BusinessDay

Plan to travel in 2022

Travel is education. Period! I travel a lot and at the slightest opportunity, I will be off like a bolt. But I have to be healthy and I have to have some change in my pocket. If not for anything, to bring back some mementos and gifts for family and friends.

Travel opens your eyes, educates you, and prevents you from being parochial or judgemental. I recall my mum telling me a long time ago that when you visit a village where they are all walking backward it is in your interest to join them. Also to let you know that if you had not been to that village you would go around believing that everyone walks forward. A lesson in diversity.

I am a traveller and enjoy it tremendously. Not only do I check out food wherever I go, but I also check out fashion and culture. I am truly a global citizen and a Nigerian who is not ready to relocate as I enjoy who I am, where I am, warts and all. There is insecurity, true, there is corruption, true, there is inefficiency, true but look around you, there are so many positive things about Nigeria that no one talks about and they abound.

You are better and more rounded when you know a bit of other people. You will also be less narrow.

I love to travel and I have been to most states in Nigeria but I know Nigerians who have a perceived notion about neighbouring States they have never been to. Seeing is believing. I eat the many diverse foods in Nigeria and I learned to cook them too. Edikaekong, Mian Kuka, Egusi, Massa, Ofe Nsala, Ewedu, Gbegiri, Banga, Epeza, Obegwa, Ochokwu and Acha among others. But I know Nigerians less travelled who won’t even try, who would curl their nose and look down on other people’s cultures and religion. My wardrobe is full of fashion from across Nigeria and I am proudly Nigerian.

So save up. Go on holiday in Yankari, learn something new, have an adventure, go to Obudu and visit the caves of the East. Visit Osogbo to learn about the shrines and the fabrics and the art. You are better and more rounded when you know a bit of other people. You will also be less narrow.

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In addition, if you can afford it, see the world, one nation at a time. From Benin across from Badagry by road to Freetown or Accra. See two countries together, be budget savvy. Once you are in one country, try and see the neighbouring country. Tickets are cheaper. If you return to your country before you start the journey back to the neighbouring country, it will cost you more.

I have been blessed to have been to all the worlds’ continents except Antarctica and South America. It’s on my bucket list. Find conferences or tours that give ticket discounts and accommodation bonuses. You do not have to travel in style to travel. In England and many other countries, there are YMCAs and budget-friendly accommodation. Find your level. Visit tourist sites, eat good food. Enjoy yourself. Retain the memories. It is a lifetime gift.

While Omicron is raging, be careful not to waste your money on International travel just yet. Soon it will be easier and guess what? Tickets will be cheaper. Take the opportunity then. For now, get a Nigerian education.

Travelling in Nigeria is such a huge education because we are so diversified. Is it in the North where the expanse of land is amazing? You can see as far as the eyes can go. Or is it going to watch the Argungu festival, so awe-inspiring. Add this to the durbar and you will never be the same. Is it the South with the royalty as bold as the North? The aso-ebi of the South West and the Atilogu in the South East. I spent my Christmas in our country home. Community palm wine and fresh food.

I am at home in Nigeria where I am fed fat in Akwa Ibom, have great pounded yam in Tivland, and get an array of food for breakfast in Adamawa. Travel Nigeria. Learn about your country. See the world through new eyes. Oh, so you have gone to England and are proud but do not know Nigeria. It is time to lock down the knowledge of your nation. Word!

Travel. Know your country. Be well-rounded.

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