Interview with Heather Smith
Jamilia Grier: You are listening to the nomad queen podcast. I am your host Jamilia Greer, a serial ex-pat mama for attorney entrepreneur. That has been out in asia for way too long. On this show, I have conversations with amazing women that are doing the damn thing abroad. We talk about careers, entrepreneurship, leadership, and even motherhood. And how do you balance all of that when you're living in a foreign country?
I ask my guests questions about how they balance it all and how they manage to get to where they are today. So sit back, relax, and get ready to hear some interesting advice from some nomad Queens.
So today I have Heather Smith with me who is camped out in Cambodia. Heather tell us what you're doing there and welcome to the show.
Heather Smith: Thank you so much for having me. Yes, I do live in Cambodia. I live in the capital of Cambodia, Phnom Penh, and I am a grade two teacher. I've been here since [00:01:00] 2017. Things are just really great for me. So
Jamilia Grier: Since 2017, you've been there for a minute then.
Heather Smith: Yeah. And living here in Cambodia during COVID was actually a blessing because they shut down really fast, but then things started spreading and everything maybe stopped a lot of the travel orders and that kind of helped to keep our numbers down relatively. So life for us inside of Cambodia was mostly normal. Like we were still having events and, concerts and clubs and everything was still open. And when everybody else was shut down because they shut down from the country so fast, so I was actually happy.
Jamilia Grier: Yeah lucky for you. I was in Shanghai at the time and we left when we got news about COVID and I was so surprised at China and the U.S. Seem to keep the borders open quite long, like cases were going up and they still had the borders open.
Heather Smith: Yeah, that was [00:02:00] really weird.
And then on the outside looking in, it was like really strange. And of course, because I'm the American here, a lot of the Cambodians and other experts that are here are like, what's going on with your country. And I'm like, I don't know, I'm here with you. How am I supposed to know what you, I don't have the answers, but yeah, so it was really.
It was actually very comforting to know that they they took it very serious, very fast because of the fact that Cambodia is still developing. They wanted to make sure that I'm things didn't spiral out of control because there is healthcare here, but of course it's not to Western standard.
Jamilia Grier: You looked out on that one and it's so funny that he hear you talk about Cambodia because I've been in Asia for a while and I've never been to Cambodia. And I had a trip planned. The closest I was going to get was to Vietnam.
But I wanted to go to Cambodia. Compared to the [00:03:00] rest of Asia, how would you say Cambodia is
Heather Smith: Cambodia at one of the biggest things is that Khmer people, that's what they're called. Cambodians are Khmer..
They are the friendly. People that you will probably ever meet in your life. They're so accommodating, very welcoming. They try to make you as comfortable as you can. It's really nice. Of course, everywhere that you go, there's going to be racism, but it's not really overt here. Like you'll ever so often maybe have someone look at you crazy.
But for the most part, if you have someone staring, they have a big old smile on their face. Oh, they're like, like they're amazed. It's so that kind of makes Cambodia stand out for me, because even the other countries that I've been in I've been to Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, China, and you get those weird stares where they're kind looking but here it's more of a welcome curiosity where you want to know they want to be your friend.[00:04:00]
It's really cool. I think that's what makes Cambodia's little comfortable.
Jamilia Grier: really refreshing and you better be careful with that secret. Cause you're going to have a lot of black ex-pats to try to get into Cambodia.
Heather Smith: I am here for it. People will be blown up your spot,
Jamilia Grier: flying in and trying to hit you up.
Heather Smith: Open the flood gates, let them come in
Jamilia Grier: I can say in Singapore, the climate has definitely changed since the start of COVID. It is, there's a lot of debate about local versus foreign with respect to jobs and with respect to economic opportunities here. And also in China as well, there's also this upcoming trend in tide of nationalism, and it's just more difficult in the rest of Asia. So like I said, you don't want people coming into Cambodia and trying to, but it's great that it's different.
Heather Smith: And here, one thing that I can definitely say the, having an American passport, like being black and being here, [00:05:00] like it's not so bad for being black and American, like the American weighs much heavier than outward appearance.
