Growing up in Los Angeles California, I can honestly say I am very much a city girl (I still am in some regards). The hustle and bustle of city life were all I knew. The traffic, air pollution, the constant noise of everyday life was part of the norm. That all changed my summer leading into my freshmen year in high school. I attended a Christian camp in Big Bear California. 

At this camp, I experienced nature in a way I never thought I would. I smelled a different type of air, I dipped my toes in a lake, and lastly, I saw stars for the VERY FIRST TIME IN MY LIFE! I always knew that the life I lived was not for me but this experience in Big Bear California solidified that thought. So when I got the chance to move to Maryland for a better opportunity, I screamed PEACE OUT HOMIES!!

Moving to Maryland my dreams of being an outdoor enthusiast did not transpire the way I expected. It took years. I needed to shed some negative ideas of people of color and nature. 

I regurgitated false information about black people and nature so much that I believed it. I would say things like "why would I want to walk through the woods?" (hike), "we don't swim", or my most famous line... "I would only run if someone was chasing me". 

My ancestors were looking at me like GIRL, STOP YOUR NONSENSE! 

It took years to realize how ignorant and stagnant my way of thinking was. The worse part is, I secretly wanted to be "one with nature". I had a decision to make, would I wait till I am no longer judged to be the #BlackAndOutdoorsy person I longed to be or just DO THE DAMN THANG. 

If you didn't notice, I chose the latter. Woop Woop. 

One spring day, I had an epiphany. I was the one being judgemental. To myself and my fellow people of color. I was part of the problem and I had to make it right, starting with me. That day I registered my daughter for swimming lessons and the two of us for tennis lessons. You may be thinking, TENNIS? I was taking baby steps homie.

After that epiphany, I have never looked back. To be honest, I was extremely ignorant before. I thought the majority of people of color did not participate in outdoor activities and that is not the case.  Yes, I had to search using Bob Dole's internet but ultimately I found what I was looking for. There were organizations that were of color AND doing the activities I wanted to try. I sought out people who look like me and occupy the spaces I would like to be apart of. I made a commitment to myself and my community to debunk those negative stereotypes by promoting a healthy representation of people of color in outdoor spaces. 

I will be sharing some organizations to assist you on your quest to be #BlackAndOutdoorsy.

It is great sharing my journey with you.  Speaking of journies, I would like to share my hiking journey 50 First Hikes with you guys.  My girl Alexis from FlecksofLex.com and I have challenged ourselves to hike 50 new trails in 2021. Wish us luck. 

I would love to know how you fell in love with nature or if it's not your thang, what is? I am open to new ideas and experiences. 


Tikima Renee

Post a Comment