Photo Credit: TN
The Black Expat: Moving To Oaxaca, Mexico Provided Love And Grounding As A Black Woman Abroad
Life in Oaxaca, Mexico almost guarantees a slower- paced life, ease, art and real good food – more so if you’re a creative Black woman abroad. Moving from North Carolina to Oaxaca, Lauren found herself gently but fiercely living the life of her dreams. Knowing that the life of a ‘slow-mad’ was one she could naturally embody, she made the leap of a lifetime.
In this Travel Noire interview, Lauren speaks on her grounding rituals, inspirational ancestors and greatest pleasures of living abroad. Find out what enlivens and nourishes her life in the artisanal, richly mountainous Oaxaca de Juarez.
Tell us about who you are
Peace Beautiful Beings! I’m Lauren (she/her), a soon-to-be 23 (#cancergang) multi-dimensional creative, generator of human design, digital “slo-mad”, and intuitive artist from Raleigh, North Cackalacky, or North Carolina! Feels damn good to be rooted in creative freedom, authenticity, aligned action, and intentional creation.
As a holistic entrepreneur dedicated to creating for the highest good of all, I develop short stories, digital products, and visuals catered to the beauty of coming back home to Self, teach creatives how to build digital income through their soul offerings with courses (Digital Income With Intention) and continue to work with conscious woman-owned brands by expanding their visibility on social media with humanized content strategies.
My typical day consists of several cups of herbal tea (love a good yerba mate & ginger blend), dance breaks, fixing a nourishing meal, singing & writing music, content curation, deep belly breathing, playing my Tibetan sound bowl then busting a slow dutty wine to Beenie Man for balance, curating my next vibey playlist, or finger painting for inner child play.
I currently reside in Oaxaca de Juarez, Mexico, or wherever my Spirit intuitively guides me internationally!
What prompted your expat journey?
Since I was a little girl, I’ve always felt that skin-tingling wanderlust urge.
I would binge Google and find photos of nature, dope houses, and foreign dishes that I couldn’t pronounce that looked yummy and gaze in awe that these types of things are out there!
My dear mommy (my now Angel in the next realm), Debbie loved this movie called ‘Eat, Pray, Love’. I recall first watching the movie when I was about 10 years old with my mommy cuddled on our comfy brown couch in the living room while my three brothers and Dad were out. #Spoileralert, the scenes where the main character traveled to Italy, then experienced a major spiritual awakening in Bali, I just felt so connected to that type of freedom she was witnessing for herself.
As I’ve grown to tap more into what my ideal lifestyle looks and feels like, I knew that I needed to welcome in a new, uplifting, and creative environment for me to feel full as well.
Before diving right into my expat journey, I remember sitting in a co-working space in Downtown Raleigh working on client work for my business Soco & Moda and I asked myself “why can’t I do exactly what I’m doing here in this swirly chair surrounded by people in suits, heels, and faux conversations laying on the beach with my lil’ two-piece and a coconut surrounded by a body of water and like-minded folk?”
November somethin’ 2020, the love of my life Donovan and I were having our 3-hour-long-parked-car-in-front-of-his-crib type bestie talks where we said, “LET’S DO IT! LET’S GO!”. After I dropped him off, I went back to my house, called him on FaceTime and we booked our one-way to Mexico.
Almost 2 years later, this expat journey has filled me up in more ways than I can count. I’ve detached myself from the idea that another location would make me feel happy and whole.
How did you choose Oaxaca?
Again with trusting my intuition when I’m being spiritually, energetically, and lovingly pulled to a place to listen on up!
The move to Oaxaca felt like a divine alignment due to my partner Don and I craving to live in an artistic, creative, mountain-desert region, and colorful city!
Don and I were living in Lake Atitlan, Guatemala in October 2021, we were getting that Mexico itch again and meditated a ton on a few cities there.
We’ve always had our eye on Oaxaca, the indigenous people, the art, the flavors of food, the weather, the NATURE. We live near the mountains surrounded by loving locals, small tiendas that sell bread, jewelry, kitchen supplies, spices, the whole works!
As a melanated couple, we’ve felt completely safe, loved, and seen here. Oaxaca exudes that unconditional family love type energy, that “I’ve only known you for 6 minutes talking in broken Spanish while waiting in line at the market, and now we’re getting invited to have dinner with our new abuela and her grown children and grandkids” type energy!
Would you describe your time in Oaxaca as transformative in the wider vision of your nomad journey?
Absolutely! Oaxaca has opened up many doors that have aided my expansion creatively, spiritually, and mentally.
