Chicks Conquering the World: ProjectExplorer.Org

It’s a new year and the best way to mark it is by relaunching a Chicks segment.  Believe me, you’ll want to meet Jenny Buccos.  Follow the breadcrumbs of a business minded project manager’s awakening to the gifts of travel.  Jenny saw a deficit in the world and instead of dismissing it – she started a non-profit organization – one that blends joy, discovery and circling the globe.  But not just for anyone, her educational multimedia content targets the most impressionable – school children.  If you’re an educator or just intensely curious about our global community, welcome to ProjectExplorer.org

Q:  You founded ProjectExplorer.org in 2003.  Why combine education, children and a video travel series?  What did you see in the world that was lacking and prompted you to start this organization?

A:  In the early stages of developing ProjectExplorer.org, I found that people had a wide variety of preconceived notions about other countries and cultures, particularly here in America where our culture, news, and discussions can be so inwardly focused.

In our rapidly shrinking world, I believe global understanding is a critical 21st century skill that all students will need to possess in order to succeed. Seeing foreign places firsthand and having my own beliefs challenged was a real awakening for me, and I wanted to try and give that experience to as many people as I could — especially young ones. Of course, it is not possible to take every student abroad. For me, the solution was simple: by creating free student-focused videos on global topics, thousands – even millions – could experience the world beyond their borders through online video.

Chicks Conquering the World: OT Surf

I humbly apologize for missing last month.  But hey, I think this segment is timely.  Today is the first day of the summer solstice and International Surfing Day.  A day to be aware of preserving our oceans, embracing our relationship to nature and spirituality… and wearing sexy bikinis that won’t fall off as you catch that surf break.  Having the same dread swimming or snorkeling, there have been numerous times I feared losing my dignity and my bikini.  Christy Woodrow of OT Surf hopes to change that through an inventive design and her love of the environment, by manufacturing at the local level.

Q: Big concepts at play here: surfing and your love of the environment, how does that translate into creating a swimsuit line for women?

A: Living in San Diego and traveling often to surf in warm water waves means that I spend a lot of time in a bikini. I started to notice that I was spending tons of money and energy trying to find a swimsuit that didn’t cause me to moon the entire beach. After trying many different bikinis that didn’t fit the bill, I came up with an idea, so we set out to learn how to turn our idea into a product.

Q: What materials did you source to create the product?

A: We use a nylon/spandex material, swimwear lining and of course, elastic. It’s not all about the materials though, it’s important how the bikinis are constructed. We use a combination of stretchy and non-stretchy materials to create a balance between comfortable and secure.

Chicks Conquering the World: Off the Radar Travel

What can transpire when a seemingly silly idea grabs hold and blossoms?  The backbone of this series is about women adopting new attitudes or tackling extreme ideas and running full bore into triumph.  Kate Cox and Victoria Cavaliere decided one day to prove to the world that you can travel for two weeks on only $1,000.  Oh, and they’ve created an independent television show around the concept, just to add fun into the mix.  Welcome to Off the Radar Travel.

Q: Your concept is cool.  How did the idea come to fruition?

A: Off the Radar Travel was born of this basic conundrum: How can we be moveable objects when time and resources are fixed and unmoving? We kept wondering, what if minimal resources aren’t really the limitation we think they are? What if they’re the ticket to a more authentic experience when you travel? We had our two weeks of vacation, about a thousand bucks and enough wanderlust to fuel the whole human race. So, we decided to test our theory: 2 weeks in a country on a grand. Could we see more on less?

Q: Many people are taking advantage of multimedia tools and starting web TV shows, what makes yours distinct?

A: Well, Off the Radar basks in uncertainty! We don’t know the outcome of our mission on any given trip. The idea is to find out what works and what doesn’t. It’s not about how much bizarre food we can eat or how many beautiful vistas we can photograph. It’s more concrete than that: If we spend 50 lempiras on a taxi to our next destination, do we need to stay in a cheaper hotel? Can we get abroad on miles and then fudge the rest? Imagine us as pocket companions. We’re real women traveling—foibles, triumphs and all.

Q: What were some of the surprises you discovered trying to travel for two weeks on a budget of a $1,000? The pluses?

