For some, moving to another country seems extremely far-fetched; however, people of color are packing up and heading out now more than ever before. There are communities of black expats all over the world: Colombia, UAE, South Korea, Spain, Peru, Thailand, Mexico and the list goes on! If you think traveling is enlightening, when you move abroad it’s a fully-immersive experience, where you don’t just sample a new culture but become part of it. There’s a noticeable difference between a weekend in Jamaica, and renting a flat, finding a job and making long-lasting connections in a foreign country.  

As someone who has made the move myself, I can honestly say that one learns who they really are when they leave everything they know behind and dive head-first into a new life. How you handle a new language, new customs, new foods, music and social situations will hold a mirror right up to your face. Ideally, you’ll like what you see, but if you don’t, there’s time to change it. Remember, pressure causes cracks but it also makes diamonds. 

Once you make up in your mind that you want to #blaxit, people will try to convince you to reconsider. Here are three reasons why people think you shouldn't move abroad, with proven ways you should ignore them and do it anyway. 

Reason 1: It’s Too Expensive 

This, my friends, is completely relative.There are ways that one can live abroad comfortably on a fraction of what you spend now. This example here requires a bit of self-reflection. First, how are you spending your money now, and could you cut costs in certain areas? Do you really need a 20 dollar a week coffee budget, or could you make it at home? Are weekly manicures a necessity, or could you DIY? Is that Spotify Premium subscription a must? You see where I’m going. Once you get to the root of essentialism, what you actually need to live are shelter, water, food and fulfilling interactions with people in a place where you feel safe. Everything else is extra. 

How to do it: First decide where you want to go! A 700 dollar salary is very different in Peru than it is in Germany. Next, take a real hard look at your finances and start cutting costs. Be honest with yourself, too. Then, make a timeline that matches your budget. There’s one girl who lived in Ibiza, Spain for one year without touching her bank account. Miracles happen, don’t tell me you can’t live without your Tidal subscription!  

Reason 2: There's An Age Limit

“I’m too old to move abroad.” False. Don’t play yourself. Moving abroad is not just for 20-somethings. People move abroad with their entire families in tow, others move abroad to start their own families, or when their families are grown and they just want a change of scenery. There’s no blueprint to moving abroad, nor is there only one way to do it. It’s true that many college students get their first taste of foreign travel while studying abroad, but it doesn’t have to stop there. 

How to do it: To be honest, there are plenty of opportunities for “later-in-life” expats because there are numerous visa opportunities for specialized or technical fields. A recent college grad probably won’t be considered an “expert” in anything just yet. There are also visas specifically for retirement, buying property abroad or even having a certain amount of savings! Where there’s a will, there’s a way. 

Reason 3: Black People Don’t Do It

False. False. False. I’m currently living in Spain, and all my closest friends are black. Every single one. My other very black best friend is in Taiwan with his black roommate. There are Facebook groups and communities to connect POC all over the world. Finding community abroad isn’t hard with sites like Las Morenas de España (Spain), CP Travels (Asia), Travel Noire (global group travel) and Nomadness Travel Tribe (global group travel). 

How to do it: Start by doing your research! Reach out to these groups, ask questions. It’s okay to be afraid to do something you’ve never done. That’s human, and it’s normal. However what you shouldn’t do is take advice from someone who’s never done what you’re trying to do. There will be so many people telling you what you can’t, won’t and shouldn’t  do. All you need is one yes. 

Photo: Miss Naja

No matter where you end up, keep shining! You can do it. And, guess what? If you don’t like it, that’s what planes are for! Book a return ticket and head home. But you owe it to yourself to try! 

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