Photo Credit: Hasan Beatty
The Black Expat: 'I Have So Much Physical And Mental Freedom In Tanzania'
Meet Hasan Beatty, a 37-year-old educator and digital marketing specialist from Philadelphia currently living in Tanzania. He began traveling at the age of four with his family, who traveled together twice a year.
“My grandmother and grandfather are habitual travelers, and they always made sure to take the family along, especially the children,” Hasan told Travel Noire. “They believe that once you expand a child’s mind, it can’t be undone. So they planted the seed of global curiosity in me, which allowed me to grow up with a global perspective on everything.”
This global perspective led Hasan to continue traveling the world. He fell in love with learning about people, their cultures, their history, their way of life, and with being able to explore nature and food all over the world. While home in the U.S. he would long for those international experiences. He began to find himself feeling as though he was growing past what America could offer him, in various aspects.
“At the same time, I understood the state of the American society towards the Black man and knew it wasn’t going to get any better in the near future. I wanted more in my personal growth, mentally and physically.”
Hasan decided to move to Thailand, where he stayed for six years, followed by him living in London for five months. Through these experiences, he found that staying in a destination long-term allowed him to immerse himself in the country in a deeper way, and really get to find the true essence of it. It allowed him to connect with the locals so that they could truly learn about one another.
“When visiting as a tourist, sometimes you’re not connecting with many of the people. Staying and living amongst the locals is a different reality and experience. Mainly because we are both breaking propaganda barriers about us both. I try to remember that many people only know me and my people from TV, movies, and other media outlets, and vice versa. When we get to live together and interact long-term, we develop a completely different understanding about each other. So now the next brothers or sisters that go there will be received with open arms.”
Last July, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Hasan once again relocated, this time to one of the only countries that had remained fully open, Tanzania.
He chose to move to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania after conducting research about the country and seeing all that it had to offer, including for starters, unique cultures, beautiful beaches, delicious food, and amazing wildlife. Now that he lives there, he knows he chose well, and recommends Tanzania highly to others.
“I love Tanzania,” he said. “In the beginning it was a bit of a roller coaster, but because I have been traveling for so long and have visited so many places, I understand that when you arrive somewhere new you should take a couple of steps back and understand the society, the laws, the culture, and the overall energy and vibes of the destination. If you’re relocating, you definitely shouldn’t rush the process when you first arrive. Chill for a bit, understand everything, then make your moves. People that rush without understanding usually end up having problems in other countries.”
Life in Tanzania is much more affordable than in the U.S., Hasan has found. Everything from housing to healthcare costs significantly less. Food is very cheap, with the fruits, vegetables, and meats being extremely fresh. And with living accommodations comparable to those found in the U.S., Hasan is able to enjoy all the modern conveniences he is used to, for the most part.
“My only problem is the electricity cutting off for periods at a time almost daily, and maybe some Wi-Fi problems here and there. It’s mainly a problem for me because of my career as a digital marketing specialist and online educator. If your occupation is not 100% dependent on electric and Wi-Fi then you’ll have nothing to worry about and otherwise, probably won’t miss much from the States.”
Hasan says that he had always wanted to go to the continent of Africa, and believes that everyone from the African diaspora should visit at least once in their lifetime.
“There’s a hole in many of us that we need to fill. And it’s a great learning experience. It’s so interesting as an African American to see and understand the things we have in common with continental Africans and all our differences. They are as intrigued about us as we are about them. We hear a lot about each other and about our realities from news and social media outlets, but when we actually meet and connect, we understand there are a lot of lies out there about us both.”
Living in Tanzania, Hasan no longer has to combat racism in society, and has felt a burden lifted from him.
“I have so much physical and mental freedom in TZ. Mental freedom is the big part. There’s no such thing as ‘race’ because everyone is you, and you’re everyone. It’s a beautiful feeling. Pure freedom.”
With respect embedded in their culture, Tanzanians are a friendly and helpful people who are welcoming to Black people from all over.
“The da-das (sisters) and ka-kas( brothers ) in TZ are big on hospitality. Because everything is visible and global, they see and understand what is happening to the Black population in the Western Hemisphere and they welcome us with open arms. Believe it or not, many want us all to come back.”
And many Black people are indeed returning to Africa and relocating to Tanzania. Hasan says there is a large community of Black American expats there, and finds it interesting how Black Americans seem to become closer and more connected outside of America.
“Outside of the U.S., we really become a family and look out for each other wherever we are in the world. I’ve felt this and experienced it in every country I’ve visited where I’ve met other Black Americans. It’s a really cool thing.”
Hasan looks forward to visiting more African countries, including Ghana, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, and Kenya, as well as other nations in the Eastern Hemisphere. He says he will also be heading back to Thailand very soon, as well as Solomon Islands.
“Most of my travel is focused around culture, food, and first-hand local experiences. I’m also a partner in a digital marketing startup company, Soul Connection Marketing, that focuses solely on connecting Black and brown travel companies with Black and brown travelers around the world, so I will also be traveling to connect with other global Black businesses to build their digital platforms and global presence.”
“As Black Americans, we have to remember the world is ours, as well. We have access to so many things if we leave our homes and travel with an open mind. Access to land in other countries, stocks in other countries, better education for our children in and out of school. We all need to take advantage of it, and build for our legacy globally.”
You can follow Hasan at @hasanbeatty11.