I want to be wrapped up in vast cultures, languages and the heritage of the human experience;
I want to explore lands, valleys, hills and mountains of different shapes and sizes located on the far ends of the earth;
I want to travel through time as I rewind or fast forward the hands of my watch due to time change of different countries;
I want to experience being terribly jet lagged in a failed attempt to adjust and re-adjust my sleep pattern;
I want to fall asleep in or remain awake in cities where the sun does not set and the night is day;
I want to be insignificant in the throng of humans who can neither see me nor understand my language;
I want to be thrown into utter confusion in the market places of different cultures where I can neither understand the languages of humans who will appear strange to me but are still bound by market principles;
I want to be humbled by my invisibility and the unimportance of my opinions; most of which I hold as true and dear to me;
I want to revel in and taste amazing platters of food; the names of which are difficult for me to pronounce and made from ingredients too complex to understand but so simple in taste; ingredients that I am not aware exist;
I want to walk the lonely, beautiful and old streets of cities whose buildings boast of a rich history known to only the world;
I want to swim in waters so crystal clear perfectly reflecting the sky’s blue-ness or green-ness with animals that I’m all too familiar with only on “animal planet” or “google”;
I want to feel the snow in the palm of my hands and watch it slowly change form; my mind’s eye aware of a nearby waterbody o( natural or artificial) frozen over;
I want to explore cities and farmlands, meadows and valleys whose realities are more beautiful than the pictures taken of them;
I want to see this beautiful earth, for what it is and the beauty that lies within and without.
Because that is what this young lady is by virtue of association. 😂I am now therefore half Nigerian, half Seychellois (pronounced “Say-shell-wa” . Now, say it a little faster. Do not bite your tongue, plis.)
Ugh! I cannot even believe its been a little over two weeks since I had one of the best experiences in my life. It feels like a lifetime ago and I am soooo ready to go back. Like, how do I even begin to explain and put in words, my experience? I could cry just thinking about how beautiful it was! I actually do think about it sometimes and cry😅. I still feel like my soul is sooo full because I drank in so much breath-taking beauty, observations and experiences to last me a life time! I literally live for life’s experiences and lessons, so I was in my zones these past couple of weeks.
I started putting together this blogpost on the beautiful shores of a beach on Mahé Island, one of the Seychelles Islands and this was literally my view as I wrote. No filters! (none of the photos I post here have filters, except some at the bottom, but trust me, you would know which have and which do not. Seychelles is just that beautiful!) Some photos do not even do justice to what I saw in real life, I promise.
So here’s how it went:
My friend, Toyin and I went on this amazing trip for about five days to the Seychelles Islands (which is made up of 115 islands on the Indian ocean and off the coast of East Africa). This would be a good time to say it is pronounced “Say-shellz” not “see-shellz” in case you are thinking of going there anytime soon. While most of the islands are inhabited, some of the islands such as Mahé, which we stayed during our time there, are homes to the some of the most exotic, beautiful and breath-taking beaches, coral reefs and nature reserves.
When I say breath-taking, I mean every single syllable of this word. Like wow! Do not worry, more photos like this coming up shortly. In the meantime, look at the way the clouds look like they are gently dancing on the ocean. My goodness! I almost lost all home training when I stepped onto this beach. Just thinking about it as I write this now even makes me smile.🙂
Anyway, back to the storyline. We took off from Lagos and had to layover in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia for one night. I think from Lagos to Addis was about 4 hours. I had been warned about how cold Addis is before hand, but nothing prepared me for the freezing wind that slapped my face getting out of the plane. I was humble, abeg. Addis is typically 13 to 14 degrees on a good day even with the sun out.
Meanwhile, this is a good time to say that some or maybe even most parts of Addis that I saw look like Lagos Island. I really do not know what I was expecting to see when I got to Addis, but I had this weird feeling that it would look better than Nigeria. Well, no it did not (at least for the parts I saw). Therefore, Nigeria 1 Addis 0.
So, the night we landed in Addis, our (mostly aunty Toyin’s😒) blood was hot, looking for adventure. This led us to stroll out of the hotel in the night looking for said adventure. Anyway, our search for adventure was cut short when some of the homeless Addis men hanging around the streets started calling out to us and we had to stylishly run back to the hotel before we were used as suya meat.😂
Landing in Seychelles
The next morning, we were off to the beautiful Seychelles Islands. From Addis to Seychelles is about 3 and a half hours or so… I think. (I left my brain there, so plis, no serious questions…And yes, I am still recovering). We flew over the Indian Ocean for at least 2 hours before we started seeing some of the Seychelles Islands in the distance, scattered on the ocean.
Let us talk about landing in Mahé Island for a minute. Now, it is often said that only skilled pilots land on Mahé Island and the reason is not far-fetched. You are literally landing on an island surrounded by water! The landing strip literally starts where the water ends! Like you cannot as a pilot, decide that you want to have a bad day at the office and “miss” the landing strip or land too soon! Lol, it was the craziest thing.
I am not a clapper when a plane lands especially when there are no unusual situations that require a pilot’s skill to be tested. I am one of those people that sit there and wonder “why are they clapping?“
OMO, THIS ONE I CLAPPED OOO! 😱😂🤣
Like, after we landed, I was like “abeg, na Seychelles I wan go. I no kill pesin.” 😥 We got so close to the water that just when you think the plane is going to land on water, the landing strip suddenly comes into view and the plane lands. The strip is that short. No room for all the taxying around and all that smeh smeh.
Beau Vallon (pronouned Bow, (like arrow and bow) Vah-luhn)
Having survived that ordeal, we headed to the resort which would be our home for the next five days or so; Berjaya Beach Resort and Casino which is located in Beau Vallon, one of the villages on Mahé.
