I'm a Black Digital Nomad and Dad of 6 — Here's Why I Sold Everything and Moved Abroad
I remember the thrill and excitement of traveling internationally for the first time as an adult. As a child, we traveled back and forth to Kenya, as my mother is from Mombasa, but traveling on a trip that I paid for was an infatuating experience.
I'm a writer and entrepreneur. My first international trip (as an adult) was for an entrepreneurial event at the University of Sydney. I got a life-changing opportunity to fly from Milwaukee, Wisconsin (where I lived at the time) to one of the top countries on my travel list: Australia.
Since that first international trip in 2012, travel has become an inseparable part of my life. Every year since has involved travel. I've been fortunate to have traveled to 83 countries and counting.
Selling It All
Towards the middle of 2021, my wife and I found ourselves in the new and different experience of being empty-nesters. All six of our children (ages 18 to 26) are in college or living adults lives.
We were on a Greek isles cruise when my wife floated the idea of selling everything and traveling full-time. Since it's just us now, why not see the world? In less than a minute, I was all in on the idea. We got back from Europe with a commitment and plan to make travel our everyday life.
It's always funny to realize how much "stuff" you've accumulated when you're moving. We had this experience selling our 4,000-square-foot house and all its possessions. It was an emotional battle as we wrestled with making such a massive life shift.
Hitting the Skies
Our home sold in five days, and we were able to sell or donate all of our material possessions in a few weeks. In October 2021, we officially left Florida for our first digital nomad location: Puerto Rico. We started the next phase of our lives as full-time location-independent digital nomads.
Since deciding to sell it all and travel full-time, we spent six weeks in Puerto Rico, one month in Rome, and are currently in Lisbon, Portugal. We've also traveled back and forth between Florida, Wisconsin, Atlanta, and New York.
Our next digital nomad location will be Nice, France, marking a full year of seeing this beautiful planet of ours.
Why I Chose to Move Abroad
While the world is navigating a global pandemic, the decision to become a full-time digital nomad is complicated. The thrill of travel and new experiences is the primary motivation, but there were other considerations for me as a person of color.
My mother is from Mombasa, Kenya, and my father is from Chicago, Illinois. I grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and spent two years living in Mombasa. I'm an African-American who has experienced both sides of racial tension. I've been called horrible things while also being made to feel as if I'm not "black" enough.
More and more, black and brown entrepreneurs are getting fed up with racism and the added obstacles that come with a life primarily based in the United States. Part of our decision to move abroad was from frustration — I am a frustrated person of color who wishes circumstances were different.
I'm tired of living with prejudice and constantly explaining racism. That's not to say that racism isn't happening in countries outside of the United States — I've experienced micro-aggressions, bias, and prejudice in at least five other countries. Still, some other parts of the world have been more proactive about being more inclusive.
There's a growing movement of black travelers choosing location independence, digital nomadism, and remote work abroad. I'm part of that movement and have felt more welcomed in Europe.
The good news is that entrepreneurship and remote work provide travelers of color the opportunity to build a life, have an income, and feel welcomed in fascinating places that celebrate all people.
You can build a successful business by leveraging the internet and social media to create your customer base and sell your knowledge and experience. Or find remote work that allows you to travel and still pay for life.
Another reason I chose to move abroad is that creating freedom should be more important than a life of expectations. Freedom is one of my highest values, and I seek it more as I get older.
My wife and I are grandparents to two amazing little ones. We also have six children living in Wisconsin and Florida. For parents and grandparents, the "traditional" path is to stay close to family. We love, support, and are there for our children and grandchildren, but we also want to live our lives fully.
Deciding to sell it all and live worldwide did and does feel heartbreaking at times — we miss kissing those cute faces regularly. But as we wake up and get to live our dream life, it's confirmation of a good decision.
It feels like you have an infinite amount of time when you're younger. These days, in my 40s, I find myself pondering how much life I have left. I don't want to come to the end of my life with regret and missed opportunities to explore.
Travel is part of me — it's how I feel most alive. There are many countries still on my list, and I want to visit every one of them. I want to try delicious and unique food, experience history, live like a local, feel the ocean air, navigate being lost and language barriers, and feel welcomed as a black traveler.
Eighty-three countries later, my story is just getting started. I hope it inspires my fellow travelers of color to smash complacency, go where we're celebrated, and embrace an unconventional lifestyle.
Kimanzi Constable is the author of four books and a writer whose articles have been published in Forbes, Entrepreneur Magazine, Business Insider, SUCCESS Magazine, NBC, CBS, FOX, and 80 other publications and magazines. He's a global traveler and digital nomad who has been to 83 countries and counting. Keep up with his global travels with his wife on their YouTube channel.