I often hear, “Living abroad seems like a dream.” I have clients who want to live abroad, but don’t know where to begin. Some of them have desired to live abroad for years, but they either lose focus of their dream, don’t know anyone who has made living abroad a reality, or they feel overwhelmed by the notion of packing their bags and globetrotting all over the world. However, it’s funny because I even hear things like, “I don’t know any black women doing that.” Well, living abroad doesn’t have a race limitation nor is it reserved for the rich and famous. You too! can live abroad. (Sign up now! for an update)

In a few weeks, I am going to release the first book in my Nomadic Chick Travel Guide Series showing you how feasible it really is. In the meantime, I wanted to interview real women who have not only lived abroad, but who are doing some great things while living out their international dreams. Here is my first interview with State Department Funded English Fellow, LaTasha Simms.  

Limitless Possibilities...

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of interviewing an old friend of mine from South Korea, LaTasha Simms. I met LaTasha over six years ago when we were both living and working in South Korea teaching English. LaTasha is originally from Cleveland, Ohio, but currently living in Chengdu, China. She had just arrived in Chengdu after spending a few months in the Middle East when I caught up with her for this interview.

When did you first fall in love with the notion of living and traveling abroad? I've always loved to travel. When I was child, I would get so excited before road trips that I couldn't sleep. My first international trip was to Paris, France, in my first year of high school. This was actually the first flight I'd ever taken. I still have no clue how my mother afforded that trip, the private school I was attending and supporting our family. Who knows what I may have become if she had not.

We met in South Korea, so what was the best thing about living in Korea?  We did indeed. I loved the fresh delicious and organic produce being sold widely throughout the city and country side. Living in Korea left a lasting impression on the way I view health. To this day, I drink tea everyday and take walks. I also liked that there was ALWAYS something to do in South Korea. I never felt bored, there was too much to do most of the time. 

What have you learned from living and working abroad that has changed your life?
"Believe half of what you see, none of what you hear." Living abroad has taught me that you'll never truly know or appreciate a culture until you experience it for yourself. Being open to receive all that an experience has to offer you, and walking away with understanding and compassion. I now firmly believe in the vital role that cultural ambassadors, diplomats, and intercultural communicators play in our ever globalization society.

How did you feel when you came home after living in Korea for five years? Completely disconnected. I graduated from Central State University in June 2008. I landed in South Korea on August 25, 2008. I missed 5 years of domestic networking, conferences, and family events. I worked so hard for over a year to reconnect myself with old colleagues, friends, and family in order to reestablish my network. It was difficult. 
Yeah, many people don't understand that Repatriation is REAL. I totally understand the disconnected feeling.

What has been the most challenging thing you have experienced living and/or traveling abroad? Feeling like a goldfish in a very small fish tank. Today, while taking the bus home, I had to ask a Chinese couple many times to stop taking photos of me. They were excited to meet a foreigner, they told me I was beautiful, then proceeded to take photo after photo of me without my permission. 

Where have you traveled internationally? I have traveled to 16 countries. France, Spain, Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, India, Panama, Trinidad, Amsterdam, Oman, Armenia, Georgia, China, Japan, and the UAE.

What is the best thing about a life being able to experience the world? People. I have met some of the most brilliant and talented people while living abroad. I have a very eclectic group of friends that I'm proud to have met.

Tell us, where are you currently are and what took you there? I am currently living in Chengdu, China. I recently received an English Language Fellowships. I am one of very few people to be chosen for this opportunity.The English language fellowship is a U.S. State Department sponsored program that links TESOL professionals with universities in over 40 countries. 

That sounds exciting, tell us how you acquired this opportunity? The application for the English language fellowship is lengthy. You'll need to submit a statement of purpose, lesson samples, transcripts, and recommendations in order to apply. If you're chosen from the applicant pool, the second step is an interview, project offer, and health verification. Once this is all completed, you must attend an orientation in Washington D.C. The entire process takes about six months. This was actually my second time applying.

It seems that you are loving traveling the world, can you tell my readers why you think it’s important to travel, especially internationally? Television is art imitating life. What you see in the media is often times not entirely true. Forming your own opinions and perceptions are vital to understanding the world around you. Conversely, it's important to allow people to experience you and your culture, for the same reasons. We are a global society. The lines between us are blurring everyday. From climate change to our economy, we affect one another. 

Finally, what advice would you give the next generation or other women who want to live abroad, but don’t really know where to begin?

