Executive Director – Book Author – Event Leader – Mama – Hike Host
SHANTI HODGES is on a mission to build communities, both online and offline, that help connect people to nature worldwide. Hike it Baby, the nonprofit she founded, is an organization dedicated to helping families with babies and toddlers find each other in the outdoors. Hike it Baby is currently active in over 300 cities and has over 200,000 families interacting with each other through the organization on social media and the website. In the real world Hike it Baby has over 3,000 user generated hikes a month, where families participating in safe and supported hikes that are usually under five miles and easy for all.
The decision to build out Hike it Baby came after when Shanti realized that she had been lacking an easy way to make community for much of her adult life because she moved around a lot. When she saw strangers starting to gather regularly for hikes she was leading in Portland, OR and she realized how good getting outside was making her feel, she put two and two together and launched her formal hike group.
Having a media background, as well as a tech experience, she built a website while nursing her young son in the middle of night. Then she began sending out a newsletter and blogging about getting babies and toddlers outside year round hiking and camping.
Just three months after the website launched when a woman with a colicky baby showed up on a hike because she googled hiking in Portland and babies in hopes of finding some relief for herself and her little one, Shanti knew it was spreading. Then in January Shanti and her husband posted a hike in the Gorge to a waterfall in the middle of winter (January 1, 2014) and 14 families showed up to hike in the 32 degree weather.
The organization began to spread around the country in April 2014 and by January 2015 there were groups in Alaska, Texas, Wisconsin, North Carolina and DC. Currently Shanti is the Executive Director of Hike it Baby.
In June 2019 Shanti’s second book hit the shelves nationwide. Pick up a copy at your local REI or purchase online. “Hike it Baby: 100 Awesome Adventures with Babies and Toddlers.”
Prior to stepping full on into her current life path Shanti was a freelance writer and a consultant helping small businesses work on websites. As a freelancer she wrote for magazines like Outside, Men’s Journal, Marie Claire, Shape, Self, and also wrote a book called, “Women Who Run”, released in 2007. Shanti is a passionate media and marketing expert with over 20 years working with every form of media from online to tv to print.
Over the last few years with Hike it Baby, Shanti has had the opportunity to meet all kinds of interesting people, so this inspired her to launch a podcast to help tell their stories. Her podcast is on iTunes and is called “Hiking my Way to Happiness.” She updates it every few weeks with new interviews.
Shanti is a public speaker and consults with organizations and small businesses on community building and supporting families in nature. She also is an influencer who has worked with numerous brands.