A: For one thing, that budget of time and money means you’re running lean and mean. So it’s like instant prioritizing. The stuff you struggle to sustain in your daily life takes a backseat to moments. Moments are always the surprise. One of the pluses of this is that you become more flexible, mobile and quick-thinking. Destinations are a surprise, too. So, you want beaches and culture, but you want a value and you don’t want crowds? Think Honduras instead of Costa Rica. In some ways, the budget gives you more choices. You start exploring the destinations you’d never thought of. You get creative.

Chicks Conquering the World: Water’s Edge Creative

Malcolm Gladwell’s words cut deep:”Genius, in the popular conception, is inextricably tied up with precocity — doing something truly creative, we’re inclined to think, requires the freshness and exuberance and energy of youth.” Painful, Mr. Gladwell. Based on this rigid picture, what possessed Laurie Sutton to launch an on-line jewelry business way past her creative prime? Only one way to find out. 

Q) In the bio on your website you write, “As my 40th birthday approached, I began pondering what I really wanted my life to look and feel like.”  40 is considered a time to wind down in North American culture, not ramp up, why did you see the need for an overhaul and what did you envision?  

A) Well, like many people, I kept putting off the life I really wanted to live because it seemed “unrealistic.” Unlike many people, I have not yet married and I don’t have any kids, so approaching 40 did not feel in any way like a “wind down” for me. I still felt like I hadn’t truly gotten started, and that threshold 40th birthday just felt like the perfect time to start getting myself unstuck. I didn’t want to waste any more time struggling and settling for “good enough.” My thirties were a crucible of unhealthy relationship choices, financial struggles, unhappiness in my career, and lack of real direction in life. In the year before I turned 40, I simply decided that I’d had enough of that and opened myself to a brighter, more colorful, more audacious life that’s true to my real self.

Q) Building on question #1, how have you made your vision happen at age 40?

 A) For the first time in my life, I decided to jump before I knew whether or not I’d fly or fall to the ground. And I discovered that the choice to make that leap is where so much empowerment lies, no matter what your age. I began to remove the stones of my comfort zone and my old inhibitions one by one, and at the same time began working with my strengths, uncovering confidence and self-trust a little at a time. My friend and coach, Lachlan Cotter, continues to be instrumental in helping me see things in a positive, “I can do this!” light.

Are You Conquering the World?


Terry Fox was a natural athlete, excelling at long distance running and basketball.  He also had one leg.

I was nine years old when I watched him take his first step of the Marathon of Hope.  Every mile he finished, favouring his natural leg, pounding down on the artificial one equated to a dollar for each of Canada’s 24 million people.  Even my adult self still thinks that is a daunting number to tackle.

He had a vision though, nothing was going to stop him.  His dream was to raise money for cancer research, introduce more effective treatments and track the causes of this often fatal disease.  His quest started in St.John’s, Newfoundland, as far east as you could get.  I remember very little people cheering him on, maybe his mother kissing him and wishing him luck.

By the time he reached Ontario, he was a hero.  Me and my siblings would battle for space in front of the TV, as Terry talked about his cause, met politicians or athletes to raise awareness.  We wanted to be him.

Chicks Conquering the World: Revolution Apparel

I love it when chicks make things happen: in other people’s lives, on the planet or for themselves.  Which is what Chicks Conquering the World is about.  It’s fitting that the first interview in this new series involves revolution.  Please meet Shannon Whitehead and Kristin Glenn, the talented designers behind {r}evolution apparel, a sustainable travel clothing line for women.

Q)  You ladies love travel and design, so how did you come up with the idea to start a clothing company, instead of going the traditional boring route of round-the-world travel? 

A)  We actually went the “traditional boring route” of round the world travel first! Our experiences abroad directly inspired us to design the 10 pieces of our clothing line.

While traveling to different countries and living out of a backpack, we realized there was an untapped market for versatile travel apparel that was actually fashionable — we don’t do cargo zip-off shorts!

While in Central America, we started sketching out preliminary ideas for 10 different pieces that could be mixed and matched to create over 100 different looks. The ultimate travel line for women looking to minimize their wardrobes (or their backpacks!).

Q)  Tell us about your new product, the Versalette?

A)  The Versalette is the signature piece of our line and the first piece we debuted to the world. It’s one garment that can be worn over 15 different ways, as a skirt, dress, shirt, scarf, hood, purse, poncho and more.

We recently launched a Kickstarter project to initiate pre-sales of the Versalette, and we were blown away by the response we got. We ended up beating our 20,000 dollar goal by over 40,000 dollars!