In 2016, we began a new chapter at AdventureWomen when Judi Wineland and her two daughters, Nicole Wineland-Thomson and Erica Landerson purchased the company from Susan Eckert, AdventureWomen’s founder. Judi, Nicole, and Erica have deep roots in travel and are excited to continue the AdventureWomen tradition.
Susan Eckert, the founder of AdventureWomen, grew up in Pennsylvania and always dreamed of going to Africa and traveling the world. After graduating from college, Susan served in the Peace Corps in Sierra Leone for three years. This experience changed her perspective and her life forever, propelling her toward a life dedicated to exploring the world.
While pursuing her doctorate, Susan began leading weekend cross-country skiing, canoeing, and hiking trips for fellow female students at the University. Experiencing the laughter, friendship, and excitement of these weekend trips, Susan began to think about creating her own company specializing in women’s adventure travel. In 1982, Susan made the difficult decision to drop out of her doctoral program and launch her own adventure travel company.
Since the early 1980s Susan has carefully researched travel opportunities and taken her clients on active adventure trips all over the globe. She has gone from cooking, guiding, and packing for trips entirely by herself to working with a team of professional guides, outfitters, ground operators, and ambassadors all over the world. Her current trips are a far cry from the backpacking and canoe trips of the past, where everything was carried in backpacks, and canoes and gear were laboriously portaged.
“Adventurous women everywhere know that adventure travel is about challenging yourself, stepping out of your comfort zone and stretching your mind and body as you explore new paths,” says founder Susan L. Eckert. “ I am so excited about this next chapter in AdventureWomen’s history as we take a bold step forward toward exciting new frontiers for the company. With Judi and her two daughters taking the reins, I know that AdventureWomen will have the innovative thinking and entrepreneurial energy of the next generation of women, crafting a bold new future.”
Judi Wineland, president of Wineland-Thomson Adventures Inc., discovered her passion for adventure travel in 1969 while taking part in a USO tour that traveled to Vietnam. Since then, Wineland has been dedicated to providing exceptional adventure travel experiences around the world, founding Overseas Adventure Travel in 1978 and later co-founding with her husband, Rick Thomson, Thomson Safaris, Thomson Treks, Thomson Family Adventures, and most recently, Thomson Collection.
“Susan and I share many common experiences and an appreciation for the breadth and depth of travel experiences women seek,” says Wineland.” At AdventureWomen, we have a valuable heritage, which Nicole, Erica and I deeply respect and will always honor. We hope to continue to expand the destinations and unique and authentic experiences, which have made AdventureWomen a favorite among women for almost 35 years.”
Meet the new AdventureWomen team: