The COVID-19 pandemic has brought on huge changes to traveling, with new kinds of trips gaining popularity in an effort to maintain isolation and containment measures while on the move. And it’s one of these new kinds of trips that newly-founded and Black-owned company We Out Here offers.
Husband and wife duo Ron Griswell and Linea Johnson founded We Out Here in Elizabeth City, North Carolina – what they offer are curated local experiences that will allow guests to “heal and recharge in a safe and healthy environment” by taking a mental break from everything that is happening in the world and especially impacting BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and people of color) communities. Because of that, We Out Here also aims to give back to the BIPOC community of Elizabeth City as much as possible, by hiring Black vendors and staying in Black-owned B&Bs.
We Out Here actually started as a trip that the duo organized for a small group of friends to relieve some of their stress in the difficult months of the first half of this year. As they tell Lonely Planet, all activities were kept as a surprise for their guests but were also planned well in advance to make sure they would comply with CDC & WHO directives. After the trip, one of the friends suggested “that Ron and I create that same experience for others,” Linea told Lonely Planet. “Hence, We Out Here was founded in early July of 2020”.
Guests who book their three-nights and four-days trips with We Out Here can expect an “inclusive and luxurious experience” filled with surprise activities where everything is provided for them and sure to be as safe as possible. Ron and Linea explained to Lonely Planet that they’re taking several steps to ensure that, from catering only to small groups of people in order to respect CDC guidelines to providing guests masks and hand sanitizer to checking their temperature every morning before heading out for the day’s activities.
It certainly wasn't easy to start a travel-related business in the middle of a global pandemic. "We received some pushback from the social media community. People questioned how we could encourage travel during a pandemic," Ron and Linea told Lonely Planet. "Of course the very best way to ensure you do not get the virus is to stay home. However, if you are going to travel, there is a way to do it responsibly. And, at We Out Here, we do just that".
We Out Here is designed to offer BIPOC individuals in particular a healthy environment and experience, something that is still lacking in many areas of the travel industry. "The industry has a long way to go as it pertains to creating a safe space for BIPOCs," Ron and Linea explained to Lonely Planet. "We need to create safe spaces for ourselves". And that's why they decided to turn something that started as a simple trip with friends into a full-out business even in such difficult times. "We place a huge emphasis on wellness and restoration through travel and community. Our primary goal is to heal each other and present a safe space to do so. So while it's definitely been challenging starting a travel business in the middle of a pandemic, it's also been equally rewarding. We saw a need and we aim to fulfill that need," Ron and Linea concluded. You can find all additional information on We Out Here’s official website.