Have you considered moving abroad? In 2021, I started life as a digital nomad. A "digital nomad" is a phrase that came to popularity due to the pandemic and it describes a person who lives a location-independent lifestyle. Since I started working and traveling simultaneously, I've traveled to Mexico, London, Dubai, and the Caribbean. According to a report by Upwork, 22% of the American workforce will be remote workers by 2025 — thus giving more people than ever the opportunity to live and work abroad.
Social media can make moving and traveling abroad an exhilarating experience. However, there are serious things one should consider before making the jump. Instead of romanticizing what it looks like to live and move abroad, assessing your day-to-day life and the responsibilities of being a foreigner in a new land is worth it. Before I started traveling in 2021, I dreamed and planned for years. I went down the rabbit hole of YouTube videos and blogs to learn everything I could about traveling full-time.
There is no need to rush the lifestyle you desire. However, if the digital nomad lifestyle is something you are curious to explore, then take your time and set concrete goals. Goals can include securing a remote job or having a certain amount of money in your savings account before the big move. Before you know it, the 6-12 months or however long it takes will go by fast.
So, besides dreaming about all the beautiful Instagram content you'll create on your travels, check out the things you should consider before taking the leap to move abroad.
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While living and traveling abroad, do not forget your responsibility as a citizen to vote. Voting abroad does not have to be a confusing or overwhelming process. All travelers have to do is request an absentee ballot online and mail it back before the election day. American citizens abroad can request a ballot at https://www.fvap.gov and select their state for instructions on requesting and returning their absentee ballot.
You may be just living out of Airbnbs and hotels, but bills will arise for an extended period of time. When living abroad, you'll need to account for how you want to set up your phone bill and how bills are paid locally for your country. For example, when I lived in Europe for the summer, it was easier and cheaper to set up my phone using a local SIM card. I had to purchase one at the airport and paid my bill monthly through their website. During my time in Mexico City, I quickly learned that I could only pay my bills in cash, seeing I didn't have a local bank account.
Understanding how the country you're moving to processes and accepts payments of bills is vital — especially so you don't get your water or electricity cut off due to a simple miscommunication. In addition to paying bills, you'll want to set up your finances and budgets. Consider looking into credit and debit cards with no foreign transactions or ATM fees and cards that offer points so your money can go further and work for you!
Does the country you're considering require a visa? Do you have to apply for it online beforehand, or can you receive a visa on arrival? It would help your transition if you asked these questions and researched the answers before deciding on a country. As American citizens, we can enter most countries visa-free or get a visa on arrival for 3 to 6 months with just our passports. However, if you're looking to move to another country for over a year or longer, that will require a different type of visa.
Since the pandemic, most countries have created "digital nomad visas" that cater to how the world and travel are changing. Make sure to visit the official government website of the country you are interested in moving to so that you fully understand how the visa process works.
4.Taking Time to Adjust
When moving and traveling to a new country for an extended period of time, remember to give yourself a ton of grace in the process. In the beginning, everything will feel like a new high, but as you slowly find your roots, life might start to feel more "normal" — and that is fine. While you're traveling, things back at home might change, or you may miss a birthday or two, but give yourself grace because you are embarking on a journey that few are brave enough to do! It will take time to make friends and feel like yourself. However, the reward of travel is not in the fabulous photos we take but in the people we become along the way.
5.Building Real Community
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When moving to a new country alone one of the first things you will want is new friends. While making friends as an adult is not easy, there are definitely actions you can take to help you build community in your new city. Building community is important not only for social reasons but for safety as well. I was recently in a group chat for Black expats and the admin of the group created a Google Doc where we could list our emergency contact in case of an emergency. It’s important that someone you trust knows your location, that’s especially true when living abroad.
The best way to find community is honestly through social media. You can search groups on Facebook and Instagram that will show you community events and the best places to hang out. You can search phrases like “Black women in Mexico City” or “Black Expats in Dubai” and swap out your location. Once you meet a few people, make sure to show up and put yourself out there! Invite people to meet up with you, and remember everyone else is also looking for friends, so you’re not alone.
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From Monogamy To Polyamory: 'I'm In An Asexual Poly Marriage With My Husband Of 7 Years'
Have you ever wondered what it's like to be asexual and in an open marriage? Relationship Coach Mikki Bey shared her first-hand experience with us as well as answered some of our burning questions.
