The Black Traveler: She Gained Her Freedom And Became A Digital Nomad
After serving 5 years on probation, Jazzie really learned the meaning of freedom. Her husband was tired of the disrespect he received as a Black man in America and she wanted to do all the things she couldn’t do while she was locked up or on probation, so they became digital nomads.
In October of 2018 we asked Jazzie about her experience traveling the world. Here's what she had to say.
Melanin Is Life: Tell us about yourself. Where are you from? What are your hobbies? Tell us a fun fact about yourself.
Jazzie: My name is Jazzie. I am from South Central Los Angeles. I love performing on stage and I’m really good at crying on cue.
Melanin Is Life: Tell EVERYTHING you think people should know about your business. The more the better!
Jazzie: I am a holistic wellness coach, empowering others to achieve optimal wellness inside and out. I also make all-natural skincare products and I am the owner of Black Digital Nomad, which is a hub for other digital nomads of color to share resources with current and aspiring nomads and expats.
Melanin Is Life: What is your philosophy of life? How has traveling and living in other countries while running an awesome business influenced your philosophy of life?
Jazzie: I have a few: 1) Live and let live; 2) Be grateful, not hateful; and 3) There’s no future in fronting!
Instead of worrying about others and how they live their life, live yours and allow others to live theirs. You’ll find peace this way. I also believe in always, always being grateful. What we focus on grows, so if I am grateful, I will attract more good in life. Lastly, there is no future in fronting. When we keep it real, we can heal! Be honest about what you really want in life so that you can achieve those things.
Melanin Is Life: What was the “bump this” moment that made you decide to pack up and move to another country? (Please be as detailed as possible. The more raw, the better!)
Jazzie: Well after serving 5 years probation, I really learned the meaning of freedom. When you are on probation or incarcerated you learn how free we once were and realize how much we hold our own selves back. When I got off probation, I said I would do all the things I couldn’t do while I was locked up or on probation. So, when my husband came home from work and said he was tired of the disrespect he received as a Black man in America, I was like, what’s really holding us back, besides our negative thoughts that tell us we are crazy?
Melanin Is Life: What country do you currently live in? What was your first impression when you arrived in that country?
Jazzie: I am currently living in Thailand. My first impression was, wow! The air is much cleaner than Bali. haha. I was impressed with the mountains and they instantly reminded me of home.
Melanin Is Life: Many people believe that living in another country is expensive. What would you tell them?
Jazzie: Well once I finish laughing, I will tell them, "That’s relative." If you can survive in America, you can really thrive elsewhere. But honestly, before we left, I thought that we would be sacrificing our quality of life. I was even taking cold showers and turning off the A/C during the summer in Houston as a way to prepare myself for living abroad. I thought we might not have hot water or A/C while living abroad. Well the joke was on me, because our quality of life drastically improved.
Melanin Is Life: What has been your experience with running a business while living outside the country. How do you do it?
Jazzie: It’s had its ups and downs. Honestly, I only made about $250 with my business my first year abroad. I realized how many things were accessible to me while running my business in America. But I have learned to adapt and learn more skills that can be used remotely.
Melanin Is Life: It’s your first day in a new country. What’s the first thing you do after you’ve settled into your accommodation? Why?
Jazzie: I take a walk around my new neighborhood and explore. I check out the nearby stores so I know what’s around me. I also eat at a local spot. I keep it simple. I may even connect with someone I met online prior to coming. I also join Facebook groups for the new city before I get there so that I can meet other expats.
Melanin Is Life: What is a day in your life like?
I wake up and watch the sunrise while counting my blessings. Then I listen to my affirmations and write in my journal while drinking my herbal tea. I then workout and next I plan my day. It feels dope being able to decide what I am going to do each day.
Every day is different. I create new content for our site BlackDigitalNomad.com, have client calls, rehearsals for the stage plays I am in, and sometimes I just take the day off to take a field trip - going out to explore the beautiful city we are in. We go to the waterfalls, up to the mountains, to the lakes, or gardens. There is so much to do here.
Melanin Is Life: Traveling can be scary for some people. Have you ever been nervous before or while traveling? If so, why were you nervous and how did you get over it?