Yeah. 100%. And. The one thing, which I can't say that it's fair, but this is their government. They we, as far as jobs and different things, we do get preferential treatment and pay and everything. Especially if you come in, if you're like a native speaker or someone that's coming from the west or whatever, because they want, especially in education business, also, they want to have that accent.
They want to have that experience in different things. It for the black Americans here really helps us a lot to be able to function as far as for work and starting businesses and everything here. It it's actually a balloon for us. Maybe being American wasn't as profitable in America, but then do one passport.
It helps a lot, you can [00:06:00] tell in the air, there was small bit of resentment or preferential treatment that we get before. The most part, they don't blame us for it as much. They recognize that it's a government thing. And like I said, because people are so nice.
Jamilia Grier: Exactly. And I want to touch a little bit on firstly you're Tik TOK account because it is blowing up. It is blowing up and I was looking at the videos. I'm like, what? She's, like it's literally blown up. How did that start? And how did you get into it?
Did you do it on purpose or was it like, like overnight sensation type thing?
Heather Smith: It was an overnight thing. Joking around and playing on there with my friends. Cause I have another friend that's here from Kenya and she started at the same time and we both just all of a sudden took off on Tik TOK, and we just started, we were locked down in the house, so we just started making things packs and and my friend, she's fluent. I'm not fluent but I know how to do their dances.
And it was joking around and stuff like that.
So to see people [00:07:00] participating in their culture, that was like, so cool. Oh my God, like this black girl knows how to do our dances. Yeah. That's why all of a sudden it took off. And like within my first week or so I think I got up to 3000. And then from there, it's just ruin it. I'm right on the verge of I'm
Jamilia Grier: going to help get you there.
So those of you that are listening at checkout Heather's Tik TOK account, it is heat seeking travel. Is that right? That's correct. That's right. You guys got to check it out and to hear you talk about Cambodia, it sounds like how China was 20 years.
I felt like a celebrity. I felt like people really wanted to be around me and know me. And it was exactly as you describe it, the American status or the American side was weighed heavily upon.
But that has changed and the other parts of Asia. So it's just so refreshing to know that Cambodia is like that. And I [00:08:00] definitely would like to visit.
Heather Smith: I think he would absolutely love it. If you came here, I'm like, especially that to go to Inc Watsi and Siem Reapis where Angkor Wat and everything is.
That's their historical site. And everyone there is so nice. They're nicer than they are Phnom Penh. Like I live in the city, Phnom Penh is the big city, very metropolitan, very fast. Cambodia have tried really hard to preserve the culture of it. And so you can definitely tell that. Fair, like differently here, but oh my God,
Cambodia it was my first stop outside of the state.
Jamilia Grier: Wow. Your first stop.
Heather Smith: I just took a jump. I was tired of living in the us especially like with the racial climate. And it was like so much going on.
I was like really stressed, had a lot of anxiety. I just really wanted to get out and get away. I was into activism and everything while I still am, doing activism and everything, but it was just, it was a lot of stress, a lot of pressure. And I just felt that void. And [00:09:00] so I made the decision.
I was thought I was going to go to China. I was signed up to go to Chung du lucky you did. And I got a cute girl. But nobody was watching out because I ended up getting an offer to come to Cambodia.
Like immediately I did an interview with the headmaster of a school and he was like, oh gosh, can you come now? And I'm like, okay. And so it was a great reframe to come from where I felt all of this pressure out being black and I'm like struggling with work and everything. It was so much to come in where I was welcome.
Jamilia Grier: So a lot of people that are listening and nomad queen is all about helping women pursue international living and international business. And a lot of the listeners are from states and cities where, you're talking about Cambodia and they're like, where is that?
They just don't have [00:10:00] access to the type of information about life abroad and how to do it and how to get started. What would you say to encourage somebody who's listening? Who is I want to do what she did. She looks happy. She damn near, she sounds happy. I want that for myself.
Heather Smith: The big is advice that I could really give to anyone is just to really, first of all, be honest with yourself and are you really going to be willing to make the sacrifice to completely uproot yourself from what it is that because once you taste it, it's nothing.
I haven't been anywhere else. That's like the state. And what else that I've traveled has been like the us. So you're going to have to be willing to are you. I'm willing and ready to shed that. If it's something where you just really want to jump out of that, or are you going to be, are you so westernized, maybe that you might have to stick to that?
