In China, January 2009 with the Smirnoff Ten crew and our special party bus

In a previous lifetime, specifically in 2008 and 2009, I was blessed with the opportunity to globe trot as a Smirnoff Experience brand ambassador, part of a team of ten people from different countries. We travelled around thirty two cities and islands across our world, in search for Original night life; the incredible task was to document nightlife across the big party cities of the world and discover what made each place Original in its after dark (sometimes day time) activities. We were creating a kind of Lonely Planet for activities that weren’t ‘the usual’ or touristy.

I think I’ve made reference to the 13 month long trip on my blog and other sources previously so I won’t go into too much detail. The point is; two things happened.

First, I lived my biggest dream, I experienced,  in that time span,  something I had wanted and needed for so long. It happened. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity and it was presented to me with all the bells and whistles. Everything paid for and a delicious per diem to go crazy. I tell people, honestly, it took me over a year just to get off that high, over a year of speaking to God in part thanking Him and in part asking what I was meant to do now that my biggest dream had been realised. Still wondering, by the way.

Secondly, and quite amazingly, the travel bug bit me. It tore into my flesh and settled into every vein in my body, creating a burning need to do it again. This time, I want to travel my beautiful continent, Africa.

[Been pondering, for a while now, with no brave or even mediocre ideas as to what I would do and where; and I keep coming back to my truth. The truth that what I would absolutely love to do for the rest of my days includes stepping foot and soul onto and into every country on this etheric Africa. I want to learn how to and tell stories, I want to meet people, learn languages, explore, showcase and live my Africa. ]

Recently, with vigorous head nodding through every sentence, I read Justice Malala’s piece on Times Live titled: We should be burning to read.– where he,  in context of books recently being burnt as opposed to giving them to school children, told the story of how he had basically seen the world through books. He’d been to places he’d never stepped foot in through well crafted sentences.

When I visited Nigeria a year or so ago, I felt like I’d already been there having been engulfed by Chimamanda Adichie’s “Half of a Yellow Sun” and everything I imagined was perfectly in sync with everything I saw. That book sold Nigeria to me.

Through reading, we are able to transport ourselves into other worlds, other countries, other crevices for our imagination to play in. I would be a completely different person if I wasn’t such an avid reader; so it makes me so sad to know that there are people who aren’t afforded the opportunity.

A friend of mine always says “Sell everything and Travel” to which I absolutely agree and wish I could. In the absence of the above motto, I say: Read everything and Travel.

What are you reading currently?