Carlie Bangs is one of the two co-founders of Odessa Collective, an inclusive community of outdoorswomxn headquartered in Colorado. Read on for some wonderful advice from Carlie, her favorite resources for ongoing learning and inspiration, learn which of her trips she’s learned the most from and what she wants to learn next!

Tell us about your background and how you got to where you are now.

I grew up in Lincoln, NE and went to college there, where I met M while studying environmental studies and environmental education at the University of Nebraska. I came to Estes Park during the summer to work for my family who owned a landscaping company, and met my husband. After that, I worked in outdoor education before switching work to a smaller, local nonprofit that focused on early childhood education and connecting families to resources.

In my role there I really began focusing on advocacy which led to running for local politics. Now, as a mother to three and a full plate of work, I don’t get out and enjoy the outdoors as much as I’d like. I believe creating a community who prioritizes getting outdoors and building relationships is essential to the health and wellbeing of womxn.

Carlie Bangs and Mikhaela Mullins of Odessa Collective
Photo courtesy of Carlie Bangs & Odessa Collective.

What has been a challenge you’ve overcome on your way to where you are now?

Learning when to talk and when to listen. I was in leadership positions very early on in my career, often supervising my peers or individuals older than myself. Becoming the youngest elected official in our community also comes with some humbling experiences. My first instinct is to always chime in with my opinion and have a strong stance. Learning how to react calmly, when to fight a good fight, and when to bite my tongue and listen has been very important to communicating effectively. 

What gets you excited to wake up every day? Why?

Coffee. Also, knowing there’s always an opportunity to change the situation.

What’s the best/most important thing you’ve learned or taught yourself? Why?

Learning to take a step back, delegate, allow others to take the lead, when to say no…. allocate my time to things that I choose. I’m still learning how to filter that, ha!

What’s the next thing you’re going to learn or teach yourself? Why?

I’d like to learn how to build my online companies. I’m actually pretty technology illiterate considering I’m a millennial. Creating podcasts, online classes, etc.

“Learning how to react calmly, when to fight a good fight, and when to bite my tongue and listen has been very important to communicating effectively.”

Favorite resources for ongoing learning?

In college I worked at a bookstore and I’m obsessed with books. I wish I could say I had the time to read as much as I’d like nowadays, but I’ve recently been listening to Audible. I’m currently reading “Blow Out” by Rachel Maddow, “Know my Name” by Chanel Miller, and received “A Collective Bargain: Unions, Organizing, and the Fight for Democracy” by Jane McAlevey per M’s recommendation.

I mostly listen to NPR podcasts and radio for my news. TedTalks, The Daily, Hidden Brain. I also listen to mom podcasts like The Motherly Podcast, Unruffled by Janet Lansbury, #momtruths and #imomsohard are pretty funny and entertaining… Call Your Girlfriend and Humans + The Outdoors are favorites too.

What’s your favorite spot where you currently live & why?

I live near Rocky Mountain National Park, so I wish I could say there’s an isolated waterfall I enjoy hiking to, but currently getting to Sprague Lake for a dinnertime picnic, or driving up Trail Ridge Road for a bedtime cruise are a couple of my favorite spots to haul the kids for a quick outing. 

Views of Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado
Photo courtesy of Carlie Bangs & Odessa Collective.

What’s your least favorite/worst travel memory?

That’s really difficult. I’d say a backpacking trip M and I were on in which we didn’t have proper gear; it was also a trip in which my husband lost his camera… and it rained the entire time. While there were a number of unfortunate events, I wouldn’t consider it a bad memory and it is definitely a favorite to think back on. 

Related: check out fellow Coloradan, Desiree Argentinas story, plus her favorite place in the Mile High City!

Out of all the places you’ve been, which has been your favorite and why?

I think my favorite location to travel to has been the PNW. The ocean and cool vibe are really appealing. Once we’re back in a more travel-friendly state, I’d really like to travel back up there and do some kayaking.

Where have you traveled you feel you learned the most?

When I was in college I flew up to Maine to road trip my friend back to Lincoln. It was a long drive and we saw so much – small coastal towns; stayed the night in NYC. It was an amazing experience, but I had a terrible attitude. I think I was really full of fear and didn’t know if I could trust the people I was traveling with, but didn’t know how to communicate. Looking back, I think I learned a lot about communication and control during travels. There’s a lot to navigate when traveling with other people. There will be unfortunate events but the opportunity to experience some things only comes once in a lifetime.

Photo courtesy of Carlie Bangs & Odessa Collective.

Bonus: What’s one thing people may not know about you?

Ennegram 3w2, ENFP, Taurus… I love personality tests and astrology. I find them accurate and love to analyze behaviors and personality traits of myself, and friends/family.

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Bonus x 2: If you could only ask one question for the rest of your life, what would it be?

What do you think?

About Carlie Bangs and Odessa Collective

Odessa Collective was co-founded by Carlie Bangs and Mikhaela Mullins, and is a community of womxn exploring what it means to be a modern outdoorswomxn, throughout all stages of life. Check out more about their mission, community and upcoming events below.

Plus, check out our recent interview with second Odessa Collective co-founder Mikhaela Mullins, here!