I met up with a few friends from social media during our trip, and one visit that I’ll never forget was with Shawn. For a little background context, me and the kids saved about $700 from February to July. We originally planned to go to Tampa and blow it all, mainly at the theme park, but we decided we’d get more bang for our buck with a 7-day road trip.
From Atlanta, we went to Monroe, Louisiana. From Monroe, we went to New Orleans. I’m not a hardcore planner at all, so I’d loosely plan what we were doing the next day, the night before. I reached out to Shawn while we were in New Orleans to see if he wanted to link up with us in Biloxi (where he lived). He was totally open up to it, and even welcomed us to spend the night.
We’re just friends, and I feared us spending the night would confuse the kids a bit, but I was wrong. They begged me to say yes, and we did. He had us all in the woods shooting BB guns, racing at the beach, and playing the Atari ’til 4 in the morning. One of his cousins happened to have a birthday get together that night too. The kids linked up with other kids and had a blast. I whooped some ass in Spades, ate good, told ’em about where I’m from and where I live, and listened in on their stories about back then.
Besides not having to spend any money during our Gautier/Biloxi stop, we also got a tour of the city from a local’s perspective. We got that feel of family while away. And for me personally, I got a deeper aha into my #WeSpeakFuhWe work.
I have to train others in recording their own family and community history. That might first require showing ’em how valuable their memories and stories are (the serious ones and the hilarious ones), which ain’t hard at all, I learned. I shared the work I was doing, some of the stories I’ve recorded, and they went in about what would/should go in their book and who knew what in their circles.
Note: I definitely plan to share more tips and techniques with you on recording family/community/organization history soon. If you have specific questions, let me know, and I’ll address those too.
In Atlanta, I linked up with the artistic masterminds behind Yes Lioness and Soul Seed Tees, whose art I’ve been supporting for years now. We also connected with Akilah, Monique, and Veronica over squats and headstands, crab legs and escovitch fish, card games and video games, juicy conversations and belly laughs.
There were many stops on the road trip where we knew no one, so adding familiarity into the mix helped a lot. And it confirmed a good lesson for me too: Don’t limit relationships with social media friends to just being online. Get over feeling like it’d make you look weird and make it happen in real life too (in a way that feels safe to you, of course).
We talk a lot about the power of saying no, but there’s equal value in knowing when to let go and say yes.
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