Asking for Elephants: Stories of Bicycling Across India
October 24 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Join us for the LA stop of Asking for Elephants by Mary Ann Thomas
In 2014, Mary Ann Thomas bicycled across the US and Canada solo. In 2017, she bicycled across India with a travel partner and connected with local bike communities in cities across the nation. Accessing these bicyclist havens in India provided examples of community that Mary Ann, as a brown queer daughter of Indian immigrants, had only rarely seen in the US bike world.
In August, she attended the first WTF Bikexplorers Summit (for women, trans, and femme people), where she presented on a panel of Queer People of Color. Before and after that event, she traveled to bike communities around the country. Her goal throughout this tour is to contribute to a more inclusive and expansive bicycling and outdoors community. Her presentation will share stories of her most recent bike tour in India, demystify some of the logistics and stressors of planning a small or large tour, and provide resources for people to engage with bike touring or bikepacking on their own. Despite the multiple barriers to her outdoor participation, like parents who assume I will die if I embark on an adventure, a family system and culture that doesn’t embrace the outdoors, a desire for queer community that is based, primarily, in cities, and the possibility of increased risk that comes with being a brown woman, she has found ways to get outside, defy impossibilities, and thrive.
Mary Ann Thomas is the brown queer daughter of Indian immigrant parents, a travel nurse, bike tourist, and writer. She has bicycled over 10,000 miles in the last five years: in 2014, she bicycled solo from San Diego to Montreal; in 2017, she biked across India from the Himalayas to Kerala, the state at the tip of the subcontinent where her family is from. Her writing has been featured in numerous literary and travel platforms, and her bike travel has been featured on several podcasts, including the Dirtbag Diaries.
As a writer, she has attended the VONA Travel Writing Workshop in 2015 and 2017. Since 2015, her work has been published in numerous literary journals and travel platforms, which include Autostraddle, She Explores, Panorama: The Journal of Intelligent Travel, The Rumpus, and On She Goes. She has been featured on several podcasts, including The Dirtbag Diaries, Musafir Stories, and The Ethical Traveler. She is a presenter at the WTF Bikexplorers Summit.
You can find Mary Ann online on her website www.postcardsfrommat.com
Opening the event will be Yodassa Williams.
Known in the Bay Area writing scene as ‘The Black Burning Man Girl”, Yodassa Williams is a Jamaican American writer, entrepreneur, and award winning performing storyteller. Her nonfiction explores her emotionally intense travel adventures while her fiction and poetry weave worlds of imagination and fantasy. Yodassa has a storytelling podcast called ‘The Black Girl Magic Files’ and her editorial work has been published online in Splinter. She is an alumna of the VONA/Voices Travel Writing program and completed the Experimenting with Essay Forms WOL course in June of 2018. Yodassa was selected for 2018’s Fortify Writer’s Retreat. She teaches storytelling craft to young girls of color through Girls, Inc. in Oakland and is shopping her debut novel, The Goddess Twins. www.yodawill.com
This event is produced and hosted by
Laura Luna www.xolauraluna.com