My name is Justin and I am currently living in Madrid, Spain and working as an English teacher at a primary school. I love my job and everything about Spain and, being almost 30, I can’t believe I waited so long to travel. This experience has shown me that, as corny as it sounds, all I really needed to find contentment is simply to believe in myself. Once I began to do so, it gave me the strength to conquer all the challenges that lay before me. I am still learning to fully love and accept myself and honoring and examining this process is the purpose of my blog; I plan to put my full truth here in the hopes that it helps me and others realize the true value of loving oneself.
As I mentioned, this is my first time traveling internationally (well, a trip to Tijuana when I was 18 doesn’t count.) When I was researching the auxiliar de conversacion or Language Assistant program in Spain, I kept reading about these amazing experiences that people were having and it gave me a lot of hope for my own journey. However, I began to notice that they were all written from a very similar perspective; typically that of a young white female who had just graduated college and for whom this was her very first time working “in the real world.” As exciting as it seemed, it left me with a lot of questions. I began to second-guess whether or not the auxiliar program was right for me, a black, gay male who had been working for 14 years “in the real world.” I wasn’t sure if I could relate to their experiences or if mine would be at all similar.
That is why I decided to have my identity be a part of my story here; it is my truth and I hope to shed light for those who can relate to my voice. In this blog, I will focus on the contrasts between being black and gay in America and in Spain, and how it impacts my travel experiences and my professional life. I’ve come a long way; this time two years ago I was suffering from depression and contemplating suicide and wasn’t sure what I could do to change the course of my life to a positive direction. Now, I am happier than I’ve ever been and can’t wait to see what life has in store. If I can reach anyone with my insight into traveling and working abroad that would bring my heart the greatest joy!