Jazzie: Honestly, no. I don’t really get nervous while traveling. I am always very excited. Well I take that back, I used to get anxiety about missing my flight. Now I just give myself plenty of time to get there and my anxiety is totally gone now.
Melanin Is Life: While traveling and/or living in another country, what have you discovered that shocked you to the core?
Jazzie: That we are very brainwashed in America. America is a 3rd world country with more toys and distractions and the "American dream" for most is really a nightmare.
Melanin Is Life: Tell us about your BEST travel experience.
Jazzie: My very first trip out of the country was with my husband for our one year wedding anniversary. I had to talk my husband into taking off work. He was not comfortable with taking off, being in the union he said when people took off of work they usually received a pink slip upon their return.
I bought him his passport and finally convinced him to take the week off to go to Jamaica. We had a great time and renewed our vows on the beach. We promised that every year for our anniversary we would travel to a new country. That first international trip really set the tone for our relationship. We had no idea that we would live in a new country every year.
Melanin Is Life: Tell us about your absolute WORST travel experience.
Jazzie: While living in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, we were arrested and extorted at 6:00 in the morning on our way to watch the sunrise.
Melanin Is Life: What are your top 3 travel tips for blacks living outside the US?
- Be respectful. Remember most times you are a representative for the rest of us. Most people have never encountered Black people so it is important for us to be kind, patient and curious.
- You will be stared at! Be prepared and please don’t be offended. Don’t you stare at beauty when you see it?
- Keep an open mind.
View this post on Instagram
We are #TheEnlightenedOnes ✨ Last night was our very first #LoyKrathong/#LoyKraronh here in #ChangMai and it was an such an incredible experience. You can stalk the hashtags and check the pics from everyone that was there, but it's just one of those experiences that a camera can't hope to fully capture... #LightTheNight ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: #BlackDigitalNomad #ChiangMai #ChiangMaiThailand #BlackTravelMovement #BlackTravel #MelaninMajority #ChroniclesAbroad #TravelNoire #BlackMenTravel #BlackWomenTravel #BlackCouplesTravelToo #TravelGram #Expatliving #DigitalNomads #TravelingArtists
Melanin Is Life: What are your top 3 travel tips for blacks thinking about starting a business?
- Invest in yourself.
- Your family and friends are NOT your target market. Don’t get offended when they don’t support you in ways you thought they would.
- Side hustles and businesses are not the same thing.
Melanin Is Life: How do you meet people when traveling?
Jazzie: Facebook groups, Instagram, meet-ups and just saying, "Hi! How are you?"
Melanin Is Life: What would you tell your younger self about traveling & starting a business?
Jazzie: One decision will change everything, right before your eyes. Trust the process.
Melanin Is Life: Have you ever been homesick? What motivates you to continue traveling and/or living in another country?
Jazzie: Honestly, I get more sick of home than homesick. My mother and I talk on the phone often, and that’s really enough for me. Growing up I was always away from my family for long periods of time. I'm also very adaptable so I don’t really find myself longing for home or family. I hope that doesn’t sound harsh, but I don’t come from a close knit family and I am used to being on my own. That’s one of the benefits of coming from unstable childhoods, you are naturally nomadic.
Melanin Is Life: Is there anything else you think people should know? Tips, hacks, advice?
Jazzie: Just know that you too can live this lifestyle. It’s not exclusive. Watch your thoughts and your self-talk, it really dictates the types of things you are manifesting in your life. If you would like more information on HOW to become a digital nomad, please pre-order our guide.
Melanin Is Life: Where can people find you? What’s your website and/or social media handles?
View this post on Instagram
#AnotherOne! 🥂 Another exhibition in #BlackExcellence with @chiangmaibrothasandsistas at yesterday's #SundayDinner here in #ChiangMaiThailand ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: #BlackDigitalNomad #Culture #NegusInThailand #SundayDinner #ThaiStyle #WakandaForever ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: #BlackTravelExperience #TravelLife #NomadLife #ExpatLife #DigitalNomads #DreamChasers #BlackEntreprenuers #BlackElegance #BlackWomenTravel #BlackMenTravel #BlackTravel #LivingAbroad #WorkingAbroad
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