B(L)ACK on the road | Black Joy

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Hints of spring are finally breaking the spell of winter, y’all.

The birds are singing. The flowers bloom on our trees and leaves. When it comes to the changing of the seasons, for me the first touch of warmth after months of cold temperatures is * French kiss *.

For me, warmer weather means it’s time to stretch my legs and get outside. Yes, I know nature doesn’t close in winter, but I’m not Elsa. The cold bothers me a lot.

BUT there are people you can follow and support on social media who can give you outdoor vibes all year round. Examples: A family from Alabama explores the vastness of Mother Nature together as a Black Adventure Crew. A father hitting the trails with his young daughter.

And then there are the Black Nomads, those who live their lives independently of the traditional ways of growing up. Exchange the home mortgage for various forms of mobile living. Think refurbished school buses and custom Sprinter vans.

Search “van life” on Pinterest, Instagram or TikTok and you’ll have to scroll quite a bit to find a black nomad. Never be afraid! Black Joy is here to empower Black people who diversify nature – because Mother Nature is there for all of us.

Share the Melanin magic of outdoor living by forwarding this newsletter to your friends and family. If you have a great outdoor story full of black joy, consider meeting us up here. You may be featured in our newsletter in the future.

– Rigid

Snow Black and her outdoor adventure

Toyin Ajayi has been pursuing her goals ever since she gave up the rental and mortgage life on January 22, 2021.

Since 2018, Sis has been dreaming of switching to nomadic life. Now the 36-year-old lives in her RV at a black-owned campground in southeast Georgia. She also pushes against the invisible boundaries that keep black people from enjoying the great outdoors through the power of entrepreneurship.

Toyin started in May 2021 the Outdoorsy Black Women app, a social network for black women to connect and party while enjoying nature’s vast playground. About 1,200 users downloaded the app which contains all the fixes a social media app like profiling, forums, quizzes, a book club that focuses exclusively on black female authors. there There are also different groups that you can join. Whether you are a stargazer, hiker, waterfall hunter, gardener, farmer, surfer, etc., you are sure to find a home at Outdoorsy Black Women.

“Black women are amazing and do so many cool things in nature,” Ajayi said. “We’re really fortunate to have a black sorority and a space where we can have fun and encourage each other to be even more amazing.”

It’s all part of Toyin’s mission to improve black representation and access in the outdoors. Her family used to call her “Snow Black”, in reference to Disney’s Snow White, because she frolic in nature and took care of the animals. Toyin wants all black women to experience the same freedom.

Toyin is also working to build a community outside of virtual space. Tickets are sold out for Outdoorsy Black Women’s first Wine and Waterfalls Weekend in May in Helen, Georgia. The all-inclusive retreat offers a variety of accommodation options that match the comfort level of participants, such as primitive camping for experienced campers and cabins, or “glamping” options for less experienced adventurers. Attendees will engage with various brands owned by Black people, especially those owned by Black women, as they enjoy multiple outdoor activities such as a guided waterfall hike, a tour of the vineyards, and painting and sipping.

Whether it’s online or outdoors, Toyin makes sure Outdoorsy Black Women is for the culture! Read about Toyin’s journey as she heals Black people’s complicated relationship with nature by building a platform that increases Black representation in the outdoor community. Sis is also looking for ambassadors to start Outdoorsy Black Women chapters in other states. More details can be found here.

A guide to nomadic life

Toyin wrote a lifestyle blog for women called Your Life After 25 for the last 11 years. She said society pressures women to have jobs, marriage and other life milestones secured by a certain age. She wanted to allay women’s fears that they are running out of time to achieve all their goals.

“By the time I turned 25, I was like, ‘Dude, life hasn’t even begun for me,'” Toyin said. “So I wanted to create something that would allow women to realize that life is not over yet. That’s just the beginning. There is so much more we can make of ourselves.”

This blogging experience stood her in good stead when she started the nomadic life. A section of Outdoorsy Black Women gives Toyin and other bloggers space to talk about their adventurous trips and travels. Toyin gives a lot of good advice on the platform. Here are a few posts for her that caught my attention. Consider it a “hiking guide” for those of you curious about nomadic life:

stupidity on the way

Here are some black nomads you can check out and support because they’re doing some pretty cool stuff out here, y’all):

Kadedra Holmes is a food access activist currently residing in Virginia. She created the Black Nomads Meet in October 2019 To help Black people explore nomadic life options while creating space for Black Nomads to connect with each other through virtual and face-to-face meetings. On a cross-country road trip, she noticed a lack of diversity in the outdoor world. So she started a virtual tour series on YouTube introducing people from all over the country to black nomads. She has also organized meetings and campouts in black-owned spaces so nomads who look like her can find community in one another.

