Photo Credit: Photo courtesy of @pellathepilgrim
The Black Expat: 'I Gave Myself A Deadline To Be Out Of The States'
For Florida native Pella, leaving the United States was a high priority. She has now spent the last two years living all the way across the world in New Zealand and most recently, Australia where she works as a corporate freelancer.
We had the chance to catch up with Pella to learn what led her to move across the world and what the journey has been like so far.
Travel Noire: What initially inspired you to move abroad?
Pella: I did a semester abroad in college and the time I spent there was amazing. I was impressed with the quality of life and was curious to see if I could recreate the experience in adulthood.
TN: Where did you plan to go first? What happened?
Pella: I first intended to go to Europe. I’d been before and thought that it would economically advantageous to work there. I applied for jobs to teach English in Italy. I was all set to go when the job fell through in the 11th hour.
TN: How did you end up in New Zealand?
Pella: I had given myself a deadline to be living out of the states. Because the Italy job fell through at the last minute, I scrambled to not fail myself. I googled ‘easy work visas for Americans’ and stumbled across the working holiday visa. I didn’t have much time to second guess it so I went for it. I packed my bags and went sight unseen all the way (not half-way) across the world.
TN: What was your time there like?
Pella: I really enjoyed my time in New Zealand. I decided to split the year between Auckland and Wellington. The entire country is like one giant small town. Auckland is the largest city, but 30 minutes outside of the city and you are rural. Two-lane (and sometimes one-lane) roads that they call the ‘highway’. Everyone was friendly and it was so safe there. Kiwis are some of my favorite people in the world.
Culturally it was so interesting to experience. I was introduced to Pacific Island culture there. Most of the places that I have traveled previously, I have been exposed to the culture somewhat. New Zealand I was pretty much a blank slate.
TN: Now that you’re in Australia, are you happier?
Pella: That’s a hard call. Each place has it’s pros and cons. I decided to stay in one place for my year in Melbourne as moving every 6 months while in New Zealand was a bit ‘full-on’ as they say here. I fell into a friend group via mutual friends from Wellington so I got settled in Australia a lot quicker. I can access things a lot easier as far as public transit, entertainment options, and access to buying things. I will say that I am happy in Melbourne though.
TN: What has the experience been like as a Black woman?
Pella: Funny enough few people assume that I am black American. Even when I meet other black people I’m often asked: “where in Africa are you from?” To which I reply ‘Florida.’ Even after that, they ask about where my family is from in Africa. To my surprise a few times people haven’t understood that I don’t know anything but America because you know…slavery.
TN: What’s next for you?
Pella: That is to be determined. I have about 5 months remaining on my visa here. I have a few destinations in mind. Hopefully, the path will reveal itself.
TN: Where can we find you online?
Pella: I have some funny travel stories on my blog pellathepilgrim.com. I’m on Instagram and Youtube where I have footage from my travels.
Related: The Black Expat: ‘I Set A Goal To Live Abroad For 15 Years’