Photo Credit: TN
The Black Expat: I Moved Out Of The U.S. And Have Been Living In The Tropics for 6+ Years
Who doesn’t want to experience living in the tropics? This Black expat took the cues and realized quickly how a life spent in nature was more than a vision, but a deeper lifestyle and deprogramming of life spent in the U.S.
In this expat interview, Zach shares his lifestyle and journey through the tropics now that he has settled down in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, Costa Rica. Find out what prompted this move and how he sustains an organic lifestyle personally and with his business.
Tell us about who you are
I go by Zach. I’m a 30-year-old from Fort Worth, Texas and an alumni of Texas Southern University. I lived in Houston for 7 years and I currently live in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, Costa Rica. I left the United States and moved abroad because of a vision that shook me. Being a club promoter back in Houston, Texas, I always had the gift to bring people together and connect. Now I have a company that assists people in relocating to the tropics so that they can experience life outside of the United States.
What prompted your expat journey?
My first ever trip out the country was in 2015 when I went to Trinidad and Tobago. Looking at how lush and green everything was, the natural dirt roads and entrepreneurs selling goods, the music in the streets where adults and kids played and danced with the most beautiful smiles, changed my whole perspective of life: I instantly knew I wanted to move.
From there, everything went to shit in the States and my ego death or awakening showed me that my purpose was to move and that I was holding on to my old lifestyle. The Universe/God/Higher Self forced me to detach and detox to see my purpose. From failed relationships to losing money and materialistic things, it broke my ego down to be still and realize who I am and why I am here. Within 9 months of self-healing, I was shown the vision/my purpose through a vivid dream I had where I was living in the tropics.
The name of my vision/brand is called Wao/wow; an acronym of the slogan “We Are Organic”. I see it as the lifestyle of expats nowadays and cultural movement to a better, more organic environment.
From there, my conviction of living a more free, natural lifestyle was not ideal in the States. It was like trying to heaI in a toxic environment. I was done living the so-called “American Dream,” and that’s when I realized that I had two choices: stay in the States, complain and be a victim or cut my losses and travel and relocate. So I had to deprogram and detach from standard Western ways of living mentally, physically, spirituality.
Take us through your journey so far
I moved out the country in October 2016 because I was detaching from everything I was taught I knew and I wanted freedom. Being overwhelmed by this new consciousness and vision, I felt very alone and didn’t have the resources or knowledge to create this organic way of living. I then joined a tribe of expats wanting to live in the tropics in Honduras and Costa Rica. That didn’t last so I went back to Texas for a while and joined Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF) where I lived at different farms and and worked in gardens. I learnt trades and permaculture practices during this season of my life.
I did that until I found an intentional community in Honduras. I was back and forth from Honduras to Houston for 5 years selling and marketing Tropical Fruit Leaf Tea which was my first product for my brand. Within those years, I learned a lot from the locals and took what I learnt to this community. I slept in the jungles, learned how to cook with fire, learned herbal healing modalities, plant based cooking and more.
I left Honduras in January of 2021 because two category 5 hurricanes swept through Honduras and left the country devastated. I then moved to the Caribbean side of Costa Rica, Puerto Viejo. This small beach town is the gem of Costa Rica being the Afro-Caribbean region and a community of cool locals and expats from all over the world practicing sustainable ways of living. Costa Rica is a better fit for me because I was able to grow my business here and live in alignment with the balance of raw nature and modernity.
What has been the most challenging part of this journey for you?
The most challenging part has been establishing the finances for my vision/business. Because of the pandemic, I had to stop my tea business. I therefore started to help people relocate from the United States to the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica.
It’s doing better because a lot of people – especially Afro-Indigenous Americans – are waking up and seeing there is a better option, one where we live in harmony, tribe up and create our own, just like our ancestors did. I’m in a town where that is possible.
So in that, missing culture and community (more Black Americans) has been a challenge.
Why do you think the tropics is such a nurturing space for you and your lifestyle?
In the States, the natural resources that are available to us are very scarce and manipulated. If the main elements that sustain my life via sun, air, water and soil are manipulated, tainted and controlled, why would I stay in such an environment?
This is not even to mention companies and corporations from the banks, schools, hospitals that are corrupted and outdated. Acquiring resources to sustain our natural livelihood is the new currency so I’d rather be in a space to build and create where that is abundant and where the world is heading; back to nature. When entrepreneurs take these small breaks or your job or school gives you time off to really be free and relax, you take vacations, usually to the tropics.
We live in a time where we can make money off our phone and be digital nomads and make money wherever, whenever. Our energy has held everything that is of the Old Earth in place and now it’s time to take our paid attention, energy and focus and create our own. I say this but I am really not in the business of telling people how they should live. All I can do is inspire people to take back their birth rights and be nomadic by nature and/or build in harmony with nature.
Where can people find you?