On this episode of Diversity Be Like, host Sequoia Houston talks to Phil aka The Blerd Explorer, avid traveler and author of The Black Traveler's Guide to Daegu, South Korea. Phil has been an expat since 2016 and shares his experiences being Black abroad.

Show Notes

About Our Guest

Author, Expat Traveler

Phil aka "The Blerd Explorer", is an American-born ESL teacher in Incheon, South Korea. He’s the author of The Black Traveler’s Guide to Incheon, South Korea, and uses his travel content to encourage the Black community to get out of their comfort zone and see the world. He recently released his second book, The Black Traveler's Guide to Daegu, South Korea. You can find it on Google Play.

3 Key Points:

  1. Phil discusses how most Americans don’t want to travel because of the country’s unique geography.

  2. Sequoia Inquires “Having moved abroad, do you find your experience to be vastly different than it was here in the states?” 

  3. No one has really written a similar kind of book for black people in Incheon, South Korea, so Phil decided to write it.


Episode Highlights:

  • Phil states that it was the lack of resources for black Americans that motivated him to write his first book.
  • He felt that there was no good content or resource available on the internet for black people living in Korea. 
  • Phil talks about growing up in the US and his passion for travel. 
  • There are a lot of black people who got into the military because of their interest in traveling.
  • According to data, 11% of Americans, in general, have never left their homes. Roughly 42% of Americans have their passports. 
  • To put that in some context, 76% of people in England and 66% in Canada have their passports. Surprisingly, America as a developed country falls into the lower end of the data. 
  • Phil talks about what pushed him to leave the state. Was his decision planned? Or was it the last piece of the straw that he had to pull?
  • South Korea has always been a top teaching destination, so getting a job here as a Teacher was a good start for him.
  • For Phil, when he left America, it felt like coming home after winter, taking off the heavy jacket and relax. But when he goes back to the US, it feels like wearing the heavy jacket once again. 
  • When Phil is in South Korea, he doesn’t have to worry about the police or people fearing him.
  • Every country has its pros and cons, but Phil was much happier and confident post-shifting to South Korea.
  • Sequoia asks Phil, “Do you think people treat you a certain type because of the stereotype they have seen on media?”
  • In 2003, Sequoia went to Brazil through a program in YMCA, where she got the opportunity to work with kids in a day-care center. 
  • Since none of them has ever met a US citizen before, Sequoia was the United States to them in a lot of ways.
  • Phil is often asked if he is from Africa.
  • Phil talks about how he feels about police brutality. In South Korea, he feels like a normal person, not a black person. 
  • He is not going back to the US unless there is absolutely no choice left. 
  • From Sequoia’s personal experience, one thing that she found in Brazil was that they ensured best for everybody. 
  • People believe that America is a safe country, but Phil thinks this is not true, it depends on where you go. 
  • Phil has written The Black Traveler’s Guide To Incheon, South Korea, with a vision to help people.


Tweetable Quotes:

  • “I enjoy traveling; hence I am constantly in a network of people who loves traveling.” - Sequoia Houston
  • “Inspiration for my first book came from the lack of resources in South Korea.” – Phil
  • “Black people and people of color are not always shown in a positive light.” - Sequoia Houston
  • “It is easy to find a community in South Korea depending on what your hobbies or activities are.” – Phil
  • “It feels amazing to feel like a normal person.” – Phil
  • “If I can just help one person, I take it as my success” – Phil


Resources Mentioned: