In March 2016, I took my first trip to Bogota, Colombia and I fell in love with traveling afterwards. In Colombia, I met a lot of people who were backpacking South America and the notion did not make sense to me? Backpacking? Leaving your job? Traveling for few months? What does that even mean? I remember thinking all of these in my head.
After my trip to Colombia, I realized I really enjoyed traveling, being out of my comfort zone and experiencing new places. I could not stop traveling afterwards.
In 2016, I decided to save up and travel the world. I knew my plan could not be carried out in 1 year so I gave myself 2 years to save, sell my things and travel.
By February 2018, I had saved what I thought was enough money to quit my job and see the world. This is the best decision I have ever made. My journey started in Dubai (which I think is worth a visit), took me to Oman, Asia, Africa and back home to Chicago.
I planned to travel full time for a year but I cut it short at 6 months because let me be honest, traveling solo around the world is tasking and it could get lonely. Meeting people around the world is fun and all but saying goodbye to the amazing people I have met and remembering that I might never see them again is the most painful part for me.
I have had amazing moments and I also had some crazy moments in the 6 months I spent abroad. This blog post is meant to detail the mishaps I had in 6 months of traveling and I hope my struggle makes you laugh (or feel bad for me)!
- Moving from 19kg backpack to 25kg bag
I would not necessarily call this a mishap but it was uncomfortable for me nonetheless. When I started traveling in February, I had a backpack which weighed 19kg. Carrying 19kg on my back got very uncomfortable. Also, the more I traveled, the more I bought clothes so the weight rapidly increased. In Malaysia, I had bought so much clothes from H&M that I had to get a box.
I transferred all my clothes to the box and even though it was abit more comfortable than the backpack, it was still extremely heavy. Imagine dragging a 25kg box from airport to train then to my hotel! I am still learning the art of traveling light.
Entrance to the resort I stayed in Maldives
- Loosing my wallet in April
Worst mishap in the history of mishaps in my opinion. In April, I lost my wallet in a mall in Malaysia. The wallet had 3 of my travel cards- 2 Mastercards and 1 Visa card. I had a backup wallet but I left my American Express card in my backup wallet. Silly me!
American Express is not particularly useful outside of America because a lot of vendors don’t accept American Express. Some people don’t even know what it is!
I was planning to travel till August so loosing my wallet in April was not convenient at all. I met up with some friends in Malaysia who I connected with via Instagram and they withdrew $700 for me from their bank account to sustain me while I figured out my wallet situation. I tried to have my bank send a new card to me abroad but I figured that would take too long.
I decided to have my family send me $1000 via Western Union from my bank account in the US. The $1700 ($700 from Malaysia and $1000 from Western Union) total is what I STRETCHED on food, visas etc till July 2018.
By August, I met people I was traveling in Eastern and Southern Africa with Acacia Africa, and my friend Ben withdrew some money for me from his bank account. This sustained me till I left South Africa in August.
I am thankful for the amazing people who I have met throughout this journey and have come to my rescue when I needed them!
My mood when I lost my wallet!
- Fixing the front and back camera of my iPhone
I am a very clumsy person so I drop my phone A LOT. I think my phone was finally tired of the disrespect this particular day and the front and back camera stopped working after it dropped. I was so sad because I enjoy creating Instagram stories which I use both the front and back cameras for.
The camera broke on my way to Maldives from Malaysia for my birthday n May so, I decided to get it fixed when I arrived back in Malaysia. I went to the mall to try to fix my camera when I arrived back in Malaysia and I was quoted a price for fixing the back camera only. The repairer said he would open the phone to see if he can fix the front camera because it is so tricky to fix. He said if he could, he would ask for my permission before fixing the front camera, and quote me a price for the front camera also. He opened the phone and told me it was possible to fix the front camera and quoted me for BOTH front and back camera. I told him to go ahead and fix both.
After picking up my phone, I opened the camera to see if they were working and realized he only fixed the back camera. I was confused and I told him he said he would fix both and he quoted me a price for BOTH front and back cameras. He denied quoting me for the front camera and he said the price he quoted was only for the back camera. I was so confused and livid!
We went back and forth several times but I eventually gave up! He claimed I did not understand him but he spoke good English and I clearly understood him. I paid, got my phone and left.
My friend who was with me wanted to continue going back and forth with the repairer but I said no. There was no point. At this time the manager was already involved. It was our world against theirs.
I always try to be positive about every situation!
- Camping for the first time in Tanzania (encounter with hyenas and water buffalo)
I had never camped in my life so my first time camping was in the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania. I did not know what to expect but the idea of camping excited me.
