Design Your Life
The Black Expat: ‘I Have Never Felt More Liberated In My Life’
By DeAnna Taylor
Meet Nubia, a 40-year old mother of two adult children. She is originally from Boston and currently lives in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Nubia is the owner of a travel and tourism startup called A Nu Experience, co-host of the Chronicles Abroad podcast, and a freelance online English teacher.
We spoke with Nubia about her life as a Black Expat in Thailand.
Travel Noire: Why did you make the move abroad?
Nubia: I’ve always felt this urge to travel differently. I wanted to plant myself if various parts of the world for extended periods of time to learn the language, the culture and build new connections. It wasn’t until I was laid off in February of 2017 when I decided this was my chance to make it happen.
Travel Noire: How did your family react to you wanting to move abroad?
Nubia: My children always knew I had a love for travel. I don’t think anyone was really shocked that I picked up and moved overseas. I believe they were more surprised that I chose to head across the world to Southeast Asia.
Travel Noire: How has your life improved since moving abroad?
Nubia: Honestly, I thought I knew what happiness felt like. When I lived in the States, I had a good job, a nice home, plenty of friends and all of the things we believe make us happy. It wasn’t until I moved abroad and created a life that was free of all the day to day stresses back in the states that I truly became fulfilled and happy with life. There’s a sense of gratitude bursting inside of me that I never felt before. I’ve never felt more liberated in my life!
Travel Noire: Have you faced any challenges along this journey?
Nubia: Certainly, navigating a homogenous society as a dark-skinned, solo Black female traveler has some challenges. I would say that my trip to India was by far the most challenging for me. I couldn’t understand why I was looked at as such a spectacle to everyone. Especially in a country that has some of the most beautiful shades of brown I’ve ever seen. Not only was I a Black woman, but I also have short hair. Hair is very meaningful in India. I felt like I couldn’t walk down the street without the unwavering stares or being pointed at. There also seemed to be far more men than women out on the streets which made me uncomfortable as a solo female traveler.
However, I do not want to discourage anyone from visiting India. I learned that the unwavering stare is part of the cultural norm. Despite the challenges, I am loving this life and loving this journey. I trust the process. I feel like I am where I’m supposed to be in life.
Travel Noire: What advice can you offer to our audience, especially other moms, that want to make such a big move?
Nubia: Don’t overthink it. Think about where you may want to go. Connect with like-minded individuals via social media (like myself and other expats). Make a plan and go! It may be easier said than done but the hardest part is trusting the process and making that first step.
“Life is very simple and easy to understand, but we complicate it with the beliefs and ideas that we create.” ~ Don Miguel Ruiz
Travel Noire: Where can we find you on social media?
DeAnna Taylor is a criminal defense Attorney turned travel writer. The Charlotte native recently completed one year abroad working as an English teacher in South Korea. Her hobbies include fitness, traveling to new countries, and trying new foods.