The Walkers: Getting You Into Nature + Outside Your Comfort Zone


Dr. Kim Walker and Claude Walker are the founders of Nashville Black Wellness Collectivean outdoor activity brand changing the whole game in Nashville and beyond. They are a couple with a true service mentality that seeks for everyone to win. Beginning their own wellness transformation journey a few years ago, they decided to share what they learned with their community. Read Kim and Claude’s story and then make some time to add in a healthy hobby to get you into nature and out of your comfort zone. 

What inspired you to start Nashville Black Wellness Collective?

KW: Our wellness journey inspired us to find ways to live an active and healthy lifestyle sustainably. We changed everything that we did for our free time and leisure. Getting outdoors was new to us, but as health professionals, we know that getting outdoors is really good for you. As we became used to getting outdoors, we wanted to add some fun and variety. Along the journey, our families got more involved, and we realized there are some really dope adventures when you get active and go outside. This is what we wanted to share that with our people. As Claude shares “getting outdoors has made such an impact on us, our marriage, and our relationship with our son as we get him off the couch”. Kim adds “we saw that our people really needed this. Being outdoors helps relieve stress, enhance our personal connections, helps cope with personal loss and so much more. 

Why do you feel that as a community, African Americans were not getting out and exploring as much?

CW: It’s a combination of a lack of knowledge and a lack of exposure. In urban environments, there isn’t a lot of green space that is accessible to African Americans. You can also take a look at our history. In 1964, African Americans were finally granted the right to visit state and national parks as a part of the Civil Rights Act. We’ve only had this access for 56 years! 

KW: When my dad was 13 years old, there were only 2 state parks in Tennessee that he could visit. One was in Memphis, where I’m from, and the other was in Chattanooga. They were classified as Negro parks until the Civil Rights Act, so there’s a very large gap there. Doing things outdoors is something that gets passed down in families because others teach you and guide you along the way. This has been a process for us in our adult age to discover why we never did these things earlier. Even when the laws changed, that didn’t mean these places were welcoming. A lot of people just felt uncomfortable going to the parks and going alone. That’s where the community aspect comes in. Nashville Black Wellness Collective exists.

How has it been to go on this journey together as a couple?

CW: Having your passion and purpose align and two people being on the same page is more powerful than anything”. Kim shares, “when we met, I was about to graduate from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. Claude went to Cumberland University. We actually both majored in exercise science at our schools. We have an internal passion for helping others become happier and healthier people. Coming together with this endeavor has really brought greater purpose to our relationship and our marriage. We’ve actually worked a previous job together where we were both health coaches.   

KW: A lot of people also just resonate with our story and the journey of getting healthier with your partner. Couples will go on this journey together and it can definitely be challenging when you have 2 different people with 2 different life experiences. People really relate to our story and we share with our members how we did it together. 


What has been a story that reaffirmed the purpose behind Nashville Black Wellness Collective?

KW: We actually had that story this weekend. One person said, “this was a life-changing experience.” Someone else even said, “this was a blessing to the totality of my being.” We incorporate mindfulness and meditation into the experience as well so it’s a full mind, body, spirit journey.

CW: Since, we talk a lot about overcoming fears and breaking down barriers, and we could tell that it really hit some of the members. Even the little moments of change. On Sunday, I just overheard a girl say “I did it.” She didn’t yell it out; she whispered it. She was a first-time hiker and overcame her fear of hiking. 

KW: That Sunday, everyone was a first-time hiker. We had this older woman on the adventure, and she said, “I just got a new outlook on nature.” She was probably 60+ years old and even said that she is going to do this again.  

What can a person expect when joining Nashville Black Wellness Collective?

There are a variety of experiences beyond just hiking. There are guided kayaking trips. While kayaking, the instructor will incorporate meditation and mindfulness practices. For instance, this weekend, we had a paddleboarding group, but when half of the members are on the water, the other half may be doing yoga with a certified instructor. Lately, most of our events have been at capacity because the club is growing. 

Do you think you could’ve started Nashville Black Wellness Collective anywhere other than Nashville?

CW: We actually left Tennessee and moved to Dallas, Texas for a bit. We moved back to Nashville because Kim got into a doctorate program at Belmont. I think things happen the way that they are supposed to happen, so Nashville is kind of this perfect alignment for us. 

KW: Nashville is the perfect place to be a city dweller that wants those doses of adventure. There are so many locations to explore in and around Nashville while staying close to home and paying a reasonable price. You see places in magazines or on social media all the time that people wait to visit, but you can do all of those activities right here in Nashville. 

CW: Nashville is a jewel.  

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