ticked off a LOT OF FIRSTS.

I rappelled from a 75-foot waterfall practically in tears at the bottom.
I second guessed a jump from a 35-foot waterfall, before learning to shut down my brain and trust myself.
I climbed my first big mountain learning to ‘focus on the task at hand’ while walking a cliff line.
I traveled solo for the first time to Costa Rica.
I met incredible people from around the world forming lasting friendships and a new community.

I was experiencing firsthand the power of challenging travel. I was transforming into a bolder version of myself with every new scary adventure.

I was learning easy doesn’t change you.

During that year, the purpose of Explorer Chick was born – We exist to create a space for women to discover their super powers. And do it through life-changing adventures with a supportive community in the most beautiful places in the world.

In 2015, I guided the very first Explorer Chick Trip with a whopping 3 guests! One of my close friends brought 2 of her friends along to the Dominican Republic.

By sticking to our purpose, we now welcome over 1,000 women yearly who travel with us across 5 continents.

Which is impressive, right?

But for us, it’s more than a count of travelers.

It’s over 1,000 opportunities to make an actual positive impact in this world.
It’s over 1,000 chances to change lives.

In a million years I couldn’t have guessed the magnitude of Explorer Chick. It’s no longer my story, but the stories of thousands of women taking a chance on themselves and calling themselves Explorer Chick.

Your comfort zone will always be there, Explorer Chick. When you’re ready to leave it, we’ll be right here waiting for you.