Photo Credit: TN
Lawrence Says He's Finally Living 'Unafraid' In Thailand
Meet Lawrence aka “Binkey,” a 37-year-old artist, host, singer, and teacher/mentor. He hails from the South Side of Chicago and currently lives in Chiang Mai, Thailand. He now works as a mentor at an international school in the mountains.
We had the chance to speak with him about his experience as a Black Expat.
Travel Noire: Why did you make the move abroad?
Lawrence: There was a program that was here that a homie of mine from the Chi was over. She convinced me to raise funds and enter the program. It was only supposed to be for three months, but that turned into three years after I quit the “program” after about a month and a half.
Travel Noire: Why did you start BlackPackers of Southeast Asia? What is it all about?
Lawrence: I co-founded BlackPackers with Paris because I’m from the city with the most black people out of every city in the U.S. Frankly, I missed us! We found comfort, familiarity and love. I know the power and therapy that comes along with being around all that melanin. I wanted to lose a layer of conformity and hurt that the western world placed on the backs of my people. Its easier to do so here, so I did!
Travel Noire: What challenges do you face as a black man in Asia?
Lawrence: The challenges of feeling travelers guilt! Whatever “problems” I have here do not compare to the problems in the states. I’m unafraid here! I lowkey have white privilege out here! (not really but man, this close to it!)
Travel Noire: Has your life improved abroad versus being home?
Lawrence: Absolutely! I lost weight, lost the fear of being my whole self, gained knowledge of self by being in a place that wasn’t my home and so I had to adapt! I gained love on a level I might not have been able to achieve had I not got up and flew!
Travel Noire: Do you plan to move back home? If so, when?
Lawrence: I will at some point but no time soon! I still have more of me to discover! Africa is next!
Travel Noire: What tips or advice can you give our readers looking to move abroad?
Lawrence: There is power in research! Do it. There is a saying that got me here though. I was on the ground so long as a bird, people thought I was a chicken! Traveling is the cure to ignorance I swear! There is so much of you, you haven’t discovered yet. Its a relationship you can’t afford to neglect!
Travel Noire: Where can they reach you on social media if they have questions?
Lawrence: You can find me on Instagram @Binkey1, @BlackPackers.INTL