Connecting with Your True Self & Heritage in Nature
Today is the day when our expedition group parts ways and heads back home. Though we still have a few stories to share with you about our experience, I wanted to highlight some of the things that really helped to make this journey an unforgettable one for us.
We knew from the moment we applied for this program that our goal would be to highlight ways in which our heritage influenced, or was influenced, by the national parks and though we were committed to finding ways that would inspire our friends and readers to want to support and visit the national parks, we took for granted how the things that make our community so wonderful would affect our experience there.
Travelistas in Nature regrouping upon arrival to Olympic National Park after long day of travel.
The warmth and openness of the Latino and Black culture is one that is often mocked, especially when it comes to women. The stereotype, which is not by any means far from the truth in many cases, is that we are expressive and talkative, welcoming and nurturing. The sisterly warmth in our communities is often lost in the hustle and bustle of New World practices. In order to blend in and keep up, we forgo the many things that bind our families and friendships together. Quality time with our loved ones is not often something we make time for and regularly take for granted. A great part of who our women are is represented in the traits seen in maternal, sisterly, and friendly relationships. That ability to support and encourage each other is the strength of who we are as women of color.
Sisterhood and friendship, strong elements among the women in our communities,
was well represented during our adventure.
The wonderful thing about our group was that we didn't miss our opportunity and took full advantage of what the environment of Olympic National Park offered us; and those were moments to connect not only with nature, but also with each other and everyone we met. Though our trip was fast and short, we embraced the natural tendencies we have to connect on personal levels with everyone we met leaving behind not just guides or hosts, but friends that we hope to see again.
Greeted by a double rainbow on Lake Crescent.
The Travelistas in Nature are: Crystal (BrownGirlsFly.com), Ana (TravelingLatina.com),
Carol (GirlGoneTravel.com), and Chelle (BrownGirlsFly.com).
We took advantage of the few moments of reflection and silence. We allowed our surroundings to affect us on many levels, whether they were spiritual, emotional, or psychological. We applied our natural instinct and cultural inclination to nurture, listen, and share everywhere we went, with everyone we met, but most especially with each other. Park experiences break down the barriers we have built to fit in a world that we now function in, and remind us to connect with our true selves and who we are culturally.
Granted it doesn't mean you will love spiders, or even want to camp in the middle of the woods. Jumping in cold lake waters or scaling mountain rocks thousands and thousands of feet high might never be your thing. But, if our group was reminded of anything these past two days we spent exploring Olympic National Park, it is that there is nothing more authentic to our soul and our heritage than the emotions that spending time in nature brings.
I invite you to check out the Instagram journal of our adventure. The Travelistas in Nature Visit Olympic National Park is an album of friendship that my hermanas and I will treasure forever. We hope it inspires you to want to reconnect with your true self too, with your loved ones by your side.