We caught up wih the warm and vibrant Ufumoa on her journey as a traveler so far. Travel is a big part of her life and she loves to inspire people to travel and live life fully while following their dreams. She is especially passionate about getting people of color into the culture of travel.
Is Ufuoma at home different form Ufuoma the traveller?
In a way, yes. At home, I am a lot more introverted, love my space, and like being indoors. But when I travel, it is the opposite. I want to explore, meet people, hang out with the locals, and try new things. I love traveling for this reason, it gives me the best of both worlds.
What is one thing a lot of people don’t know about you?
That my name Ufuoma is an Urhobo name that means Peace.
What was the first trip you took that ignited your passion for travel?
I had traveled quite a bit prior to my trip to Peru in 2015 but it wasn’t until that experience that travel became a special part of my life. The experience was eye-opening and I learnt so much about myself there.
Why did you start your one travel blog?
I have always loved writing and harboured dreams of one day writing a bestseller, so I thought a blog was great practice for me. Also, I was doing a lot of traveling and people started to ask me for tips and travel advice. I thought to create a platform that allows me share my experience, tips and travel advice to my readers.
Traveling can be stressful but what is your favourite thing about travelling?
Trying new things, getting out of my comfort zone and learning about new cultures and way of life is the best part of travel for me. It gets stressful but the experience is worthwhile.
What are your travel essentials and why?
My phone, charger and a power bank because I like to stay connected. A good pair of comfortable shoes that allow me to explore with ease and a great deodorant because it is important to smell fresh all the time.
How would you define your travel style on a spectrum of backpacker to a luxury traveller?
It depends on a lot of things such as the location, my mood and what I am looking to get from my travel experience. On average, I am somewhere in the middle. Not a typical backpacker, and not exactly luxury either. So maybe budget luxury?
If you could go back in time, what is the one thing you would tell yourself before you started this journey?
Nothing. It’s a process and you get the lessons at each phase. The reason why I know now more than I knew then is because I have allowed myself go on this journey.
Knowing all that you know now is there any advice you'd give to aspiring travelling writers?
First, do it for you. Make sure you thoroughly enjoy yourself. Also, have a great work ethic because your work will speak for itself. Be a learner and always seek out ways to improve your craft.
Has being a Nigerian/the passport caused any challenges in your journey so far?
No major challenges apart from having to apply for visas sometimes. Thankfully, I have never had a visa denied so that takes a bit of the frustration out.
Where did you most feel at home? where is that one place you felt you left your heart in?
I felt a lot at home in Peru. The food and the people reminded me so much of home. Peruvian food is a lot like Nigerian food, they love their spices too. They are also very warm and happy people despite a not-so-great economy. Again, that reminds me of Nigeria. That is certainly the one place that I have felt the most at home.
In your opinion, where is the most overrated city you've been to?
I’ll have to say Paris. I had dreamed about it so much before the trip and when it finally happened, it was a tad disappointing.
How much research goes into your trips before you take them?
A lot of research. I am naturally curious and that also translates in how much I seek information on the country I am visiting. I read a lot about the country, what the locals are like, the customs and traditions, etc.
What is one memory you have from a country you love that comes to mind often?
My first ziplining experience in Costa Rica comes to mind. I still have the clear picture in my head of the very moment when I was deep in the jungle and scaling through the zip lines. I looked down every now and again and saw just how beautiful and serene the rainforest was. It was a beautiful experience altogether.
What sense ( smell, sight etc) do you value most while travelling? I find it hard to pick so for me its both sight and taste (I love food).
Oh, without a doubt, my sight. All that beauty in the world, I am so thankful for eyes that can see them.
The idea of solo travel can be quite daunting but why would you encourage more young people to travel solo?
Solo travel for me is an act of self-care. It teaches you independence in a very fun way. Allow yourself travel far and wide, do not wait for your friends. If not now, then when? Today is the last day you will ever be this young.
If you were offered the chance to travel a continent in 3 months where would you go, and what would you do?
I’ll travel Africa. See the pyramids in Egypt, go on a safari in Kenya, explore the pristine beaches in Tanzania, ride camels in the Moroccan desert, see the colorful houses in Bo Kaap, South Africa, walk the longest canopy in Nigeria and so much more. The continent of Africa is beautiful and I cannot wait to explore it.
Different countries have different cultures and that translates to food too. What has been your favourite meal so far?
My favorite food so far has been Ceviche in Peru. It is raw fish dished in a special sauce. So tasty.
What was the strangest thing you ate while travelling?
I had fried guinea pig and embarrassed to admit but it was very delicious.
Where has your favourite Airports and why?
I really liked the airport in Detroit. I was during the Christmas period in 2015 and the entire airport was lit in green. Never seen anything like that before.
How much have different cultures altered your way of thinking?
I have become more and more tolerant and less judgmental of people who do not think like me, look like me, or have the same interests that I do. The world is a big place and learning to see things from the perspective of others and know that the fact that people do not have the same religion, skin color, or background as you does not mean they are wrong. Travel opens you up to that perspective.
While I was in South East Asia a lot of people would touch my hair because they had never seen braids before. Did you ever have any insightful, weird or funny things a local said or did in passing?
I had braids in Cuba and wore African fabric (Ankara). The locals were so intrigued and will touch my hair and outfit. Some even offered to buy the clothes off me because they loved it so much. It was so hilarious.
Outside of travel what are things that interest you?
I love watching soccer, I love reading books and listening to podcasts. I am also a lover of brunching and finding great brunch spots around me. Cocktails are my jam, too.
If you could be Beyoncé for a day or president of Nigeria for a day what would you pick and how would you spend your day?
Beyonce. I’ll spend my day spending time with her strongest social connections, learning from them and tapping into their wealth of knowledge. Also, I’ll take some money off her bank account so I can feel the effect of being Beyonce well after the day is over.
What is your favourite quote?
You’re not going to master the rest of your life in one day. Just relax, master the day, and just keep doing that every single day.
Thank You Ufuoma
Pictures courtesy of www.ufuoma.com