Category Archives: Travel

Time Travel

I like to believe that someday when we are older, we have wonderful memories to look back on. That the tall tales we will tell would hold happier emotions than melancholic ones.

The best way we record our steps, thoughts, dreams, and aspirations is through the things we do and places we have been to. That way, you can walk down the street and reminisce that there was a corner shop that sold the most revolutionary ice cream; better than the sickly syrup claimed to be ice cream these days.

You can see the waves lapping up the beach and recall other hot days with still winds where your skin felt like it was burning off, and cooling down at the same time in the salt air.

You can see a child smile and remember how long holidays were spent riding bicycles and skinning knees.

You can recall many hours merged into one lump where you thought the song of the day was the best thing since jollof rice; and how you swore you would hear no better album only to break that promise with the next album.

You can have a record of your youth.

The passing of time like change is constant. And in a world where each day seems to look bleaker than the last, it is easy to grow up fast, to shoulder so much responsibility you feel weighed down by it. But we must remember that every moment is the first for us, and we are all traveling through time differently, but together.

So, while we grow older by the minute, let’s create tales we bore our future generation with because they can’t relate to them. Let’s bond with our buddies we travel through time with because really ‘these young ones cannot understand what it was like during COVID’.

Travel if you can, when you can. Laugh when you find the littlest things funny. Dance in the rain. Spend time with your loved ones. Stay up all night, and sleep all day. Eat whatever you crave. Make wishes on falling stars. Live boldly, or quietly if you want. Be thankful for every moment.

Record your youth in words and songs and declarations and silences. Record it. It is yours.

 

Hotels VS Airbnbs

Last week, a couple of my friends wanted to visit. They were coming from out of town and my current accommodations could not contain them all. The debate began; will they rent a hotel for the duration of their stay, or an Airbnb?

The confidence one has in Motels, Hotels, Bed & Breakfasts, Airbnb and other forms of accommodations lie in the comfort it brings. You have the assurance your belongings are safe, and you can get a good night’s rest in a conducive environment with modern facilities. 

The question, sometimes, is which type o accommodation best suits your needs. For situations like this, what aids your final decision is the duration and purpose of your stay.

 

What is the purpose of your visit?

My friends were visiting for leisure purposes which meant they didn’t really need to be confined to a specific area. Although it would be nice for me to easily access them, it wouldn’t have made a difference if I couldn’t.

For scenarios where you travel for work purposes, it is wise to pick accommodations close to locations your meeting is scheduled for, and most times that means a hotel. 

Hotels are easier to find than Airbnbs, and you have the option to pick from the numerous selection for one that has facilities and services that best suit your need. This service can include laundry which gives the avenue to launder your work outfits without having to leave your hotel; turndown services, etc.

 

What is the duration of your visit?

My friends intended to stay for about three weeks. When putting this into factor alongside their number -it was a situation that looked like my entire village was coming to visit- it was prudent to go for an Airbnb.

Airbnb gives the impression of being in your own home. They are fully furnished apartments you can rent for a period. Unlike Bed & Breakfasts, you can go the duration of your stay at an Airbnb without seeing the manager or any interference. This means you have to get groceries yourself.

Also, most Airbnbs do not have limitations on the number of people that can reside in them per time, unlike a hotel.

My friends went with the option of renting an Airbnb. Having considered the purpose of their visit and its duration, it was a smarter decision for each of them to pool funds they would have spent in a hotel to rent an Airbnb which they would share together. After all, the more the merrier.

 

How to Create your Travel Story

Have you had a moment where this thought crossed your mind, ‘What is my travel story?’ 

Some people find it difficult to articulate where they want to go and think they are unadventurous or lack the passion for traveling. On the other hand, people who are introverts by nature feel this way because they love being indoors or in their comfort zone. Consequently, when others share stories of places they have been and what they have done, you feel left out. 

The truth remains that we all have travel stories. We have places we have been to and lived in that others long to visit; places we’ve been to that others have experienced differently. More importantly, we have many pages to add to our travel story with every breath we take. 

The trick to creating fulfilling travel experiences is not by traveling to places everyone talks about; it is about being in places that speak to your soul. Moments like these are worth the days spent squirreling away funds to experience.  

