Thursday, October 11, 2012

Lessons learnt Travelling

This was reposted from Goinswriter here. He says.

"Young person, travel.
Travel wide and far.
Travel boldly.
Travel with full abandon.
When you get older, life seems to just sort of happen to you. Your youth is a time of total empowerment. During early adulthood, your worldview is still being formed. It’s important to steward this time — to give yourself opportunities to grow. A good way to do that is to travel.
You will regret few risks you take, when it comes to this. I promise you.

There are three reasons to travel while you’re young:
1. Traveling teaches you to live an adventure
You should take the time to see the world and taste the fullness of life. It’s not about being a tourist. It’s about experiencing true risk and adventure so you don’t have to live in fear for the rest of your life.

2. Traveling helps you encounter compassion

Traveling will put you in places that will force you to care for issues that are bigger than you.
If you go to southeast Asia, you may encounter the slave trade. If eastern Europe, you may see the effects of genocide and religious persecution. If Haiti, you’ll witness the ugly side of Western paternalism.
Your heart will break.
You will begin to understand that the world is both a big and small place. You will have a new-found respect for the pain and suffering that over half of the world takes for granted on a daily basis. And you will feel more connected to your fellow human beings in a deep and lasting way.
You will learn to care.

3. Traveling allows you to get some culture

While you’re still young, you should get cultured. Get to know the world and the magnificent people that fill it. I can describe the city of San Juan and its amazing beaches and historic sites to you, but you really have to see it for yourself to experience it. You can read all the books in the world about the Great Wall of China or The Louvre, but being there is a different story.

The world is a stunning place, full of outstanding works of art. See it.

You won’t always be young. And life won’t always be just about you. So travel. Experience the world for all it’s worth. Become a person of culture, adventure, and compassion.

“What if I’m not young?”

Travel, anyway. It may not be easy to do, but find a way to get out of your comfort zone. It’s really never too late.

Do you agree with this author?

I do, why else would I repost it? :)

Now let me give a brief rundown of my travel experiences
It started with secondary school in Suleja, Niger State. I was already in my comfort zone at FGC, Enugu; one of the teachers was my Aunty, my sister and family lived a few miles away. 
What more could a newbie ask for? My provisions and pocket money were replenished at the drop of a hat. Food was cooked the Igbo way I liked it etc etc. But a scholarship opportunity came knocking and my parents couldn’t betray me, so I went to the school in Suleja. 
Six years of hot Niger State sun, cold harmattan nights and arid days, lafu, boiled okro and stew?! and 12 hrs of road travel. In those 6 years I was visited once by a family member - my elder sister when she served in Kaduna. But I survived, thankful to Niger State for her hospitability. 

Then there was University at Ibadan. 
I was fast losing my "Igboness" so my family wanted me at UNN to rehabilitate :). I insisted on UI for exactly the opposite reason. Luckily I had family there so they reluctantly agreed. In Ibadan, I got my A+ in Amala and ewedu (F9 in gbegiri shaa), I learnt to appreciate atta in obe (chilli pepper stew). I am the only one in my family who has eaten and still eats ewedu, fufu, amala. My Yoruba(spoken) is shameful admittedly but don't you dare discuss me thinking I won't understand :)
I will also admit that my dark complexion got me a quick pass at some instances when tribalism could have reared its head. Notwithstanding, I love me my Ibadan people and thank them for their hospitality!!

Then there was a 5wk internship in Kumasi, Ghana in my 5th year at the University. I added 4 kg on return. Can we say a woot! woot! to Ghana foofoo (made with cassava and plantain), kelewere, groundnut soup, and their heartwarming hospitality?!

Same story as a Youth Corper in Makurdi, Benue State. A shoutout to Joyce, Joy, Aunty Maria and Josephine. Is it the rich pounded yam, the exotic meats (I ate alligator meat for the first time there) or the dizzying fruit varieties available? Benue State is indeed the food basket of the nation and I have to say I am devastated by the news about the flooding there.

I have travelled for visits,weddings, funerals, birthdays to Port Harcourt, Edo, Benin, Abuja, Ondo, Enugu, Calabar, Asaba, Jos, Kogi, Owerri.

Here in the UK, I live in a city steeped in culture from a 1000yr old Cathedral which still stands magnificent, to an annual Miner's gala where different miner unions established hundreds of years ago come out in musical splendor. I have visited Exeter, Birmingham, Norwich, Edinburgh, Manchester, Bolton, Leicester, Reading. 
I have told you of my brief Euro trip.

