Migrating to Ghana or anywhere in the world is never an easy task or decision. Let us introduce you to the Parks family who are about to embark on this new journey from California to Ghana. Read their story and follow their journey as they enter into this new phase of their life…
“The only thing in life that is constant is change.” This may sound a little cliché, but over the last three years that saying has really resonated with our family because we’ve grown so much through trial and error. We were chasing what we had been conditioned to believe was “The American Dream.” We wanted a higher education, a house with the picket fence, two and a half kids and a dog, thinking that would bring happiness and fulfillment but instead we were faced with emptiness and disappointment. Truth be told, we obtained the higher education but the debt that accompanied it wasn’t worth it. Our debt to income ratio was so high that we could barely get approved for enough money to buy a mobile home. We were able to have one of the two and a half kids but the cost for child care per month alone made us rethink the other kid and a half. As for the dog, we couldn’t afford one! This is when we realized in order to achieve the “American Dream” you had to be asleep because it really was just a dream. Our reality was that we wanted something totally different and knew we had to do something different to obtain it.
Thinking outside the Box
It’s funny how people have this way of wanting to do the same things in life as others. How we attempt to follow in the footsteps of our families or how we are influenced by what our friends are doing in life. Rarely do people get out of their comfort zones and venture outside the confines of familiarity. We participate in “group think” all our lives even if we are miserable. Our family appeared to be heading in the same direction until we gradually started to regain that innate sense of “questioning”. We have now come to know this as the “right way” to do this thing called life. Question everything!
In 2013 we moved from Chicago to Los Angeles and for us we thought the sky was the limit. My husband and I were highly educated and motivated individuals, with a new born son and the typical life plan. We would get great jobs, have tons of friends, purchase a home and live a life worth living. However, we found working for others didn’t bring the type of freedom we desired. The friends just did not materialize no matter how hard we tried because Angelenos are just a different breed of people compared to “us southern folks.” Lastly, to purchase a home in California required you to give your first born child, both kidneys, and 30 years of your life in financial bondage. This was not a life worth living! At least not the life we wanted.
We decided enough was enough and we had to change our mindset. We were going to create a new type of legacy for our family with a different life plan compared to the one we tried to conform to. No more working just to pay bills and survive. No more playing it safe. No more settling for less and living an overall dull life. We had seen our parents live this life and our friends pursuing it and it just was not appealing to us. We were not going to live like everyone else. Exploring the world and living in a country with a vastly different culture than what we had become accustom to in America was more appealing than punching the clock every day to make someone else’s dreams come true. Our son deserved to learn from his parents that you have to take risks to obtain rewards and the world is so much more than what lies within the American borders. We decided we needed to be examples of courage and determination to our son in order for him to know that you are in charge of your own destiny if you choose to be. We wanted more quality time together as a family and wanted to create memories that we could be proud of. We just wanted true “freedom” and we wanted out of the “rat race.”
After doing some research we starting looking at the world with a new set of eyes and believed that there were greater opportunities for us abroad. We wanted to build businesses that allowed us to have more flexibility and control over our schedules while obtaining financial freedom. We also wanted to give our son what we believed would be a more quality education through homeschooling/world-schooling. Try explaining to your “traditional southern African American” parents that you believe home ownership is a waste of money, you are leaving a great career to travel the world, you’re moving to a totally different continent permanently, and educating your child yourself. Thus far the response has been, “you all just think and act very differently.” Exactly! We want to think differently, live differently, and ultimately create a different legacy for the Parks Family. That was the overall the point of all of this. It was time for change!
No Turning Back
Time is something that is forever fleeting and we became very tired of waiting on the change to come. Initially the plan was to “get all our ducks in a row” and then make the move aboard in 3 to 5 years. We would save X amount of money, purchase an income property in the states to generate revenue, and continue to live the 9 to 5 lifestyle while we wait for the weekend to enjoy our lives. The weekends would come and go and we would be back on the “corporate plantation” every Monday morning ready to do it all over again. This had to change and it had to change quickly. One day while talking to some acquaintances and people in California, we told them, “We’re moving to Africa.” Not in 3 to 5 years, but in one year. The remarks were laughable but the overall consensus from those individuals was “Wait, what!” They were shocked that we would even think about leaving California, much less the USA. “Who moves to Africa?” That’s what everyone asks. “How will you survive? Where will you work? What about the diseases? What will you do about DJ’s schooling?” We couldn’t understand why it was such a hard concept to grasp. Africa was our future we just had to figure out the plan and then execute and leave the life we had in California.
I have always had some type of spiritual pull to Ghana and could never understand why. I had never been to Ghana before and unfortunately I know nothing of my ancestral linage, therefore I cannot say it is because my roots stem from there. Most if not all African Americans are descendants of west and central Africans so it wouldn’t be far fetched to say that maybe my roots run deep in Ghana. I don’t know the reason behind my unwavering desire to want to live in Ghana but I know in my heart that my family must go and with that we decided to follow the calling and plan our first trip. As soon as we landed my husband and I both knew that this place would later become our home. Well, we did ponder on South Africa for a brief moment after the trip because it’s more developed and we would have an easier transition coming from the west. We even planned a trip to South Africa to research and explore the country as a possible moving location. However, after much research and communication with other potential repatriates, we decided that it wasn’t the place for us. We decided that our sights should be set solely on Ghana, West Africa.
Just the thought of the new adventures we would have once we moved brought so much excitement to our lives, but also disappointment. Everyday was starting to become more and more of a struggle to just get up and go to work. We came to the conclusion that since we were headed to Africa from California in January of 2017 for our South Africa trip, it just did not make sense to come back to California for only 6 months. The one year timeline went out the window and we determined that once we left for South Africa, we were staying in Africa. There is no turning back! As of today we have exactly 2 months and 25 days until our departure. The countdown begins!
Until next time…