The easiest way to create your perfect travel story is by delving into the things that bring you joy. It would make a poor travel story if you are acrophobic and spend both time and resources planning a tour that includes bungee jumping. An activity that seems like fun to others might end up being a traumatic experience for you. 

It would be exciting, however, if you are a book lover and you plan a trip with the Tianjin Binhai Library, China, on your travel list. The library’s iconic architectural structure and the wide array of books would make it a travel experience you are unlikely to forget. 

For people who do not have a fixed place in mind to visit but love to exchange travel stories, trips to popular places are the best option. The Effiel Tower in Paris, Yosemite National Park in California, Burj Khalifa in Dubai, and Hawaii beaches are some popular travel destinations.

You don’t necessarily have to break the bank to create a fulfilling travel experience. Although factors like the location of your travel destination, duration of your stay, and accommodation plans can hike your travel budget, you can plan a trip that doesn’t cost much in these areas. 

A great way to cut down the cost of travel is by traveling as a group to have access to discounts on accommodation and feeding. The best way to have a travel experience within budget is to plan the details of your trip and start saving towards it beforehand.

In all, it is important to note that places that bring you excitement create exciting travel experiences. So don’t sweat the fact that you aren’t super thrilled by what Paris has to offer. Plan a trip to where calls to you the most. And if you aren’t sure where to go, try looking for the places said to give the best services in what brings you the most comfort, and plan for a trip there!

 

Travel in Time

Do you recall how it felt to be a child? How it felt when the world was filled with wonder, and building castles in your mind was as exciting as weekend trips to ice cream parlours and amusement parks? Or how running wild in the rain, playing hide and seek was all you needed to keep a smile on your face?

Oftentimes, you forget your wonderful childhood experiences with the weight and responsibilities adulthood carries. With huge changes in the economy and how it affects one’s standard of living, a lot more people find it harder to cope. As a result, more of the younger generation fall into depression.

One way to reduce depression is to travel back in time to your happy childhood days. A recent study by the American Psychological Association shows that people who have fond memories of their childhood have better health, are less depressed, and have fewer chronic diseases as adults. You might expect these memories to matter less due to time, but it is the reverse.

Recalling moments of great achievements from when you were younger can boost your morale to take up larger tasks in your job you are scared to take. Or remembering times when your parents took you on treats as rewards for a job well done, oftentimes, re-energizes us when we feel low. Generally, when you think back about times of great happiness and pleasure from your childhood, the ripple effects of relief last longer.

In a world of deadlines, financial and personal pressures, our mental health should be of priority. Spend alone time meditating on your fun childhood memories to boost your ego and keep your heart younger. 

On days when you feel low, take a trip to that amusement park you loved as a child and compare and contrast the sights from the present day to those in your memory. Give yourself a treat in the first ice cream palour you ever visited with your parents and relive the moment with the same menu you had from your memories.

Mother and children enjoying, eating ice cream, sitting on the grass at the public park.

Travel back in time to keep your mind on creative ideas to make your future what you desire it to be. And when the time comes, don’t hesitate to create wonderful memories for your children so they can also travel in time when all their chips are down.

It seems like a hard world, but our hearts can remain soft and pleasing when wrapped in memories from trips back in time.

How to escape without Traveling

The selling point of traveling is the thrill. It is the experiencing of cultures and activities that are new. In a world full of bills, work, and stress; it is a good idea to get away periodically to refresh your mind. But, what can you do when your cost of living makes it hard to save up lump sums for leisure travel?

In Nigeria, this is no news. The prices of food, rent, health, and other bills seem to increase daily while the average salary remains the same. It adds pressure to create more avenues as a source of income which in the long run eats up free time. You put in more hours at work to maintain a financial balance, burnout, yet have no way to replenish your energy. It is the rat race of stress. 

Your friends complain you never call or meet up with appointments outside of work; your family sighs in understanding; and there is you, falling into depression due to the pressure and frustration of it all. How do you overcome this and live your best life as an average salary earner? 

The answer is simple; increase socialization. One of the things the coronavirus revealed was the effect of isolation on our mental health. Many of us recall the lockdown as a dark time, and what gave a bit of sanity was being able to communicate with friends and loved ones over the phone or via video calls. Socialization not only strengthens our inner forces but also reduces stress and helps us cope with pain.

