Photo Credit: Photo courtesy of LaQuisha Nelson.
The Black Expat: Moving To Kuwait Allowed Me To Live Life On My Own Terms
When Houston native LaQuisha Nelson told her family and friends she was moving to Kuwait, she faced some initial objections.
“My family wasn’t on board,” she told Travel Noire. “My mom and grandmother begged me to change my mind. My aunt cried. My friends ranged from supportive to discouraging and unsympathetic. But my boo, who I maintain a long-distance relationship with, said he loves me and to live my dreams.”
LaQuisha relocated to the Middle Eastern country in 2018 and works there as a middle school counselor.
“I moved to Kuwait after reaching a major milestone in my life. I felt this was the shift I needed to start living life on my terms. I wanted new scenery and new adventures, and Kuwait provided that much-needed change.”
The process of moving overseas went smoothly for LaQuisha. She began her job search in the summer of 2017. By the fall, she had completed the interview process, and by the winter, her position was confirmed. LaQuisha moved to Kuwait in the summer of 2018.
She says her experience in Kuwait has been nothing short of amazing.
“Everything about the experience has been an eye-opener. Here, I’ve learned so much about life, spirituality, culture, and people. The cultural differences are there, but I’ve noticed that we have more similarities than anything.”
“Some things, culturally, I will never understand because I didn’t grow up that way. For example, the separation of genders and how awkwardly they react to seeing male and female foreigners interact. (Yes, we are JUST friends. No, I am NOT interested in them romantically.)”
As a child, LaQuisha traveled frequently. Her first international trip was to Cancun at the age of nine.
“Traveling was a pretty common thing growing up,” she explained. “My mom made sure to expose me to this beautiful world at an early age. Even through our domestic travels we had a good time. My birthday is in the summer and my mom would always take off for a week, and we would take road trips around Texas. So my love for travel is because of my mom.”
So far, LaQuisha has traveled to 20 countries across four continents. She says Turkey and Egypt have been her favorite destinations.
“Turkey was an unexpectedly LIT trip. I traveled there during the pandemic and still had a damn good time. The pros to traveling there during this time were that there were no crowds. We were able to fully take in all the sights (the Blue Mosque, Hagia, Sophia, and more) without the long lines and people in the way.”
“Oh, and let me also mention that both places love them some melanated women. In Egypt, I was offered 5,000 camels as a dowry for marriage! In Turkey, we definitely were poppin’, from hopping on motorbikes to getting custom wine gifts and being the center of attention in the local art district.”
Of course her travels have not been without the occasional hiccup. While vacationing in Turkey this past Christmas, Kuwait closed their airport and stopped all commercial flights. LaQuisha and her travel partners were rebooked on a Jan. 2 flight.
Currently, the airports in Kuwait are again shut down, leaving LaQuisha waiting for them to reopen so that she may resume her travels.
She says traveling has been a major game-changer in her life and something that has been beneficial for her mental and emotional health.
“Travel has made me more appreciative and grateful. I feel that I have a greater global responsibility to speak up for what’s right.”
“I understand many walks of life. I am more empathic. I am a better person and professional. I can definitely say I understand the value of a dollar more. In addition, I realized through traveling how small of a percentage money plays in your day to day happiness.”
“Travel has helped my thinking and creative ability go from limited and fear-based to limitless and courageous.”
Follow LaQuisha at @_theblackgirlabroad.