Mary Ann Thomas: Brown Queer Travel Writer

Category Archives: Essays

As a Nurse and Writer, I Work Toward a Culture of Care

As a Nurse and Writer, I Work Toward a Culture of Care

When I start my shift as an ICU nurse, I know the people I take care of will die. Whether it happens on my shift, the next one, or next year, this fact doesn’t change. Every coffeeshop, classroom, amusement park, and subway is full of living people who will one day die. Regardless, I choose… Read More >>

Walking the queer tightrope with Janelle Monáe

Walking the queer tightrope with Janelle Monáe

“Some people talk about ya like they know all about ya . . .” I remember watching the video for Janelle Monáe’s “Tightrope” for the very first time. I had just moved to Washington DC after college for my first job as a nurse. Socially isolated in a new city, I found Monáe’s music by… Read More >>

Every 100 Kilometres, A New Country: Bicycling Across India

Every 100 Kilometres, A New Country: Bicycling Across India

2 September 2017: Three days before the flight When I was a child. As the daughter of Indian immigrant parents. Is that how this starts? Going to India every year since I was twelve. Is that how this starts? I’m on my way to India again, but this time it’s a little different. In a… Read More >>

Social Media as a Tool for Travel

Social Media as a Tool for Travel

For many women, people of color, LGBTQ folks, safety is the first thing on our minds when we think about travel. It’s daunting to go to a place you’ve never been, especially if you don’t anticipate there will be anyone who looks like you. It might feel safer to travel in cities or to stay… Read More >>

Two Wheels, All Heart: A Bike Tour of India

Two Wheels, All Heart: A Bike Tour of India

At the end of 2017, I biked more than 3,000 miles from the Himalayas to the southern tip of Tamil Nadu. Over four months, my bike tour of India took me through 12 states, and I passed Buddhist monasteries with prayer flags waving on mountaintops, Sikh gurudwaras serving free communal meals, towering minarets of mosques,… Read More >>

Bike Touring: An Obsession

Bike Touring: An Obsession

Sam and Shirley rolled up in a silver minivan. The 80-year-old couple inched out of the car and waved us over. The opened their trunk, loaded our bicycles and gear, and drove us up a thousand-foot mountain on a windy gravel road while joking that Sam, who was driving, was legally blind. That night, they… Read More >>

On Preparation

On Preparation

It was when I was lying on the floor at yoga class and the instructor said, set an intention, that I put my boyfriend and our impending distance aside because that’s not an intention. I put the stress and fear of an upcoming adventure aside; stress and fear are not intentions. I put my body… Read More >>

Road Trip in a Red State

Road Trip in a Red State

Last November, in a red state surrounded by people who voted for Trump, I silently grieved for my country. My body was brown, deflated, minimized, isolated, invisible, hypervisible, and hiding from what cannot be changed. I felt like a fire dumped with water, unable to fathom what was happening, or if the future I’d imagined… Read More >>