The Nigerian experience is physical, emotional and sometimes international. No one knows it better than our features on #TheAbroadLife, a series where we detail and explore Nigerian experiences while living abroad.
Today’s subject on Abroad Life has travelled to three different countries with her family. She talks about her experiences in each country, sleeping at airports and borders, and why she’s never going to Ghana by road again.
What was growing up like?
I grew up in a pretty comfortable household with parents who made sure the family did stuff together, even if it was as little as going for lunch every Sunday. I’m the oldest of my siblings, so I was the first to go to a school outside the state where we lived. Generally, growing up was interesting.
When did you first leave Nigeria?
I was 13 and we went to the UK for Christmas. My parents had been there before and they were excited to go on the trip again with us.
God when? How was the trip?
It started off disastrous. On our transit stop at Casablanca, we discoveredthat it was snowing terribly where we were going to in the UK and this meant that our flight had to be delayed. Omo, we had to sleep in the airport all night. It was super, super cold, and all we had to eat was some bread that the airline provided.
We eventually left the next day.
What was the UK like?
It was cold, but it was great. We visited family and some of my parents’ friends, we went shopping, we had lots of fun. I almost didn’t want to return to Nigeria.
But you returned.
It was hard accepting that I had to come back. When I got back, all I could think about was going back. After some time in school though, I calibrated back to default Nigerian setting. I’d remember from time to time and wish I was in the UK, but I knew I was here. Tears.
LMAO. When did you next leave Nigeria?
With my family again, about four years later, this time to Ghana. We planned with some extended family and friends and did a long road trip.
How was this trip?
It was the worst trip of my life. First of all, one of the vehicles we went with had a problem on our way, so we had to stop to fix it. That one caused us to spend a long time on the road, so by the time we got to the Aflao border, it was getting dark.
“Oya let us pass”, they said no, that it was too late and they weren’t letting anyone enter the country again. Omo, we begged and begged, we explained our situation, we showed them that there were children among us and we didn’t have anywhere else to go, but they didn’t allow us. So we had to sleep at the border. Sleeping in a bus at the border of a country you’ve never been to before is terrible enough, but when you’re in a large group of people who are stressed and have been travelling all day, it’s much worse.
We eventually entered the country around noon the next day but all our ginger had died. We just spent the next few days resting and going to a few places, and then we left. We spent only one week there and it was very meh.
That sounds terrible. Have you been to Ghana ever since?
One time, yes. That’s the only time I didn’t travel outside Nigeria with my family. This time, I went for something work-related, and while I didn’t sleep at the border, it wasn’t smooth sailing too. We had some wahala at the border, but in the end, I went for my conference, and spent the remaining days enjoying my time in Ghana. I went to Cape Coast too to see all the amazing stuff there. But I promised myself I wouldn’t go to Ghana by road again.
Wait. Where else have you travelled to with your family?
Dubai. We went there fairly recently, and it was so, so, so fun. We went to the desert and all the other fun places you hear about in Dubai. I loved every second of it.
You travel a lot with your family. That must be nice.
It is. The best way to travel with family is to find group deals online. They’re fairly priced and they usually come with tour guides, so you don’t have to stress about finding your way about.
Let me go and call a family meeting. I have something to tell them.