If so, that's fine because there are other Western countries will be a lot more from him, but if you want [00:11:00] to do something like what I did, it's going to really take a lot of bravery, a lot of courage who I'm. Have to trust yourself and take that risk though. Sometimes risks don't pay off.
Sometimes they do great for me. This one really did because I didn't know much about Campbell at all. What I knew about Kimberly was very willing to say because it's sandwiched between two countries that are talked about so much Vietnam and thailand, everyone goes to one, goes to Thailand, but no one pays attention to Cambodia.
Yeah. We know yeah, everyone hops over there. So I didn't know anything about Cambodia except for the fact that I knew Cambodians in California, because there are a lot of Cambodians in California, so I'm like, okay, they're nice. All right. And if there's anyone that just really feel like you're ready for a change [00:12:00] research.
I do so much research. I started, even when I thought I was going to China, I reached out to people. I joined we-chat groups. I was all over the internet on YouTube, connecting with people, asking questions, trying to get things that up to make sure that, at least that maybe I had some kind of sense of community and idea of how to orient myself when I came here.
Nothing's going to fully prepare you for when we can take the ground, but at least have some sort of idea of like how much money it is that you're going to move, how much it is that apartments costs. What do the apartments look like? What is it that's included. You don't have to just do a lot of looking into it.
Looking into like weather helped me decide with Cambodia because it's. So you liked that you liked the heat? Absolutely. I hate snow. I grew up in Chicago. I grew up and still, and how'd as a young child that I would [00:13:00] not spend the rest of my life that way. And yeah, I was like, okay. I just really did it.
When I got offered the job, I started just like really heavily started looking at the full year kind of thing, but my options. It's decided to make that jump and it just paid off for me. So if there is any money that no you're feeling like that, like you're just tired of your current situation and you want to work with something, start taking those baby steps towards it until you finally feel comfortable enough to take that final jump, just, try to prepare yourself.
So it's not.
Jamilia Grier: Yeah. Cause some people can be shocked from it. And I know for me, when I first left, I left as a single mom. I had my two sons with me and they were young at the time. And we went to Shanghai and when we got in Shanghai, the biggest shock for me was, oh [00:14:00] my gosh, I'm single here. In this foreign land, and now I've got, these cultural issues.
I'm going to worry about the kids, but I also have my needs as a woman and someone that wanted, companionship and dating abroad was tough. Dating abroad is not like no, no joke. And it's I don't know how it is there in Cambodia, but I know for in Shanghai, particularly as a black woman, it was quite tough a situation where, you just are with the ex-pat pop population, you're with other foreigners.
Heather Smith: I actually, I met my fiance here. There is a black community here.
I am fat, black nappy here and I'm not trying to change anything about it, but I just, resigned myself okay, I'm probably not. But then when I got here, actually, they find that there was a black community here, primarily Nigeria, but I grew up around so many Nigerians, my entire life I've dated Nigerian guys.
So I was like, he welcomed me into the community [00:15:00] and I, that's where I met my now fiance. I love it. Let's see, I got here in October, we started dating in November and we've been together. October, 2017, I arrived. That was
Jamilia Grier: planned for you.
That was planned for you. It had
Heather Smith: to be,
Jamilia Grier: that's such it that honestly, like that is such a heartwarming story , because a lot of times we're sitting in our discomfort or in whatever challenge we're in and we won't make the first step to move, to move, to go towards that thing.
And if you just. If you just do it, there is something there waiting for you. And that was planned for you. That is so beautiful.
Heather Smith: It was so great. And I do feel very fortunate. I'm very lucky. He's a great guy.
I'm a free spirit. Let's just put it that way. And I was actually surprised that he was just like, oh, okay. Like you signed up for this. I will acknowledge though that I do have a lot of other friends here that are single black women and it's not necessarily for dating [00:16:00] because even sometimes our men are they're abroad.
They have all of these other. At our approaching them and you can go like looking at them like they're godlike. So they're, they'll
Jamilia Grier: just say it Snickers.
Heather Smith: All right. Yeah. And so they so sometimes some of us can feel a little bit left to the side, but those guys they're not worth our time anyway.
