How to Build a Brand New Life by Embracing the Outdoors

Have you ever thought to yourself, “Gee, I wish I could (fill in the blank)”…? Well, then you need to come listen to Kay Rodriguez’s incredibly inspiring story at the Outside Adventure Expo. Not only has Kay taught herself how to snowboard, surf and hike, she built out her own Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van AND launched a company that has allowed her to work from whichever beautiful part of the US she feels like exploring. 

Finding herself facing mental health challenges, Kay turned to the outdoors “as a way to heal, get stronger, and ground herself in nature.” Living in Houston, Washington DC, and Chicago, she often felt frustrated that it was difficult to find outdoor activities to do in her area. The more she searched, the more she realized that there are plenty of trails, waterways, and parks to explore in every city…but often, they’re not very easy to find. So in 2019, Urban Outdoors was born as a hub to help people discover the best trails and activities, learn new sports, and foster outdoor adventure communities in every major city. 

Today, Urban Outdoors covers hiking, camping, water sports, snow sports, and rock climbing in over 50 cities across North America. Since its inception, Kay has grown the Urban Outdoors audience to nearly 200K pageviews per month in just over one year. As a Filipino-American, female founder, she hopes to diversify the outdoor industry and show her audiences that everyone is welcome outside. When she’s not working, you can find her trying her hand at a new outdoor activity or brewing her favorite coffee somewhere with an epic view.

Before starting Urban Outdoors, Kay worked in digital business strategy for National Geographic and as an associate consultant at Bain & Company. Kay’s work has previously been featured in Lonely Planet, AP News, Nerd Wallet, and Business Insider, and she has partnered with brands such as REI and PrAna. Currently, Kay lives, works, and travels in a self-converted Mercedes Sprinter camper van with her two dogs, Rory and Stella, and gets outdoors every day. 

Photo: Kay Rodriguez

At the Outside Adventure Expo, Kay will be teaching classes on how to find adventures in any urban area, giving tips on learning new outdoor sports/hobbies as an adult and sharing advice on making adventure a central part of your lifestyle as part of our “Lifestyle: Adventure” panel. If you’d like to see the route Kay is taking to get to Salt Lake City from her current “backyard,” you can follow her personal adventures learning new outdoor activities and exploring overland on Instagram.

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