“Just Live” is one of the best advices that you will ever get, it was one of the best lessons I learnt for myself. About three years ago I had this epiphanic moment that changed a lot of things for me, and a while back I took a refresher course on it; turns out that I was not living life to the fullest and I needed a reminder. I was too “safe”, I never took extreme chances, and I never really lived. If you don’t do things you love, if you don’t discover things that you love (or things yet to love) - books, art, music, traveling, meeting people, learning cultures, etc. then I am sorry to say you are not living.
Simply put, you are going through the motion called life.
I decided to live and living is what I have been doing. I decided to embark on this journey to #JustLive. What does this look like? Well, it could range from enjoying a glass of kick-a** red wine with a friend (or alone), taking myself out to a very fancy restaurant (think R.S.V.P), to screaming on top of my lungs under an avalanche of water.
I love all of these things and most especially traveling but I work full time. I simply can’t up and quit, pack my bags and explore the world - I am not that brave, I wish I were. Besides I love my job, so anytime I get the opportunity I live.
On weekends I explore the city of Lagos, or just chill at home with a bottle of wine and watch one of my many TV shows. Then on public holidays if it is lengthy enough I head to a destination I haven't been to before. If a town, city, country has something I would want to see I will go (eventually). Sometimes planned other times spontaneous.
One of those spontaneous trips happened this past Easter. The plan was to go to Abuja and really EXPLORE the town because it is always business in Abuja and never time to explore. However, an opportunity literally found me and on Friday by 5am I threw in two t-shirts and one short into my backpack and left Lagos. Not to Abuja but to Erin-Ijesha in Osun State, Osogbo Grove, and I also found myself at a resort that was home Donkeys, Ostriches, Peacocks and more.
The trip was filled with new experiences from the food, sights, right down to the culture.
I got a taste of both the "exotic" and "local" experience. I got to see six women pound yam in the most rhythmic and unison way you can think of, I got to try local dishes and I got to swim in an awesome pool overlooking the Imò hill, while watching one of my travel mate pilot his drone which captured the entire scenery.
They say when in Rome behave like the Romans. I went all guns out on this trip. I ate everything and kept praying silently that my system stays strong; else it would be disastrous considering that we were always on the move.
Although the food I had was for commercial purposes, locals at the comfort of their homes made the food (for the most part), which is different from the factories made stuff you find on the streets of Lagos. Did the food taste any different? Maybe, or maybe it was all in my head.
I tried new snacks and food.
We went to this pounded yam joint (twice!), and I saw these people come together to pound yam. Where I come from we usually have just a single pounder (strange word, I know) but here in Osun State I saw six people pound yam with such grace and vigor.
Akara. I honestly don’t know who bought the Akara (bean cake) but I came out from my room in the morning to see my travel buddies feasting on Akara so I joined in. It was extremely hot, taste-wise I couldn't tell the difference between that and those found in Lagos except this one had less oil.
Honey. Getting 100% natural honey is a chore in Lagos. Mom packed honey in my luggage the last time I traveled home but the airport security wouldn’t let me fly with it. So I was extremely glad when I saw honey on our way back. I opened it, tasted it and even saw a dead bee in it. Least to say I got two bottles.
The area we slept was in a village (sort of) and I got the chance to go jogging which gave me the opportunity to somewhat feel the vibe of the locals. I didn’t see a single obese person in that town (I am dead serious on this). Were they friendly? Yes, the elderly but the young folks were a bit protective and snobbish.
I got to interact with one or two locals but I don’t think I had any profound conversations with them else I would remember.
The Dark Side
We visited Oshogbo, which is a mini-home to some of the gods of Yoruba land. Before we visited this spot I was warned that a spirit, or god that prowls the region can posses light skin people. I was told the story of an Austrian lady - Suzanne Wenger who visited and got possessed and this resulted in her falling in love with the place and never leaving. She became the mystical white high priestess who decided to serve and devote her life to an African god. Here full story can be read HERE. The tour guide took us on a detailed tour of the place where she described the deities and what they each represented. We got to one and I saw sugarcane that was about a week old, so I asked “Do people still come here to offer sacrifices” which she answered “yes, from all over the world…. you just have to believe and it will work for you”. Creeeppppy! We also saw the special river and much more.
Since I am a pro discerning when not to cross the line when on my “adventures” I decided not to go into the actual shrine.