A story of community and the creation of a lifetime from your imagination.
Eleven years ago I took a leap of faith and landed on my face. Well, really, I gave up and wavered in my resolve to go for something different. The jump started in El Salvador, took me to Jamaica, and ended with me where I started in Atlanta.
For those who are anxious or have secondary discomfort, don’t worry. I have (mostly) settled down these days.
In El Salvador and Jamaica, I spent nine months outside America which were filled to the brim with lessons. I met lots of new people, breathed a very different air and, of course, ate the most delicious foods.
I was doing the human thing; I learnt. Life is full of experiences that we want and don’t want. And I believe that in the end, especially in Jamaica where I had to make a difficult choice, I fed my fears to the point of cutting myself off from seeing the possibilities of fulfilling my dream of living abroad. .
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After I returned to Atlanta, my time out of the country held me back. I was doing terrible jobs, I had lost friends and a chosen family, I had won some friends and a chosen family, and I still lost most of them when I finally decided to bet on myself and to try Being Anywhere But America again.
To make sure this one goes better, I spent my time at my part-time sales job doing research, digging into blogs and Facebook groups, investing in a course – whatever. could tell me how to make a life on the road possible. I saved with concentration and ended up with over $ 10,000, carry-on only, a babysitting pass, a stack of points and miles, and a pass to start my new adventure. on New Years Eve in December 2015. I belonged to the world and the world was mine to explore.
It was exhilarating! Everything I dreamed it could be. And just like when you get what you want, your new normal sets in and you move on. For me, that desire was community. I had started a blog and was writing really long emails to people I wanted to stay in touch with until it was quiet. I traveled around Europe for a while and moved to places where there were supposedly people like me, location independent online business owners. Unfortunately nowhere gave me this feeling of satisfaction, so I did the only sane thing that could be done in 2017, reached out to a few women I had seen online and started a group. Facebook, Black Women Digital Nomadic Entrepreneurs.
I wanted a place of reference to come together and share. I wanted us to uplift each other in our personal pursuits to say yes through travel and career aspirations to create businesses that we really wanted to be in. To be clear, these are just two things, but a lot of people are looking for one or the other. But doing both for me was really special and important. Many people who travel a lot already have or are in a solo group, work abroad, have married and moved, or want a career break. But creating a life and a job of your own in this way is different.
I was interested in finding, or in my case creating the silo for other black women who felt they could travel the way they wanted, have a business that supported them in any way they wished they could be. supported and contribute to the world what they decide they must give.
Look, I have no idea where I had the nerve to believe I could pull off this lifestyle, but I felt like I wasn’t alone. I was interested in finding, or in my case creating the silo for other black women who felt they could travel the way they wanted, have a business that supported them in any way they wished they could be. supported and contribute to the world what they decide they must give.
I found the group to be fleeting in nature, with messages coming and going. A good portion of women may not be really looking for community, instead they are looking for answers on how to achieve it on their own by being near the people who are doing it, near or playing with the community. idea as a prospect for the future. I have learned that when your hands are full of questions in your own life, there is simply no space to give in a way that comes naturally, overflowing with you. I am part of other digital nomad groups for women only and black women groups that don’t function like our special group. It is an honor to hold this kind of space and to be an active witness of the group over time and the way it takes shape.
I wanted something deeper and maybe more of a base for us rather than the chatter that social media often offers. So I created a weekly podcast where, instead of asking the guests about the usual price easily searchable on Google, I ask them about where they come from, where they come from, how they made sense about their lives and how travel played a part in that trip. it’s called Black Women’s Travel Podcast, and this is one of my proudest creations to date. It’s an honor to sit at a virtual kitchen table with often full or near-full strangers and ask them questions about the things that I think matter most because we’re all just a mess. of lively flesh motivated by a hope to continue and pass another day.
Discovering and being in contact with so many black women travelers, content creators and digital nomads has excited me. I said let’s all get together somewhere and of course travel but let’s learn to do better what we do! They call these conferences, I guess. i called it Black Women’s International Travel Jubilee.
Now, flash forward. Imagine me in Malaysia, doing The Work, and a virus is popping up all over the world. Borders are closing, cities are closing. Stocks are running out. Loads of angst and uncertainty grip every interaction. We had no idea what was going on, and we probably thought it wouldn’t kill that many people or last that long. I had no idea of ââgoing back to America. So I sat down and waited, and I kept talking to the traveling black women, and I thought I could still have a conference in Rwanda. And maybe I will someday when it’s safe.
I feel like I found my legs in Malaysia. Something about the moist heat that permeates every pore, plus some really great food, just opens a girl I guess. Remember I said the timing is like, a thing. I started the band in 2017 in Vietnam, then started podcasting and conference planning in 2019 in Malaysia. Then came the global pandemic which stopped a lot of things but failed to stop the persistence of racism and white supremacy, which has grown very noisy in an otherwise rather quiet world. This ridiculous storm caused many black people in America to do what many of our ancestors did: envision a life abroad where oppression couldn’t touch us so pervasively through every inch of our life. Of course, white supremacy has spread to much of the world, and maybe one day I’ll find the words, but being Black outside of America is just different.
Malaysia has been gracious during the pandemic. Well, until April 2021 when he quickly and bluntly decided to send me an eviction notice, but that’s a story for another time. So I’m curious about the timeline for my work and what I will be inspired to create in Albania, where I head next, as I travel there and try not to spread or catch death along the way. I wonder if I would have drawn the conclusions and taken the actions and launched the projects that I started without the places I have been and for the person I was and am becoming. What do you think?