13 Women of Color on the Road

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We often say on the Women On The Road podcast that there isn’t one ‘on the road’ experience but the reality is that it can feel a lot more complicated than that when scrolling or searching online.

If you’ve ever looked around for camper build and lifestyle resources or done a simple search for #vanlife, you might know it’s more challenging to find women of color. While we could get into a much longer conversation about why that might be the case, what we want right now is for you to see that women of color are definitely out there.

Because we’re inspired by these women who have already carved a space for themselves on social media where they may not have seen themselves reflected before, we cultivated this list of adventurous women to help to broaden the definition of what life on the road really looks like.

Some of these women are traveling solo, others with partners or children; some full-time, some not; and they’re all from different backgrounds with unique stories of their own life, on the road. We encourage you to learn more about each of them.

– She Explores & Women on the Road Team


Noami from @irietoaurora

Noami and her partner Dustin are digital nomads and eco advocates traveling in their Westfalia Van named Irie. They write about sustainability on their website, Cacti and Coconuts, along with hosting clean-up events. Learn more at cactiandcoconuts.green.


Katch Silva @katchsilva

Katch is a climber and traveling photographer who lives on the road with her partner, Ben. Their home is a sprinter van and they call her the Tardis. See more of her work at katchsilva.com.


Renee Blair @ren.rover

Renee is a self-proclaimed outgoing introvert traveling solo in her uniquely painted Ford van, sharing travelogues and anecdotes along the way. She says, “I’m not the bravest in all aspects of my life, but when it comes to travel and adventure you can call me Ms. Braveheart.” See more from Renee on renrover.com and Youtube.


Stevie Lewis @chocosweete

Stevie is an artist, animator, and avid climber. She’s been on the road since 2015 and we featured her in a written WOTR interview in 2016 -> Stevie Lewis: “Chocosweete” Since then Stevie has gone from a Honda Element to a Sprinter Van.


Gabaccia @gabaccia

What are some things you do or have done to turn yourself into a more conscious consumer? ?? I remember going on mindless shopping sprees, and I feel blissed not to miss them at all. Opening my eyes to an industry that exploits humanity and destroys the environment while selling you a sense of “cool” style and even wellness was really heartbreaking. How could people play a blind eye on the obvious crimes that the fashion industry was committing for so long? Underpaid labor, child labor, unhealthy working conditions, and exuberant waste of natural resources are only a few of the big mistakes this industry has made. ⠀⠀ I’ve been working with ethical brands for about 5 years now and it’s been both a privilege and an honor to take part in the #SlowFashion movement. Through small actions, like having ethical standards for consumption, you can make a huge difference. I’m not a perfect consumer yet, but I’m striving for it. Here are a few things I’ve done that have turned me into a better consumer and human, you might want to give them a try: A) Choosing quality + transparency of origin over quantity or a “good deal”. B)Becoming aware that you don’t need much, that you can make yourself happier with just one good garment from a local designer or vendor rather than with 5 shopping trips to your basic outlet or “big” store where you’ll probably buy a bunch of disposable things that came from slave-like labor. C) Demanding the big guys to disclose #whomademyclothes on Fashion Revolution day, and every day you get a chance. D) Whenever needing something new, start by looking at thrift shops. E) Keeping it real. Making a note every time your consumption isn’t ethical and knowing why. ⠀⠀ These apply to more than just the Fashion Industry, they apply to consumption at large. I would like to know your #consciousconsumption thoughts, habits, and tricks too. Share them in the comments below ?? ⠀⠀ Photo: @kateneve Wearing: Vintage finds from @twoguysgoodbuys for @strandedonland ⠀⠀ . #digitalhumanbeans #theconscioustimes #ethicalfashion #usamade #trends #california #organic #whatiwore #ootd #sustainablestyle #ethicalfashion #sustainablychic #consciousconsumerism

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Gabaccia runs her conscious business brand of the same name from the road. Part truck life, part van life, Gabaccia captures the essence of what it’s like to combine work with play while perpetually on the move. See more of what she does on gabaccia.com. She also runs a second business with her partner Eunique called Stranded on Land.


Noël Russell @noel_russ

Our new van is finally here! And since many of us are new friends, I feel like it makes sense to introduce the both of us! So, hi! I’m Noël! Despite what you might assume from my mini “life highlight reel” here, I actually spend most of my days working long and hard at a shelter for homeless teens and young adults. I love backpacking, camping, and hiking with my dogs, but only as much as I love the young people I get to work with. So, if you ever see one of my photos and think, “She sure is living a dream life!”, please know that – although I agree with you – my “dream life” typically involves a long day at the shelter, helping support the 80+ kids who call @covenanthousecalifornia “home”, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. And this here is our new van! Well, the inside of her anyway. Her name is “Francis Ford Campola”, and she’s a 2009 Ford E-150, with a high top conversion. She spent her first chapter in life working as a medical transport vehicle. That was until we snatched her up and asked our friends at @run_away_van to give her a makeover. Now she’s our little cabin on wheels and we’re excited to spend our next years adventuring with her! We were super stoked to have been able to work with @run_away_van on this project – not only is Aaron the most gifted builder, but he is also one of the best humans currently alive on planet earth. If you wanna be inspired, or just feel like giving virtual high-fives to a super kind being, head over to his page and check out some of his other projects, I’m sure you’ll be just as stoked on him as we are! I look forward to sharing more about Francis with you in the coming months! I am so grateful to have “met” you all here, and am especially thankful for real-life hugs from new real-life friends thanks to this lovely little app! And to those of you who I haven’t met face-to-face yet – here’s hoping we’ll run into you on the road or on the trail sometime soon!