"Dream Big, Think Big, Work Smart, Be great." Dare to dream as big as possible. Do not allow what you see to make you blind. This world is full of successful people who only had dreams. Seek out the opportunities that will allow you to one day attain your dream. Network with people who have something to offer your dreams, as well as those who enrich your present. Find a good mentor who is knowledgeable and cares about your success. Don't expect to start at the top. Be ready and willing to start at the bottom and work smart. Once you've begun your journey, start to mentor someone, pay the kindness that people showed you forward. 

Well, as always it is a pleasure to catch-up with women traveling the world, but it's extra special when you get the opportunity to reconnect with people you actually know and have broken bread with on this journey. Thanks LaTasha for sharing part of your journey with me and my readers. Please keep us updated on life in China.

If you are interested in knowing more about LaTasha, her experience, or her new fellowship please leave questions, comments and/or follow her on twitter @LatashaSimms

Also, if you are interested in getting started as an expat and living abroad, I would love to help you. I am offering a 20 minute exploration coaching session, click here to learn more.
Cha is the president of Global Bound Consulting where she coaches’ individuals in transition, provides intercultural training, and speaks to schools, groups, and organizations. She is also the founder of Expat Women of Color, which is a 501C3 organization that helps connect women who desire to live, work, study and/or travel abroad with other women  and resources to live abroad successfully. In here spear time, she loves to travel and see the world. You can contact and learn more about Cha through her personal website www.chajones.com or through her blog www.thenomadicchick.com.
Moving abroad is a major life changing decision. Therefore, it would be wise to ask yourself a few things before you pack your bags and travel the globe. Here are a few questions that you may want to start with...

1. Why do I want to move abroad?
Maybe you have watched too many travel movies and the idea of moving seems wonderful. Was is romanticized? To be very honest, if you want to move abroad and fall in love, then you might want to have another game plan. I’m not saying that you can’t move abroad and fall in love, but it may not happen like in the movies. You may have way more problems trying to find the true you before you ever find true love. Therefore, I’d really ask myself, “What do I want from this experience?” before I would go packing my bags. Traveling is great, and living abroad is even greater, but the best advice I can give you is, know what you want before you trekking across the globe, unless your sole purpose is to find yourself, in that case, pack lightly. 

2. Is my fear of the unknown real?
Often times we make up in our heads what is going to happen before we make any decision one way or the other, and in most cases those things never occur. Your mind can be your worse enemy when it’s time to do something that you have never done before. If you really want to live abroad and you have some fears, then it’s best to stay positive and stay away from anyone who would discourage you. It’s ok to read about other people’s experiences, but it best to really get quiet and ask yourself some questions about where your fear is coming from. Most of the time your fear is imaginary, I like to use the acronym False Evidence Appearing Real, because more often than not, your fears are coming from what you heard from someone else, what you think based off the past, or something that you read. However, you won’t know until you decide to go and see for yourself. You have to remember that what other people may want, need, or enjoy is for them. So, their experience is based off what they deem important, you could miss out on a great opportunity paying attention to someone’s bad advice based on what they experienced. You owe it to yourself to step out of your fears and live your own experience. If you too have a bad experience, then you know that it wasn’t for you, but you eliminated your fear based of your own knowing and not someone else’s experience.

3. Do I really want to move or do I want to take pictures and travel?
I know that you have been looking at pictures of those people you know or have come across currently living abroad. And the photos are amazing! You too want to go to Malaysia and trek up 240 something odd steps, while feeding crazy monkeys just to enter the Bantu Cave, or climb the Great Wall of China and get lost in the endless maze of wall that seems to disappear in forever. However, it is important to know that once you move abroad that game changes. You aren’t a traveler anymore, and although you can still travel and go sightseeing, for the most part, you are a resident. Meaning, you will be immersed in the culture, customs, and day-to-day living within that country. It’s exciting at first, but the nostalgic does wear off eventually. Especially, after a little cultural incident or two occurs and you begin questioning, “Why am I here?”   It happens! However, if you really, really, really want to live abroad, then those moments don’t discourage you, they actually add to your experience and strength your journey. So, I am not trying to scare you, but it is import to realize that there is a vast difference between traveling abroad than it is to live abroad. 

