Naliaka Wakhisi is an entrepreneur, chef, dancer, traveler, fitness trainer, and all-around incredible human being. Keep reading to see how she has made it her mission to combine fun travel and delicious, healthy food into curated adventures for communities of color.
Felecia: You are one of the most vibrant personalities that I’ve ever met. What are some of the things that you’d say make you who you are?
Naliaka: What makes me who I am is my love for life. I appreciate the gift of living so much that daily I strive to create a wonderful life experience for myself and those around me. It is why I love helping people. I want to help folks see how awesome things can be for them in this world.
Naliaka: What started my vegan journey was a challenge my brother presented to me about five years ago. He wanted to do a vegan raw food diet for a few weeks (nothing cooked, just all fresh fruits, veggies, nuts, and seeds). At first I was like, “noooooo wayyyy!” But then I decided to give it a try for about three weeks. I went all in and my whole body felt great! Instead of going back to eating animals, I decided to keep a 100% plant-based life style that included cooked foods.
Felecia: What’s the story behind The Black Theory and how did you come up with the name?
Naliaka: I am a person who LOVES to travel however, I am not a lone traveler. I like to go on group excursions, tours, retreats, dance trips you name it! I’ve been on quite a few trips! Some trips as far as Haiti and even local trips like New Orleans. I love the experience of traveling in groups, but I noticed that I would be paying for all inclusive trips, but I would have to go off on my own to buy my own food because I was vegan (99% of time the only vegan). So now not only was I paying for food I couldn’t eat, but I would have to eat by myself, or leave the group to find food on my own. I started to look for vegan trips but none of them seemed for me. They were heavily white, focused on either meditation or yoga, and usually too expensive. The few black retreats I found were also focused on yoga or healing, and/or too long, or too expensive and I didn’t have the time or money to invest. I wanted to create trips that were local and had a broad focus like excursions, nightlife, fitness, game nights, cooking, you name it! So I started planning my own vegan trips. First, I took a group of people to Miami, then D.C., then Philadelphia. Before I knew it I had successfully planned several getaways. I loved it so much that I decided to make it a business. How cool would it be if my whole life looked like this? So then The Black Theory was born!
To this day nobody knows how I came up with the name lol! So I will have to think about releasing the secret. Long story short it really just came to me! There are a lot of theory’s about Black Folks (black don’t crack, the blacker the berry sweeter the juice, you name it). The Black Theory aims to uphold the postie theories floating around by executing flawless trips and bringing people together.
Felecia: What should someone expect if they sign up for one of your retreats?
Naliaka: People LOVE how my retreats are super balanced! They are not all focused on yoga and meditation, but they are also not all party, party, party. There is a balance and you can see where you fall in. We have optional fitness everyday with personal instructors as well as optional night life. Some trips we focus on cooking together and fostering community as a group. Most trips include yoga, fitness, cooking classes, boat rides, game nights, and excursions. The magic that happens when you are traveling in an intimate group is inexplicable. I’m pretty close friends with almost every person who has come on my retreats. The connections are the best thing about the trips.
Felecia: How do you define The Black Theory community?
Naliaka: I define the community as POC (people of color), however most of the trips have been comprised of black women. Some trips are co-ed, and inter-generational. Nobody has to be vegan or plant-based to attend the trip. In fact, I welcome those who aren’t as long as they are ready to experience a weekend of fun vegan living!
Naliaka: Watching people try my food and say “If I had food like this everyday, I could be vegan” . If I had a dollar for every time someone has said that I’d be a very rich woman.
Naliaka: To release fear, accept the present, and focus on the joy!