Treading the Earth with Faith Adiele

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  • Published on November 19, 2023
  • In Videos

Ron Stodghill and Faith Adiele talk about how Adiele has risked comfort and identity in order to walk the path of Buddhist nuns.

DETOUR boasts many endearing qualities, but modesty is not among them. We’re proud of our work and our people, and don’t pass on opportunities to showcase the journalists, writers, historians, and various creatives whose work gives shape and meaning to DETOURand keep us relevant in our community of Black travelers.

DETOUR Publisher’s Studio host Ron Stodghill interviews DETOUR columnist Faith Adiele, a Nigerian-Nordic-American author and teacher with an admirable and colorful life about her entrance into the writing industry and pioneering role in the Black travel movement. “I’ve always just really been interested in kind of bridging the gap between, you know, literary art and commercial stuff, people that  reach ordinary folks, which is why I think I move in so many different spaces.” 

 

 

Adiele has written about her trek across the mountains of the Kingdom of Lesotho, Africa–the meditation app Calm’s episode “Kingdom of the Sky”–her personal examination of suppressed memory through Ibo-Nigerian philosophy–the “Speculative Nonfiction” article “Irôko”–and the stereotypical treatment of Black, non-African, Americans in the US medical systems–“The Eye Exam” in The Offing publication.

Stodghill and Adiele discuss “The Buddhist Nun Moment” that is Adiele’s development as a Black Buddhist practitioner recorded in her memoir “Meeting Faith: An Inward Odyssey.”

“I was really fascinated by women, why women chose this really, really, really hard life.” 

Adiele was inspired and curious about how the socially unconventional lifestyle of a Buddhist Nun, a lifestyle of temples, silence without end and only one meal a day, could appeal to anyone. In order to understand and in order to help others by sharing this story, Adiele realized that she had to go all in. 

“You can’t tell someone’s story unless you’ve walked in their shoes and, and unless you have something at risk too, I think.”

The discussion turns to what brought Adiele to a monastery, both physically and mentally. “I was always craving to find people like me.” As a Nordic-raised, rural-Washington-born Nigerian woman, Adiele’s family has always had an element of foreign or out of place. Her desire to travel, and traveling as a Black woman, brought her to experience adventures and trials unique to her. 

“Now it’s considered really pioneering, but I was just trying to find people who look like me, who I could connect to, and I felt like I could fit in everywhere a little bit.” 

Adiele’s travels and lived experiences have allowed her to meet similarly impassioned people and form communities for writers and travelers. Adiele is the founder and host of African Book Club at the Museum of the African Diaspora, founder of VONA‘s Traveling While BIPOC, the nation’s first writing workshop for travelers of color, and co-founder of BIPOC Writing Party. She currently teaches as a professor of English at the California College of Arts.

Publisher’s Studio is hosted at the Reynolds Journalism Institute at the Missouri School of Journalism and highlights the people, stories, and trends important to DETOUR.

If you enjoy our perspective on travel and Black culture, please sign up for our newsletter. You should consider joining our travel club, too. Or maybe write a piece for us about your favorite destination. In other words, let’s stay connected!

Campbell Hamai is a journalist and associate producer with Detour through the Meredith-McClatchy Scholarship sponsored by the University of Missouri-Columbia, Missouri. She is passionate about elevating the work and voices of POC authors and creators. Hamai can be reached through email at campbellhamai@detourxp.com.