Susan Pinker, a Psychologist and social science columnist for The Wall Street Journal, says:

“Face-to-face contact releases a whole cascade of neurotransmitters. And like a vaccine, they protect you now in the present and well into the future. Shaking hands, giving somebody a high-five is enough to release oxytocin, which increases your level of trust, and lowers your stress. And dopamine is generated, which gives us a little high. And it kills pain. It’s like a naturally produced morphine.”

You don’t have to travel the world to feel thrilled or escape day-to-day life burdens. If something as simple as shaking hands with a colleague at work is enough to release the feel-good hormones, imagine what spending time with people that matter will do.

When you watch movies and wonder why the people who claim they are ‘broke’ always find time to hang around in bars and laugh, you might miss seeing the bigger picture. Because you’ve had a long day, and possibly got berated at work, that is the same reason you need to socialize. Spending time outside work with friends, talking about work and things outside of work makes you feel like a part of something more. You get to let go of your worries and live through other people’s experiences at the same time. 

Another great fact is when you are in the midst of friends, everything is more exciting. You notice things you might not have paid attention to and gain more insight. 

The trick to living your life to the fullest despite societal and economic pressures is to go through it together. That is why humans are social beings. 

This doesn’t mean you spend all your spare cash when you are hard-pressed for it. Start every month with a budget, and have funds set aside for leisure activities. These activities do not have to be expensive; the best option is to have drinks after work. Let your friends who work close by or stay nearby in on your plan, and make time for drinks together at least once a week. 

 

Having drinks after works gives you the room to air out what has weighed hard on you through work hours, and it does the same for your friends. Soon, you’ll find yourselves laughing and wondering why you made such a big deal of the exact situation you started the conversation with.

 

5 Tips to Block out Noise while Traveling

Some people can sleep through anything; generator noises, children wailing, pots banging on pans. But some people can’t. The littlest sounds irritate them, and they can’t fall asleep if someone is talking loudly near them. It is worse if the sounds wake you up mid-sleep because you are guaranteed a headache for the rest of the day. 

This makes traveling torturous. At home, the noise is easier to control than in public. But one can’t swear off traveling or venturing outside hence, the need to find alternatives to preserve sanity.

 

  1. Use Earplugs

It is comforting because earplugs cancel noise. It helps you sleep better, mute out distracting sounds, and avoid unwanted conversations. There’s nothing that stops a conversation on its tracks better than a person seeing your ears plugged.

The downside, however, is it becomes uncomfortable if you have to wear it for hours at a stretch. It might irritate your ears, and that is why doctors advise cleaning your earplugs before use. Also, if you sleep on your sides, it might make your nap less enjoyable.

 

2. Choose your Hotel room carefully

If you are booking a hotel room for your trip, the first step is to research extensively. You should book a hotel in the suburbs where it is further away from the city to avoid traffic and city sounds. 

If your hotel has already been booked for you in the noisy part of the city, try requesting a room that isn’t facing the street to reduce the intensity of sounds filtered in.

 

3. Insulate your Room

If you can’t help with the location of your accommodations, and you find yourself in noisier lodgings, drape thick blankets over the windows, doors, and spaces in between. The blankets serve to absorb the noise coming in.

Remember how the world seems quieter when you place a pillow over your head? This is the same thing but on a larger scale. You should also move your bed away from the noisiest part of the room.

 

4. Use White Noise

White noise is essentially made up of low, medium, and high-frequency sounds played together at the same intensity level. This sound is like a blanket that masks other sounds. So, if your travel lodging is noisy and you can’t get proper rest, it is a great idea to download a series of white noise recordings set in a playlist you can play out loud to aid your sleep.

The downside is when you do sleep off, it is left playing which might kill your device battery. Don’t forget to carry a power bank along, and you are golden.

 

5. Use Earphones

Anytime you intend to embark on a journey, have a playlist set. It could albums of your favourite artists you haven’t listened to or a collection of your favourite songs across a period of time. It is amazing how you get so focused on enjoying these sounds of your choice, you are undisturbed by external noises.

