Meet the founders
Hello! We are Kori and Marissa. It is so nice to “meet” you and we are thrilled to have you here. We are the women behind Rise & Rove, and we would love to share our story with you.
We’re both from the US and we’re frequent travelers ourselves. We want to help other women feel just as empowered to roam confidently into all the far-flung corners of the earth – to see the world, to connect with nature, to learn about themselves, to build new friendships and to feel like they belong to a community of other rad, globetrotting, supportive women!
Our story is quite relevant to our mission because we ourselves met on a group travel retreat in Bali, back in 2017. We were assigned roommates and we quickly found we had a lot in common, including a passion for global travel, common interests, similar viewpoints and a love for creating experiences for other people, particularly to help them travel more and travel better.
A few years later and here we are making our dream true – of creating a group travel company that spans the spectrum in terms of the travel types we offer, from outdoor adventure to wellness to cultural immersion. A group travel company that empowers women our age to get out and have fun together and push the limits of our comfort zones. A community that supports each other and encourages each other to get out and LIVE the lives of our dreams!
And now, as much as we have in common, we are two people with different stories, so here’s a bit about the two of us as individuals…
Kori Walters (1981)
I’m an 80’s kid on a quest to explore every corner of the globe. I’ve spent most of my life living in Southern California, except for a few years in my early 20’s when my career took me to Kansas City, and a few months in 2016 when the spirit of adventure planted me on a Caribbean island for a while. Since then I’ve walked on all 7 continents and swam in 4 of the 5 oceans…but I always come home to SoCal.
Aside from world explorer (often solo), I’d describe myself as a sister and a super cool aunt, a blogger, an acupuncture devotee, a day hiker, a classic rock and 80’s music enthusiast, and a devoted In N Out lover. If you asked my friends, they’d probably tell you I’m a giggle box who just wants to make everyone else laugh with me, particularly by telling “bad” jokes (like the kind you’d get from a Laffy Taffy wrapper).
They’d say I’m a truly entertaining story teller, one who always wants to make sure everyone else feels comfortable and accommodated first, the peacemaker, a crusader for the planet who never leaves home without a Hydro Flask and always rejects a plastic straw, a planner and a head-in-the-clouds dreamer who never turns down an ice cream cone or Greek food.
In the last few years I’ve been especially affected by the questions and reactions I get from other women when chatting about my travels. They marvel at the wild and off-the-beaten path sort of places I’ve been to, especially when they realize how many of them I’ve traveled to solo, or only with other women and no men in our midst. And this is where my spark for Rise & Rove was born.
Kori's travel style
Go! Pack light. See all the things. Eat all the food. Meet all the locals – listen to their stories and learn from them. Ask them questions. Share your stories with them. Take some photos, but then put the camera away and just take it all in. Take a walk to get there instead of a taxi. Take a hike. Jump in the water. Snorkel that reef (but please, do not touch the coral). Make a snow angel. Stop to watch the sun go down. Wake up early to watch it come back up (maybe). Star gaze. Connect with nature. Be respectful of the wildlife and take care not to damage the environment.
Kori's top 3 favorite trips (so far)
My number one, all-time favorite is Antarctica! After that, it’s a little more difficult to decide, but I think I would have to go with Ofu island in the National Park of American Samoa and the African Serengeti in Tanzania.
Marissa Liesenfelt (1978)
We all have a lot of facets to our personality and if I had to put this all in a nutshell, beyond my being a passionate global traveler, I’m a born and bred Chicagoan, stepmom to an amazing tween little girl, life-long partner to a guy who is my best friend and makes me laugh on the regular, puppy mom, daughter, food and wine lover, yoga enthusiast, watcher of terrible TV and friend to many amazing people who impress me daily. I value relationships, honesty, positivity and empathy. And, a good laugh which I believe is the best remedy for just about anything. I believe women should lift each other up and empower each other to have confidence to be our true selves. I celebrate diversity and love learning from people who are different from me. With Rise & Rove, beyond the incredible feeling of seeing people enjoy an experience I have crafted for them, I’m most excited to see the friendships and bonds form because of this community.
Marissa's travel style
See the iconic stuff but leave even more time for adventures off the beaten path. Eat and drink your way through a culture. Meet with locals and have them show you around – ask them to tell you their story. Make time for some wellness activities. ALWAYS watch the sunset. Sometimes see the sunrise. Do something you wouldn’t do at home. People watch. Try to see both the natural beauty of a place and experience where the people live and thrive. Always be kind to animals and don’t support tourism practices that are inhumane. Respect the environment both above and below water.
Marissa's top 3 favorite trips (so far)
This is a really hard decision, but for different reasons I’d have to say Thailand, Iceland and Greece.