All in Travel

30 Countries Before 30: Femi Luwa

Like many of my friends who have turned 30 this year, I turn 30 in a few weeks. But unlike my high school classmate Femi, who successfully snagged in her 30th country before the 30th year bell went up (and currently has 37 under her belt), my country count is just about a third of my age.

In March 2016 Femi whose very fitting nickname is “Aunty Fun Times” took her first ever girls’ trip to Thailand. It was an exhilarating ten days of excessive island hopping, curry eating, mai tai sipping, full moon partying, beach side massages and endless exploring.

5 months later in August 2016, she packed her bags (7 suitcases if we’re being precise) and moved to Europe. In the two years she’s lived there she’s visited over 20 new countries.

In this feature she answers a ton of our questions. From feminine matters about being comfortable in bikinis, her secret to that glow on holiday, dealing with cramps on travels to general travel tips, solo travel and travel blogging. I also couldn’t help but ask what happens if she ends up with a non-travel loving partner! See what she says!

10 Days of Fun in Los Angeles (+ recommended tourist activities for first-timers)

I lived on the US East Coast for a couple of years and never visited the West coast - blame it on my budget student life.

And so when the time came for our usual girl time away, my bestie and I decided to explore the West Coast and had to pick a state. California came up first - then the battle for the ultimate city began: Los Angeles vs San Francisco. As each city has its unique experience and vibe, Los Angeles blended with the holiday we had in mind.

The journey to LA from Lagos was quite a distance but I broke it off with a transit in the UK for a couple of hours. I left Lagos on a Saturday morning and arrived in London by evening but my connecting flight was the next morning. I checked into a nearby hotel which I had pre-booked, sank into the bed feeling cozy with the feather pillows, ordered some room service and had dinner in bed while re-watching my favourite movie - Love & Basket Ball.

A Refreshing Solo Getaway to Newcastle

Growing up, my parents seemed to present me with two options for summer holidays - either summer school or a trip to London or the US of A - specifically Maryland, New York or Texas. Whenever it was the latter, the trip was characterized with a few days of visiting tourist attractions, staying with cousins and going out with my mum to carry shopping bags.

Truth be told: although I enjoyed traveling out of Nigeria, pushing a shopping cart and eating McDonald’s regularly, I couldn't help but get bored of the routine as I as I grew older.

So once I started working and making my own coins, I was determined to travel and explore new places. And so unlike our typical London and America loving parents, it makes me so excited to see the new wave of adventurous young Nigerians exploring countries and cities way outside our typical radar. 

How I Camped in the Sahara Desert With 19 Other Women

I am a travel junkie and find travelling therapeutic to me. As we say within Nigerian circles, “abroad breeze is good for my skin”. Exploring new cultures, being in a different (and usually more sane environment) and eating all sorts of food is often the reset I need after crazy days in Lagos. If I could travel every month, I would... 

2017 wasn't my best year and a couple of things didn't go as planned. So in 2018, I decided my top goal and vision was to live my absolute best life and be happy! Living my best life also meant me going outside my comfort zone. And therein lay the trouble; as I love my safe space and comfort zone. 

But as they say, “Beautiful things happen outside the comfort zone”.

Five Top Tourist Attractions To Explore in Accra

Initially, I was a bit uncertain about flying slightly over 6 hours to visit Ghana from the UK. Not when I’d lived in Nigeria for years and that was literally 45 minutes away from Ghana. Perhaps, I slightly looked down on the destination – or better still hoped to visit when it could be a much easier (and cheaper) travel. But I’m glad I snapped out of that real quick – we had an absolutely great time. 

Before I delve in, a bit of travel behind-the-scenes- (you know we often have those). When we got to the airport we realised that the flight from London was actually very full and so Tee had been bumped up to business class. I guess they didn’t realise all three of us were flying as a family. Anyway, as a good husband should, he offered his seat to me – so I could literally chill.

But barely an hour into the flight, it seemed like our son was clearing missing me and refused to be consoled by his father - so they sent for me!

A Vacation with My Big Fat Extended Igbo Family: Here's What Happened

It would be easy to say I've never been on holiday with my larger extended family. But that wouldn't be the exact truth. It would be true only to the extent that I hadn't been on one outside Nigeria. But spending Christmas with the larger family in our hometown in Nigeria had occurred a number of times. Typically, many Igbo families who lived in Lagos loved to visit their hometown (often called "village") with their families for festive holidays. And oh goodness, it's often such a blast. The festivities, the food, the display of culture. Absolutely nothing like family. 