Yeah. It sucks because of course, we do want companionship. We know no one wants to be completely alone, but It's definitely possible.
So I do understand that it can be tough for people for dating abroad and And I would to sit here. That's something that you're like really I'm concerned about. That's all the more research that are connected with behind the scenes, especially if you're someone like me, like I have dated outside, but I prefer my own.
So I do say within my [00:17:00] race and my culture, just to have that, that familiarity, of understanding each other.
Jamilia Grier: Hey, there's a whole selection. People you can date if night, if not, and
Heather Smith: I find someone just to date
Jamilia Grier: entertain you. Exactly. And I just met you. Literally we just met, but your personality and your vibe is so confident and beautiful and self-loving did, I think a lot of that also is.
Is the energy that is bringing that goodness to you. And so I guess just for our listeners, if you got some internal work to don't think you're going to move to Cambodia,
Heather Smith: you're going to do your internal work
Jamilia Grier: first because it don't happen like that.
Heather Smith: Yeah. And I did have to do a lot of internal work for myself.
And as I was coming here, I was in a dark place. When I moved to Cambodia, I was desperate. I wasn't [00:18:00] in a terrible relationship to Jim. I was in, I had two part-time jobs in New Jersey where I still wasn't really making enough money where I was living terrible. Everything was just like really bad.
I was in a really dark space and I knew that I just needed to break free and that was, I waved to break free. And once I got that, like monkey off my back of just way from what I felt was a pressing group, I would just start working on myself a lot more. I've always been a very happy jovial person in general, but I did feel my light in me for a long time.
And I had to break out of that. I had to shatter that shell or whatever it was that was my life for me to get out and being able to free myself from just so rigmarole that the hamster wheel.
Jamilia Grier: Speaking of the us since we are both from the U S I'm from Connecticut okay.
A little bit different than Chicago, [00:19:00] little bit, little small farm town, but there's been a wave of people just quitting their jobs and just resigning. And I've seen, on the news, they call it the great resignation. It seems as though a lot of those people are either looking to do something on their own or maybe move abroad, but it does seem as though there's still this hesitancy to move abroad.
Like they're still like I'm good. I can quit my job and do something online, but a move abroad. It's w what do you think that issue is? It seems to me people just don't know what's happening outside of the U S like they haven't seen it and they just don't know.
Heather Smith: There definitely is a lot of sprouting of information in the states you asked has a really good habit of criticizing other countries like their national environment, oh my gosh, this is horrible.
Look at what it is they're doing, but you have to consider the indoctrination and where we had to every day say the pledge of allegiance. And we had to, seeing. And we had to, and we're being [00:20:00] taught that there's no place better than equals today. And here you have also the added aspect of that.
There are a lot of us don't have
Jamilia Grier: passports, rubber
Heather Smith: left. Great. There are a lot of us that have already left our home, and then join in your family and things that are familiar there. Unknown is always scary for people. And I understand it. I totally get it, but that's why those of us who have had the parents have to inform the people that are still back home, because there are a lot of you have no idea that like you can actually go abroad and we can live well, we don't have to like necessarily just like a lot of the excavators where people automatically for UK or France or places it's going to be similar, that we can actually go to places and middle.
We can make a path for ourselves, the way that we been programmed, we think that this is the one way, this is how it is. [00:21:00] We're Americans. We've also been sold the same American dream that other people in other countries have been where they're fighting to get. We think that we need to stay here because everyone else is coming to get this too.
We're constantly being pushed he's images. And not the reality, the fact that America isn't the best country. America's the best country to America. There are other places where you can live and you can thrive. And depending on your personality to personally, why there are there hunting?
So many different places and you can choose, you can find a place that don't have to just do something you don't have to live in fear. We have airplanes and lights aren't really that expensive anymore. Now, because of COVID, like it's possible for us to move around and go and do things. And it's fine.
I think that once we get more information, now I have just seen it. And I'm little, [00:22:00] like last two years, I still have it in everything. Of people who are just like really starting to be more curious about leaving rates, because I feel like it's starting to break down some of the nationalism that we have that I feel like it's black Americans really shouldn't have as much.
