Tiffany Johnson on Opening a Closed Mind for Travel: My Life in China Episode 4

Tiffany has a unique experience with travel, which formed a perspective that is equally unique.

Tiffany let me know previous to the interview that she wanted to share about the apprehension toward travel she has seen in black American communities. If you’ll watch the interview, you’ll hear her experience and thoughts about this, including the suspected reasons.

I want to encourage Tiffany and other black expats to continue to share stories about their experiences. Like I mentioned in the interview, there’s a great resource called The Black Expat, essentially a black expat online community. I’m so appreciative that they let us read and grow along with them as they explore this world.


I also mentioned in the interview that I’d share my thoughts about this issue and seeing it play out even within the US.

The hometown area where I lived for the majority of my life has a very closed mind toward globalization. Many are afraid of losing jobs to the foreigner overseas and the foreigner living amidst them. Many of them are nationalistic, like many Chinese, who want jobs and companies to stay within the country.

Many of those within my hometown area have not traveled extensively. Many have lived in the same house or town for the majority of their lives. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing – there are plenty of tribes and countries, including China, with these same desires to stay part of the family.

What isn’t OK is the closed off hearts that perpetuate the “If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it!” attitude. The US is broken – that a populist is running for president right now is enough of an indicator that things are so wrong. Both the education and the income gap is widening, and I believe a great deal of that has to do with entertainment and media being irresponsible in what they portray about the world.


There is so much fear bound up in travel. Many were so afraid for us when we left for Fort Worth.

“How will you survive?”

“If you can’t make ends meet here, how could you make ends meet there?”

“You’re just not going to be able to live off of that little amount of money.”

We were fine as two students working part time jobs. We did run into a whole bunch of trouble when we had kids. Then we were suffocating on not being able to survive, period. We felt like we had to hide from some of our Republican-minded friends and family that we were on public assistance. But, look – we were working. I worked online. Bobby worked 60-70 hours a week. Life was tough and rough. We still qualified for public assistance, so we accepted the help.


Even more were shocked when we finally decided to make the move to China. But we knew we needed to make a financial change, and that reality hit even harder when Bobby was faced with being laid off from a really great new job. He had finally found the fit for our family only to be told he’d be laid off six months from his start date.

“Do they have hospitals in China?”

“Are you going to be able to afford insurance?”

“What about your kids?”

“Do they have schools in China?”

“You’re going to need at least $10,000 for your first three months there, just in case something happens!”

“Will you be able to get XYZ?”

“Do they have cellphones in China?”

“What do they eat in China?”

“Why do you need to leave?”

“We don’t think you’re ready.”

“You need to move into these things slowly.”

I have to admit that I didn’t even have a clue of what I should and shouldn’t bring. My perception of any country outside of Europe, Australia, Canada and other such countries was that they were all impoverished countries. Please forgive me for that, friends.

This is my happy little girl eating up her momma's guilt McDonald's cheeseburger. She's such a ham.
This is my happy little girl eating up her momma’s guilt McDonald’s cheeseburger. She’s such a ham.

I’ve now gotten out into the world.

A happy reuniting after a long week in a Beijing hospital.

Although the shock is greater for moving across the world, I feel like there was just as much concern for our well being simply moving across the country. Each city’s culture is different and our culture is rough even when from the same culture.

I personally have come to prefer a move across the world.

If you liked this post, check out Episode 1, Episode 2 and Episode 3.

Right now I’m in a super busy season of life, but the plans I have for writing are far and wide. Once I’m finished with this super busy season, (in about ten weeks some normalcy will return), I’ll start picking up my posts more frequently. Make sure to subscribe to get my personal newsletter along with the different freebies that come through that method.

In the next week, I plan to give an update on our finances!

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