Alyssa Ravasio, Founder of Hipcamp

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Alyssa Ravasio, Founder of Hipcamp

Name: Alyssa Ravasio

Title: Founder of Hipcamp

City: San Francisco, CA

Passion: Nature

Website www.hipcamp.com

Salmon Creek, Monica Semergiu

Salmon Creek, Monica Semergiu

After hours searching for the perfect oceanside campspot, Alyssa arrived to find an incredible surf spot. The only issue was, she had taken her board out of her car having found no information about the waves she would encounter while setting up her trip. Realizing how broken the system was, that moment sparked an idea. She began to work on a transparent camping platform. A guide to the best-kept secret camping spots, and more information on incomplete listings. Hipcamp was born, and the world of camping was turned upside down. 


On Passion

Oz Farm, Michaela Ravasio

Oz Farm, Michaela Ravasio

How and when did you find your passion?

I’ve been following my passion my entire life. Everything I’ve done, from the earliest I can remember, surrounds being inspired and passionate. The passions have changed, but I’ve always seeked out things I’ve loved. Even in preschool. Lots of finding it, and finding it again. 

I grew up camping and getting outside. I’m a huge believer in the outdoors — the importance  getting outside for human health, happiness, and finding yourself.  I’m also passionate about the internet and it’s potential as a powerful tool that can change how our world works. Hipcamp was the perfect storm of those two passions. I had an experience where I was looking for a campsite by the ocean. When I got there, I realized that even after all the research, I had missed something. I hadn’t known that there was a great surf break, and I had taken my board out of my car. It was driving back the next day that made me realize how broken the system is. It was a perfect chance for me to combine three of my passions. The outdoors, the internet, and entrepreneurship. 

Tell us more about the transition to doing what you love.

I started Hipcamp after quitting a job, traveling, and learning how to code. I started building it while attending Dev Bootcamp. The day I missed the surf break aligned with the beginning of the program. I had it on my mind. I was thinking about it, and talking to people about it. I started it there, and then began to work on it fulltime. 

 

On Mastery

Monument Valley, Maddy Minnis

Monument Valley, Maddy Minnis

How did/do you hone your skills?

The good thing about being CEO of a quickly growing company is I have a new job every three months. It’s important that I learn to do it really quickly. I’m in a constant state of learning new skills and getting better at the core skillset. That’s why I love my job. It even feels weird to call it a job!

 

On Failure

Tall Pines Yurt, Scottie Tuska

Tall Pines Yurt, Scottie Tuska

Tell us about a time in your earlier transition to living your passion when you failed. How did you feel? What did you learn?

It was a slow and painful failure. The first summer building the website, I really expected it to take off. It just didn’t. I realized it was going to take a lot of work to reach people, and that it wasn’t just going to happen. By the end of the summer, I was wondering if I should stop doing it, and if I should give up. I slowly began to wonder if I was failing. It made me realize that starting things takes longer than you think. It’s going to be harder than you want it to be. It’s going to require more elbow grease than you think. I learned to keep going. I met people who affirmed that it was important, and it gave me energy. I had to redefine what success was, and celebrate that even a small number of people using Hipcamp early on was exciting. Or that we had our first customer trust us with their credit card information.

 

On Fear

Wild Tender, Juliana Linder

Wild Tender, Juliana Linder

What has been your biggest fear about living your Passion?

Early on, I had a lot of fears about if it would happen. That I’d do all this work, and silently fail. That nobody would notice, or even have the chance to tell me what they thought. 

How do you overcome your fears?

With any kind of fear, I always try to face it head on, write it down, and think about it. Recently, my fear has been settling. For Hipcamp, we have a huge culture shifting opportunity to reconnect humanity to nature, and instill respect for nature. I don't want to settle for just having a good business. I want to push for our biggest potential impact. Never settling. 

 

On Money

Mendocino Magic, Ezekiel Gonzalez

Mendocino Magic, Ezekiel Gonzalez

Was there a time when you were running out of money? Did you need to give up a lifestyle to pursue your passion? Tell us more about that and how you coped.

The whole first year, I was living on a little over a thousand dollars a month. I didn’t buy a drink in a bar for a whole year. The only meals I ate at a restaurant were with my parents. I was keeping costs incredibly low, thinking about the bare minimum I needed to survive. I needed to prove the company could work, and wanted to dedicate my time to that, so I needed to be aware of my spending. I was biking instead of driving. I loved it. It was not spending money for all the best reasons. Freedom. 



On Support

Mendocino Magic, Anna Von Clemm

Mendocino Magic, Anna Von Clemm

Who inspires you? 

I'm inspired by the local community. You learn to pay it forward. You're often one email away from getting coffee and sitting down with someone who could change everything. People want to make the time, and we try do the same.