Kadedra’s favorite Black moment to date occurred in June at the first Black Nomads Gathering at Warthen RV Park, a Black-owned campground in Washington County, Georgia. About 85 people enjoyed each other’s company, had fun and shared wisdom with one another Workshops focused on how to make money on the go, how to be greener by reducing waste, and homeschooling on the go. This June, Kadedra said Black Nomads will roll out together during their 69-mile Caravan and Campout event in Georgia. She said there was something powerful about watching her community communicate, share knowledge, trade items and break bread together.

“It really fights that stigma that black people don’t work together. That we’re just disorganized. There’s just so much unfair stigma about us,” Kadedra said. “But the amount of people who have reached out to me – Toyin is one of them – but even some black landowners who have reached out to me said, ‘We’d like to host you.’ It has really defeated that notion that is projected onto us. I really saw community through that – through Black Nomads Meet.”

Along with Collect money to grow Black Nomads MeetKadedra secures her bag through her vegan brand @eatfreshveggies, where she offers private consultations and webinars on vegan meal planning. Kadedra wants to give her community what van life has given her.

“I just want black people to be healed,” Kadedra said. “And I’ve really been able to resonate with what the nomadic lifestyle has done for me personally, and I love healing myself through my community.”

She and her partner Om guide people through their brand JOM on their journey of healing on the way. They have been living the #vanlife since June 2020 and their gifts are definitely aligned with their mission. yeah is a beautiful model who is also a spiritual guide to help you discover the beauty within himself as a breathing companion, meditation guide and yoga teacher. above is a musician and mystic who helps others on their path to enlightenment. They live in their van called Freedom because that’s what van life gave them.

The Van Life connects with JOM to bring the GO healing and enlightenment to their community. Om said debt through rent, mortgage or student loans is a tool to keep people in contractual bondage. The van life is a tool that allows him and Jo to have property without debt.

“In America, in our culture, debt is just an accepted aspect of life,” Om said. “How can we change our minds? Instead of the American Dream formula of going to college that will put you in debt, can we focus on what brings us joy and happiness and structure life accordingly?”

Jo said she enjoys being among other black nomads. Looking for inspiration for her own van life on social media, Jo said most of the posts come from white travelers. That was not the case during the Black Nomads gathering, where JOM on the GO hosted a breathwork and meditation workshop during an event held at a Black-owned campground. Jo said all the campers treated each other like they were blood.

“Everything was intentional, and when you intend things, magic happens,” Jo said. “It wasn’t like we just came to work, did the workshop and then left. They were campfires. It was all the babies, newborns, that were there. All the dogs and pets were there. It was really like a big family reunion.”

JOM on the GO is currently in Miami, but Jo and Om will be heading to Atlanta by the end of the month. In May, they will launch a campaign through crowdfunding website indiegogo to raise funds to build a larger van so they can expand their mission of bringing healing to the black community along the way. You can monitor JOM on the GOs Instagram and Youtube channel to learn more about it.

Om said the adaptability of van life brings him joy as a black nomad. Living with no car title or mortgage allows them to live life with minimal overheads like internet, gas, food and insurance. This gives them the space to invest in their gifts that help the community.

“I value serving people, but I don’t see it as work. It’s an offer. We all have something to offer each other to improve our lives and that should be the focus,” Om said.

Taylor Coleman is a seventh-generation Texan who combines van life with voting rights. This year, she’ll be traveling across her home state to register people to vote in her van, named Barb, short for Congresswoman and civil rights leader Barbara Jordan. She also juggles a full-time job as a senior account executive for a Democratic media company.

Corresponding In this Texas Monthly article, the struggle for the right to vote lies in Tayhlor’s bloodline. Her family built black political and economic power during Reconstruction. And now Tayhlor continues the path they started as she navigates Texas’ ridiculously complicated voter registration laws.

Take to the streets now and spread the black joy! We meet next week!

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