This is my favourite tip because it creates a theme song for your trip, and any time you hear songs off that trip, it serves as a reminder of your adventures.

Traveling away Heartbreak

The first time I got heartbroken, I ran home. My University was approximately a 6-Hour bus ride to my state of origin, and I wasted no time making that trip.

The day before my journey, I called my mom to tell her I was coming over. She sensed something was wrong, but I fibbed, ‘Lagos is too hard for me, I just need a break.’ The next day, I packed my bags and took the first bus home.

I couldn’t stand the sight of anything around me without unleashing waterworks with abandon. It made embarrassing moments for both my roommates and me because I hated to show emotions publicly. It also made the first hour of my trip home equally embarrassing because I couldn’t disguise my constant sniffling and blurry eyes as a cold. It wasn’t flu season. 

As I tried to ignore the build-up of aching bitterness in my chest, I found myself staring out the window wondering when my thoughts changed from utter despise of the State connected to him, to nostalgia. I missed being on the road.

I found traveling by road exciting. I got to stick my hand out the window and whip my head back and forth as the sights passed in a blur. The change of landscape from muddy hills to a thick cluster of trees, and occasionally surprising pocket of waterbodies inspired woolgathering. It was a marvelous experience.

Growing up, I indulged in creating characters before a trip. Sometimes, I was an archeologist going on a treasure hunt and turned every sight into a monument with a thrilling backstory. Sometimes, I was an undercover agent on a rescue trip. Whatever character I played gave a different definition to the scenery and people around me. 

This time, there was no one else to play but the heartbroken girl longing for her mother to wrap her wounds. I found out this character too gave a different outlook on things. The trip bought me time away from obsessively checking my phone in hopes of getting notifications from him- the network was terrible. With my seclusion from the internet, I could focus on myself, and the moments that led to my decisions.

It gave me time to think things through carefully; what was best for me? What had I done wrong? How would this change my view of certain things? What did I need to do to get through this unscathed? When I found myself getting overwhelmed, I stared out the window and let the scenery distract me. By the end of the trip, I felt a lot calmer than at the beginning.

I was able to put on my cloak of romantic optimism. It is a big world, and my trip didn’t fail to show me the little bit I got to see was full of marvel. It was going to be a rough couple of weeks, but I would make it out stronger. And when in doubt, all I had to do was take a trip and let it dazzle me back to my sense.

The Eiffel Tower 

France’s Eiffel Tower is one of the country’s top tourist spots and just taking a picture beside this astonishing Tower is the signature clue that you are in Paris, without even having to tell anyone!

Believe it or not, at 1050 feet, this structure was the world’s tallest building for over 40 years before it was overtaken by the Chrysler building in New York in 1930. Also, it was initially built as an entrance to the World Fair Exposition in 1889 to mark the 100th anniversary of the French revolution.

 

It took roughly two years and two months to complete this stunning structure, which was from 1887 to 1889. Three hundred steelworkers and well over 17000 metallic parts, 40 tons of paint, and 2.5 million rivets are what it took to birth the glamorous Eiffel Tower. 

An amazing fact about this great structure is that it moves while also being able to withstand the heaviest winds, and never sway more than 4.5 inches! In 1913, a renowned expert on aerodynamics named Eiffel published “The Resistance of the Air.” He and his team actually designed the Tower never to sway more than 4.5 inches and have heavy wind resistance.

 

Eiffel Tower is named right after the talented genius who brainstormed and designed this structure, Gustave Eiffel. France remains top of the list of most visited countries in the world.

Paris, the capital city of France is definitely on so many travellers’ must-visit list for a reason, the popular French cuisines, wine, croissants, cheese, baguette bread, historic monuments, friendly locals and so much more.

France is a globally loved nation, also famous for high-end fashion shows, skincare products, and designer perfumes. 

3 Things you didn’t know about Benin

There is a lot for you to discover if you haven’t taken a trip to Benin City, Nigeria. Growing up, I always thought the best stories were tales from other countries. Of course, they are exciting and new; but the Coronavirus pandemic pulled the beauty around me to focus. How well do you know your country or the state you live in presently?

Here are 5 things you need to know about Benin City to place it on your To-See List.