I’ve rediscovered my excitement for creating strictly for joy and relearned that’s it okay to look “silly” in public when I mess up a few words in español, or break out into a mini choreography with the street performer and be my most authentic self. The natives here in Oaxaca wrapped me in an unconditional hug of acceptance, love, and laughter.
Witnessing the magic of so many artists here in their element has inspired me to let loose, and release my art & passions without filters or procrastination.
The energetic vibration hits different here, honestly.
When I stepped on the turnpike after a longgg journey from Guatemala, laying eyes on the golden hour sky, felt the kisses of the wind on my skin, letting my jacket fly open with my belly showing like I’m in a 90’s Jodeci music video or somethin’ LOL and feeling so at home. Here in Oaxaca, connecting with people doesn’t feel forced or ingenuine for me, the programming from living in America that you need to be on-the-go, poppin’, hustling, working hard, and chasing the bag 24/7 has diminished almost completely. Oaxaca has given me the space to build and execute new creative projects with flow and ease, slow down and digest the natural beauty around me, and cultivate a safe, vulnerable, uplifting, and lively environment that I can truly call my home.
I’m not even going to front Amara, there have been so many ego deaths, deprogramming, releasing, and shedding since living here for 7 months. I used to think I could experience the “true” essence of God and Source Energy in another country upon a beautiful mountain with my boobies out doing tai chi! I realized that I needed to take the pressure off of new cities and countries by trusting in my intuition to fulfill that journey but, to also stay rooted in knowing that I had, and still have, the power to cultivate joy, gratitude, and enlightenment in my own sacred space. My inner world.
I give thanks to Oaxaca and my Ancestors for opening this up for me.
What are some of your grounding rituals/routines/practices?
I am ALL about the grounding and mindfulness rituals girl…
I mean busting out a 5 minute fire breath ritual in the back of a taxi where the driver looks at me like I’m about to wild out on him, any piece of fresh grass that I see I’ll throw my shoes off, and hit the Mountain Pose real quick, all of that!!
There are quite a few routines and rituals that I love to do but, here are my ultimate faves:
- Singing & chanting: Whew, when that throat chakra activates I feel like a whole Goddess wrapped in honey! As I’m embracing and acting upon my gifts, I always come back to the act of singing. Using my voice and singing my soul’s song – aka light language – is basically connecting to my inherent wisdom and healing. Singing my own songs and letting whatever I need to say come through without judgment reveals hidden pockets of information within my DNA that have been waiting to awaken.
- Free-writing/journaling: Literally free therapy y’all! When I grab that thick journal that I got on sale at Target and an old pen that I stole from my parent’s house, open a fresh page, and just let my mind wander on and wrist do its thang, a whole new world opens up in my being.
- Sacred dance or mindful movement: This is an absolute non-negotiable when it comes to my daily practice. There’s something so powerful about putting on ancestral music with my headphones and twirling around my house with my eyes closed and letting energy flow through and release. I channel my Ancestors and connect back into my body. The song “Aguanile” by Hector Lavoe & Willie Colon makes me feel like I’m dancing with my entire indigenous tribe of Ancestors, it’s crazy… I get chills just thinking about it. I value feeling within my body; noticing which parts feel blocked and which feel more open so I feel safe within my Temple.
- Body-scan meditation: A body-scan meditation is something that I do whenever and wherever my mind & body needs to be recentered. It’s something we can all do with our eyes open or closed. This type of mindfulness connects you deeper to every part of your Temple. It involves paying attention to parts of your body and inner/outer bodily sensations in a gradual sequence from feet to head. A body scan meditation releases tension you might not even realize you’re experiencing and helps you connect back into the present moment.
What advice would you give to any aspiring nomads?
Hey aspiring nomad, beautiful human, honey boo-boo, hey!
When you get that calling to go somewhere, do something, eliminate something from your life or create something, DO IT.
You deserve to immerse yourself in new experiences and cultures.
Abundance is your birthright, and it’s time to act like it. Binge Google on a few places that interest you, dive deep into what to expect, the costs, the best areas to stay, where to meet like-minded folk; join Facebook groups, see what the culture is like, and what the food is like, I mean GO ALL THE WAY IN!
Be open-minded to new possibilities and know that just some things are out of your control when traveling, but dear you have the power over your reactions and your next moves. When you’re in a new environment set your intentions. What do you want to experience mentally while you’re there? What kind of fun do you want to have? What kind of people do you want to meet? Get to the root and gain clarity on your WHY.
For your well-being, maintain your rituals and routines that make you feel fulfilled. You are guided and protected in your journey. Learn to trust, surrender, and flow. The nomadic life is calling, answer and go with love. If you weren’t ready for this, the divine opportunity wouldn’t have approached you.
This interview has been shortened for brevity.