Is there a community that supports you? Who are they?

I’m surrounded my the best people in the world. Many are friends, advisors, and mentors that I regularly talk to for advice. I can lean on them and ask for support. The Dev Bootcamp community had been a huge part of that, especially my first summer advisor Liz Howard. My friends who have started companies are always there to talk through a tricky situation. Our team is incredible. They are the core of all of that. Our partners and investors are all creating a strong community for all of us. 

 

On Self-Love

The Yurba Yurt, Nick Castellanos

The Yurba Yurt, Nick Castellanos

What is self-love to you? And how important is it to your journey?

That is one of the most underappreciated areas of entrepreneurship. It’s such a trying process to start a company. Learning your limits and about where you are strongest and weakest. It’s all about learning to forgive yourself. Learning to trust your intuition. There is no right answer, so I’ve learned to trust that process. I make time for health and wellbeing. Being outside is wonderful for resetting sleep and grounding. The other part of self-love is learning how to find that balance. You want to do as much as you can, but you also need to keep yourself in a good state to do the best you can. 

 

On Advice to the Community

Yosemite, Tiffany Nguyen

Yosemite, Tiffany Nguyen

Please share a piece of advice with our community of men and women who are looking to leave their traditional jobs and live their passions.

“Stay hungry, stay foolish.” I originally saw this is a 70’s Whole Earth catalog. What it means to me it don't settle. Find that thing that makes you come alive and never settle for less. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it, because you can. 

Interested in pursuing your own passions? Apply to the Winter Passion Program today!

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Sam Polk, Founder of Groceryships.org

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Sam Polk, Founder of Groceryships.org

City: Los Angeles

Passion: Reciprocity

Website: www.Groceryships.org

A self-confessed “wealth addict,” Sam Polk penned one of the New York Times' most popular op-ed articles about why he turned his back on his career as a hedge-fund trader on Wall Street after earning a $3.6 million bonus.

After eight years at the top, Sam realized he had developed a distorted sense of reality and was “wasting my life.”

A deep sense of shame began to replace his ambition when the market crashed in 2008 but he continued to profit.

Leaving his career was still incredibly difficult, but in 2010 he gave his employers an ultimatum and walked away, unsure what the next chapter would bring.

Upon adopting a plant-based diet and watching the documentary A Place At The Table about the staggering numbers of Americans facing food insecurity, Sam started his passion project, a nonprofit called Groceryships, with his wife, Kirsten, in Los Angeles to help empower poor families, struggling with obesity and food addiction, by helping them put healthy food on the table.

How did you discover your passion?

“On the cusp of what I’d worked for my whole life (a partnership at one of the top hedge funds in the world), I walked away. It was terrifying. With the help of a spiritual counselor, I reconnected with my heart. That may sound lame, but my whole life to that point had been in pursuit of ambition, but after working with her I became aware of how much more to life there is.”

How did you get started?

“I started Groceryships one day after watching A Place At The Table which inspired me to do something about hunger, poverty and obesity in America. I just kept taking the next right step, even though I felt totally unprepared.”

Was the transition difficult?

“It was about shifting perspective. The longer I was away from my traditional job, the more I came to see that I had taken on the value systems of a culture that I no longer agreed with. Time helped. “

Was Groceryships an instant success?

“Failure has happened nearly every day. Recently we got turned down for a $100k grant. I learned how to deal with rejection when I was trying to get my book published, so I’ve gotten better. But it’s still painful.”

How do you approach your fears?

"Fear is my biggest challenge. My biggest fear about living my passion is manifesting my idea into the world. Trusting that what I think makes sense, actually does. To overcome my fears I just walk through them, every day. “

How important is self-love?

“Hugely important. Self-love is about remembering that I’m valuable no matter what, that nothing I achieve or create is going to make me any more valuable than the day I was born. It is hugely important to me. When I remember that, it’s easy to try to create a gift for the world, rather than try to accumulate things from it in order to fill the hole inside.”

Who is your biggest inspiration?

“Father Greg Boyle of Homeboy Industries inspires me. Most people spend their lives accumulating for themselves. Father Greg spends his life giving to those who need it the most, and in the process he’s created an incredibly awesome and powerful organization. “

Any mentors?

“I have a spiritual guide. I met her when I was 22 and had just gotten dumped, and broken-hearted, sought help. I’ve talked with her ever since. I have three siblings who I’m incredibly close with. And my wife, who is my partner in all things.”

Best piece of advice?

“Trust your inner voice. Walk through the fear. “

 

Written By: Aoife Anderson

Photo Credit: Mekael Dawson

What's Your Passion?

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