Benin City is Old.

Let’s take a walk down memory lane. The Benin Empire was one of the oldest and most highly developed states in the coastal hinterland of West Africa formed around the 11th Century AD. It was ruled by a long line of monarchs from the ogisos to obas

The Great Benin Kingdom is described as the center of Nigeria’s development with its roots of conquest stretching over areas we know today as Eko, Badagry, and Lagos. 

 

The Ancient Wall Monument

The walls of Benin and the surrounding moat were featured in the 1974 Edition of the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s largest earthworks before the mechanical era. It was dug in the 13th and 15th Centuries by Oba Oguola and Oba Ewuare I.

The walls of Benin were described by the New Scientist Fred Pearce as ‘four times longer than the great wall of China, and consumed a hundred times more material than the Great Pyramid of Cheops’. 

It stretched for about 16,000km with more than 500 settlement boundaries connected to it.

 

Benin is the Home of Bronze

It is popular knowledge that Benin is the home of the best Bronze casters. It is hard to discern when the tradition started, but Oba Oguola in the 14th Century (1280AD) established a guild system.

The 31-Guild system was so secretive it was impossible for outsiders to invade. They had the sole task of preserving the Kingdom’s bronze for prosperity’s sake. Bronze production and distribution were tightly controlled by the Oba before the invasion by the British. Bronze, ivory, and wood artifacts such as heads of kings and queens amongst others were used to decorate the royal palace.

Today, Igun-Eronmwon Quarters (Igun Street) is the hub of bronze casting in Benin.

Benin City is rich in culture which can be experienced all around. You can stumble into street after street intricately connected to lead to the place you desire. It is a sight to behold.

 

 

Explore Kwara state

It’s a thing of pride to learn more about your country’s culture and natural wonders!  It’s totally better to be well informed than having foreigners tell you about what you have in your own home country. Nigeria has a handful of captivating spots that lots of us do not know of.

 

Kwara state is a well-visited tourist spot in Nigeria and I bet you didn’t know that! Be rest assured to expect every and anything in this scenic wonderland! There are lots of exciting activities to do and places to visit in Kwara state. Just keep it at the back of your mind, you are in for an adventure of a lifetime.

 

Here is a glimpse at some places to explore in Kwara:

 

(i) Owu Waterfall: This natural delight is one of the most outstanding natural wonders in Kwara state and Nigeria at large. It is the highest waterfall in West Africa at 120m above the water level, cascading 330 feet down an escarpment. Visiting this waterfall and getting to dip in the icy pool at the bottom is an amazing feeling. Health professionals insist waterfalls play a major role in reducing stress levels, depression, and anxiety. So if you are having a moody day or just want to relax and get away from it, Owu waterfall is the place to be!

(ii) Dada pottery: Found in the Dada district of Ilorin, Kwara state. Dada Pottery arguably has the largest cluster of potters in the state. It is a sight to behold, coming in close contact with professional potters and watching art being created first hand. The amount of potters present, their dedication, and professionalism makes watching them and even trying to mold up clay yourself such a delight!

 

(iii) Esie Museum: The oldest and first museum in Nigeria established in 1945, holds many cultural and artistic features that date way back in time. It’s one of the most popular museums in the country and making a stop at the Esie Museum is a great way to adventure and enrich your mind with knowledge at the same time. 

(v) Emirs Palace/Central Mosque: The Ilorin Central mosque is the second largest mosque in Nigeria and it has a capacity of about 20000 worshippers! It is located at the Emir’s palace, Oja Oba. Also, around Oja Oba is the popular Ilorin Gold Souk/market so you can kill 2 birds with one stone.

     

(vi) Unilorin  Zoological Garden: Kwara state has it all and that includes a zoological garden with an incredible zoo for wildlife lovers. 

 

(vii) Aso-oke Weave Centre: The beautiful Aso-oke material handwoven by professionals dates far back to ancient African history and it remains one of the most recognized African fabrics worldwide. This art of cloth weaving began centuries ago among the Yoruba tribe, however predominantly in Kwara state, Oyo state, and Osun state.

When you think of touring Nigeria, do not forget you can get a journey filled with pleasurable moments in Kwara!