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It’s common knowledge that all stereotypes are rooted in some sort of truth. And though there’s some honesty wrapped up in such a statement, certainly there is plenty of grey area, too. In a world ever-growing with geographical diversity, ethnic groups today are anything but monolithic. Take my story as an example, a quasi-middle-aged Black-American female globetrotting solo. Within my culture, this type of existence, once heavily frowned upon, is slowly becoming more acceptable. By default, this new acceptance highlights the profundity of visibility and the importance of breaking stereotypes within the travel industry.
Calling attention to the importance of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) visibility outdoors is the tip of the interconnected iceberg. Amplifying more melanated voices on platforms across the social spectrum can only assist the cause greatly. But most importantly, features those that choose to lead by example, which by default, reveals more of the iceberg.
Reading this blog will challenge your open-mindedness, as well as confront, and undo some backward thinking about the travel industry. But most intriguingly, introduce a handful of melanated social media influencers engaged in high levels of outdoor visibility. All of this in hopes of being part of the change I wish to see in the world. Extra credit points if you can peg that philanthropic quote.
Racial inequalities and injustices around the globe aren’t a new concept or topic of conversation. Neither is how overly pale the travel industry has been primarily represented over the last handful of decades. Regardless of these facts, BIPOC in travel is exploding with recognition recently, especially in the last year and a half. With racial tensions reaching a fever pitch in Western cultures, BIPOC individuals and families alike have taken action, passports in tow. Many, including myself, have chosen to move abroad entirely.
Consumer-based businesses have finally decided to take notice of the buying power of BIPOC communities. And as a result, have increased marketing efforts tenfold. Arguably, a majority of them are bandwagoning, leaning on “trend” more than positively participating with tangible social change. Still, these tiny actions will have a huge effect on future BIPOC generations. Especially when considering the importance of breaking stereotypes, even if that’s one at a time.
Leading by Example
There will always be exceptions to the rule, of course, and as previously mentioned, BIPOC are not monolithic. There are subcultures within subcultures and there are stereotypes woven throughout each ethnic group represented in the acronym. Still, an increasing number of us are stepping forward. Daring to be more than what we’ve been told we could/should be. And the entire world will be a better place for it.
I embrace the fact that I will always struggle with cold temperatures, which is a common stereotype about Black people. But I have tried snowboarding, trekked through snowy mountains toward Machu Picchu, and have Icelandic travel plans for the Holiday season. But I go willingly understanding that by visibly pushing my comfort zones I, too, am leading by example.
Discover Like-Minded BIPOC Accounts
I’m not alone, and I love how loudly I can proclaim that. BIPOC travel communities are erupting across various platforms creating a deep sense of solidarity. There are hundreds of influencers of all shapes and sizes, and ages out there.
Here are a few that are worth your attention:
@leaninwiththekings: You know what they say about a family that travels together… The King’s go hiking, biking, and running too. Leaning into their visibility as a Black family, together, outdoors, and enjoying themselves.
@Blackforager: Bringing the concept of foraging while brown to the masses. Alexis’s energy is contagious and her information about foraging for food is right on time. Emphasizing the beauty of interconnectivity and living sustainably, this account is everything.
@travelingblackwidow: A fab and fifty-plus female explorer. Char is reinventing her version of “normal” after losing her life partner of 30+ years of marriage. She does so by continuing to go, but solo.
@blackoutside_inc: A nonprofit organization. A space that supports making the outdoors more accessible for (at-risk) youth. Teaching them activities like fishing, rock climbing, and camping. The organization even hosts separate leadership camps for boys and girls in the Summer months.
@melaninbasecamp: A community for BIPOC outdoor enthusiasts. A space for solo travelers, couples, or families to share solidarity in being outside. A sense of community can be all that stands between a BIPOC that tried an outdoor activity and a BIPOC that never does.
That’s just a sneak peek, but uplifting these advocates for change is a small, but significant means of pushing further awareness. A way that extends solidarity outward and allows all of us to get involved. To ban together in-kind about the importance of breaking stereotypes. In the travel industry and beyond.
Which BIPOC accounts inspire or enlighten you? – make sure you leave a comment so our readers can discover new accounts!
Whether it's by plane, boat, moped, bus, or train I LIVE for traveling.
As a global citizen with more than 50 passport stamps, my adventure mandatory, nomadic lifestyle offers an intuitive insight into life jet setting around the globe. Follow along website, Instagram, or Facebook