Adventurous, spontaneous, daring, joie de vivre, Nice! …. Jegede, waka jugbe, Ajala the traveller, Hmmmmhh!… Many of my Nigerian people have a way of putting a negative spin on things. 😀Some unimaginative few go as far as refusing to believe a pretty young woman would ever travel alone, or on her own dime. With such thought processes, I do heartily sympathize because never will they experience sheer exhilaration at random things such as the First footstep on new soil; sniffing as they step off a plane into a new country; collecting mementoes from random cities; even holding hands across two states! 😃
It’s the little things that give joy and people often put travel waaaaaayyyyy-down their list of competing priorities. If you’ve ever tried to plan a group trip, you know what I’m talking about. 😺 Anyway, off I went on many #SoloTravels. 💃🏽 Some are shared on this blog with more to come so Follow us!
WHY ARE YOU THIS WAY THOUGH? In Part. 1, I shared my first travelbug influence. This is about my 2nd major influence.
So….. My once-voracious appetite for reading took me along the path of formal & informal education, right from elementary school when my favorites were Swiss Family Robinson, the Bible, my sister’s Integrated English school books and the huge Encyclopaedias we had in our home library; through the hills of romantic Mills & Boon novels, gritty horrors like Rosemary’s Baby up to the raunchy Jackie Collins’, spooky Dean Koontzes’, Sidney Sheldons’, Barbara Cartlands’, Pacesetters books and what’s her name…I think its Denise Robbins! One of her novels was about some fancy chick named Consuelo y Alvarado etcetera etcetera… (surprised I still remember that :D). Anyway I digress, I read up to a point where I knew it was affecting my social life and as a REALLY (innately) shy person I was desperate to improve on that. Heck it was affecting my academic life too ‘cos I could never focus on studying for even the most major exams until I had finished my book of the moment. At home, my Mom would get tired of trying to get me out of my room or pulling me away from my latest novel. At the university, weekends when my roomies travelled were godsends! I’d act like I would be traveling too, barricade myself in 416B all weekend, put on nonstop Enya, ignore any knocks on the door and barely make it to Sunday Mass. An obsession…What to do, what to do?…
Enter my elder brother Okwii, who by contrast has always been super-social! He was then at UNIBEN and always had the funniest friends, craziest stories and tons of gist peppered with mimicked accents, gestures and slangs from all over Nigeria. They were SO much fun to be around! One ASUU Strike period, he told me of an association called AIESEC where people got to travel all over the world. It was only in a few federal universities in Nigeria, including mine so I needed no prompting. Soon as I got back to school, I searched for its leaders, applied for an interview and was accepted! Thanks to my strict upbringing, Naija-travel risks & all, I didn’t travel as much as I wanted. 😁 However, the very few times I dodged my family and traveled (against their wishes..Sorry Fam! But God kept me safe, see? 😃💃🏾) I gained awesome leadership experience and made some great friends. Subsequently I won elections and became LC Vice President, Human Resources & Corporate Development.
My first out-of-state trip was as NC Delegates to my dream city, JOS, Plateau State for NC Jos (National Congress, hosted by UNIJOS who lodged us at Lomay Int’l, Bukuru). We converged at Nsukka on a set date and left early the next morning, a full busload of about 40 happy, brilliantly intelligent, funny UNN students incl. a “percher” from UNIBEN (Amechi “Ogogoro” I see you in the back seat..) Amidst rib-cracking jokes, stories, banter, tired snores and pranks played on the sleepers, we traversed through various quaint little villages, town peripheries, suburbs and stopovers as we drove up to Jos arriving at night.
This trips and other AIESEC-related trips “sealed the travelbug in me”. True AIESECers are definitely the most fun, creative, interesting, clever and adventurous individuals you’ll ever meet, pulled & bound together by their love for the world’s largest student-run organization. I’ve met AIESECers from countries on all continents and suffice it to say the world would be a happier, most generous, understanding & least racist place if AIESECers rule the world. But further trip details belong to another post… This is a simple “confession” of my 2nd greatest influence.
Shoutout to notable AIESECers I remember (esp those with funny AIESEC names😂): “Pure Water”, Nneka “Traffic Warden”, Ngozi “Cowbell”, Ndidi Anikpo, Modibbo Imam, Femi “Longman” Longe, Uzo Nwagwu, Adaobi “I na-achi” Ifebunandu, Ngozi “LastBorn” Ifebunandu, “Aristotle” Umeasiegbu, “Jumping Chicken”, redheaded Ada from UNEC, @r “PalmGarden” Tersoo B., Amechi “Ogogoro”, @r “Ninja Turtle” a.k.a. “A-dry-ke” Akpanke, @r Bobbi, Chijioke “Uwaga”, the Goms (Mustapha & George), @r “RAVE” Ehi Oviawe, Saweda Liverpool, Tako Modele, Labaka Quadri, Great Ibadan/Ife delegates: Bukky Alamu, Tomi (the actress), Sodium (the womaniser 😀 ), Isaac Okanlawon, Banky the photographer; UNIPORT’s Chinedugirl,Ejiro Otiotio, LCP Okey, Diepriye, etc. Not all LCs bestowed AIESEC names on their members but UNN/UNEC excelled at that. Thanks, it was all so fun doing so at the Matrixes! 😂
Another major trip we did was the West African Leadership Delegates Seminar (WALDS) held in Douakro, Cote d’Ivoire via Lagos, Benin Republic, Togo, stopovers at Legon University, Ghana. Unforgettable multi-day multi-country Roadtrip in a convoy. Shoutout to notable AIESCers: Saratu Umar my roomie, Lisa (now Chukwuike), Moise Kouadio, Doris (my Legon University AIESEC “accomodator”) the Bropleh twins from Liberia (Bior and Bobby), Ausra from Lithuania, Jean-Claude Wognin (PWC, Abidjan), Morris Wolff (AIESEC Exec, United Nations) and so many others! Those were the days…