Like a lot of people, Mikki met her now husband, Raheem Ali, online. As soon as they met, they instantly fell in love and got engaged on their first date. Just 90 days after they met, the couple tied the knot and have now been married for seven years. Raheem and Mikki aren’t your typical married couple, and despite being married for almost a decade, their marriage is anything but traditional. Mikki and Raheem have what she calls an "asexual polyamorous marriage."
Defining Her Sexuality
It wasn't until last summer that Mikki found the language to define her sexuality. "I didn't have the language for it until last summer," she explained to xoNecole. "Looking back, I just thought sex wasn't my thing. It was never enjoyable for me, and I'd go years without even noticing.”
Mikki always thought she was broken because she had no interest in sex. Mikki noticed after her friends came to visit and started discussing their sexual fantasies that she realized something was different about her. “At that point, I knew something was definitely different about me since I do not have sexual fantasies at all. It was truly news to me that people are at work thinking about sex! That was not my experience.” This led to Mikki researching asexuality, which she soon realized fit her to a T. “It felt like breathing new air when I was able to call it by name," said Mikki.
"Looking back, I just thought sex wasn't my thing. It was never enjoyable for me, and I'd go years without even noticing it."
Asexuality refers to people who experience little or no sexual attraction, experience attraction without acting on it sexually, or experience sexual attraction differently based on other factors. Like most things, asexuality falls on a spectrum and encompasses many other identities. It's important to remember, however, that attraction and action are not always synonymous: some asexuals may reject the idea of sexual contact, but others may be sex-neutral and engage in sexual activity.
It's possible that some asexuals will have sex with someone else despite not having a libido or masturbating, but others will have sex with a partner because it brings a sense of connection.
From a Traditional Marriage to Kitchen Table Polyamory
Although Mikki never really had a high sex drive, it wasn’t until after the birth of her son, that she noticed her sex drive took a real nosedive. “I never had a high sex drive, but about a year after my son was born, I realized I had zero desire. My husband has a high sex drive, and I knew that it would not be sustainable to not have sex in our marriage at that time.”
She was determined to find an alternative to divorce and stumbled upon a polyamory conversation on Clubhouse. Upon doing her own research, she brought up the idea to their husband, who was receptive. “It’s so interesting to me that people weigh sex so heavily in relationships when even if you are having a ton of sex, it’s still a very small percentage of the relationship activity," Mikki shared.
They chose polyamory because Mikki still wanted to be married, but she also wanted to make sure that Raheem was getting his individual needs and desires met, even if that meant meeting them with someone else. “I think that we have been programmed to think that our spouses need to be our 'everything.' We do not operate like that. There is no one way that fits all when it comes to relationships, despite what society may try to tell you. Their path to doing this thing called life together may be different from yours, but they found what works for them. We have chosen to design a marriage that works for us,” Mikki explained.
"We have chosen to design a marriage that works for us. We both consent to each of us having everything from casual sex partners to lifetime partners if it should go there. We believe love is abundant and do not limit ourselves or each other on how we express it."
She continued, “We both consent to each of us having everything from casual sexual partners to lifetime partners if it should get there. We believe love is abundant and do not limit ourselves or each other on how we express it. Our dynamic is parallel with kitchen table poly aspirations.”
Kitchen table polyamory (KTP) is a polyamorous relationship in which all participants are on friendly terms enough to share a meal at the kitchen table. Basically, it means you have some form of relationship with your partner’s other partner, whether as a group or individually. A lot of times, KTP relationships are highly personal and rooted in mutual respect, communication, and friendship.
Intimacy in an Asexual Polyamorous Marriage
Mikki says she and her husband, Raheem, still share intimate moments despite being in a polyamorous marriage. “Our intimacy is emotional, intellectual, spiritual, and physical, although non-sexual. We are intentional about date nights weekly, surprising and delighting each other daily, and most of all, we communicate our needs regularly. In my opinion, our intimacy is top-tier! I give my husband full-body massages, mani-pedis and make sure I am giving him small physical touches/kisses throughout the day. He is also very intentional about showing me his love and affection.”
Raheem and Mikki now use their lives as examples for others. On their website, thepolycouplenextdoor.com, they coach people interested in learning how to be consensually non-monogamous. “We are both relationship coaches. I specialized in emotional regulation, and Raheem specializes in communication and conflict resolution. The same tools we use in our marriage help our clients succeed in polyamory."
Mikki advises people who may be asexual or seeking non-monogamy to communicate their needs openly and to consider seeking sex therapy or intimacy coaching. Building a strong relationship with a non-sexual partner requires both empathy and compassion.
For more of Mikki, follow her on Instagram @getmikkibey. Follow the couple's platform on Instagram @thepolycouplenextdoor.
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