As I sit here in my grey cubicle, made even greyer by the icy cold rain that’s been falling all day, I of course can’t help but think of where I’ll be headed in 2012. I’m so excited about the possibilities that are out there, particularly as it relates to continuing my overseas travel and developing a career around doing what I love to do – exploring the world. But it is not just the dreary weather that has my head spinning with ideas on how to maximize my time on the road. It also because of the outstanding group of people I spent about 6 hours with last night.
I had the chance to meet up with a small group of people for dinner and drinks yesterday. The thing we all have in common is that we belong to an amazing online community of (mostly) minority global travelers. Of the group that met last night, I hadn’t known any of them for more than 3 months, and I have only met two of them in person. Still, that didn’t stop us from greeting each other like old friends… we all just “got” each other. Our conversations were not just “have you been to this country” or “what do you think about this airline”. We also got into discussion on how we’re going to capitalize on our dreams, use our skills to further our travel and develop our online presence to allow us to live the lives we want to live without being tied to a location or 9-5.
Of course it is a no-brainer that it is great to spend time with people who share similar passions. But the thing that really stood out to me was the near frenzy of ideas and suggestions that we shared with each other. For a group that could easily see each other as competition, there was nothing but openness and enthusiastic encouragement. It’s so much easier to generate ideas and find solutions to problems when you’re not on your guard. It’s not rocket science that secrecy breeds secrecy and openness breeds openness. There’s no need for competition when we’re all ready to work together and help each other move forward.
Sometimes I find myself wondering “How many Black travel writers/bloggers does the world truly need”. With so many established minority writers on the scene, is there really any room for me? Well the answer is yes! Why not? Did Halle Barry ask if the world needed another black female actress even though Angela Bassett was already up on the silver screen? Did Toni Morrison think that writing from the Black female perspective had already been “done” by Maya Angelou? Of course not!
As long as you’re doing what you’re passionate about, there’s room for you. Each person will add their own flavor to whatever it is they do. From the group last night, one woman is using her yoga teaching experience as a vehicle to travel and volunteer overseas. Another is focusing on her talents as an on air personality. Another guy has traveled to over 240 countries (and counting) through his acting skills while building his reputation as a social media guru. All of us share a common interest, but each of us will make it our own. I am truly inspired by the community as a whole (which has grown to nearly 1000 members in just a few months) and in particular by those who sat around the dinner table last night at the LA “think tank”. Thank you guys!