Three Questions: Carl, Walk With Locals

There's something intimidating about hanging out with a group of strangers for the first time. But I'll take any opportunity to connect IRL and wander about the city at sunset. So I (wo)manned up and got myself over to the Walk With Locals meetup on Saturday evening at the Kennedy Center. 

Carl Maynard (of @carlnard, @thefitdistrict and @walkwithlocals) created Walk With Locals to encourage people to get to know their city and its inhabitants; to explore, get lost and find new spaces together. 

If you're in the mood for a small adventure, join us for the next Walk With Locals meetup on Sunday, May 1st at 11am. We'll be meeting at 400 Indiana Ave NW and meandering through Chinatown and Mount Vernon before landing at La Colombe in Chinatown. 

You'll soon be sticking your hand out to introduce yourself more times than you can count. And if you do come, please say hi/let's hang out.

What does wellness mean to you? 

Wellness to me means doing what makes you feel whole. For some, that's eating clean or hitting the gym 6 days a week but for me its about being complete with a little bit of spice here and there. I used to live thinking I NEEDED to be healthy. If I wasn't healthy, I was wrong. Now it's about WANTING to be healthy. Though this doesn't mean I'm letting the fries pass by me. For me, healthy is balance. If at the end of each week, I feel whole,  I'm good.

What has been an important lesson in your self-care/self-love journey and how (if at all) has community/community building played into that? 

Really within the past year and half what really clicked for me was coming to the conclusion that social (media) doesn't matter. However, parallel to this thought, was when it really started to be important to me. What I mean by "doesn't matter" is that your standing or following or engagement on each and every post, in the end means nothing. It makes you no less of a person. It makes you no less fun to be around. But yet at the same time, it was shortly after this that I launched my first project on Instagram (@thefitdistrict) and one of the driving forces behind @walkwithlocals. Over the past few months to a year, I started to notice this really bad trend in Insta-meets having sign ups or guest lists. Without realizing it, these sorts of things were leaving "average" people out. It got to me. And after a while, I noticed it was getting to others as well. I know people who just sort of use instagram whenever they feel like and yet post the most amazing photos but due to only having 300 followers they were left out. Or worse, looked at as less influential. I wanted to create a community with the exact opposite of beliefs. No one should ever feel left out because of the amount of "followers" they have or not feel welcomed because they're not an "influencer." I live with the motto of "Everyone Should Know Everyone" and want that to be a reality. The best outcomes from a Walk With Locals interaction is to see two people hanging out a different day knowing that they met at a WWL interaction. That right there is community in it's best form to me. We all live here. We may as well hang out.

What are your favorite ways to engage with your community in DC and beyond?

IN REAL LIFE. Granted, I'm fully aware of the irony of that, being behind two Instagram handles but those are drivers for real life interaction. With @theFitDistrict, I'm working to bring fitness seekers together. No matter who anyone is, no matter where they are fitness wise. I want them there. Then with @walkwithlocals, this is a project built on inclusivity that encourages people to take a left when they normally turn right. Go where you normally don't. Look up, when you normally walk with your phone in hand. (unless you're using apple maps) ha! When I was younger, my family and I would take walks after dinner or sometimes to start the morning on a weekend. I hated them. Now, I realize that power of being engaged. Oh also.. over a cup of coffee. That's a great thing.