“Travel can either be a movement from one place to another or a powerful life-changing experience, you get to choose what you want from your travel experience. With my platform, I wanted to empower people to dream bigger and seek enriching experiences”-Ufuoma.
Hey guys welcome back to my blog. I am so excited about today’s post because it is all about my friend and travel influencer Ufuoma. I am so inspired by Ufuoma and amazed at how she has established herself as one of the top African travel bloggers. In less than 2 years Ufuoma has visited over 25 countries in the world and she has found a way to balance and combine her passion for travelling with her corporate/career life (which is amazing). I am truly inspired by her, and i know you guys will be too. Want to travel to one or 2 countries next year, go grab a cup of tea and let Ufuoma make all your 2018 travel dreams come true.
Ufuoma: Hi there. My name is Ufuoma and I am a Business Specialist as well as a Travel Blogger at www.theufuoma.com. I was born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria but I currently live and work in Canada.
Adohr: How did you come about blogging?
Ufuoma: It was in 2015 when the idea of starting a travel blog came to mind. At the time, I had visited about 12 countries and was yearning for a platform to share all my experiences. I wanted to share these experiences so badly because my passion for travel had shaped my life positively and I knew that by sharing, there was the possibility, no matter how little, that it could change someone’s life too. Honestly, I was really scared to start it, I even chickened out a couple of times but it was in July 2016 when I finally I decided to go for it because, why not? It’s been more than a year now and I am still going strong, thankfully.Adohr: Why travel blog
Ufuoma: Travel blogging for me is an outlet and an avenue to share not just my personal travel experiences but also give out information, travel advice and tips to people who want to go down that path too. Travel can either be a movement from one place to another or a powerful life-changing experience, you get to choose what you want from your travel experience. With my platform, I wanted to empower people to dream bigger and seek enriching experiences. Most especially, black people, because we are quite underrepresented in the travel space. On a lighter note, travel is fun and I love writing so, a travel blog was a match made in heaven.
Adohr: How do you combine being a blogger and a career woman
Ufuoma: I honestly do not have to “combine” it. Being a blogger/blogging has become a part of me and I currently have a posting schedule that I have integrated seamlessly into my life. You know? It is just like waking up and taking your morning run. Sometimes it’s hard to get up, tie your shoelaces and take that run but when you manage to find a way to make it part of your morning routine, sort of like a “I know the benefits of taking this run whether I feel like it this morning or not.”, it gets a little easier from there. Blogging for me is fun, my outlet, my safe space, so it just works.Adohr: How do you fund trips to all these amazing places?
Ufuoma: Thankfully, I have a job that pays fairly well and gives me some level of financial independence. But beyond that, I’ve made travel a priority. If I wanted, I could get myself an endless collection of designer bags (and I’ll love to, you know?) but because I do not have unlimited resources, I’ll rather prioritize and reserve the bulk of my finances for my trips. It is all about picking and choosing where you want your money to go. It could either be towards a good pair of Manolo Blahnik shoes or a trip to Thailand. I’ll choose a trip to Thailand any day. (It’s waaaay cheaper anyway. Lol) . I really just manage my money well, make some financial sacrifices, cut cost and try to find great travel deals so I do not overpay for an experience.
Adohr: What’s the biggest misconception about your industry?
Ufuoma: I guess the biggest misconception will be that travelers/travel bloggers/travel enthusiasts are super rich or have a stash of money somewhere. And, in the travel space, there are people who believe that black people do not travel. That may not be a misconception but in recent years, black people are starting to travel more and more and I absolutely love that.Adohr: What’s the one thing you’re trying let people know through your blog
Ufuoma: I’m trying to let people know that whatever they set their heart and mind to do, they can achieve. My message is simple: follow your (travel) dreams and live a wholesome life. I love Lupita’s quote that says, “no matter where you are from, your dreams are valid!”. For me, some of my dreams are traveling, experiencing new places and giving back to society, but for you, it may be becoming a top fashion designer one day. But I hope that when people see me following my dreams, even if it is just with baby steps, they are inspired to translate that same level of determination into every aspect of their lives, travel or not.
