OBP: Who Will You Meet in the Great Outdoors?
One of the better aspects of being an itinerant photographer (a.k.a. digital nomad or location-independent entrepreneur) by trade is that every person you meet is friend-potential. Or, at the very least, impression or education-potential. From the sporting-goods retail associate who can recount a seemingly mundane camping trip with the specificity of a screenwriter to the 'framily' celebrating a tot's first s'more in the park.
Lately, I've become a professional hanger-on, in the best sense of the word. Because time spent on extensive researching is time missed capturing the moments I've journeyed for, I joined meetup.com and follow this other online sites with ready-made event calendars full of local goings-on. Never watched pétanque played? Want to shoot reactions to the smelly Corpse Flower? In our DIY culture, someone has already thought to go and invite strangers along for the trip.
Lucky for me, I've found a national group that matches my wanderlust and need to amble and document the great outdoors. Outdoor Afro has chapters in 31 American cities from Los Angeles to Miami, New Haven to Anchorage. With support from organizations like the Sierra Club and the National Wildlife Federation, each chapter grows with each new member who spreads the word inviting friends and family to reconnect offline and get their 'nature' on.
No Afro is required and all meetups are inclusive further fostering a holistic connection to community and health. My most recent foray connected me to the Central TX chapter and the subtle charms of the Laguna Gloria - Driscoll Villa and Grounds. Coming at the end of a rather turbulent week, getting lost in the trees with a group of vibrant diverse knowledgable health-conscious fellow human beings was a reminder of what's important. That we are all connected, we all depend on the same resources - earth, air, fire, water.
And, as Benjamin Franklin said, "Yes, we must, indeed, all hang together, or most assuredly we will all hang seperately."
Tom Friedman, artist Detail of aluminum packages used in statue creation. Carlette and Robert hold hands during Laguna Gloria stroll. Deja stops under the pavillion. Outdoor Afro group at Laguna Gloria Artist: Nancy Holt Catherine plays underneath artist John Grade's installation
Keywords: African American, Outdoor Afro, Texas, community, family, friendship, meetups, off the beaten path, travel, travel blog, travel photography, urban exploring, urban travel
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