Or I'm really. And anything that I could do to help me apart in our Exodus, whoever wants to, in whatever reason, that's fine. If you're uncomfortable,
Jamilia Grier: right? Come on. If you're uncomfortable, come on down. As they say that commercial come on down because the funny thing about the us and I experienced this, I went back for a short 10 months.
This is my story. I went. I had a, I was on an ex-pat contract here in Singapore and it ended in, I think it was 2017 and they said, do you want to come back to the states? And I said, sure, it'd be great. I'm from Connecticut. [00:23:00] Might as well go back to Canada kit. And this is after living out in Asia for several years, I thought it would be great.
It was very tough to adjust. And even though I was making really good money, I still felt like the money was funny in the U S. For some reason the money gets funny. And I mathematically, I do not understand it. I don't know where the money goes. The cost of food is less than in Singapore, but it's just a phenomenon to me.
I don't know. It's people coming, oh, this bill was, oh, we have to tack on three months because that's our PO all of these outrageous. And if people knew that they could be financially better off, I think that's another unknown too is because people think, oh, I don't have the money for it.
They think they're going to be as poor outside of the U S as they are within the U S
Heather Smith: right. And that's definitely not a dollar. It goes [00:24:00] so much further outside of the states than it does anywhere else here. I'm like living in Punam. Like I said, it's very much politics. I'm not missing out on anything that I had in the state.
I still have, all kinds of restaurants from fast food restaurants. We have burger king, all that type of stuff. So we have that up to like I star restaurants and none of it compares the prices that you gave the state. I can live a really good, the lifestyle that I live now. In the states that I would have had to work a lot harder.
My money goes so much further. I can I could see even it seemed before Singapore is expensive, but think of port is mad, expensive, but I can see the value more than you could see it in the states. Like it's okay, In Singapore when I'm paying extra money when we think we're tax on [00:25:00] things or whatever, it's oh, okay, I get it.
Because you can look around here in rows everywhere. I can walk away from my purse and I don't have to really worry about it or whatever, things like that. It's I can see my money in action in the states. I never felt that what. Where is all these taxes going to? Cause I'm not getting anything.
Jamilia Grier: If somebody is stealing the money, I don't know. There, there gotta be an investigation on this or something, but that's really like inflammatory to say, but I know when I was in yeah, canceled third episode canceled. No, when I was in, when I was in the U S and I was in Connecticut and in east Hampton, Connecticut tax rate, property tax rate was very.
When it snowed the potholes in the road and the amount of time it took those people to get trucks out on the road is just ridiculous for the amount of money that you pay. And here, as you said, you can actually see where your tax dollars going. Oh, there's Palm [00:26:00] trees. Oh, there's there are people picking up the trash, oh, this place doesn't, all of those things, you can see it
Heather Smith: right here.
It's hilarious because. It's really cool to seat as to the four years that I've been here. I've gotten a seat I'm in LA a lot. Like it's changed a lot. And where it is that I stayed, it's mostly ex-pat area. I'm very close to the city center and everything. If there are holes in the street, it's not going to be for long.
They need to pay me entirely. Okay. And it doesn't take long
Jamilia Grier: cause they get out there, they get out there and do it. They
Heather Smith: do it, they get it done and it's wow that's that's new. Like doing things. I can actually be fast about it because, oh my God. In Chicago, we have the call them expressways and freeways.
You have these expressways once I have 57. And then what is it? Or something like that. So the roads are [00:27:00] horrible, like the whole time that you ride and you just like the bumping
Jamilia Grier: animals jumping up and down.
Heather Smith: Okay. W I in a rich country, the roads like that at any place, especially in like major cities to things like that, it doesn't make any where these types of things that were happening.
As much as it is that we pay in federal taxes. Everyone pays in federal taxes, but it's supposed to go or the entire country still don't have clean water.
Jamilia Grier: You saying say less so as they say less. Cause that's exactly right. And I think what Americans also need to realize is that when you do come out of the states and you go to other countries and you see what they're doing, you have to.
You have to just acknowledge it. It's true. It's fact the roads are jacked up in the states. Most of the highways are jacked up. It's you know, in technology, the use of technology, just forget about it. You have China, that's not even [00:28:00] carrying around wallets anymore. They're just using Weechat analogy.