4. Do I have an exit strategy?
Let’s face it. Bad things can happen. It’s not that you want them to happen, and it’s not that they will happen. However, it is always better to be safe than sorry. So, have you thought about what happens if you get sick, your plan doesn’t work as you thought it would, or if you need to evacuate due to some confrontation among countries? Things outside of your control can occur and the best thing to do is have a contingency plan in place in case of an emergency. I would advise having travel insurance, connecting to the Embassy and enrolling in STEP (Smart Travelers Enrollment Program), this will allow you to get travel alerts while you are traveling, allow the Embassy to contact you in case of a disaster or civil unrest or emergency, and/or help your family and friends get in contact with you in case of an emergency. I also think keeping enough money within reach that will allow you to leave if there is an issue in country or at home is a great way to stay proactive vs being reactive in a time of disruption. You never know you could get sick and need surgery or have a family emergency at home. You want to make sure that you have a plan in place where it won’t leave you desperate and stuck.

5. Do I have a network of people supporting my dream?
It’s great to be excited about your new venture to live in another country, but do you have other people cheering for you? You don’t have to have a bunch of people with signs and banners yelling your name, but I would encourage you to have a few great people that you can call on when things get tough, or you start to doubt yourself. Moving away from everything that you have always known isn’t always a cake walk, sometimes it gets lonely. However, when you do have your bad days or moments, it is great to have someone or a group of people who either understand your journey, or they support you in it. So, I would encourage you to have a network of other expats who you can connect with and ask questions, meet occasionally, or you can call upon day or night that will be there for you and provide good reinforcement and positively. Living abroad is very exciting and enriching, but there are moments when you find yourself missing home or feel alone, and you want to connect with someone who will encourage you. If you are on Facebook there are plenty of groups and I have one for women living abroad, where you can connect and ask questions. Feel free to visit us at either Women of Color Living Abroad or Expat Women of Color, these are closed groups, but they are open to women of all races and nationalities.   

What are some other questions that you would ask yourself before moving abroad? Are you in the process of moving and need assistance? If, so I would love to assist you. I am an expat and transition coach and I work with individuals who are going through change, and I primarily work with those relocating abroad. Don’t try to defeat the world alone, if you need help planning, overcoming your fears, or simply need to create a strategy for finding the right place and work, then I can assist you.
Cha is the president of Global Bound Consulting where she coaches’ individuals in transition, provides intercultural training, and speaks to schools, groups, and organizations. She is also the founder of Expat Women of Color, which is a 501C3 organization that helps connect women who desire to live, work, study and/or travel abroad with other women  and resources to live abroad successfully. In here spear time, she loves to travel and see the world. You can contact and learn more about Cha through her personal website www.chajones.com or through her blog www.thenomadicchick.com.

Travel doesn’t have to be far.

October 2015
Photo credits: http://socialwehour.com/ep-content/uploads/2014/10/fall.jpg

It's fall and soon leaves will descend from trees and line the streets with mustard, burnt orange, and brick red colors. We will begin sipping hot cider, tea, and/or hot chocolate. Our homes will become a safe haven and cozy rest from all the summer activities. However, you may still have a sting from the travel bug. So, what should you do?

There is nothing like all the excitement around the hustle and bustle of summer travel. The laughter of children playing, music on blast, the sun beaming, and days that seem to last forever. There are beautiful beaches, thrilling amusement parks, fascinating family trips, but all that can suck the life right out of you. Now, that it is fall you need to rejuvenate and find a place to relax while the children hit the books again. But where?

For the most part traveling is defined in terms of length and movement, and most often associated with planes, trains, and automobiles. However, and brisk walk through a state park discovering waterfalls that you never knew existed could be a wonderful trip. Not to mention, it might be in your own backyard, or at least close enough to be considered your own backyard.

Here are a few things to consider to feed your fall travel bug…

Travel and entertainment often go hand and hand.
·         Find a fall concert series
·         Snuggle in for a theater production
·         Explore a new art exhibits
           Lakes, rivers, and trees, means camping
·         Look into renting a cabin in a state park
·         Pitch a tent and hit the campgrounds
·         Go fishing
       Apples anyone
·         Find an apple orchard
·         Look up apple festivals
       A picture is worth thousand words
·         Travel throughout the city, state, or your region taking photos
·         Create crafts from your summer trips
·         Create a scrapbook

These are just a few things that you can do to satisfy your desire to venture out of your comfort zone. It is that time of the year when movements become slower, days are shorter, and preserving heat is a must. However, you don’t have to pack away your luggage just yet. Day trips or trips within the state are idea when you still have a little more travel within you, but you don’t want to hop a flight and go away.

