I moved to Medellin, Colombia about a month ago after rerouting from Saudi Arabia, where I taught at a university. Now I teach online while living in Medellin and starting to freelance write again. I’ve been freelance writing for more than 10 years, but didn’t do it as much once I started teaching abroad. I moved to Korea in 2013 to teach English, and have been curious about living in other parts of the world ever since. I came into the expat/ESL-teaching game late though. Many of my peers started in or still are in there 20’s. When I left for Korea, I was 33. In addition to being a freelance copywriter and journalist, I also taught hip hop dance and yoga. Movement and wellness are two big interests of mine, next to travel and writing, of course. I don’t have spare time much these days, but when I do, I enjoy listening to music, reading, drawing, and being in nature – strolling through a park or reserve, or just sitting and watching the ocean and sky. I’m a single woman who solo travels, and I’m a huge photo enthusiast, so I take lots of beautiful pictures when I travel.
Kenya in Gyeongju, South Korea.
How many countries have you traveled to?
28. North America: USA, Mexico; Central America: Costa Rica; South America: Colombia, Chile; Caribbean: Jamaica; Europe: Spain, Italy; Middle East: UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain; Africa: Morocco, Ghana; Asia: South Korea, Japan, China, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, Hong Kong, Macau, Malaysia, Taiwan, Vietnam, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Maldives; Oceania: Australia
What is your dream destination and why? (think bucket list destinations)
I’d say 3… Greece for its beauty and the food; Ethiopia for its history, culture and coffee; Hawaii, people always say they felt a spiritual connection there, or had some sort of epiphany being out in its beautiful nature.
What made you decide to live an expat lifestyle abroad?
Money and a lethargic economy. I loved my life as a freelance writer and movement instructor, but due a slump in the economy, gigs were not coming like they used to, and cash flow became cash stop. lol Although I had friends who taught overseas, and urged me to join them, it wasn’t until years later that I took that leap. I was struggling to pay the bills, and started to get bored with my work as an online news reporter; that’s when I received an email about teaching in Korea with EPIK. After asking a lot of questions, pondering life on the other side of the pond, and doing some research, I figured, “Why not?” I had nothing to lose. I loved to travel, and that was an opportunity to do that, while working and earning disposable income, and calling myself an expat.
Kenya WriteNow in Saudi Arabia.
What are some challenges you have faced trotting the globe?
The challenges I’ve faced while trotting the globe have been few to be honest. As a solo-traveling woman, I haven’t had many issues. Except for having my breast groped in the metro station in Kuala Lumpur. O_O And hours before that having my water bottle and new umbrella snatched by monkeys at the Batu Caves. Generally, (or rather, luckily) my biggest issues while traveling is planning for my trip, which is always the most stressful part, and making my money stretch so I can travel as much as I want. But those are good problems.
In terms of living in another country, the hardest part is making genuine friends. In Korea, I learned the term friends of convenience. Which basically means people you wouldn’t hang around with if you were home, but do so because you don’t want to be alone in a big ol’ foreign country. I had my share, but after a year of being around people who didn’t have my best interests in mind, I decided I’d rather roll solo than be and be with phonies. I’ve met some awesome new friends along my journey, but it’s not quite like the people from home who “know you” or that you have that ease of exchange and nonverbal cues or inside jokes with. You’re constantly adjusting to the new people, culture, climate, food, customs and general world around you when you an expat.
Where was your most recent travel destination you trotted to?
Before moving to Medellin, Colombia, I visited Dubai and Abu Dhabi for the first time.
Which, if any, foreign languages do you speak?
Ha! I am hella monolingual, but I’m learning Spanish while in Medellin. (pray for me) But from living in Korea, I could mime the hell out of a conversation. lol
Kenya on a Dubai desert safari.
What do you have planned for yourself next? (any projects you’d like to promote, etc). Would you ever consider the expat lifestyle to assist with your globe-trotting?
I am super analog/old school, but have been working really hard to amp up my social media platform, so definitely support a sistah and connect with me on any of the following channels/projects:
I have a YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/kenya.writenow
) that I originally began as a creative outlet of my last three months in Korea. I’ve kept it going since then, but now I’m moving it in a new direction. In addition to travel, I’m looking to add some things on motivation/profiles on every day people doing extraordinary things, and wellness.
I’m on Twitter @kenyawritenow and Instragram @alongcameawriter *check out my man crush photo with Mr. Usher “No Limit” Raymond.
I’m currently revamping my blog/website, so that will ready soon!
Stay in touch and up to date on my Facebook page @ Along Came a Writer.
Finally, I’m just working on pitching to magazines for travel writing and profile articles. But I’m interested in developing my blog for more than just travel, so if you’re one of those extraordinary ordinary people, let’s connect!
What are some words of wisdom you would like to give to future inspiring globe-trotters and expats?
Ain’t nothing to it, but to do it. (Quick disclaimer: I’m not a proponent of travel. As much as I love it, I know it isn’t for everybody, but for those who are curious or already have the wanderlust, keep reading.) The first step is the hardest, but once you realize that traveling (abroad or domestically) isn’t as hard as you think, the world really opens up to you. Don’t be afraid to do something because you’ve never done it, adjust the antenna of your mind, and see the opportunity to travel purely as self-permission to explore a path you once thought was unfathomable. At worst, you’ll never do it again. But at best, it will shake up your soul and open up your mind and a whole new world for you.