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The Parks Family


The Repat Diaries 

"The Parks Family"
From California to Ghana, West Africa


Growing Pains

"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 "America Dream" you had to be sleep 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. We 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 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 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 was 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, 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 this hard concept to grasp. Africa was our future we just had to figure out the plan and then execute.  

If you want to know if a place is right for you, you must go and see it for yourself and that’s exactly what we did. We booked our trip to Ghana in August of 2015 and left in November of 2015. As soon as we landed we 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 S. 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. Every day was starting to become more and more of a struggle just get up and go to work. We came to the conclusion that since we were headed to Africa in January of 2017 for our S. Africa trip, it just didn’t make sense to come back to America for only 6 months. The one year timeline went out the window and we determined once we left for S. 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.........

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19 comments:

  1. Wonderful that you and family are making the move. It will not be easy however, you are a pioneer. Hope this will motivate more to follow in your footsteps. Africa is our home, time for us to return. It's been long enough! Peace

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    1. I truly appreciate this encouragement and will forever be grateful for you taking out the time to read our blog! Peace!

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    2. Beautiful post Myra. Sending my love to you and the family! I will be following your blog and your writing. Love yall

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  2. Divine Day,I am feeling excited for you. You all are doing a great thing. That is quite an adventure. The Ancestors are waiting.☺

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    1. The ancestors called and we are following the calling!

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  3. Sis,

    As I read this, I'm excited for you guys! Hell, I need my time in service to be up so I can go too! I'm proud of you guys and thanks for standing for your own family! That's what it's all about- doing and living for your family. You guys inspire me for sure and I'm glad to know and love on you guys!

    Love you Sis, Uncle Del and DJ!

    ❤️

    Vee & Parker

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    1. You already know you are so loved and appreciated.

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  4. Myra this is awesome and I wish you and your family well.

    Natascha Shackleford

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  5. Myra this is awesome and I wish you and your family well.

    Natascha Shackleford

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  6. I wish you and your family blessings on your journey back home. This is my first blog follow and block reply. Please keep in contact because me and my daughter will be visiting Africa on next year

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  7. Extremely proud of you guys for having the courage, strength, faith, persistence, and tenacity to overcome the American way.. Continue to break all boundaries.. Thanks for showing us what it means to take your life and peace in your own hands. I look forward to reading your blog and following you guys on this journey and possibly one day visiting my family in the motherland....

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  8. Proud of you and your commitment to your conviction. "Rarely do people get out of their comfort zones and venture outside the confines of familiarity." One love.

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  9. I love this. My husband and I moved from California to South Africa this month. We got here on the 1st of September. I understand your words so well. We are only here for a year, but I know I want to come back. I have a good friend who lives in Ghana so let me know when you get there and I will connect you. We also have a blog. So nice to read yours. Although, we haven't made the decision yet to move permanently, it is something we have thought about. Much love & support for you!

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  10. I am so happy for you and your family that you are taking this gigantic step. You will enjoy it and of course, as in any new place there will be lots to learn as you navigate your way around, and explore what the city and country has to offer. Wishing you and your family all the best, and if you have any questions about Accra or Cape Coast, or other countries in West Africa, please feel free to ask me. Sheri

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  11. Our family has done something similar. Although, we were blessed to not fall for the overbearing student loan issue by working our way through college and getting jobs that were very flexible and allowed us to flip our schedules to provide care for our 4 kids. We also had several businesses during the raising of our children and paid off our student loans in 7 years (which is way too long now!). With our 4 kids, 2 of which graduated from college with little or none student loan debt, we no longer own our home and transferred our jobs to Hawaii. We haven't looked back since. Wish you great success in your new adventure.

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  12. Love this! We are moving toward a location independent life style. Our kids are home schooled and I work from home. We paid off all our debt and travel 2-3 times a year. We are extending our out of county visits little by little. I'm so excited for when we get to move abroad!

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    1. From the sound of it, you all will be location independent really soon. Your life is already pretty amazing!

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  13. What a beautiful young family committed to live authentically in Africa! it is indeed the best and most important move you will ever make. God's continued blessings to you, and I look forward to reading about your new life, Retired and living in Bahia for 4 years

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