Share with me some of your fall travel trips and/or ideas below in the comment area, and remember if you are interested in learning more about traveling abroad or just want to stay connect to all things Love, Travel, and Purpose, click here and sign-up for my newsletter and/or look at events I'm hosting.  
Cha is the president of Global Bound Consulting where she coaches’ individuals in transition, provides intercultural training, and speaks to schools, groups, and organizations. She is also the founder of Expat Women of Color, which is a 501C3 organization that helps connect women who desire to live, work, study and/or travel abroad with other women  and resources to live abroad successfully. In here spear time, she loves to travel and see the world. You can contact and learn more about Cha through her personal website www.chajones.com or through her blog www.thenomadicchick.com.

If you are an American and a woman, then you have most likely been WARNED about women’s safety. I think all American women have the rape statistics ingrained in our brains. We all know that 1 out of 3 women have been raped or molested, and to be safe and cautious when in new environments. Or do we? 

How many times have you watched the news and saw a person traveling overseas on vacation featured as MISSING? You would think that anyone going to a foreign country would have some precautions, women in particular, would be very mindful of their environment. However, that is not always the case. 

Are you aware that sex trafficking is 90% women, or how about that 50,000 women are trafficked into the United States alone each year?
Government and nongovernmental experts in the field estimate that out of the 700,000 to two million women and children who are trafficked globally each year, 45,000 to 50,000 of those women and children are trafficked to the United States. Approximately 30,000 women and children are being trafficked annually from Southeast Asia, 10,000 from Latin America, 4,000 from the Newly Independent States and Eastern Europe, and 1,000 from other regions. (Central Intelligence Agency briefing, Global Trafficking in Women and Children: Assessing the Magnitude, April 1999.)  https://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/csi-publications/books-and-monographs/trafficking.pdf

Now, I know that many of you are Solo Travelers, but it is always safer to travel in a group. However, I have traveled in a small group and I felt like it would be much safer if I were alone. When traveling on my own I tend to have my guard up, but it's much easier to be comfortable when you think you have the safety of a group.

I recently went on a trip where the person I was with got invited on a date, and because I was with them, I felt obligated to go if for no other reason than to keep them safe. It was at that time, I realized how unsafe some women are. I have a photographic memory and I pay a great deal of attention to my surrounds, but I realized that some people just don’t. I witnessed firsthand a women falling asleep in a car with a stranger, I was floored. How do you know where they are taking you, and how do you trust someone that much with your life?

When traveling overseas the best part of the experience is being spontaneous and adventurous, but that doesn’t mean being unsafe or ignorant. I am the type of person who lives by my intuition, and nine out of ten times I am always correct, but if I feel anything wrong I never second guess it, I follow my feelings. I happen to love meeting new and interesting people, but I don’t care to meet anyone who will potentially take my life. In most cases you are safer than not, but here are a few things that you could do to keep yourself safe while traveling and meeting and having a wonderful time:


  1. Always be aware of your environment, watch the locals and see how they respond
  2. Blend into your environment, when you look like everyone else it is harder for people to single you out
  3. Have a plan, when you know what  do if something were to happen before it does, then the less you have to think about and prepare  for (If you stay ready you don’t have to get ready)
  4. Have some form of communication (cell phone, paper and pen, ect.)
  5. Research the area you going to first and be aware of things that could occur, make sure you know the areas that are not really good for women or foreigners to be in alone
  6. Leave your plans or trip itinerary with someone that you trust or that you talk to frequently
  7. Check trip advisory boards to see about weather issues and possible negative tourist attacks

Do you know the top 10 countries listed for rape are
(to see the complete list: click)
  1. France
  2. Germany
  3. Russia
  4. Sweden
  5. Argentina
  6. Belgium
  7. Philippines
  8. Spain
  9. Chile
  10. Lesotho 

Again, I am not trying to pump fear into anyone. I really want more women to travel and see the world from a place of love, but I believe that the more you know the more valuable your experiences are. It is always better to be safe than it is to be sorry. So, I hope that you find this articles helps you think about some things that you may not have thought about.  

If you are having issues around preparing for a solo trip, overcoming your fears, or simply planning and want to get some support, then please get your Free 30 minute exploration coaching call from Expat Coach Cha Jones. Click here to learn more.