As the lunar new year approaches this Friday, February 16, 2018, I find myself making the most of this dark, quiet time of year to reflect on what an incredible year it has been for Hipcamp. The overwhelming feeling is that of gratitude for our amazing community.
Starting with our incredible team and radiating through our hosts, field scouts, campers, investors, and partners, I feel incredibly fortunate to be part of this community. Our community knows that what we’re doing is important. We’re part of a larger movement that involves plenty of camping and fun outside but is also coupled with a deeper meaning—reconnecting with the rest of nature, protecting our beautiful lands and waters, and fostering community and connections with people who share these values.
I often find myself in fascinating conversations with scientists, writers and environmental leaders who are so knowledgeable about our planet, and yet so often feel a deep sadness, anxiety and pessimism for our species’ future here on earth. I can understand how they have arrived as this mindset, and yet feel with unwavering conviction that they do not see the whole picture
From where I’m standing, the future of humanity on Earth is bright. So many of us are living close to the land, aligned with the nature, and stewarding it for future generations. This means saying no to quick financial boons, and instead putting in the hard labor of love to make our lands and waters better. There is a substantial and growing movement of people who are turning to nature as a place to connect with themselves and as a place to recharge and disconnect from our overstimulated, stressful society. With the simple act of getting more people outside, Hipcamp’s mission is as relevant as ever to the political, personal and environmental spheres.
When we first began partnering with private landowners in 2015, there was a single moment that stands out from all others in developing my commitment to making this model work. I was visiting a rancher in Bodega Bay, CA who had become successful on Hipcamp very quickly. Upon arriving, it was easy to see why: her and her husband’s ranch was beautiful; they were restoring their watershed to welcome back salmon, and before heading to your campsite in a private redwood grove, you could stop at their honor-system mercantile store and pick up produce, grass-fed beef, and eggs—all from their ranch. When I met her, she gave me a letter from a land development group, hoping to buy her ranch to build hotels or houses. She told me she gets letters like this all the time—and she hates them. They violate everything she believes in, but sometimes she is afraid she’ll have to pick up the phone and call them because she’s not sure how she’ll make the mortgage next month. She gave me the letter, because in her words, “Hipcamp makes these letters junk mail to me.”
2018 is going to be a huge year for Hipcamp.
We’re growing our team—currently we are hiring for a Head of Market Ops, Head of Support, Finance and Business Operations Manager, Support Guides, Engineers, and of course, Field Scouts. This is my most important focus of the year—to find, recruit, manage and retain the best people in the world to create Hipcamp. Everything flows from here.
We’ll also be expanding internationally for the first time. Plans are still being finalized, but we are so excited for this next step. I’ve always envisioned Hipcamp as a global brand. After all, people wanting to spend time in beautiful nature is a universal human trait. And the business model we’ve created—where campers create revenue that protects land and waters—is certainly something we’re excited to scale around on the whole world.
We are also taking one of our core company values—leave it better—and putting it into action with a series of stewardship events, kicking off on Earth Day. This year’s Earth Day is extra special as the Lyrids meteor shower, will peak early on dawn of Earth Day—and we’ll be finding the best spots using our newly created dark skies camping map. If you want to be first to learn about the Earth Day Stewardship events, make sure you’ve joined Hipcamp—if you haven’t already, you can sign up here. We’ll be sharing more via our newsletter soon.
For us, the value of “leave it better” goes from the micro to the macro. Within our team, it means everything from cleaning your dishes, to thoughtfully commenting your code, to giving feedback to teammates with the intention of supporting their growth. When camping, it means leaving the land better than you found it. And on a global level, it means we deeply believe humans can have a positive impact on our environment, and that we can (and will) make the changes necessary to start living on Earth in a way that is good for us and the rest of nature.
And this belief is confirmed again and again by the brilliance, the humility, the courage and the passion of our community. Thank you for being part of our community. May your connection with the rest of nature continue to power your connection with yourself, your communities, and our planet (we only have one)!
With gratitude for the quiet of winter, and excitement for the energy of spring!
Founder + CEO
PS: If you’re over the dark quiet of the winter and ready for some spring vibes, listen to this!