|clap one time for the awesomeness of this picture|
Today I’m featuring Sophia of myphilosophia.org. Her blog touched me once I started reading it because of her story. She survived cancer, rode her motorcycle from California to Ecuador and has come back home. Check out her story below and make sure to give her some Brown Girl blog love!
What made you decide to sell all of your belongings and travel to a completely different country?
Something new. I was an African American studies Professor and got laid off due to budget cuts, and it was hard to live the kind of life we wanted on the income we were generating. We decided to move to Ecuador because my Partner Joe had lived there for six months three years before and loved it. It was a place where we could connect to nature by living off the land as well as growing spiritually.
I know you survived breast cancer and you were planning your trip from California to Ecuador before your diagnosis. Do you feel that surviving cancer has given this trip a new meaning for you?
It’s what got me on the motorcycle to begin with! I endured four months of Monday through radiation treatments that would leave me so sick and weak for the rest of the day, that I just stayed in bed most of the time. What got me out of bed every morning was the thought of being well enough to ride my little red motorcycle to our new home.
What was your favorite part of the trip?
The immersion. I speak Spanish fairly well now, whereas I knew only a few words and phrases before. I’ve made friends from all over the world, and nothing bothers me because we went through so much in the last few weeks trying to return to the States, that everything else is easy in comparison. Being immersed in so many different cultures, atmospheres and situations really makes you not only stronger, but you learn a lot about yourself as well.
How long did you plan to live in Ecuador?
Ecuador is not the same place Joe visited three years ago. He was heartbroken, we both were, but not disappointed. The high number of Expats that have moved to Ecuador in the years since, especially in Vilcabamba, have caused a rift between locals and most foreigners in general as they’ve also driven the prices of everything through the roof and are buying so much land that it will be nearly impossible for native Ecuadorians to do the same in a few years. Once we fully realized that we’d be contributing to this problem we decided to return. The farm was perfect, but it’s connection to Vilcabamba (we still need to buy supplies and food not growing on the farm), and the fact that there aren’t any real economic opportunities for folks in our age group meant that we would only be making enough money to never be able to leave Vilcabamba, thus becoming economic refugees.
How will your blog change once you’re no longer traveling and you’ve settled into your new home?
I’ve purchased a few domains and have plans for a style blog that still fits with the wholeness model I adapted for MyPhiloSophia. Since you can’t look good on the outside unless you look good on the inside, it will feature sections on health and well being, natural hair care, DIY, recipes and more. It’s a lifestyle blog embedded in a fashion blog. I’d like to see more blogs that empower black women to take charge when it comes to every aspect of their lives, not just one niche. Health and beauty are really important to me because black women have a much lower survival rates for breast cancer than any other group, and we also have high numbers when it comes to obesity which leads to diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease to name a few.
What message would you like for readers to get from your blog?
That they are whole, and perfect, and beautiful right now. We don’t get told that often. We turn on the TV or open a magazine and we’re just not there, so we do harmful things to ourselves in order to ascribe to an alien aesthetic that says dark skin, full lips and kinky hair are bad, so we lighten, get surgery and spend thousands of dollars trying to make our hair look like anything but the way it grows out of our heads. No, we don’t get told that we are beautiful and whole often, so now is the time to take our agency and simply acknowledge, for ourselves, that we are.
Is there anything else you want the Brown Girl Bloggers community to know?
Travel! You learn so much about yourself when you travel, and you don’t have to have a passport to do so. Walk somewhere you’ve never walked before, take a weekend trip with your family or friends, go hiking, or even check out books on exotic places— anywhere you want to go, and go there in the mind. You’ll still learn about yourself while learning about the world.
I’m a proud breast cancer survivor, motorcycle rider, world-traveler, natural hair advocate and anthropologist. I love writing and have a few books in the works ranging in topic from home recipes for natural hair care, science fiction and the trip of course. I’m also currently learning about Pilates, fitness in general and nutrition in my quest to not only get healthy for myself, but so I can pass on this information to other black women.