Nickname: Lately, I’ve noticed that people I meet here call me ‘Tori Talks’ - which is my profile name on Instagram. So, that’s pretty cool because that’s how I’ve met so many dope people over the last two years! You can find me on IG @ ToriTalks.
Born and raised: Houston, TX. #HTown
Education: I’m a Longhorn. I have a Bachelor of Science in Advertising from The University of Texas at Austin. Hook ‘Em!
Employment background: Marketing, advertising, PR and events. I’ve worked directly in media both on the radio side and on the other side pitching to media contacts. I’ve also worked on the corporate side with Fortune 500 companies, influencers and large brands.
What do you do here – and how long have you been in your present job? I’ve been a Marketing Consultant at an agency here in Bangkok for two years now. Even though I live here in Thailand, I still get the opportunity to virtually consult clients headquartered in America.
When I first moved to Thailand, I was an English teacher. But that was short-lived because a) I realized that wasn’t my calling and b) there was something in my spirit that made me feel like Bangkok was my city for longer than the six months I planned to be here for.
How long in Thailand? I’ve been living in Thailand for 2.5 years. Crazy!
What brought you here? There was never a plan to live in SE Asia. Before I moved to Thailand, I was living in Houston and I had just gotten laid off from the oil and gas industry. If you’ve experienced a lay-off or a similar, you know what it feels like where you start reflecting.
So at this time, I decided that my next move needed to fulfil me and feel right. I knew that there was more out there that I wanted to explore. I was ready to learn more about myself. I knew that I had more inside of me that I hadn’t tapped into. I was considering relocating to LA or NYC but then I decided to think outside of the box.
What attracted me to Thailand is the fast city-life in Bangkok that feels like NYC lifestyle. And on the other hand, I also have easy access to beautiful islands. Best of both worlds.
What’s keeping you in Thailand? As most expats experience, moving overseas is life-changing. You grow. You change. You thrive. About a year ago, I was thinking about leaving Thailand. My friend, Travel Journalist Minority Nomad, gave me some advice that really stuck with me: “A place should be doing 1 of 2 things for you: 1) helping you grow or 2) helping you thrive.” Thailand has definitely helped me grow in so many ways. And now, I’m thriving.
Also - if something isn’t helping us grow or thrive or making us happy, then what’s the point? Be happy!
What’s the best part of living here? One of the most beautiful is the ‘Mai Pen Rai’ lifestyle I’ve adopted. Mai pen rai means no worries. Living here has shown me that most things aren’t as serious as we make them. No worries. It’s ok. Breathe. Chill. Be happy. Also, travel is more affordable in SE Asia than it is in the States. My friend’s flight to California from Texas literally costs 5x more than it costs to fly to China. Getting to travel is an opportunity to learn and experience different cultures. I also get the opportunity to share Black and American culture with other parts of the world.
Do you have many friends here? My goal was to meet three black expat friends here in Bangkok. Before I moved, I joined Facebook groups, watched videos, read blogs and reached out to people to ask questions and get their insights. Then, I started my own group on Meetup.com – all while I was still packing and preparing for my move.
This was my first time traveling out of North America. Plus, being an expat was new to me. I was determined to have a community I could connect with. So, I started a meetup group and hosted a meetup a month after moving to Bangkok.
Now, I have friends from all over the world. I continued hosting meetups then workshops, events, panel discussions and we started an online group that has grown to about 500 people. We’ve connected with not just expats living here but with the travelers who visit Thailand and connect with us during their time here.
I realized that I’ve got way more than three black expat friends now and we’re all looking for resources and we’re just looking for at least three other black expats to resonate with. And that’s how Ebony Expats was born. By creating and cultivating a community and platform to share resources, attend events and more - Ebony Expats has equipped travelers of color with the tools and connections needed to thrive abroad. (https://www.ebonyexpats.com)
Your favorite Bangkok restaurants? I love Mexican food. When I’m missing good tacos from a taco truck in Houston, the good thing about Bangkok is that it’s an international hub with a lot of good options. I really love Charley Brown’s Mexicana in Asok. I can always count on a fun afternoon with good food and great margs. And omg, you have to TRY the queso.
I’m also a fan of Best Beef - a local restaurant that’s really popular with the Thai community. It’s a barbecue buffet where you can grill seafood, meat and veggies at your table.
Favorite weekend (or longer) getaway destination? I love Koh Samui for a weekend getaway. For longer getaways, I really really like Koh Kood. Funny story: a couple of years prior to me even deciding to move to Thailand, I bookmarked a link with top destinations around the world and Thailand has two locations on the list. One place is Treepod Dining at Soneva Kiri where your waiter zip lines to you!
What’s next? I’m not sure how long I’ll be here but I do know that I’m looking forward to providing more travel experiences and resources. I’m a Connector and I like connecting people. I like creating a good time for people, whether it’s an event where you can dress up and feel good or if it’s me helping someone travel overseas for the first time. Follow us on Instagram @ebonyexpats or come have a good time with us at a future event! Let’s connect on www.ebonyexpats.com