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The Short Version: The Outdoorsy Diva blog is designed for anyone who loves to explore the outdoors, but could do without the bugs and the dirt. Creator Lauren Gay updates the site with innovative travel ideas, tips, and product reviews to help readers plan their own exciting adventures. The Outdoorsy Diva also encourages couples to step outside of their comfort zones and try new activities. From kayaking to paddleboarding to solo international travel, the site has it all — no tiara necessary.
I consider myself an outdoorsy person. I’ve taught yoga on paddleboards, gone backcountry kayak camping, and hiked over boulders to remote campsites. I’ve also bathed in icy cold streams and spent hours upon hours at the beach, letting my hair become tangled as I surfed. I have also had my share of personal encounters with wildlife, including manta rays, elephants, dolphins, and bald eagles.
But many of my girlfriends think I’m a little crazy. While most of my friends enjoy spending time in nature and seeing wildlife — they also like a few more creature comforts. As a result, they and their significant others don’t go on as many adventures as I tend to. Many times, they’re not sure how to mix outdoor fun with their need for convenience.
Lauren Gay, the creator of OutdoorsyDiva.com, can relate. She came from a family that rarely went on outdoor adventures. But a few years ago, she began traveling and found out she had a true passion for nature. Now, she shares a wide range of travel tips, suggestions for outdoor getaways, and much more to encourage women and their partners to get comfortable with adventures that don’t have to involve getting dirty.
“I started the blog to connect with people who like to spread the word about these activities that are not prevalent among minorities and within the black community,” Lauren said. “We don’t grow up doing those kinds of things: kayaking, paddleboarding, or going to the state park. That’s not the way I grew up. But connecting with nature and getting outside, it’s important for your mental and spiritual health.”
Lauren wants her readers to learn about the emotional and health benefits of getting outdoors. And as a single mom, she leads by example.
“I felt like, if people saw me doing it, as a single mom, maybe they would think they could try it, too,” Lauren said.
Lauren said she started the blog about five years ago as a way to find things she enjoyed doing and share them with her friends and family.
“I realized that I didn’t know who I was outside of being a mom. I had all these different things I wanted to try. I always wanted to try kayaking or riding a horse, so I just started doing those things,” she said. “Some I did by myself because my friends weren’t interested. Then, I dated a guy who was outdoorsy, so we did some activities together, and I started sharing them on social media.”
Highlighted by Lauren’s fun, honest, and down-to-earth writing style, the blog soon took off. The site includes plenty of variety, from information on foodie adventures around Florida — where Lauren lives — to solo international experiences like a trip to the Azores Islands.
About 77% of her readers are women, and 64% are between 25 and 44. Most are from the United States, but about a quarter of her faithful readers are from elsewhere around the globe. No matter from where her readers log on to her site, Lauren makes it easy to smile along with her as she recounts her adventurous experiences.
Like so many of my friends, Lauren likes to enjoy the best of both worlds.
“I love nature, and I love being outside, but I don’t like the things that come with nature, like bugs and being hot,” she said. “I don’t enjoy the uncomfortable parts of camping like sleeping on the ground or not having a lot of amenities.”
That’s why Lauren highly recommends glamping, a more glamorous version of camping. It’s perfect for people who want to connect with nature but without roughing it.
OutdoorsyDiva.com features many of Lauren’s experiences with glamping. Readers can check out her posts about her adventures at Cayo Costa State Park in Florida, glamping in the Texas Hill Country, in Utah, and many more. Readers have come to rely on her tips for planning trips of their own.
“I’ve become the glamping guru, if you will, for my readers,” Lauren said. “People see anything about glamping, and they send it to me. I’ve done it quite a bit.”
Along with information about family fun activities and product reviews on things like the coolest cars to rent for a getaway together, Lauren also has a ton of tips for couples to have the best vacation ever.
“You have to be honest with each other about the type of traveler you are,” she said. “If you are not a person who likes to have a rigid itinerary and you’re with a person who does, you should know that going into the trip. And you should come up with some kind of compromise.”
It’s also OK not to be attached at the hip for the entire trip, she said. When Lauren traveled with her ex-boyfriend, he always had to play a game of golf wherever they went. That was fine with her — she enjoyed an afternoon visiting a museum or an aquarium and spending some quality time with herself.
One vacation she recommends for couples is Bali, which is ranked one of the top honeymoon destinations in the world. But Lauren says there’s no reason to wait until the big day; couples can head to Bali to connect while taking a cooking class, visiting rice fields, or spending the night in a safari lodge.
As a single mother of a teenage son, Lauren has been pretty busy lately. However, her son will soon head off to college, meaning she will have more time to travel and produce content and travel tips for her site. But she doesn’t have her trips planned out just yet.
“My travel style is definitely adventurous, for sure. And spontaneous. People think I spend many months planning a lot of the trips I’ve done, but I don’t,” Lauren said. “Instead, if I see a place or an activity that I really want to try, I say, ‘Let’s do that, let’s plan it.’”
Still, she does have some concrete plans for the future. She is in the process of launching a monthly Outdoorsy Diva podcast and adding even more product reviews to her site.
“I want to review products for novices like me who are stumbling and learning to use some of these things,” she said.
She’s also trying something daring for a single mom: A blind date vacation. She met a man online in a Facebook group who lives in New York, and their first date will be in Jamaica. And if you’re wondering how it will turn out, Lauren is sure to tell the story on The Outdoorsy Diva.