Using digital currency and things like that. And Singapore, too, everything is QR codes and, the states is getting there, but I don't think it's as, as widely accepted in the states, as it is in other places,
Heather Smith: America the majority population and you know exactly what I mean by that.
They are very averse to change. Anything that's going to take away from the status quo for them is like a threat. And that's not how we progressed. That's not how humanity the rest of the time. This is my house. Is it progressive? Because like you said it, same thing here in Cambodia there really having a move towards what?
Just about everyone. We all have this one paper we use. Not all of us, but a majority places to use. And everything is through our coast and Ash, just this, they wanna make sure, not passing money, they're trying to beat the area because technology [00:29:00] comes up, they're trying to, press alert so they can come.
And it's it seems like the U S is just behind on that. They're just this bag. And I don't know, you don't want to change it. So here, because. And like the most powerful country in the world, us being Americans, which shouldn't be traveling to other places, knowing the money that we pay into that country, knowing all the country and then coming outside and being like, wow, why don't we have this core is new for some period of country
Jamilia Grier: Singapore, they don't sleep on it.
Heather Smith: Okay. Singapore is a very young country. When I was there, one of the your friendly people that I met there and they were like telling us about the history was like the older gentleman. He was telling us about how the CFA, when it was like all jungle and I'm just like, wow. And my hundred-year-old hunch is
Jamilia Grier: Has a long way to go a [00:30:00] long way to go.
And I think part of the reasons why the U S got hit so hard with COVID is because when it first started emerging from China and everywhere, and they're like, oh that's a pandemic or something that's impacting China. It's not going to impact us. I think that was the mindset that like, oh, that's there that's Asia.
It's not going to get to a. We're invincible. Oh, the science about mass. I don't believe it. Mass don't work right there. There was a whole debate about whether you should wear a mask or not. And they're still talking
Heather Smith: about masks. Yeah. That's wild. I get questioned about that quite often here where they're just like, what's up with you.
I'm like what's going on with the people that your country, why they don't want to wear masks. And I'm like, I don't know. I'm here with you. Like I, I have my mask I'm not gonna fight with anybody about wearing that. I don't want to get sick. I think it would be pretty common sense to say, Hey, in case you might get sick, this will help you to maybe not get [00:31:00] sick.
So maybe help just a little bit. I would putting on a mask, but like I said, I, America always fights back against stuff. I actually read something where they were talking about how every time there's a health mandate. Push back against whatever it is. Like even remember felt different things like that, where they don't want to deal with things.
It's just weird. The culture is very strange now that I'm outside of it and I can look at it objectively. It's just, it's a very strange culture that like there's this New York city and almost anything, like nothing can happen to America. America's just invincible. It's very strange and strange attitude.
And to be able to see it from the outside in, and now it makes it all the more evident when you're inside. It's you can see it. But now that I'm like removed from the states, it's oh my God, like that's a really budget way too much right now.
Jamilia Grier: Yeah. That's why I [00:32:00] always have this conflicting feeling when I go to an airport and I take out my passport it's American passport.
And there's this feeling of on one hand, this is a strong passport meaning that you don't need visas to enter certain countries and things like that. And as you mentioned at the beginning, you afforded this kind of, premium status or whatever for jobs and some countries.
On the other hand, I think about the price that was paid for that passport. And it's almost saying I'm holding blood money, like it's real that there is this internal sort of identity conflict between holding this American passport versus this reality of the experience that you're living on a day-to-day basis in the skin that you're in and particularly living in abroad.
So I think. Yeah, I think that's also something that people need to kind of embrace is that if you do come out of the U S be prepared to [00:33:00] experience this kind of matrix phenomenon, when you take the pill and you're like, Ooh, wait a minute. Did I want to know that?
Heather Smith: Yeah, I understand that too. And I actually, I just recently got over that kind of Where America is very, I really like very reasonably within this disappear has a lot of the weird stuff that goes on in America.
A lot of the oppressive things. And they've done all of that. It's not us, we have always lived we've always had a duality that we need to box. He spoke about that too, about how. Living in America, black people. Like we have to have those basically you can book where we're black, we have to navigate those paths.
