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my move to africa.

I’ve fallen in love with mobility. It’s so gratifying to exercise my agency as an individual. As a human who has breath in her body with full autonomy in deciding how to use it. In June of 2020, I moved from Oakland to Atlanta, after the COVID-19 pandemic put my planned relocation to London on pause. I didn’t make much hoopla about my exit from the Bay Area. I’d taken on a temporary management project with my company while we waited out the shelter in place, expecting that I’d move closer to my family in the South for about 6-9 months and then head to London in the first quarter of 2021.

During the spring and summer of 2020, consumption of media cycles of the killings of Black bodies, intensified rage around oppression and racism, offense to workplace politics that prohibited me from promoting at pace with my performance + a deepened understanding of just how equipped I was to build my own table… led me to leave Corporate America in the Fall of 2020 and travel solo while I built my own empire.

A few months later, after a month spent in Dubai and Christmas spent in Zanzibar, I decided that I didn’t want to return to the states after my planned trip to Cape Town, South Africa in 2021. I decided that I would much rather spend the remainder of the year in Africa. And I’ve done just that.

I’d grown up operating as an asset. A tool to be leveraged by the best and largest companies in the United States. It was ingrained in me – in all of us – that grades and output were measures of our value. That dynamic continue to be true after I graduated from college and entered the workforce. So I kept on producing. Kept on churning out work. Kept on completing obstacle after obstacle.

Now, I look back on those experiences and think of the psyches that were shattered. The children that weren’t praised. The gifts that weren’t nurtured, simply because they wouldn’t be leveraged by a big brand one day.

I look at myself and realize what the same dynamic has done to me. How it has caused me to grind to my own detriment many times… and how important it is for me to unlearn behaviors that don’t serve me. I am not an asset to be leveraged – I am a being that is to make the most of the time that she has on this earth.

Simplicity is so refreshing for me these days. It truly does bring me joy. Residing in Africa (+ important conversations with natives) continue to challenge the “why” behind my actions. I am learning not to stress about the things that were never designed to bring me joy in the first place.

I’m learning to see the value of life as being associated with living and peace + purpose – rather than titles and zeros in bank accounts.

I’m free. Free to be wherever I want, whenever I want. Free to pivot when I desire to so that I am happy in each moment I stand in. Free to be honest with myself and not allow people’s opinions (+ bondage) to stifle my vision.

It’s pretty powerful.

Love + Light,

casey ariel

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