I’m a freelance writer and artist, working as the project coordinator of this project, Wayfinding: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Great Outdoors for identity on tyne. It gives me great joy to witness this dream come to fruition. This project has been six years in the making. And what is exciting is that this is just the beginning.
I grew up in inner city Bradford. We walked everywhere and could never afford a car. It wasn’t until I was an adult returning to Yorkshire for work that I found out we were surrounded by the Yorkshire Moors and Dales. I came to nature later in life, and it was self-discovery. I had to teach myself how to take small steps into nature after not being introduced during childhood. I was faced with a lot of fear and trepidation but something inside was calling for me to explore. Now I can’t get enough of being outside and when I miss a few days my mood dips and I’m not very nice to be around. I love the sea and I’m lucky enough to live near the coast, so I get to be with her every day.
I suppose this training course is exactly what I need to increase my knowledge and confidence of being outdoors and introducing other people like me to Mother Nature. I want to change the narrative around who can be out there and who can be out there leading others out there. I want to be a positive role model for more people who look like me to think they could be doing the same.
I want to use this qualification and marry it with creativity. I have enjoyed many workshops where a white man or woman has lead a walk out into the countryside, be that a forest or a mountain, and then we’ve stopped to do a number of creative writing and art exercises out there immersed in nature. The experience has influenced our creations, there has been a mutual interchange of inspiration and connection. I want to do this. I want to lead such expeditions for women, particularly black woman. I want to instill a confidence in these women which they’ve never felt before simply by providing the space where they can breath, listen to their inner wisdom and be. And then dream.