Adohr: How do you think traveling has changed over the years.
Ufuoma: I think traveling has become more and more popular and accessible especially among young adults and millennials. Travel used to be something that was reserved for old, rich white men but I see every day how more women are traveling, the young and the old are traveling, black and white are traveling. Travel has become a lot more inclusive and that is a great thing. Anyone can do it.
Adohr: Can I travel to a city with less than 500k
Ufuoma: Oh, absolutely. For example, if you were to go from Lagos to Tanzania. A flight there will cost you about N250k on Kenya Airways and that is only half your money gone. If you were to stay for one week, you can get great boutique hotel on bookings.com for less than N80,000. That gives you more than 100k in spending money which you can still cut in half if you are tight on a budget. So, yes, you totally can.
Adohr: Name 5 of your favorite cities & dishes in these cities
Ufuoma: My five favorite cities are Lagos, Nigeria; Lima, Peru; Havana, Cuba; San Juan, Puerto Rico; and Montreal, Canada
Lagos- Suya. Lima- Ceviche. Havana (I didn’t really like the food here but love the city.). San Juan (Carne Frita). Montreal (Poutine)
Adohr: Ufuoma in my own opinion I think traveling is a necessity, but Nigerians think it’s only the rich and millionaires that should travel, what are your thoughts.
Ufuoma: Rhoda, I wouldn’t say travel is a necessity because when I think necessity, I think basic needs in life like food, shelter, clothing. But travel is still essential and travel can be in various forms. It could be in doing something different in hometown, visiting a nearby city or even experiencing the world by having friends of different nationalities, who bring the world to your feet. But, my problem with this narrative that travel is for the rich is, some of the people who say it, can afford to take a trip but they probably haven’t made it a priority. I was talking to my friend the other day and she was telling me how she spends at least N20,000 on Asoebi every two weeks, So, let’s say N40,000 per month. This is excluding the makeup, accessories, transportation and so on. Do the math for a year. Nothing wrong with that because you cannot tell people how to spend their money but it is important to know that our spending choices reflect what we value. I think it is just a matter of putting your money where your mouth is and some people choose to travel with the money they have, no matter how little. It doesn’t necessarily make them richer.Adohr: what advice will you give anyone that wants to start traveling, what advice will you give anyone that wants to start a travel blog?
Ufuoma: To anyone who wants to start traveling, have a plan and start putting money away to make it happen. Set up a separate bank account if possible and save monthly. You may think that the money is too little but it really does add up.
For those who want to start a travel blog. Honestly, just do it. If you wait for perfect circumstances, it may never happen. If you wait until you have a lot of money, it may never happen because you will find ways to use that extra money for something else. If you wait until you have an expensive camera to blog, you may rob yourself of getting the lessons from the process. Start right where you are, with what you have. Have an eye for photography and start writing more to get better at it.
Adohr: Name the most embarrassing thing that has happened to you on a trip
Ufuoma: It was my trip to Peru and was probably my first week there. I had not learned a word of Spanish and I had a couple of Spanish-speaking friends. I asked them to teach me a few words, and they did, only, they taught me the bad words. I went to a restaurant the next day to order food and instead of saying how much I said a bad word and the waiter gave me a very shocked look. I was so confused and luckily, she could speak some English and told me what I just said. I was so embarrassed to have said it loud and confidently and my friends laughed at me. Good thing the waiter was understanding as she laughed with me as well. Safe to say, I confirmed with google translate first before saying a word after that. Haha!
Adohr: What’s the one thing people don’t know about you?
Ufuoma: That I once had plans of being a fashion designer. Lol.
Adohr: Name 5 countries on your bucket list
- Grand Canyon in USA
- A return visit to Peru
(This interview with Ufuoma inspired me so much, that i just feel like making 2018 a travel year. Dear friends, make a pledge to yourself to visit somewhere new in 2018, it can be a city in your country or another country, as Ufuoma said, travelling is not a necessity but it is essential.)
To keep up with Ufuoma and her wanderlust moments, check out her blog http://www.theufuoma.com/