And our path of blackness is that's our main road when we're like just, patriotic Americans who were trying to assimilate. And what helped me to get away from that is our, as far as for us in the past, [00:34:00] Anyone else deserves a passport from that country. It's us. That's right. Cause our passport was paid for a literal blood.
Or that, that made me get to where I read the shit with pride. It's not in the same kind of patriotism. It's more of a like that. I, my ancestor's wildest dreams. The things that they paid for, they paid the way for me to be now where I'm taking trips, I'm going from Cambodia to Singapore, to Malaysia, to go into these places and I'm able to do and see all of these things that they fought so hard for.
So that helped me to remove myself from that. When I start to remove myself also away from the random steal of a miracle, we are placed to people and be where there. Now we have some benefits that come from it finally, like rarely periods, much of it while we're in the states. But [00:35:00] that little book that holds up a lot of power and that's something that we are able to take advantage of.
So when we do get the hell out of there and go somewhere where we can be appreciably, so that kind of helped me with the About the alum American passport or feeling way about being American. And also, I like to give my passports too, because I will say this by most Cambodian people like the regular just residents, locals terrifying, but like working like governmental positions, they do black Africans, but like they want them for money and things because they do the same thing in Thailand and Vietnam.
But like in airports and things, they will try to extort them for extra money from places and different things like that. So in a lot of these airports, when they see a black person coming, they automatically they to they usually someone from Nigeria, so they come up and they're like, you got visa.
And I'm like, yes. [00:36:00] And they want to see it because otherwise they'll take you to. And then that's where they extort money from me. And so I hit them with that blue passport and they get mad at me and I laugh every time I like ruining their page just a little bit ruin the day of a racist today.
Jamilia Grier: That is real shady.
That is real shady.
Heather Smith: They got
Jamilia Grier: me. Yeah. People sleep on. Okay. So Singapore. Singapore is undergoing a transformation. I think it's really trying to understand how diverse aid wants to be and in what way, and I'm just here in it while it's happening, to be honest with you some days, you don't really have many incidents or things like that, but every now and then something happens and you're like, Was that, was it because I'm black was that, was that because I'm a foreigner or because I'm black and then at the, you just oh it doesn't matter.
It's because [00:37:00] that person has issues. But it is a mixed bag all across Asia.
, I think your stories are amazing and you are amazing because what you're doing there and what you're showing everybody through your messages of, happiness and being fun and loving yourself is something that the world needs to see, but they also need to see it from a black woman who is in campus.
Because that's a strong message. And for all of you that are listening, please check out Heather's Tik TOK account, the heat seeking travel. And also, is there any other place that they can find you Heather?
Heather Smith: You can also find me on Facebook and heat seeking travel. And I also have a page it's called a taste of Africa where I put on cultural events, in Cambodia of.
Expose them to black, African black and African cultures to help to bridge that gap because they don't really have a lot of exposure or experience. A lot of the African community stay very insular. And so [00:38:00] that kind of helps to fuel add confusion between the African Asian community. So I do my position as someone that's like in the middle for them help to take that.
And. Large a bit so that it can all come together and all exterior have fun.
Jamilia Grier: I'm coming to Cambodia. I am coming to Cambodia and we are going to do some detox together.
When these restraint I am, I really am. I'm very intrigued by what you've said about it. And it sounds like a wonderful place at the very least to visit if not live there.
Heather Smith: Yeah, I think you will love it. I'll make sure you have a great time.
Jamilia Grier: Awesome. Awesome, Heather, thank you so much for being on the nomad queen podcast.
And I look forward to seeing more of your travels.
Heather Smith: Thank you so much for having me.
Jamilia Grier: I hope you enjoy that wonderful conversation with [00:39:00] Heather. We are going to have more amazing women on this podcast, sharing their stories about their lives, abroad, how they balance leadership, entrepreneurship, and sometimes even motherhood.
If you like what you've heard, be sure to subscribe to this podcast. So you never miss an episode also be sure to check us out on YouTube. No mad queen in Asia and I'm on Instagram as well as nomad queen and Asia. So you can be kept abreast of all the cool stuff that we're up to.
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Until next week's episode, stay tuned and stay queening.