I have met wonderful, kind people. United as brothers in Christ and Nigerians. I have met noble poor people, I have met the skanky rich. I have made my home in the houses of strangers who became family. Some I have lost touch with, some I haven't. I have had near death experiences, I have slept in strange beds, I have woken up to the sight of Zuma rock from my dormitory porch.

Lessons learnt – today I am the least tribalistic of my family members with my friends cutting across most tribes in Nigeria. I have learnt to appreciate the diversity that's Nigeria and rarely think of people as Igbo, Benin, Yoruba, Hausa to justify good/bad behaviour. That I may marry a non-Igbo is not a strange notion to my parents. 
I am extra kind to strangers because I have been a stranger and experienced kindness. 
I am more understanding of other people’s culture. I may not like it but I appreciate that it is what makes them unique (unless it is harmful!).
Having a Green passport doesnt help right?
I have a bucket list of places I still want to see. Money isn't an issue unless you make it one. I would rather save to travel than save to buy that designer collection or gold.  

Travel is also not about shopping or sticking to your hotel. Experience a place. Take walks. Read the history. Visit landmarks. Appreciate things greater than you!

A shout out to Lara, Myne and Mamuje for constantly sharing their travels with us. You guys rock!

Now tell me, why are you not travelled?


  1. Loved this
    Like you, I enjoyed being a wanderlust when younger and I advice any young person to travel. My next dream destination is China.
    As expected, children can make things a bit complicated but as soon as they are a bit bigger, travelling is fine.
    I have travelled with three kids under 5 - on holiday - and it was fine.

  2. There is a Ghanaian saying "Travel and see".
    Somehow, the traveller must have a mind they are willing to open or broaden.

  3. I am inspired!! I havent travelled alot but I have met so many people from different countries and tribes..So marrying out of my culture shouldnt surprise my parents..:)

    I want to visit New Zealand and Israel..Atleast thats what I am saving for :)

  4. When I actually sit and think about it, I've traveled a lot...just that most of it was within the continental US. Even though I've been to more than half the states in this country, there are still so many places in and out of the US that i wanna see. God willing i'll make it to most of them.

  5. I've traveled a bit but I should travel more. This post has made me think. I watched a movie (the way) and was so inspired to take that trip. I understand why a lot of oyibos would travel the world even if they're not the richest of the rich. For places I'll love to visit, Rome and Israel are top on my list....

  6. I am not well travelled yet because I would really like to travel with my friends/'willing accomplices' but as you mentioned it is quite expensive. We're trying to see places closeby at the moment though, and right now I'm making sure I ditch shyness and explore other cultures by meeting people (since where I currently live is very multi-cultural, yay!)
    Fantastic post as always, Ginger!!

  7. Ginger, hve i told you i love you lately? I still do. You've done something to me with this post. I'll let you know what it is :)

  8. I definitely want to see the world, I say it all the time and I see it materialising already... 8states in Nigeria, 2 countries in Asia pacific and 1 in the miDdle east...that's balling and I'm just starting!

  9. Thanks for the shoutout..travelling sure opens your mind...I still have a lot to see and yes there is no stopping now.

  10. Travelling is great. Would love to do more and look forward to this in my older years. Ah...I can't wait!

  11. I will tour the world! I will see the world! I absolutely love traveling, new places, new food, new culture. Spent the whole NYSC period in Bauchi where I was posted to. I still have no regrets. The one thing I always try to do in new places is hop on a tour bus. I don't mind looking like a JJC (which is what I am in these places anyway) Hop on the bus, take pictures, listen, look, take in the sights and sounds of these places. I see Australia in the not too distant future, but in the near future I'm thinking Ghana (still wondering how I've never been) and Gambia (emerging African tourist magnet)

    Bless you for this post.

  12. Thank you so much.... I am grateful for the opportunities and insight to travel. I dont have anything but my memories of my trips and adventures. My travels have opened my eyes to different cultures, perspectives and a whole lot of ideas. What better way to take advantage of the opportunity by doing it on a shoestring. Take advantage of the last minute deals in the UK while you are there. Cheap!

  13. My dear nothing wrong with a Nigerian passport, start with a Schengen visa, that can enable you do a few countries in a short period of time...then do a research of countries that give Visas to Nigerian on arrival. Kenya now gives visas on arrival.

  14. Love the post and what you added too. I love travel for the adventure, apart from books, travel is the other way I easily open up, love meeting new people and cultures, and food, just the adventure of it :)

    Still have to do India, China, and Australia. Some parts of Africa and Europe too.

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