Traveler Story: ‘The Only Place I’ve Never Felt At Home, Was Home
By DeAnna Taylor
For traveler Daniel Oliver, travel has always been a way of life for him. While he was raised in Texas, his parents’ families were from opposite sides of the country, which meant lots of cross-country trips for holidays and special occasions.
He made the decision to attend college at Duke University in North Carolina and eventually transferred to Columbia University to complete his degree.
While at Columbia, he met his best friend who happened to be a German international student. The two quickly became close and found themselves backpacking in Europe in a Mercedes.
“I’ve done some crazy stuff and had some amazing experiences,” Daniel told Travel Noire.
Daniel found joy in traveling and eventually moved abroad. He’s visited London, Barcelona, Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Iceland, UAE, Western Europe & Mexico. Out of them all, he has found Iceland to be his favorite.
He currently lives in Lahore, Pakistan where he runs his interactive educational business.
” I have been abroad most of my adult life, and have lived in Australia, Oman, Pakistan & Saudi Arabia.”
He recalls life in Oman and the beauty of living near the sea. He could leave the sea, drive through the desert, and pass mountains on his way to work every day. He could see sea turtles from his family’s living room couch.
During his time as an exchange student in Sydney, Australia, there was a casting call for The Matrix II & III. As luck would have it, Daniel was cast as an extra in the movie.
“It was cool, they wanted the “background” to be diverse, so I met people from every part of the diaspora you can name, and all the ones you can’t. Some of whom are friends of mine until today.”
Since living abroad, one of his most memorable moments was getting married in Lahore and being able to raise his children as citizens of the world.
But, Daniel doesn’t want you to think that life is abroad is a walk in the park. He’s experienced several low moments as well. Just last year he went through back to back moments that many people wouldn’t know how to handle.
“In April, I got laid off due to budget cuts in Lahore. In addition to the car, house, and salary, I was also losing my right to live in the country with my family. And my wife was pregnant. We sorted all of that by the grace of Allah, and in August my son was born,” he said.
Just three days later, his newborn went through a near-death experience that required him to have surgery. As a freelancer who was just getting back on his feet, Daniel didn’t know how he would make it through.
But, people that he had met from all around the world opened their hearts without question.
Everyone from high school classmates to his older children’s Iraqi pediatrician contributed to the GoFund Me account that was created.
“I was in such shock I thought I was going to have a heart attack, and I was losing hair for months. But we survived and thrived.”
As for advice to other families thinking about packing up and making a new country home, Daniel had this to say:
“Don’t flee from a negative, but rather run to a positive. There’s got to be something more to “there” than the fact that it’s not “here.” Always have a plan B through Z. Imagine the worst things that could possibly go wrong, and plan for that situation until you can see yourself thriving in it to the point where that success is the success you actually want. Last but not least, create income. YOU are your greatest opportunity.”
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.