Last year I reconnected with my first cousin who has been living in Ghana, West Africa for 26 years. I hadn’t spoken to her for 40 years prior. Like many families, tightly knit connections unraveled after the passing of our grandmother in 1981. We lost track of each other but never lost the love. Not only does my beautiful cousin live in Ghana, but she also raised three successful children there, launched a business, and leads the African American Association of Ghana. It confirmed for me that many Black women are living their best lives in other countries. Growing up in the U.S. as a first-generation immigrant from the Caribbean, I had been told so many times that our country is the best country in the world.
Maybe. But the best country for whom?
With the ongoing racism and sexism against Black women in the United States, the sky-high cost of living in desirable cities, and the advent of remote work technology, some women are choosing life abroad. I remember sitting on the red sofa in my old house a few years ago when my friend from my Black Vegan Life™ group told me she was teaching English as a foreign language in South Korea, and she LOVED it! I never dreamed of living in South Korea as a Black woman. My friend felt safe, respected and was enjoying a better lifestyle than she could afford in Atlanta. She even told me about meeting her new boyfriend and visiting the local Vegan Festival! Although I had the good fortune to travel to Japan, Hong Kong, Canada, and most of the Caribbean as a young woman, it made me realize I wanted to expand my world.
Since then, I’ve had the opportunity to visit France, Italy, and Costa Rica. In March, I will travel to Ghana for the first time with a group of African Americans to visit my cousin and lead the Ghana Soul-Healing Retreat. Together we will experience the rich history, beautiful beaches, bustling cities, lush rainforests, friendly natives, adventurous expats, delicious cuisine, and all that Ghana has to offer. I will teach yoga, meditation, and soul-healing workshops in collaboration with other amazing instructors like Hypnosoul Coach, Jill Flowers
So, where are the best places for Black women to live?
I found lists of some of the best countries in the world for Black women from bloggers CandaceAbroad.com and Wellness XPlora. When I think about the best places, I think about feeling welcomed, having access to a Black ex-pat community, a great lifestyle, and a reasonable cost of living. Besides Ghana, some of the countries that popped up are Colombia, Costa Rica, Hong Kong, Mexico, Panama, Portugal, Senegal, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland, and Thailand. Check out the blog links above to catch the full lists.
What should you consider when thinking about relocating either short- or long-term to Ghana or any foreign country?
Here are my top three tips if you’re planning a big move:
- Be prepared. Understand employment, housing, healthcare, taxes, laws, and lifestyle before you set off for a new location. I was surprised during my podcast interview, “Finding Freedom on Foreign Ground,” when my cousin and Ghana expat, Sherrie Thompson, explained that in Ghana you must pay your rent with a full year upfront! Make sure you do your research. Look for Facebook groups to connect with local expats, read books or blogs, and contact the U.S. embassy in your potential host country for resources. If you’re thinking of Ghana, Sherrie is a consultant who can help you. You can reach her on WhatsApp at +233-54-871-9680.
- Connect with an expat community. Don’t expect to make a big move without a strong community. Since you already connected with expats virtually before your arrival, now’s the time to build community when you arrive. Grab a cup of coffee or green tea, take a yoga class, visit a museum or film. It’s time to build relationships in your new homeland. Friendships with natives may be wonderful, but there is something special about building and nurturing friendships with people from your home country.
- Expect to get homesick. Even in the best of circumstances, homesickness is natural. You may wake up in the middle of the night craving a NYC bagel, Philly cheesesteak or a long drive through familiar territory. Even more so, you may miss family left behind in the states. Prepare to be away from home with slices of your home country and good communication: perhaps a movie, book or friend on standby with Facetime or WhatsApp for when melancholy feelings strike. I really enjoyed the short film, Black Star: Self-Repatriation from Oakland to Ghana, which tells the story of musical artist, Sunru Carter’s decision to ‘repatriate’ himself to Ghana after being hassled by police in Oakland, California. You can watch it HERE.
Living abroad isn’t for everyone but migration is natural. If the monarch butterfly can fly 3,000 miles to escape the winter, you can certainly sit on a plane for a few hours to expand your horizons. Live in LOVE. Not in FEAR.
I wish you passion, purpose and the realization of your fullest potential!
P.S. The photo is from Tom Barrett from Unsplash.com. If you’d like to learn more about the Ghana Soul-Healing Retreat and other programs for a juicier, more joyful life, click the button below.