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NOT Loving Everything About the Country You’re In

Updated: May 6, 2022

Can I spill some tea real quick? You don't have to love everything about a country to live there.

I'm from the States. Everybody & their mama knows black people have a love hate relationship with the "land of the free". Problems and all, people continue to stay even when they have the means to leave. This is a prime example of being able to live somewhere you don't love EVERYTHING about and that's okay. To be honest, I don't think there is a country where you'll ever love every single thing. Every location has ups and downs, that's life.

Living abroad means understanding and respecting other cultures, but that doesn't have to mean conforming. Take Korea for example. There, wearing booty shorts is acceptable, but having your shoulders exposed is provocative and frowned upon. Does that mean I throw away all my tank tops? I think not. Being black in Korea means people are going to stare anyway so I might as well be comfortable.

When traveling and living abroad, there are going to be things that seem weird to you, but are normal to locals. Not wanting to conform to things you don't agree with is one thing, but being respectful should always come first. For example, while living in Senegal I visited a mosque. Although I'm not Muslim, I still wore a long dress, removed my shoes & covered my head with a hijab. Nobody was forcing me to convert, but, out of respect for the faith, I followed protocol.

There is a clear line between being respectful and cultural appropriation. Participating in a tourist activity like wearing a Hanbok or Korean School Uniform for a photoshoot is completely different from black face. As a traveler, I am constantly educating myself on culture and how to respect the country and people of the country I'm in. Whether I'm there for a week or five years, it's my responsibility to learn and, above all, be respectful.

No matter where I am I'm going to be me. That means wearing oversized clothes, no bra (off the clock🙃) and being comfortable in my own skin. There are pros and cons in every country. Finding one where the pros outweigh the cons is the life hack to finding somewhere you can call home.

I'm joyriding around the world right now & loving it. I don't love EVERYTHING about every country, but it's all a new experience 🙌🏾

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