About Us

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Our Vision

She Explores Life is a passion project inspired by a friendship between two women that spans over 30 years and an endless number of adventures. We are as passionate about travel and exploration as we are about the sisterhood we believe exists between all women. We recognize the need for a space dedicated to the voices of curious, intelligent and brave females who are boundary breakers, trailblazers and seekers of their own truths. Whether discoveries are made while engaged in deep woods adventures, getting lost in a new city or during a weekend dedicated to meditation, we believe there is value in the narratives that encapsulate them and the storytellers ready to share them.

She Explores Life is a home for women’s stories. The ones accumulated during solo expeditions, family escapes, and those that result from exploring one’s own internal landscape. Our greatest hope is that this site will help women of all ages connect to the women’s travel community while finding the information and guidance they need to embark on their own adventures.

Our She Explores Life mission is to amplify women’s voices and authority in the travel & adventure space.

The Team

She Explores Life is a woman-powered passion project. We are professionals, adventurers, outdoor enthusiasts, yogis, mothers, storytellers and so much more.

Annette Benedetti

Founder & Editor in Chief

Annette says her introduction to the world of publishing came when she collaborated with a group of writers and artists to create Washington State University’s first literary and arts magazine, Salmon Creek.  And okay, maybe that’s true but it’s not the full story. Annette has always been a writer, and it was pretty obvious to me that she would be a fantastic entrepreneur when she started a creative writing club in our high school when we were only 15 years old. She always has these incredible ideas about what she wants to do and (unlike myself) ACTUALLY DOES IT. It blows my mind all the time.

When she moved to Bend, Oregon, for instance, she had two kids and was running a preschool out of her home. She missed writing and recognized a deficit in family-oriented publications in the area, so decided to start her own.  She created and grew True North Parenting Magazine, and it became the go-to for parents in Bend. When she felt like she’d done all she could in a small town, she moved to Portland and started freelancing. I had my doubts, I must admit. I mean, if I were to try something like that I would fail miserably and have to come home with my tail between my legs. But, not Annette. She is intrepid and unflappable, and instead of failing, she flourished.  

Now, Annette is the city editor for Red Tricycle. She taught herself photography to complement her stories and continues to freelance as a writer, editor and photographer for more publications than I can remember - Bust, Livability, Motherly, Domino, The Penny Hoarder, and well, a bunch of others. She gets paid to travel and write about it. I know - it’s like everyone’s dream come true (or, at least, MINE). I would be jealous except that (being the incredible friend she is) she tries to loop me in whenever possible, so I end up getting to travel with her whenever I can swing it. Best friend EVER, am I right?!

—Lisa Riley

Lisa Riley

Founder & Executive Editor

Lisa is the best friend a girl could ever have. Additionally, she is super smart. Like—out of the Annette/Lisa duo–Lisa is by far the smarter one. She went to college at Berkeley (but she had plenty of other options because of her stellar GPA). And she has a degree and a job that I, no matter how hard I try, still can't fully understand or describe. What I do know, is that all of Lisa's hard work at university paid off. After graduating, she volunteered on a Ph.D. research project that took her to Ecuador where she restored tropical forests that had been heavily degraded.

That's right: for over four years she lived and worked in the jungle. The jungle! For 21 days at a time, she lived without electricity, running water or telephone communication and spent her time with locals who didn't speak English. Well, Lisa knows Spanish quite well now which has worked out really well for me as we travel to Mexico together quite often where my wit and charm are useless next to her ability to actually connect with the locals

Anyway, her work in exotic lands kept her away for four-to-six month stretches at a time. When her money ran out she returned to the US to work for short stints and during those bits of time she'd visit me.

Back then I was busy having babies, and Lisa's visits were a welcome relief from the mom-life. She would arrive and spend the evenings simultaneously amusing and horrifying the family by extracting strange parasites from her feet on our kitchen floor while sharing her tales of adventure and—even peril. I would listen with excitement tinged with despair because I was all bloated and post-partumy,  but Lisa made me feel better about my leaky boobs and extra weight...because that's what best friends do, and she has always been my biggest fan and greatest supporter.

Eventually, Lisa returned to the US and got married and had a baby boy just under one year before mine was born. She moved to Bend, Oregon where our sons became best friends—just like us. Now she works for a private contractor who does native plan revegetation across the western state. She manages large projects to restore areas disturbed by construction, roads, dams and other disturbances. Basically, she protects the earth and even heals it. She also does all the technical and marketing writing for her company and writes articles for Red Tricycle (while writing beautiful poetry in her free time).

Most importantly, Lisa is a really smart, thoughtful and crazy fun woman and my partner in most everything including this site.

—Annette Benedetti

Contribute to She Explores...

Do you have a great story or beautiful photos you'd like to share with the women's travel community? We are looking for contributors. E-mail your idea, pitch or story to us at sheexploreslife@gmail.com