Safia E. 🇦🇬: Trust The Vibe

This week on the blog we’re highlighting another Caribbean Millennial veteran in these Madrid streets! It’s always great to have a community of people who identify with all that it means to be a young, black professional who has uprooted their life and taken the leap to live abroad!

Meet Safia!

…better known as Safi. A lover of adventure and good vibes, with an appreciation for the simple things in life and the energy they bring. She migrated to NJ in the U.S for university and afterwards, lived and worked there for 8 years before moving to Madrid, Spain as a Language Assistant with the popular Ministry Programme.

Where in the Caribbean is home for you and where do you find yourself now?

Antigua is definitely HOME and I currently live in Madrid, Spain.

How long have you been calling Madrid home?

Madrid has been my home away from home away from home for two years.

What made you want to venture abroad?

I’d love to say it’s mainly my passion for adventure that fueled my move abroad. Sincerely, I was fresh out of a long-term relationship that didn’t end in the best way and I thought it would be a great opportunity to heal from that experience.

I’ve always wanted to live abroad but never took the steps to do so (ironically because of the relationship that failed in the end). And so, my innate desire to see new places and feel new experiences won in the end. Oh, I also wanted to escape the rat trap that is corporate America.

How does Madrid compare to the other places you’ve lived?

After living in three countries, I can definitely say the energy of the Caribbean is unmatched. Madrid has its own spark but the beaches, food, hospitality, people and vibes of Antigua just CAN’T be beat.

What is one thing you love about life in the Spanish capital?

I love the balance of living in Madrid. There’s truly a focus on enjoying the things such as spending time with family and friends. Appreciating simple moments like a small picnic in Retiro on a sunny day, sitting on a terraza lost in your thoughts sipping a caña or just exploring the streets of Madrid. The simpler things I only used to do once in a while due to lack of time or energy have become the norm. For me, it’s the sense of slower pace and relaxation that I’ve come to greatly appreciate.

And what is one thing you’re still getting used to?

Spanish Bureaucracy. The process to get things done is super slow, and it often seems like you’re doing added things for no reason. Also, believe it or not, walking in the street!

What has it been like for you adjusting to the culture and lifestyle in Madrid? 

It has been fairly easy adjusting to everyday life here in Madrid.

It’s a chill and laid-back city which is one of the things I love most about it. In regards to work and social life it has come together very naturally. Culturally, some things took time getting used to, for example, customer service in restaurants. And there are other cultural differences that I probably won’t ever get used to.

What are the most challenging aspects of being away from home? 

I wouldn’t really call it a challenge, but I do miss my family and friends. The familiar feeling and energy from the relationships that I have developed over many years. Simple but deep conversations, inside jokes, the things that make you feel more connected to an individual. Also, dissimilar cultural norms. It’s wonderful being able to experience and embrace other cultures but I also tend to miss being predominantly surrounded by Caribbean vibes.

What is one thing you’ve experienced abroad that you’d love to see people embrace back home?

I’ve learned that there’s nothing wrong with taking a different path and not following conventional social norms. The realization that it’s not that difficult to move to a new place, adapt to a new lifestyle or travel the world is something the experience has taught me. I’d love for others to have a similar realization. One may gain insight, resilience, patience and learn many different things about oneself and the world while travelling abroad.

Have you noticed any differences between the Caribbean Millennial and the Millennials you encounter abroad?

I think most millennials are trying to ‘live their best life’.

Many are focused on CREATING a lifestyle that they can enjoy. This objective is a common thread amongst the millennial generation. It’s a bit different from our parents who seemed to have had tunnel-vision regarding how life should be.

The millennial lifestyle preferences and choices are clearly different. From my viewpoint, mindset varies from person to person regardless of where they are from. I do love the energy that people from the Caribbean bring. Most of my friends from the Caribbean are focused and independent individuals who are working hard to fulfill their desires and achieve whatever their version of success looks like. In that light, the same thing can be said for my other friends who come from different parts of the world.

What do you think are some common misconceptions that your peers have of life abroad?

I believe that some persons, especially older millennials, believe that moving abroad may not provide the sense of security that they desire. It may be something that seems exciting, but not enough to encourage them to migrate to another country, leaving behind a life they have built for the prospect of something new. There’s concern surrounding the lack of opportunities to work in certain fields etc. We are all on different paths in life, and some people think moving abroad represents lack of stability. Their journey is different, in that, they desire staying in one place that is familiar and building their life there.

What’s one piece of advice you have for fellow Caribbean Millennials who want to move abroad but might be uncertain if it’s the right move for them?

Do some deep self-reflection. Ask yourself if its really what you want, if it is, preparation is definitely key! I’d also recommend reaching out to other Caribbean Millennials or persons living abroad as a resource. Speak with them, listen to their experiences (which won’t necessarily be yours), but it will give you some perspective. Vlogs and blogs are also solid options to see what living abroad is like. Lastly, use your intuition, vibes don’t lie.

You can follow along as Safi travels and captures the simple moments in her Madrid life over at her Instagram account @odeeinofflife! We hope that her words of wisdom and insight into life in the Spanish capital has fuelled your taste for travel!

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