Honestly, these were the first words that came to mind as I prepared to surf down my first sand-dune in Huacachina, Peru. Maybe it sounds racist. Maybe I’m stereotyping black people or white people. And maybe I am excluding the non-white and non-black people who do crazy stuff like this. But that is how I felt at that moment. I was the lone black woman amidst a group of whites basking in the privilege of experiencing this jewel of nature.
And maybe the sentiment was fueled by the fact that I wasn’t a “board” person: snow-boarding, skiing, skateboarding, wake-boarding etc. And in all honesty, in my 13 years of living in North America, I have never seen or heard of black people doing the above. I suspect they do but not in the same volumes as basketball and football. And I read a few articles that indicated that we (black people) weren’t big on travelling either. So I felt privileged to be a part of the back-packing, sand-surfing group.
Yet, the trip evolved into more than a “OMG, I am sooo cool. I am on top of the world. Radical. I am soooo lucky (blessed). How many black people get to this? ” Rather, it was a scary experience that had me questioning my own good sense.
Yet, somehow calmness swallowed up fear as I zipped down each progressive sand dune (that grew as high as 2070m) on a snowboard. And I wished I had a camera in my head to capture the sand whipping across my face, the grains digging into my flesh as I skidded uncontrollably for a bit as my arms slid off the board, and then the exhilaration at the end when I came to a stop. It was over too soon.
Afterwards, we were bouncing around in the dune buggy. Rock and rolling around the sand dunes. My stomach bouncing in and out of my mouth as we rolled down almost 90 degree drops and throttled up the steep sides of sand dunes that would send an ordinary car rolling backwards. Everyone was screaming at the top of their lungs…but I was high.The words of Canadian singer Edwin’s Alive song were blasting in my head, my lips were clamped shut and my fists were pumping towards the sky.
Yes, it was about conquering fear and trying something different, daring and insane. But I also wondered, how many people get to experience this? How many black people or women of colour get to do this? If they do, I want to hear your stories. Were you more fearless, confident, a risk-taker, a conqueror?
For me, I felt like my world grew. First, I got to experience the diversity of nature. Secondly, I had to face my fears and do something different. (lol I couldn’t be the lone black girl standing at the top) and lastly, it fueled an appetite that I had never satisfied for activities like quading, dirt-biking, and surfing.