Photo credit: Imani Bashir

Expat living continues to intrigue Travel Noire readers. Expats face challenges, like culture immersion, language barriers and visa hurdles. Many say it’s all worth it to experience the quality of life abroad. There are different reasons for wanting to leave your country of origin.

Imani Bashir is one of our favorite expats and a nominee in this year’s Travel Noire Awards. Bashir is a journalist, mother and global citizen. Originally from PG County, Maryland, Bashir had a budding career as a sports journalist while living in the states. After booking a one-way ticket to Cairo, Egypt, she met her husband and began what would become a life of world travel.

Together, the couple have a son and travel all around the world to places like Morocco, Singapore and London. They have lived in China and Mexico, and document their travels for their 30,000 Instagram followers. As a hijabi, or a woman who covers her hair in accordance with the Islamic faith, Bashir continues to break barriers and redefines perceptions of what a Black Muslim American woman can be. 

Bashir talked with Travel Noire to understand her motivation for moving abroad and learning about their unique experiences.

TRAVEL NOIRE: Why did you decide to move abroad? 

IMANI BASHIR: I moved abroad because I just wanted a change. I was working in my career and not feeling I was advancing, and then Sandra Bland was murdered. She and I were the same age at the time. Ultimately, I wanted more for myself and my life.

TN: Where are you currently based? 

IB: I’ve been living in Cancun for the past three years and have a temporary residency visa.

TN: What’s the best and most challenging thing about living abroad? 

IB: The best thing about living abroad is the increase in quality of life (low cost of living, great weather, good food, lovely community). The most challenging part of living abroad is overcoming cultural or language barriers.

TN: Have you lived in any other countries? If so, which is your favorite and why?

IB: I have lived in five countries. I love Mexico because of the community and the weather. I loved China because people never really bothered us. It’s very family-friendly, and there’s so much to see there, both historically and geographically. 

TN: What advice would you give to people of color interested in becoming expats?

IB: My biggest advice is to make a plan, find community and have three to six months [of] savings!

This article has been edited and condensed for length and clarity.

Read more about the Travel Noire Awards and vote for the finalists