Spending an evening at Fela’s Shrine was an amazing travel experience for me – Zainob of ZeeGoes
Most people see travel as something that involves moving between countries and continents. As such, if it does not involve taking a flight from one destination to another, you probably have not traveled. However, Zainob Fashola of Zeegoes.com sees travel differently. According to her, travel is not defined by the length of journey or the cost expended, it is simply an opportunity to have a new experience. Below is the excerpt from her interview with the Jumia Travel Team. Enjoy!
Hi, it’s great to talk to you. Can we meet you?
Hello! My name is Zainob Fashola, I am a travel writer/vlogger on ZeeGoes.com during my down time, and a beauty entrepreneur 80% of the time. Oh! I also contribute monthly as a travel writer on Guardian Nigeria and I recently stepped up my travel vlogging game, so you can check my videos out on YouTube and Facebook. When I’m not working or on an adventure, I read voraciously, go on food hunts with friends, and sleep more than a human probably should.
How and when did you develop an interest for traveling?
I grew up traveling to the United Kingdom and USA and as a kid, I used to wish for something out of the yearly summer norm. As soon as I graduated from university in 2008, I packed my bags up and went on my first solo travel through Europe. I really did not enjoy that particular trip, but that was what got me started on traveling. The more I traveled, the more I learned more of myself and fine-tuned my way of travel into what I do now; spend less time hopping around different countries and focus more on experiencing each country I visit beyond the tourist traps.
How many cities have you toured? (Nigeria and worldwide)
In Nigeria, not enough. About 20 now, I wish it were more. I want to see so much more and I am currently planning a long trip through the North of Nigeria, then the East later. It was supposed to happen earlier in the year, but logistics is such a nightmare in Nigeria. For other parts of the world, I really cannot count. I already find it difficult to count the number of countries I have experienced, let’s not add that one to the pot. Biko!
Share with us your most memorable trip(s) in Nigeria thus far
Eating correct pounded yam with my friends in Ilesa, Osun State. We had just spent half the day on the road, then a few hours hiking through Olumirin waterfall, the hunger was real at that point. The minute we had the mounds of freshly pounded yam with a bottle of Trophy beer in front of us, life was good. Whenever I drive by Trophy’s signboard of “Honourable lo mo Honourable”, I always chuckle to myself and think back on that moment.
What is the most interesting thing you have learnt about Nigeria during your trips?
Life is too short. For every road-trip I have gone on in Nigeria, I have always driven past a fatal vehicle accident. It makes one pause. Many times, my car drives by just minutes after the incident and it is so easy to see how easily that could have been me and my driver. Just one miss-step and life is cut short. It also does not help that the roads are atrocious.
What thrills you the most about traveling to a new destination entirely?
The thrill of the unknown is always amazing. I stopped doing too much research on a location before I visit it about six years ago, instead, I do the basic research on safety for solo traveling women in different locations, cost of living, best locations to stay at and the sort. This leaves me open to pleasant surprises and less disappointment. I find that going to a new place with almost fresh eyes and not too much research allows me to have the best experience because I have less expectations.
What are the top 5 places in Nigeria that you would recommend to a foreigner?
- Lagos (aka Lasgidi) of course
- Osun State – many cities offer so much culture and sites to explore. Also the home of pounded yam, no competition please.
- Anambra – culture and amazing food galore
- Enugu – similar to Anambra, but their way of food is a bit different
- Abeokuta, Ogun State. – Olumo rock is a must visit site, learning the art of our fabrics, and exploring the food culture is another must.
What is your preferred method of traveling?
Usually, solo, mainly because I had not met a travel compatible partner until recently. I met a lady that is so similar to me when it comes to travel, it is a bit freaky. For the past 10 years, it was 98% solo mainly because relying on others to commit to a travel plan can be a bit sketchy. When I do have friends travel with me, I find myself wondering why we are even friends half the time. Lol. I love them, but, it should not take an hour to make a decision on something, anything! Some months ago, I met a travel kindred spirit that I now invite to pretty much all of my travels, sadly, she doesn’t always say yes. I really would love to find a traveling male partner for life. That would be awesome. *hint, hint*
What are the 5 things you can’t do without while traveling?
- My phone with a local sim card chock full of enough data and call minutes; I run a beauty company with a pretty good compact team and my work goes everywhere I go. I cannot afford to go dark for more than 24hrs.
- Money, money, and more cash money. It is the worst experience to be stranded and it almost happened to me during my road trip through Ireland last year when my Nigerian cards stopped working on the final leg of my trip. I almost contemplated sleeping in my rental car when the hostel said they did not accept my backup American express card; everywhere else that accepted Amex was sold out. It was even worse that 11 euro was the reason of the wahala but thankfully, some random stranger heard the conversation, scoffed at the amount and paid for it. I gave him a bottle of wine for his generosity.
- My GoPro and accessories
- Solid hiking boots
- Rain breaker/jacket
How do you manage your finances while traveling?
I work with a tight budget, then have about half of the total budget as extra in cash form for back up. I also travel with multiple bank cards and credit card with the money spread out in different locations, just in case. Everything I do, cost wise, is accounted for on a spreadsheet and that keeps me in line during my travels. I also do not joke with travel insurance, so in case when things happen beyond my control, 98% of the time, my insurance helps cover the cost.
What advice do you have for people who want to travel for fun but can’t afford it?
Travel does not require flying somewhere or paying a tour company to take you somewhere far. Travel can be within your city; I define travel as an escape from my norm. Spending an evening at Fela’s shrine for less than N2,000, was an amazing travel experience for me. Travel is not defined by the length of journey or the cost expended. Simply go somewhere outside your norm, within your budget, and turn it into a new experience.
All images published with permission from Zainob Fashola.