Sza, Weed & Palm Trees: Help Us Pick Our Next ‘Home’

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Can you believe it’s been almost two years since we decided to head to Asia from Europe? And a full year since we settled in Bangkok? We always said that after three years of country-hopping we were going to stay in one location for at least a year – well, we did it!

Now we gotta figure out where we’re going to live next, and I need your help. Jarrell’s parents came to visit recently and he shocked the hell out of me when he announced, “I picked Bangkok, so Amirah gets to pick where we live next,” when asked where we were moving after Thailand. Our lease is up in TWO months, ya’ll! So I’ve been working like crazy trying to plan our relocation without so much as a solid idea where we want to go.

I’ve created a short list of dream characteristics for our new destination, and three top options we’re considering. I’m really hoping someone can read this and give me all the answers so I can have this all figured out, but at least I’ll have you involved in this part of the journey, because you know I’m all about transparency. At the end of the day I guess I’m just admitting (and displaying) that I don’t know what the hell I’m doing, but I bet I figure it out. And soon.

So, here it is…

 

New Destination Wish-List

  1. Low Cost of Living

Our First French Market

While we accept nothing is going to be cheaper than Southeast Asia (we went grocery shopping today and I got EVERYTHING under the sun. I’m talking needed an extra cart to fit it all – my grand total? $83! We. Will. Miss. That. So, it doesn’t have to be comparable to Thailand prices, but just a lower cost of living in general.

 

  1. Natural Beauty

Bocas Del Toro, Panama

This is a BIG one. I had a love/hate relationship with Bangkok because I prefer slow living and natural beauty to the seemingly limitless opportunities and access large cities provide. In short, I prefer Los Angeles to New York, and Bangkok is the Bronx. As I embark on my author journey, I want to live somewhere with a view that makes me wake up and say, “Damn. I want to write 10,000 words today!” Hahaha! No really, I want a beach to be no more than a short car ride away. I want some tropical greenery, year-round warm/hot weather, and just colorful views in general.

 

  1. Easily Accessible & Reliable Internet

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Obvious, right? We make money online, so naturally I need Internet to survive. I was able to convince Jarrell to live without Internet for two months once, and I don’t think he can do that again. He broke out in hives when he couldn’t stream a boxing match. Kidding, but he’s serious about his access to the world wide web.

 

  1. Close(r) to the States

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Asia is pretty much as far as you can go, so basically everywhere technically meets this requirement. Can you believe we have never visited the states since we left to travel the world in 2013? We did have a two-day layover in New York on our way to Italy, but that was it. Every family member we’ve seen during our adventure has had to come and visit us, so we’re hoping to change that with this move. It’s also worth mentioning that we still like to travel, so our next destination needs to either be a travel hub, or be close to one so that we can still take advantage of flight deals and easily/cheaply make it home to visit.

 

  1. Weed Accessibility

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Judge if you must. The drug laws in Asia are draconian, so we’ve completely abstained. We’re artists and we enjoy our natural stimulants without the threat of life sentences, so yeah. It’s trivial as hell, but we decided our next destination has to give us access to a nightcap jay. It’s not debatable. I mean, I’ve been trying to substitute with wine, but I know I haven’t been able to enjoy this new Sza like I could with weed.

Top 3-Options

Okay, so now you’ve got the requirements, here are the ideas I was tossing around. I really want to travel around Africa for at least a year. Ideally our next destination will be more long-term (a year or longer), but we would be open to hopping around if it was a good opportunity. I’ve struggled with finding ways to accomplish this, so please feel free to lend any and all advice about spending a year exploring Africa.

My other two ideas are picking an island in the Caribbean or a country in South America (Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Argentina, and Peru are our top choices), because we’ve never visited either and they’re both a hop, skip, and jump away from Miami.

If I’m honest, the Caribbean is killing my requirement list, but in the next article I’ll post the pros and cons of each plan. For now, uh, help? All advice is appreciated – comment, email, slide in my DMS, just help me figure this out, please and thank you!

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22 comments

  1. Hey! I feel unqualified to even make suggestions to you given that you all are basically our inspiration for travel. However, I would suggest South Africa. You would get the beauty of scenery( the ocean views are amazing), the super low cost of living (I spent 2 weeks there and I may have spent $30 in groceries but eating out is super cheap), the air bnb we stayed in was easily accessible by hwy, very affordable and the host were a husband and wife who were amazing. My mom and dad still chats with them. You can easily access other areas of Africa from there with low fares. Two downsides: 1. Weed is illegal but the booze is cheap lol. 2. Not easily accessible to the states, so for those reasons it is probably out. I could give you the info onthe air bnb.

    1. I’ve heard great things about South Africa, but the culture actually makes it pretty low on my list. I’m trying to figure it all out. Airbnb isn’t the best website for longterm accommodation, so I’m thinking it may take a short trip first to determine if we love it.

      1. Hey! What about the culture of South Africa don’t you like? Different cities have a different feel to them so maybe I’d be able to help you out in that way.

        1. Well, I’ve never been so all of my apprehensions are shrouded in ignorance, backed by others’ opinions. I guess it just isn’t one of the places I dreamed of living in Africa, although it checks off pretty much every requirement outside of convenient trips to the states. Definitely hit me up if you have some insight though! I appreciate your help!

