Why these women did it

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We’ve all wondered: is the grass really greener on the other side?

The expatriation of black Americans to other countries has been widely reported as a response to racism in the United States. However, K. Sunnei Samasa, leader of Black Americans Living Abroad, has seen members leave the United States for quality of life, job opportunities, entrepreneurial dreams. , and more affordable health care.

“Those who decide to move long-term rarely do so because of a problem,” says Samasa.

Evita Robinson, founder of the Nomadness Travel Tribe, agrees. Its network of black travelers has 20,000 members who have visited regions around the world – 19% of the community have also chosen to expatriate.

“The tribesmen,” largely made up of black women, moved out “because they want to live out loud… right now,” Robinson says.

Kiwi Bold and Kimberly West are two such women.

“I was in Playa del Carmen (Mexico) for years,” Bold says. “There was a huge house music party here every year, so I would hop on the plane with the rest of Atlanta.”

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Eight years ago, Bold decided his annual trips to Mexico could be more than a few days of dancing. In her 40s at the time and having had successful careers as a professional dancer and personal chef, she began to think about how she wanted to spend her 50s, how far she wanted her money to go, how she still wanted to dance regularly and live comfortably, etc. She wanted a simpler life.

Bold has called Playa del Carmen home ever since. At 56, she has also traveled extensively in the Yucatán Peninsula, living in the small town of Chicxulub Pueblo.

“I was the only black American my neighbors ever met,” Bold said between laughs.

Bold chose Mexico because she was fascinated by its rich and complex history. She always intended to live in the local community. So she moved to Colosio, a neighborhood where she is one of the few foreigners at least 20 blocks away.

“I wanted to be part of the culture. To have a community,” she said.

Bold has contributed to the Colosio community by teaching English to children and their parents. A single woman, her Mexican aunts and nieces watch over her. If you’re leaving for the night or on a trip, Bold lets them know where she’s going and when she’s due back. They come and knock on her door just when she’s supposed to be on the other side.

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Like Bold, Kimberly West, 53, has also had a multi-faceted career. She owned a restaurant and a farm, worked at an American company, and became her own business as an information technology consultant.

Four years ago, West needed a new adventure. An easier way of life with access to fresh food and close to water. She chose Playa del Carmen.

Kiwi Bold in Playa del Carmen, Mexico.

Each week, West can be found connecting with her husband and stepsons at her Atlanta home or hers in Mexico. She also meets regularly with the thriving black expat community in Playa.

Since West’s move, weekly Soca dance parties have grown in popularity. His circle of friends is also known for singing his favorite 90s classics during a karaoke night at the Social Club. If she’s not dining at Rockas, a popular Jamaican restaurant, West invites her tribe over to her house where she grills some lamb chops.

As they enjoy their life in Mexico, West and Bold are ready to relocate to any country that offers them the privilege of rest, comfort and community.

“I want an intentional village,” says Bold. “Where we all fully believe that without others we do not exist.”

This village does not have to be in Mexico or the United States. Being open to adventure ensures that the journey to their “forever country” will be just as joyous as their journey to Playa.

Keturah Kendrick is the author of “No Thanks: Black, Female, and Living in the Martyr-Free Zone” and an avid traveler based in New York City.

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