CAMDEN—One year ago, we interviewed Camden native Kerry Gross, who was about to embark on a cross-country bicycle tour from San Francisco back home to Maine. Her goal? To interview inspirational women all along the way and to turn those interviews into a series of podcasts called “Women Who Dare.”
Gross received about half the funding for her goal, but that didn’t deter her.
“I didn’t let it stop me,” she said. “Instead of going to restaurants at the end of the day, I’d shop at the grocery store and spend less. I did a lot of camping and stayed at a lot of places for free that were hosted by a hospitality organization for the biking community.”
It took Gross five months to complete the trek, bicycling 5,800 miles and using Amtrak to cover another 1,600 miles to meet and interview 27 women recommended to her for their inspiration and daring.
“From the people standpoint of the trip, it was amazing,” she said. “So many people asked me, ‘aren’t you scared to do this by yourself?’ And I truly wasn’t. Everyone was so curious and so kind along the way. Just traveling through so many diverse landscapes, I think I understood better what shapes people’s attitudes and beliefs depending on where they live.”
For the most part, Gross mapped her bike route according to the location of women she planned to meet, based largely on recommendations from other women along the way.
Part of the trip was planned—the other part serendipitous.
“I think the most amazing part of the trip is that every time I’d get weary and think the project was done, I’d meet yet another woman with an incredible story to tell,” she said.
Currently, Gross is back on the East Coast in Vermont, housesitting while she works on putting together the podcasts of her journey, the final wrap up to the project. She continues to do the project on her own time and on her own dime.
Just in time for International Women’s Day, Gross will release two new podcasts on March 6 with more episodes planned to go live weekly. Each one is a combination travel journal/ interview, featuring a daring woman.
The first features Brandi Brown, founder and owner of Tahoe Production House in South Lake Tahoe.
“She’s in her early 20s, started this company, and she talks about founding a business as a young woman, breaking into the film industry,” said Gross.
The second podcast features Megan Michelson, a freelance writer who has written for Outside Magazine, ESPN, and Men’s Journal.
“She’s a writer and an all-out outdoorswoman,” said Gross. “We talked about her path into journalism and how to honor a subject while still telling a compelling story.”
Gross said that her motivation to pull off this trip and what it has produced sparked a curiosity in many of the people she met along her journey.
“Some of them said to me I inspired them to try a big challenge of their own,” she said. “Maybe it’s not biking across the country, but something else they were afraid to try.”
Find the new “Women Who Dare” podcasts on Gross’s website at kerrygross.com
Kay Stephens can be reached at email@example.com