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The Black Expat: ‘If I Can Do It, You Can Do It Too’

By DeAnna Taylor

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Pittsburgh native Rocco Brown made the leap in 2017 to pack up his life in America and relocate across the globe. In his almost 3 years abroad, he has seen and done things that many travelers only dream of.

We spoke with Rocco to see what led him to move abroad and how he is able to fund his new life as a Black expat.

Photo courtesy of Rocco Brown

Travel Noire: What led you to move abroad?

Rocco: I knew from a very early age (17 years old) that I wanted to move out of the US.  I knew there was a big world out there and I simply wanted to experience it firsthand.  However, at the time I wasn’t sure how I would successfully go about it. I became an avid reader of books that dealt with financial literacy and wealth management. Those books later led me to two books that changed the game for me. The first book was “The Four Hour Work Week” (by Timothy Ferriss) and the second was “Vagabonding” (by Rolf Potts). Those books provided in-depth details on the benefits of living abroad. If I were to sum up the message of both books (in reference to living abroad) in one sentence, it would be this. You can have a better quality of life than you do now for a fraction of what you’re paying right now.

Photo courtesy of Rocco Brown

TN: Since beginning your expat journey, where have you lived and how long did you remain in those places?

Rocco: Some of the places I’ve visited and/or lived included Thailand, Hong Kong, Canada, Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Mainland China, Mexico, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Germany, etc.

In addition to that, my travel approach is a bit different than some of my peers.  When I go to another location, I don’t travel with an end date in mind, nor an already purchased exit flight out of the country.  I simply arrive and then leave when I feel like I experienced everything that I wanted to for that trip.  On average, I don’t stay less than a month in any location and the longest I ever stayed in one country (Mainland China) was approximately 16 months.  I’m currently in the Philippines and I have been here for about 5 months now.

Photo courtesy of Rocco Brown

TN: How do you generate income to fund your travels abroad?

Rocco:  I chose to pay off my debt prior to moving abroad in 2017. I had to overcome $100,000 worth of student loan debt to get here so it wasn’t an easy journey.  The same skill that helped me become debt-free is the same skill that allows me to make an income while living abroad. That skill is investing in the stock market. Unfortunately, I don’t have enough room in this article to provide an in-depth description of investing in the stock market, but if you would like more details you can visit my website.

Photo courtesy of Rocco Brown

TN: In what ways are you also giving back to your community back home while away?

Rocco: I’ve noticed that once they [expats] leave their home country, they tend to focus on their current location.  However, I seldom see and/or hear any who attempt to tackle problems that may have plagued them, their families or communities back at home. It’s almost as though they are trying to erase or forget that chapter of their life. 

For me personally, I choose to embrace my past and all my experiences (both good and bad). All those things made me the man I am today, and I believe it’s important to inspire people through words and actions.  As a result, you can see my monthly monetary donation videos to my community back home on my website as well. I understand the power of representation and I simply want to show others that if I can do it, you can do it too.  You can live the life of your dreams and simultaneously empower your community as well.

Photo courtesy of Rocco Brown

TN: What’s next for you?

Rocco: Over the last 3 years of traveling, my social media following has constantly asked me to host a group trip.  My response has always been no.  However, I recently organized and released the details for my first group trip that will be taking place at the end of 2020.  It’s a 5 day and 4-night luxury vacation on the number 1 island in the world. It will include a mansion, horseback riding on white-sand beaches and snorkeling.

 If you would like to attend the group trip, you’re more than welcome to. You can find all the details on my website as well. Apart from that, I will continue to add passport stamps until the Man above calls me home.

TN: Where can we find you online?

Rocco: My website: www.roccobrown.com or on social media: @roccobrown.

Related: The Black Expat: ‘Brazil Led Me To South Korea & I Embraced The Unknown’

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DeAnna Taylor

DeAnna Taylor is a criminal defense Attorney turned travel blogger, author, and writer. While Charlotte, NC (her hometown) is her base, she's always somewhere on a plane. Catch her on IG: @brokeandabroadlife.

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