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Noël Russell is community organizer for California’s largest homeless youth shelter and a first generation American who she spends her free time in a Ford E-50 Van in the Sierra and Southwest. We’ve interviewed her for both a written interview and Episode 2 of the Women on the Road Podcast.


Alexandra Keeling @alexandra_abroad

Alexandra is a photographer currently in Moab, Utah in a custom teardrop trailer with her travel partner, Winston, and rescue dog, Rocko. We featured Alex as a written interview last winter: Alexandra Keeling.


Ching Fu @livesmallridefree

Ching lives with her partner Jared and their two dogs in a 100% solar powered fifth wheel camper they lovingly call the Toaster. She has contributed one story to She Explores: Beyond the Lens, and was featured in a written WOTR interview: Live Small | Ride Free. Learn more about Ching at livesmallridefree.com.


Dani Reyes-Acosta @notlostjustdiscovering

I read a new quote this past week, one that’s inspired me in my work life, my creative life, and outside life: . . Nelson Mandela once said: “May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.” . . . Keeping this one in my back pocket for those little moments of doubt, uncertainty, or even elation. Also, a note: if you ever get to the top of something, be sure to tell someone. Proof of summit, metaphorical or otherwise, is never a bad thing. . . #liveclimbrepeat and #vibratehigher even if you’re doing the #vanlife , or #letsgosomewhere and #dirtbagdiaries are your #newnormal. Don’t forget #letsgetweird when doing the #earthgirladventures #nomadlife or #remoteyear things either. Also #findyourpark and #keepitwild with #lnt #spiritualgangster. . . Also be sure to wear the derpiest shades every because you’ve broken (mostly sat on) all the other pairs.

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Dani is a “permatraveling brand innovator + play-outsider” on a journey to uncover her origin story. She writes at nostlostjustdiscovering.com and does creative consulting work with her company, Nomad Creativa.


Mary Ann Thomas @postcardsfrommat

F*** Impossible Road Trip started yesterday! I’ve got a child seat in my car to strap in Asking for Elephants and my bicycle, Susi, to take me on impromptu rides. As I drove, I listened to @thejoyridepodcast and @pathlesspedaled, these funny and poignant bike podcasts. I made it to Columbus, where I’m being hosted by a friend-of-a-friend who I met bike touring seven years ago. I’m already surrounded by bike folks and it’s so sweet, so welcoming, so good. Tonight is the event at @thirdhandbicyclecoop! I’ll be sharing moments and reading from the chapbook. I’ll be showing you how my brain works when I’m about to take on a challenge, how I plan, how I make myself safe when going on journeys of thousands of miles. I’m gonna talk about money and logistics, to show folks like me, brown queer and/or woman, that bike touring can be simple, easy to figure out, and for us. I want to be a person people can ask to know we’re out here, even when the imagery around bike travel looks nothing like us. Columbus: Third Hand Bike Coop at 7 pm TONIGHT! Will I see you there? @bookmobile_printing #chillininmycrv #browngirlgoeshome #adventuretime #fuckimpossibleroadtrip #wtfbikexplorers #wtfbikers #shredthepatriarchy #worldbuilding #chapbook

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Mary Ann is a brown queer travel nurse and writer who travels long distances by bicycle. She has contributed four stories to She Explores including Social Media as a Tool for Travel and Bike Touring: An Obsession, and recently published a chapbook about her bicycle journey across India, called Asking for Elephants. See more at postcardsfrommat.com.


Bionca Smith @offthegridwithakid

(Transparency Post) ? My son Carter grew up very fourtunate, but it wasn’t always that way. Before he was born, I lived in the hood with roaches all my life. After I became a single mom 2 weeks after Carter was born I made a promise on a tear! I promised to work so hard a create success before he could remember our struggle. By the time he was 5, we were living in the middle class in a high rise with fancy cars and vacations. This year I had to do differently! My son had a hard time reading in school and I had 15k worth of credit card debt that I was determined to pay off. So what did I do!? I lowered my expenses dramatically and paid off credit card debt. Then instead of spending money on bills, I used my money and traveled with it and wrote a book in the process. Now Carter is homeschooled virtually, his reading has improved and he’s even on honor roll! 9 months later… I realized that I sacrificed almost everything to chase my biggest dream and there’s no going back! So here I am..here we are. In a van ? traveling around the U.S.A connecting with people that want to connect with us and support our efforts to eliminate bullying in schools. I cry sometimes out of joy and an emotion that I can’t describe. We’ve had obstacles, but then it’s as if we are living inside a dream and I keep meeting the most incredible people that confirm that I’m on track. Obstacles are apart of the process and miracles are too! Everything I dreamed of is happening piece by piece and I’m so glad that I TRUST the process! I strongly believe that it’s all good “karma” from being selfless. ? To everyone who believes in us, I hope that my path inspires you to chase your dreams and give back too! ❤️? It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it! Sacrifice someTHING for someone or something greater than you! #purpose #giving #freedom #business #family #adventure #travel #passion #service#mission#singlemom#vanlife#nomadic#blog#vlog#vanlifediaries#travelingfamily#nomas#nomadic#laptoplifestyle#entrepreneurship#freedom

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Bianca left a comfortable life behind to travel and road-school her son in a vintage Ford conversion van. She was featured in Episode 13 of Women on the Road: Success, My Son, and Escaping the Boxed Life.


Xin @wheresxinderella

Xin is a road tripper, newbie hiker, and nature lover. She has traveled 35,000 miles since the beginning of 2017 and she documents her road trip adventures on wheresxinderella.com. We also featured her in a written interview: Xin Xin.


Paris Lee @novelkulture

Paris and her husband Lovell are veterans and full-time students in California. They travel and blog about van life and adventure on their Youtube channel.


 

Did we miss any of your favorite faces? What other Women on the Road should we follow?