Why Maine?

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Black people don’t do that! The “that” can be anything from swimming to hiking to skiing! As quiet as it’s kept, Black folks often think this, too. Once, I was hiking in Shenandoah National Park, and a Black woman hiker, who I did not know AT ALL, approached me on the trail.  She said, “Sis, please don’t think I’m strange, but would you do me a favor? Can we take a picture together? My family doesn’t believe that there are other Black people who hike and that being out here is unsafe. I want to show them that there are, in fact, other Black people out here!” I laughed and agreed to the take the photo because my family thinks hiking is “being out there in the bushes where bad things happen” and there are certain no Black folks hiking, EXCEPT me!  So, when I met Lisa, I immediately understood where she was coming from when she said, “I want to show the world that Black people do all the things and go everywhere, including Maine!” Lisa aims to be the champion of travelers who want to explore the many and various ways Black people have contributed to the country and world while also participating in luxury experiences without wondering if people like them are welcome.

Lisa invited me to come see for myself the work that she was doing. With that, I committed to her organization’s, Black Travel Maine, inaugural MLK/Black Ski Weekend event and headed to Portland (Okay, confession, before heading to Portland, I spent a considerable amount of time in REI looking for a ski jacket and gloves ONLY to leave the blasted coat behind on the morning we went to the slopes). Upon arriving in Portland, I checked into a cute boutique hotel, The Francis Mansion, and met Lisa who was waiting for me! I dropped my bags, and we headed out to grab a bite to eat.

Over drinks and and dinner, I learned that Lisa’s story and cause are bigger than travel, actually. I even learned that instead of asking, “Why Maine?”, I should’ve been asking, “Why NOT Maine?” Check out our conversation and a glimpse of our ski trip on SugarLoaf Mountain!

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