On thru-hiking and life lessons learned, Black outdoor history, building trust, and "figuring out what your selfish motivation is for working towards our collective liberation."
Below, I paraphrase a few of my favorite parts of the chat with timestamps.
Click to watch:
*Start at minute 3:30*
1. (5:00) What do you hope to experience when you're thru-hiking or playing in the outdoors?
2. (10:15) Lowlight and Highlights from thru-hiking:
Pre-hypothermia and what it was like to summit the tallest point of the Pacific Crest Trail
3. (20:20ish) What are lessons you've learned from the trail that you'd like to carry into everyday life?
Patience. Forgiving myself when things don't go as planned. "You get to be the you that you are today." Also, food is delicious.
4. (26:25ish) In honor of Black History Month (acknowledging this isn't the only time to be looking into history but it is just as good as any time to dive in): What has it been like for you - being Black and outdoorsy - and how do you see that fitting into the broader context of Black History?
As Black people in the United States, we have always been outdoors. It's important to acknowledge outdoors people like Harriet Tubman - I consider her one of the first Black guides, bringing lots of people to freedom through the wild.
[My family is] very close to the land we were enslaved on, and close to the land that has made us and shaped us over the years. It is amazing and wonderful and important to acknowledge. I also want to acknowledge I don't exist in a vacuum, there are so many humans and organizations who are doing amazing work encouraging community in the outdoors.
- People of the Global Majority and especially the work of Grace Anderson
- Dr. John Frances - walking the country after witnessing an oil spill and deciding to stop driving/rising in cars
- Brittany Leavitt - getting a public climbing wall installed in Baltimore
- (Aubrey adds) GirlTrek and their podcast series Black History Bootcamp: A walking challenge
- She Colors History - Chelsea Murphy's @she_colorsnature 28 day challenge to learning about 28 Black women during Black History Month
- Another good one! Outdoor Journal Tour for Black women, reflecting and creating community together
For me, being Black and outdoorsy is ... even though I feel alone, and in some cases, am alone and "standing on my own to feet," that is not what is happening. My ancestors are with me when I walk.
5. (35:00ish) Comedic break: Where did your trail name come from, Zuul?
6. (38:00ish) What kind of vision do you have for people and the outdoors that looks sweeter than what we have right now?
Joy is a practice, particularly in these times. You have to be actively seeking joy. ... I also think it needs a bit of reframing. I was taught that joy is when you go on vacation and sit on a beach and sit and do nothing. That can be joyful for some, but one of the things this year has taught me to do is to find joy in smaller things, and find joy in harder things. For example, dishwashing...
even though I don't necessarily like taking the time out of my day to do dishes, what I do like is that when I do take the time to do them, my kitchen is cleaner, and when I want to cook I can do so more easily because I don't have to wash the dishes first.
So being able to reframe joy as -- not exhuberant, overwhelming (the mountaintop) -- but reframing it as pleasure, the everyday: the taste of the food I just cooked, the reverberation of my cat sitting on my chest, the smaller moments.
Emma Goldman (paraphrased) - if dancing isn't part of your revolution, then I don't want to be part of the revolution.
"Instead of moving away from what we don't want, I think it's really really important to rephrase this to be moving towards what we DO want."
I want to ask everyone listening:
What is your "selfish" motivation (to quote Charlene Carruthers) for wanting to do this work? What is the type of world you want to see? How is the work that you're doing helping bring that into being, even if it's small?
Liberation. Let's just keep trying to get all of us FREE.
9. (-55:00ish) Wrap up and sneek peeks for upcoming Redbudsuds products and events