This week we introduce the Dave and Matt Vans family to our friends at Diversify Vanlife. Read on to learn more about the important work they do in our community. We are proud to partner with Diversify and stoked to share and amplify their message. Make sure to head over to their Instagram and give them a follow, and check out their website to read the BIPOC Guide to Vanlife + The Outdoors.
Words by Faren Rajkumar (Diversify Vanlife)
Inviting intentional conversation from the road is what we do best! We are Diversify Vanlife: a small but growing team and community of outspoken BIPOC nomads and allies who share our firsthand knowledge of van life and outdoor adventure. But, more importantly, we are out here supporting a platform for the voices, stories, concerns, and achievements of underrepresented traveling groups in the US.
That’s right: We are shaping, uplifting, and strengthening non-white nomadic community in this typically whitewashed realm of alternative living & exploration. BIPOC, LQBTQIA2S+, those with disabilities, and any other “unlikely” outdoors-people are our proud family!
Diversify Vanlife’s Instagram (@diversify.vanlife), podcast, and website/blog platform are places of safety, created to intentionally celebrate and empower BIPOC and other road travelers and outdoor enthusiasts living at the intersections and taking up space in the margins. Especially during these powerful moments of socio-political change, we believe our work is important, and we are happy to invite allies and open-minded organizations to collaborate with us and learn.
BIPOC still face many barriers to experiencing the outdoors freely. We are descended from peoples who were either stolen, misplaced, formerly colonized, or victims of Eurocentric ideals or racism. Van life, camping, hiking, skiing, and most outdoor leisure activities are historically rooted in privilege, both in terms of access and finances. BIPOC often feel afraid to “get out there” or cannot afford to break through the barriers.
When a commitment to authentic diversity and inclusion does not exist, people are forced to present a false narrative of themselves to feel safe enough to access nature. Underrepresentation, inaccessibility, and exclusion in the outdoors creates threatening spaces for Black, Indigenous, Asian, Latinx, and people of color at all intersections. Diversity, equity, and inclusion must be intersectional and intentional, otherwise it is performative.
Diversify Van life amplifies the beautiful stories and challenges of BIPOC, LQBTQIA2S+, and other underrepresented folx to increase visibility, normalize our rightful presence in wild spaces, reclaim sovereignty, and ensure an equal access lifestyle for all who desire to travel, explore, and seek joy in nature. We’re happy to be partnering with Dave and Matt Vans, and look forward to meeting new community, allies, and affecting real change together!