But I'd never actually had such experience outside Nigeria. Until my maternal cousin got married to his South African bride. The wedding was in Johannesburg and so our family was set to attend, with many of them coming in from Nigeria.

13 Questions for The Stylish Trotter who Quit her Job to Travel the World

We very often hear that you don't have to quit your job to travel the world and it's in fact the better option to have a day job and make time out for travel. But for Victoria, travel enthusiast and blogger - commonly known as The Stylish Trotter, this wasn't sufficient; so she quit her day job and decided to travel for a whole year!

Victoria only started travelling in 2016 but has now been to over 25 countries. In the next one year she's looking to double that figure.I've followed her adventures via Insta Story from Dubai to Oman. She's currently in China, and heading to Hong Kong and Indonesia shortly. It would have been nice to tag along on such epic adventure, but for now I'd continue to live vicariously through her. 

In her responses to these 13 questions she shares most of what we're thinking about. Why she chose to do this, the planning and financial considerations, challenges and all that she's looking forward to. 

How We Almost Travelled By Air With Our 5 Week Old Son (+ tips to travel with a baby)

Everyone knows having a baby changes pretty much your entire life. But one thing we had hoped wouldn’t overly change was our travel. Not because we are crazy travel enthusiasts but because it was something we had come to enjoy so much in recent times.  

That’s why when our friends hinted us that their wedding was to be in South Africa in December and just five weeks after my due date – we resolved to make it work.  We’d spent about 96 Hours in Jo'burg and CapeTown earlier in the year but you’d recall we didn’t get much done. It was a quick trip in and out. So I was excited for an opportunity to go back. I was finally going to explore everything I missed in Johannesburg - the history, the food, the people. And well, pretty photos. 

Plus it was one of our closest friend’s wedding. Tee was the best man, and I was on the bridal train. Surely we had to go. How difficult can it be to travel with a five week old by air? 

For the Laid-Back Traveller / Non-Adrenaline Junkie: 6(+1) Activities You Can Truly Enjoy in Dubai 

My mum has to be the least travel enthusiastic person I know. Especially when it comes to air travel. I don't particularly think it's a phobia, it's just a case of zero interest. She’d over-rationalise in her head whether she really has to go. She's definitely one of those people who would not understand how these 9 female travel enthusiasts just pack up their bags and (solo) travel! And when she does eventually have to make a trip, the number of people at the airport constantly surprises her, and you'd be sure to hear the question "where are they all going?

You're probably thinking she's really old. No - she's just in her 50s. Like isn't that prime time to travel the world? And please do not mention the words stop-over to her. As long as there's a straight flight, that’s her preferred option. Recently when she was coming over to visit, I suggested a stop over at Dubai. Understandably that's double the flight time, but it would have given her an opportunity to explore Dubai. But you guessed right, she wouldn't hear of it.

LOS (Lagos) ---> LHR (London Heathrow) it had to be.

So yes, my mum has surprisingly not been to Dubai. I say surprisingly not because it's a must see destination, but because for Nigerians in Nigeria, it's usually one of the first places they choose to explore. Or have a destination wedding. Or a honeymoon.

A (Humorous) Guide to the Perfect Instagrammable Vacation Photos

I considered whether it was worth writing this post at this time of the year, when technically in the UK, summer is over and peak travel season is gradually reaching its end. But then my Instagram feed seems to be telling me otherwise, as travel photos are continuously popping up and people seem to be constantly jetting away for short breaks and late summer holidays. I know for a fact that of these 9 Female Travel Enthusiasts we previously featured, at least 4 are on holiday at the moment, and of course Chiamaka - Nigeria's Social Prefect is currently planning a tour to Benin Republic! But whether or not you have any travel plans in the imminent future, this post should help a ton. 

For the people around me, travelling seems to be one of the new cool things to do, and even I have definitely been bitten by the bug - experiencing a few hilarious travel mishaps along the way. On holidays and vacations, there's often a desire to take photos, and record the lovely (perfect?) times. Also thanks to the social media world we live in, there's a high sense of "if you didn't take a photo, did it actually happen?". 

But much more than just taking boring old travel pictures as in times past, many people seek to get the perfect travel shots capturing a mix of excitement, nature & adventure. They often make your Instagram feed look gorgeous, get a ton of likes and are handy ones for a "Throw Back Thursday #TBT" or "Flash Back Friday #FBF".

However if you're anything like me, there's the dilemma of 'what sort of photos do I take exactly?'