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I left my heart in Lagos

January 15, 2015

I have this thing where every other day I miss a place, a city, a location.

Often times it’s London, sometimes Washington, or Houston, other times it’s Lagos. How do you miss a place you haven’t visited since you were 13? Well, quite easily.

Over the last year, I’ve been itching to return to my birthplace Nigeria, which I left aged two and revisited 11 years later. I desired to reconnect. To reflect. To do jaiye jaiye (naturally, I’m Nigerian). About a month ago, for just short of three weeks I had the opportunity to satisfy my heart’s craving and witness what I like to call “New Nigeria” for myself.

“The concept of home is a fluid state.”

“New Nigeria” is a term I coined to give expression to the emergence of the new opportunities, new scenery, and renewed hope in a country in the middle of tense times. Despite the ongoing corruption, continual gaping space between the rich and poor and sheer wahala going on in Nigeria, I found that at the best of times there are treasures all around if you look hard enough; from the young hungry entrepreneurs, to the richness in the culture. From what seems like an inherent zest for celebration, to the growth of the Lagos art scene. The designers, painters, singers, photographers, roadside hustles, okada drivers and even the stunters.

Living in one city but being in love with another has taught me one thing. The concept of home is a fluid state. It’s not as fixed nor as black and white as the city you happen to inhabit. Sometimes you can spend a large portion of your life somewhere, and it still not feel like home. Sometimes you can spend 3 weeks in another and feel more present than ever before. And often times home can be found in multiple locations. All of these realities are ok. And so, Nigeria is my home from home, wherever that is, or whatever that may feel like.

Here are just a few snapshots from the first week in Nigeria, spent in the slower-paced Abuja and Lafia. The perfect calm before the turn up that was Lagos. For some snapshots of Lagos, feel free to head over to my Instagram page.

Until next time, odaro.

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Travel

I dream of DC

October 6, 2014

Today I had a nostalgic moment. Whilst scrolling through Instagram after a long day of work (as one often does), I happened to stumble upon a post which was advertising an event in the DMV area. There was nothing particularly special about the event, or the post for that matter but all it took was to see those three letters, to take me back to what was a beautiful solo adventure and to be quite honest a dream come true last year.

Around this time last year, my tickets to the US were booked. I had planned that I would be staying for just short of 4 weeks, beginning in Maryland, then to Houston, MD once again, a quick stop in New York and finally back to MD.

Now it wouldn’t be right to stay in Maryland without visiting the city of Washington DC. And so one day after finally getting my head around how to top up my Metro card (you’d be surprised what a great icebreaker that was), I hopped on board and was on my merry way to DC.

Having never visited, I knew I couldn’t leave without seeing as many sites as possible and so I decided to make an adventure of it, via the good people at Big Bus Tours. And an adventure it was!

Remind me to tell you guys about how I kinda, sorta fell for a ca-yute chocolate, tour guide, dreadlocked-gentleman who consistently went out of his way to make sure I was good, and also happened to be smitten with my English accent. (Ladies, there’s nothing more “swoon-worthy” than telling a handsome American man your name is Debra, and watching him become all undone just at the apparent Britishness of it all). Listen, on a scale of 1 to romantic, I’ve never thought “Debra” ranks very high, but his reaction was the cutest thing! Anyways, his name now leaves me, but I’m sure I have his American number saved on my international phone, so Mr DC. if you are reading this, you still owe me that date over hot chocolate. Can you imagine, I had to bail out, as I was going to NY. Honestly, this love story was moving a little too fast. But anywho! I digress.

DC. Yes, DC was beautiful. There was something strangely British about the cold December air and the white marble historical architecture, that made me feel, almost at home (or maybe it was the pleasant surprise in the form of a Nando’s?). Yet, these streets were filled with a sense of mystery and heritage which I took much pleasure in uncovering.watch full film Rings

I had chosen to invest most of my time into the sites which pertain to black history, such a MLK’s memorial, the Lincoln Memorial and arguably now another milestone in the history of black folk, The White House. Between the educational talks, spontaneous kind-hearted strangers and good food on the go, DC was the perfect recipe for a conscious adventure.

I would recommend the Big Bus Tour to anyone. My ticket even came with free entry to Madame Tussauds which was a pleasant surprise ending to an otherwise information-heavy trip. The tour bus experience was so much fun and a great way to see as much of DC as humanly possible. Especially if like me, you want to knock a few sites out in a day. Also a great form of exercise if like me, you have a knack of mixing up 4th street with 6th street and then walking in circles around blocks until your chocolate tour guide finds you and thinks you’re doing the whole thing on purpose, waiting to be found! (No, really). But like I said, that’s a story for another day.

Until then, I’ll leave you with some of my favourite snapshots from the trip. DMV and Mr DC., I will be back.

Travel

A day in the Big Apple

April 4, 2014

As the final destination in my month tour of America, I was fortunate enough to visit New York for the day. New York was nothing short of what I expected and everything more.Watch Full Movie Online Streaming Online and Downloadfilm Get Out online streaming

I’d describe it as a fast paced, colourful metropolis, bearing similarities with London but unhindered by the British pessimism. There’s an undeniable magic in the air suggests that anything is possible for those who chase their dreams. No matter how big or small that dream may be.

I look forward to revisiting New York in the nearby future. I  most certainly left a piece of my heart somewhere between Time Square and Penn Station.