A day spent outside is a good day for Dini (Dineo) Dowd.
“It’s very important. It’s good for your health. It’s good for your brain,” said Dowd.
Dowd is a social media influencer and in her words “a stay-outside mom.” She loves camping, hiking and staying active, but it wasn’t always this way. Dowd grew up in South Africa under Apartheid-era policies.
“My background growing up in South Africa, it was different as a Black person,” Dowd said, “We were not allowed to go to national parks or resorts, anything like that.”
Dowd didn’t find her path until moving to Utah as an adult.
“I think my love for the outdoors and hiking actually started in Utah,” Dowd said, “I felt like I was free.”
Eventually, her family relocated to Wisconsin, another state full of outdoor opportunities. Today her adventures are a family affair. She travels the state with her husband and their daughter exploring Wisconsin’s lakes, parks and trails. She shares their trips on social media, helping other families plan their own expeditions.
“I’m able to share my experiences and kind of give them resources. If you are a new parent and you’re looking into hiking or camping, this is where you should go. This is where you should start,” Dowd said.
Her goal is to promote diversity and encourage everyone to get outside. For instance, Dowd had a hard time finding nature stories to share with her daughter, so she created her own. She’s written a series of outdoors-themed children’s books.
“You see if I am hiking, I am kayaking, you can do this. You know? I’m trying to show these kids from different cultures and backgrounds that the outdoors is for everybody,” Dowd said.
Dowd also does this by organizing a range of group activities for women and families. These range from Wisconsin day hikes to her most daring adventure, taking a group of women across the world to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro.
“The good part of the story, they’re all moms. Some of these women, they have never even had a passport before,” Dowd said.
The group made a successful summit of Kilimanjaro in the summer of 2022 and decided to do it again in 2023. Dowd finds inspiration in sharing the experience with this group of women. She says they’re the type of people she wants to be around.
“People who are not scared to take chances and people who can push themselves and do the things that you don’t think your body can do,” Dowd said.
Wherever the trail takes her, Dowd says she’s determined to keep trekking toward her dreams.
“I am reborn. It’s like I have another chance in life to do all these things that I didn’t get to do,” Dowd said