Before we went to bed, we were warned that we are camping in the wild animal’s habitat so we could be visited by hyenas, lions or water buffalos at anytime. This was so scary to me but also exciting.
While camping in the Serengeti, I was got up to pee in the morning and saw about 5 hyenas. I did not scream or run but kept walking I don’t know where the bravery came from. The usual Victoria would have screamed, ran and cried but we were warned not do that during the briefing by the camp coordinators before bed and I am sure they know best so I listened. The hyenas ran and went about their business when they saw me approaching the toilet with my flashlight.
The next day, we camped in Ngorongoro Crater and had a pack of water buffalo visit our camp grounds. The water buffalo were grazing on the grass around our tent! They got SO close to the tents that you could literally hear them chew. It was such a scary experience because I though “what if the buffalo walked over my tent or fell on top of me”- none of this happened by the way.
Maasai boy in Tanzania
- Stuck in Zambian border for 2 hours
While traveling through Eastern and Southern Africa, one of the countries we went through was Zambia. At this point in the trip, I only had 2 and a half pages left on my American passport and I planned to keep traveling. I therefore needed to conserve as much space in my passport as possible. I decided to use my Nigerian passport to visit Zambia because I had a lot of space in that passport.
From the information the Zambian consulate presented on their website, I was under the impression that you could print out the e-visa almost immediately after applying. Having this idea at the back of my head, I applied for the Zambian e-visa a few days before leaving Malawi for Zambia. I was not issued a decision on my visa immediately after submitting my application so I took my Nigerian passport to the Zambian border hoping they would have answers.
The border officers held me for 2 hours while they tried calling the Zambian immigration HQ but we had no answers. They also refused to let me enter Zambia. I eventually had to present my American passport before they let me in. They were going to print the visa on a whole page like Malawi did, but I had to beg them to give me a little stamp instead because I was trying to conserve space in my American passport.
Nigerian Passport struggles
- Hole in the ground toilet while camping in Botswana
The first time I used a hole in the ground toilet was in Botswana. What is a hole in the ground toilet? It is exactly what is sounds like- a hole is dug in the ground and you are supposed to carry out your business in that hole. While camping in the Okavango Delta, the only toilet available in my tent was a hole dug in the ground. What an experience!
This was also the day my stomach decided to act up and I couldn’t keep anything I ate in. It was so uncomfortable. I would give anything to have a well functioning toilet on that day! Thankfully the camping experience only lasted a day!
Okavango Delta, Botswana
- Going to the wrong airport in Shanghai, China
After spending 2 weeks in China, my trip ended in Shanghai. I was meant to fly out of Shanghai to Beijing and catch the flight to Chicago from Beijing. My flight to Beijing was meant to leave from PVG (Shanghai Pudong International Airport) but I took the train from my hotel to SHA (Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport) thinking Shanghai only had one airport.
When I got to the airport and showed the airline counter my boarding pass, they gave me a confused look. They said “ma’am, you are at the wrong airport”. I immediately routed google maps to the right airport to see how far away I was. Google maps stated 2 hours but I did not have that much time to spare. I called my best friend- Tolani, and asked her to purchase a ticket on my behalf from SHA to Beijing. I forfeited the flight from PVG because I would not get there in time to make the flight. I had to fly out of Beijing to Chicago the next morning. Thankfully, she was able to get the last minute ticket for about $100.
After that experience, I now thoroughly crosscheck the airport before hopping on the train or taxi so that I don’t go to the wrong airport again.
- T-Mobile almost disconnected my line
Before I started traveling full time, I switched my phone line from Sprint to T-Mobile because T-Mobile had an “unlimited” international plan which included roaming in 140 countries which included unlimited 3G-4G internet, free text and 20 cent a minute call. This plan cost $65 a month and I got to keep using my American line abroad.
This was a brilliant plan for me because majority of the countries I planned to visit were included in the 140 countries. I simply got a sim card or used hotel Wifi in countries that were not included like Maldives.
I was using my phone per usual on a fateful day in June when I got a message from T-Mobile that my line was scheduled for disconnection. I was so confused.
Disconnection message from T-Mobile
I immediately sent a message to my family members who called T-Mobile on my behalf. T-Mobile told them that I had misused my roaming privileges by using too much internet data, and they would either disconnect my line or take off the roaming privileges on my line. I was livid because I felt the way T-Mobile marketed that plan was not ideal.
Why will they market it as unlimited internet but remove my roaming privileges after a few months abroad?
T-Mobile reinstated my line but removed my roaming privileges
Since I no longer have any more roaming privileges, I am only able to use my T-Mobile line in America and I started getting sim cards everywhere I traveled. This could sometimes be inconvenient but it is much better than having my line disconnected right?
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