Design Your Life
This Social Entrepreneur Dishes On How To Generate Income While Living Abroad
By DeAnna Taylor
Global citizenship is the idea that one’s identity transcends geography or political borders, and that responsibilities or rights are derived from membership in a broader class: humanity. This definition does not mean denouncing their nationality or other, more local identities, but those identities are “second place” to their membership in a global community.
Sam Desalu is a 31-year old social entrepreneur and identifies as a global citizen. He was born in Lagos, Nigeria but he grew up in a small suburb outside of Chicago called Richton Park. Since then he has lived in Los Angeles, New York City, and London. He currently resides in Kampala, Uganda.
We talked with him about his life as a global citizen and how he generates income in the process.
Travel Noire: Why did you decide to become a global citizen?
Sam: Growing up, I watched a lot of educational TV shows on PBS & Discovery Channel. Those shows inspired me to want to travel and see the world. When I got my passport, the first trip I made was to London. After that first trip, I became addicted to traveling.
Travel Noire: What does being a global citizen mean to you?
Sam: A global citizen is someone who is aware of and understands the wider world, and their purpose in it. Getting on that plane and becoming an expat also gets you on your way to being a global citizen. You are a citizen of your home country, but you are also living your day-to-day in your host country, somewhere else in the world. I made a choice to be diverse and to immerse myself into a global community, not just the community I grew up in back home. As a global citizen, you have to be ready to embrace new things and take on the world with a different set of eyes.
Travel Noire: What are some challenges you face as a global citizen?
Sam: The language barrier is a challenge. Being in another country and not being able to communicate properly with the locals who don’t speak English. I’m trying my best to learn the basics so I can hold meaningful conversations with the interesting people I encounter. Being thousands of miles away from the ones you care about is a challenge as well. My family and close friends mean a lot to me and not seeing them takes its toll on me sometimes. Apart from that, life outside of my comfort zone is easy.
Travel Noire: What are some of the positives?
Sam: I get to cross paths with amazing people. I’ve made friends with dope individuals that live in different parts of the world. I also get a chance to be a student all over again. I get to learn about different cultures, the history of the countries and I get to eat the local food. I’m living an Anthony Bourdain inspired life right now( lol). Traveling gives me the opportunity to experience life outside the box.
Travel Noire: How do you make your income while abroad?
Sam: I’ve put myself in a good position financially. I’ve established four streams of income that allow me to pay my bills in the states and live a decent life here in Uganda. My first stream of income is Airbnb. I am an Airbnb host; I have two listings that do very well on the platform. One is in Los Angeles and the other one in London.
The second stream is a social business that gives back to less fortunate women and girls in Africa. It’s an all natural skincare brand called De Salu Naturals. Organic body butters from Africa. For every product we sell, we give an AFRIpads kit (re-usable sanitary pads) to a woman or girl in need.
The third stream is a hair salon. My sister owns a successful hair salon in Chicago, and I own a percentage of it.
In addition to this, I recently opened a restaurant here in Uganda called De Salu Bistro & Wine Bar. The hospitality industry here is massive. I’ve always wanted to own a restaurant and Uganda was the perfect place to open my first one. The process was really easy. With the help of my lawyer and my assistant, I was able to establish the business in two months. De Salu Bistro serves Nigerian and Continental cuisines. It has only been open for three months, but we’re doing very well.
Travel Noire: Do you have plans to settle somewhere? If so when and where?
Sam: I’m not even going lie and say I know where I want to settle down. Apart of me wants to settle down somewhere in Africa, and another part wants to live in Europe.
Travel Noire: What advice or tips can you give our readers looking to do something similar?
Sam: You only live once. Travel as much as you can while you still can. Don’t let the fear of the unknown discourage you from seeing all the beauty the world has to offer.
Travel Noire: Where can our readers reach you for questions?
Sam: You can find me at @samdesalu.
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.