  2. Hmmm if you’re thinking Africa I would recommend West Africa (Ghana has beautiful views) or South Africa (reliable internet). My husband is from Angola, Africa and raves about thise places more than his home country. I know Angola is really beautiful but really corrupt. Best of luck on your journey.

  3. So exciting that ya’ll are making another move! Ghana isn’t really closer to the states BUT I think you’d enjoy the various landscapes. It’s super cheap especially depending on where you stay and your lifestyle. I didn’t smoke while I was there but based on what I got as a feel of the country, I think you’d be able to get what you need. You’d then be able to visit several other African countries on a cheap tab!

    1. Do you know of a way to travel to other countries in the region besides flights? The airlines aren’t the best in that region. And where should I look for accommodation? Girl, help! Lol!

      1. Depending on what part of Ghana, you could get to other countries and other countries(only surrounding of course) via van services…may take you a bit longer. Turkish airlines flew me into Ghana and I believe flies into other countries as well, but you may not be able to avoid the layover. Air bnb has a lot of affordable places that you can rent long term especially in Accra but if you end up taking a real interest then I can ask my friend who stays there and his dad gives tours so he knows alllll about it. Also, if you’re trying to get a French feel but on an island…go to Martinique, not far from the states.. and girl they be selling weed right on the beach!

        1. Girl! Martinique (and every other Caribbean country) is on Rell’s list! He ain’t playing about his vice of choice! Most times its closer to fly from Africa to Europe, and then back to another African country. Traveling around the continent is anything but inexpensive. Le sigh.

          1. Tis true, do either of yall know French? That was a major barrier for me but then I think that ya’ll have been basically everywhere and will be just fine. Antigua was really nice & I think fairly affordable, can’t to see where yall pick!

            1. Rell speaks a bit of French, and we haven’t spoken the language of pretty much anywhere we’ve lived the past four years! Haha! I’d be happy to just be able to identify letters again, because I’m all the way lost in Asia. Thanks for the help!

    1. The Maldives are in Asia, but I’m considering the islands for our anniversary. Seychelles looks beautiful, but it doesn’t seem like a good place to fly out of, especially to the states. Maybe a great place for a short visit though!

  4. Hola! The Caribbean is expensive, Venezuela is not feasible now and no way would you be able to get a timely visa possibly not at all, being an American citizen. Peru is beautiful, cost of living on point, lots of fresh fruit and veggies, oh so very nice peeps. Not sure about the ganja.
    Belize is close, cost of living good, no nothing of the ganja.
    Colombia would be ideal (I’m partial). Spirit flies there on the low. Viva Colombia is their regional airlines and bolivariano their bus line. Both very safe and cheap. Cost of living is ideal, an abundance of everything and a very active artist community. Bogota is cold but Cali (my personal favorite) Medellin (the outlying areas) and Santa Marta are also good options. You can indulge in serious gas in Colombia.

    I lived in Ecuador for 9 months didn’t like the vibe in Cuenca, but loved other parts of the country.

    Africa would be expensive, in my humble opinion and probably would take more time than you have to plan. However, I would suggest Tanzania as a base and travel to other parts from there. There is a sister I. One of my groups who has property there and wants us to visit.

    Just my two cents. Hope it helps.

    1. Thanks, Love! Well, our lease is up in two months, but we weren’t planning to make our next move until the start of 2018. We haven’t spent a holiday season (or any season for that matter) in the states since we left, so we’re thinking of visiting on our way to the next destination. That’ll give us more time to figure things out and secure some visas from home.

      We spent a day in Belize City. I’m sure they’ve got the ganja just from the vibe. Haha! Colombia is one of Rell’s top choices. And knowing we can easily hop from country to country in South America is enticing. Africa definitely isn’t proving to be inexpensive from my online research, especially to travel around. South Africa and Tanzania seem to be the best places to travel from, but then its inconvenient to get back to the states.

      Thank you so much for your help! I really appreciate it and will use it to keep researching (and scratch some places off the list).

  5. I’m excited for your next adventure, and can’t wait to see where you decide to make your next home.

    I’ve heard wonderful things about Hondorus, specifically the island of Roatan. I have not been but I’ve heard that is picturesque, beautiful, and not expensive. I’ve heard that access to the internet is good, and because it is a Caribbean island, you shouldn’t have any problems smoking. They have an international airport to make travel to and from the states pretty accessible.

    Good luck!!

    1. Honduras! I’ve heard great things about Roatan too! I’m going to add that to the (ever growing) list! Thank you! Central America is an easy and convenient trip away from the states, so we’re both open to it. Thanks so much for the help! I appreciate you, Love!

  6. We would love you to to be our guest in the Bahamas..the culture, the food, the close proximity to the USA ( 30-40mins from Nassau to Miami) and of great internet access. keep in mind there are other islands and cays that are only a plane or boat ride away. Our country like many other Caribbean countries is rich in history. NOW the downside smoking weed is illegal( no judgement here..lol) and cost of living of high. Please make us one the countries even if its just a short term visit.

    1. The Caribbean was really winning and all the feedback I’ve gotten is that the cost of living is high so I should stay away. We’ll definitely visit even if for a short trip!

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