If you frequently read my posts, you know that I am first-in-line-here for Black people, with Black families, being unapologetically and openly Black for the world to see. And a family that wears this cape so beautifully, is none other than the Native Borne Family—expat social influencers, John and Safiyyah Christian and their 5 kids—all embarking on a relocation journey to live their best lives abroad. They encourage holistic living while boastfully being true advocates of down-to-earth lifestyles.
From traveling as a family of seven, to creating and sharing a relocation blueprint, this family is all about helping us find our passions, and showing us that we can live and travel while simultaneously being immersed in them too.
Well, recently, they grabbed my attention by detailing their painfully honest list of key, or what they described as dumb, mistakes made when moving internationally. And with many of us considering moving overseas, this list could be even more valuable to international cautionary tales.
Their mistakes consisted of:
Not Rooting in a Secure Place
Like with any move, but especially internationally, home should be safe—that's a given. Obviously, John and Safiyyah did their due diligence in ensuring their new home was safe, their new residence even had 24/7 security. But as time went on, they learned that their security was too lax and wasn't as thorough as promised. This caused them to be robbed while sleeping one night, all of their belongings being stolen.
They later found out that although Ghana is an overall safe country, known expats and tourists are targeted at a much higher rate than locals.
- Be mindful. Pay the price for peace of mind.
- Get advice from locals about locals. Get to know people.
- Take your time in choosing where you want to live.
- Look for clean grounds and security performing thorough inspections.
When the NB fam officially decided to move to Ghana, they were so excited to relocate, that they chose to ship all of their belongings to the country. Beds, mattresses, dishes. Even unnecessary paperwork.
Huge mistake. Why? Because it was expensiiiiiveeeee. They soon found out, that not only are there shipping costs, there's also Customs fees, which they estimated to be about $2,000 USD. Ouch.
- Less is more. If you don't need it, don't bring it.
- Find a shipper who is able to explain the full process in detail.
- Adopt a minimalist mindset.
- If you want to bring particular items, just pay the additional bag fees to bring your items on the plane. Whatever that cost is, it is much cheaper than having them shipped.
Not Having Residual Income
Like many expats, they saved up money and moved with their faith in tow. They had a nice-sized cushion to sustain them for a while, but it dwindled quickly. Their ultimate goal was to always become digital nomads, so that they could travel the world, but they learned that they had to set themselves up properly in order to continue to do so, thus monetizing their journey and providing insight and guidance to those of us interested in doing the same.
- Savings is great, but have residual income.
- Take part in business that's proven to bring you revenue.
- Start the business now, and then relocate.
- Be able to show yourself results on paper. Confirm that “this is what this business is making, and if I move, I'll be OK.“
Sending Money Ahead Of Time
Prior to arriving, the NB family made connections with locals in the country. They ended up sending money to people that they trusted to secure their home. Once they arrived, communication changed, the story changed, and the place they were supposed to be living in, also changed. They were supposed to save money through this connection, but it ended up costing them more due to..."fees." *side eye*
- When dealing with professionals, conduct business in person.
- Have written agreements and contracts to protect both parties.
- Stay at an Airbnb or hotel until you are acclimated with the area.
- Find a reputable real estate agent show you around. There's plenty where you want to relocate, but it's one of those things that you must do on-site.
- Be patient and stay in control.
- Don't send your money.
- Don't send your money.
- Don't send your money.
Rushing To Purchase Land
Like with any country, buying land is a highly in-demand interest across the board. The NB family had many conversations with people who have lived in the country for decades, who all told them to take their time. Unfortunately, they soon learned they were taken advantage of by people whom they trusted. To make a purchase of that caliber, takes time, so their process ended up being quite difficult.
- Before you make any decisions, rent. Don't allow excitement to cloud judgement.
- Build your team. Hire a reputable surveyor, real estate agent, and the like.
- Always protect your interest and don't be afraid to walk away from a seemingly great deal.
- Again, conduct your deals in person, guys. Nothing less.
- Take your time in signing the dotted line.
Ultimately, the NB family found their stride and perfected what they sought out to do. In addition to living in Ghana, they frequent various countries, masterfully traveling as only they know how: black and beautiful.
Feature image courtesy of The Native Borne Family