‘A Year-Long Therapeutic Solo Trip Led Me To My New Home In Portugal’
By DeAnna Taylor
Sheree Mitchell is originally from Miami, Florida. After living between Miami and Portugal for almost three and a half years, she officially made the move to Lisbon, Portugal.
Sheree is now the owner of a thriving boutique tour operator called Immersa Global. We spoke with her about what led her to Portugal and what you can expect from her company.
Travel Noire: What inspired you to move abroad?
Sheree: I’ve always spent a lot of time outside of the US and as I’ve gotten older and more aware, I actually prefer it. I think I’m American by birth, but truly a global citizen at heart. Luckily for me, my work is pretty mobile so I can be almost anywhere in the world as long as there’s strong WiFi, nice weather, good food and wine, and an airport. So last year, after some life-changing events, I decided to take the leap and transfer my home base from Miami to Lisbon. It’s been an amazing experience and I haven’t looked back since.
TN: What led you to Portugal?
Sheree: Portugal, without even knowing it, became a major part of a year-long therapeutic solo sojourn around the world. I ended up here on an extended layover before flying to Angola for a wedding. I could immediately tell that Lisbon was very special and I promised myself that I’d return to explore it. Forty days later, I was back and I ended up exploring the country for three months after that.
TN: Tell us about life in Portugal as a Black woman?
Sheree: It’s the first time in my life that I get to just “be” without all the hyphened identities that we use in the US. There’s a lightness about my existence here. I breathe easier and most importantly I feel like I fit in.
I’m still usually the only person of color at dinner parties, in restaurants and in business meetings, but it’s very different here. I don’t feel the same toxicity when you talk about race or equality that I’ve experienced in other places. Of course, there’s no perfect place and bigotry exists even in peaceful little Portugal, but it’s definitely not in your face like in other places.
TN: What makes Portugal a great place for people of color?
Sheree: Portugal is a great place, period. The diverse topography, food, wine, weather, safety, size, people, location, social policies, and cost of living (compared to the US or UK) all make this country a very unique and easy place to live in. It’s even more special for people of color because we get to just relax and be without dealing with overt racism or discrimination in other societies. That’s a luxury that we don’t have in any other place that offers the same characteristics.
TN: Tell us about your company.
Sheree: Immersa Global is a boutique tour operator that specializes in once-in-a-life-time tailor-made travel experiences. We curate programs based on clients’ interest. If it’s wine, then they’ll have VIP access to an accomplished winemaker or sommelier. If it’s food, they’ll have a private meet-and-greet with a well-known chef. If it’s art, they’ll meet some outstanding local talent.
Immersa Global really is the culmination of the best of me. My travels, my studies, my passions, my international network, and my experiences are all wrapped up in this little company and I’m honored to have the chance to share it with others.
TN: Where can we find you online?
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.