Driving through the narrow roads of Seychelles was a sight to behold. More on that below.
The first day we got in, we (Toyin and I and the tour group of 5 we went with) did not do much because we were quite tired and so we just rested. I was however up at 2am happily and mischievously running through the resort’s hallways and being a five-year old, but none of that matters right now.
Tour of Mahé Island
The next day, we were greeted by a friendly and welcoming tour guide who was scheduled to take us on a full tour of Mahé and its villages as well as other adjoining islands. He was so patient with us and took his time to explain certain things, places and experiences. In his words “In Seychelles, we do not rush, we take our time to get things done.”
I cannot begin to remember all the names of the villages on Mahé that we passed through, but they were quite alot. The roads in Mahé are quite small and wind-y (like they wind around in weird corners) that most of the locals and tourists who drive cars (very few locals drive cars that are not taxis) drive little hyundai cars…those tinymatch box looking ones and I promise, if you go there for the first time, you would think the government had a deal with Hyundai (maybe they did) because 85percent of the cars are the little Hyundai ones. So sometimes you would see a huge public transport bus making its way gracefully through the little narrow streets and freak out at how small the roads are for such a big bus. Apparently drivers make use of convex mirrors which are strategically placed by the government at intersections or sharp curves where you cannot see an oncoming driver.
We toured round the villages (people are really, really just chilled and laid back in Seychelles…well, the guide explained that tourism is their main source of income so it’s not like locals are trying to run multi-million dollar enterprises or something) , some beaches, mountain views and ended up at Port Glaud waterfall.
I had seen this photo on instagram, but did not know if I would end up there and voila, we did! It felt really good in that sense. (Meanwhile this is the deepest part of the waterfall place, so kudos to her.)
So here we were at Port Glaud Waterfall. It is said that the force of the water streaming down the rocks acts as a masseuse that gives amazing back massages, so I tried it and it absolutely works! Most of the other photos have me looking like I am trying not to die so they did not make it here, thank you very much. 😅
Jet Skiing For The First Time
The next day, most of us slept like dogs…it was so restful just sleeping in and doing nothing for some hours. Those were some of my best moments; doing nothing and just resting.
Then… Toyin and I and a couple of us decided to go jet skiing. I do not really know why I had never jet skied before Seychelles. It just never happened, but on this trip, oh it did happen! I think it was one of the best experiences I have ever had, you know. Riding and crashing against the clear blue waves with no care in the world, speeding on the jet ski with nothing but clear, beautiful blue water to the left, right and in front of me.
I was in heaven.
Obviously, I could not take photos as I jet skied, but man, what views I saw… Have you ever seen scenery, you are in so much awe of, and all you can do is either keep saying “wow” over and over again or just start crying? Clearly, I could not start sobbing in front of the guy who accompanied me on the jet ski because, well, that would have caused utter confusion, so I was left with the former like a dodo. Because all I could indeed say was “wow”.
The next day, we went on a boat cruise (almost got left behind 😂 because we thought they meant 9am African time, so Toyin and I took our sweet time getting ready. No, Toyin took her sweet time. Needless to say, we were the last to get on the bus and all the white people were mad at us for wasting their time.😂
Anyway, we made it and the views were simply to die for! I also went snorkeling for the first time ever and slowly conquered my fear of swimming in deep water. It was simply breathtaking and I would not trade the experience for anything in the world.*crying*
I do not even think I understood the total parasailing experience before Seychelles. I had heard of it, but I had no idea how it worked. Seeing one dude get lifted so high in the sky got me so hyped, I was like “I’m so doing that!” And then I did! I did not care how it worked or what the dangers were. I was definitely doing it! Needless to say, it was one of the best experiences of my life. Nothing more than that.
I learned quite a number of valuable lessons while in Seychelles that I am so excited to share. Briefly, three of the major lessons I learned are:
Fear is just a word Wasn’t this one of the biggest lessons I learned though???!!!
From jet-skiing in the large expanse of the Indian ocean, to parasailing at 100 feet in the air, to diving into the ocean and snorkeling, things I had never done before, it became clear to me that fear is just a word that stands between you and your dreams. As Will Smith once said, “the best things in life are on the other side of fear” or something like that.
Needless to say, I really did experience that. It was easy to sit them out and watch people experience things that are indescribable and there might probably have been a number of reasons why I could not have, but I learned something valuable about fear and that whatever I set my mind to, I can achieve.
P.S Side note, this is too good not to share. Toyin and I made an amazing friend (Sade) on this trip. We would go to the resort’s pool to swim once in a while and at first, while swimming in the shallow end of the pool, we noticed that when Sade tried to swim (she does not know how to swim…yet) -and I kid you not- she was shaking and holding on to us for dear life. This is the shallow end of the pool where she can stand up if all else fails! She is even taller than me! She started floating effortlessly the moment we drew her attention to the fact that this is all in her mind; the fact that she feels as though she could drown in the shallow end of a pool.
Trust me, it was very interesting to watch; her recognition and progress. It just goes to show that the mind really is powerful indeed. Sometimes we blow things out of proportion before even attempting. We are so quick to see the negatives and blow them out of proportion that we get scared off things that have never happen and will most likely never happen!
The World is Yours to Explore
There is so much beauty in the world that I am so sure that God wants us to explore and see for ourselves how intentional, artistic, creative and purposeful he is! So much diversity, culture shocks and creativity that is ours to experience. Explore, discover, live and learn.
There is More To Life ThanWork This is another big lesson I learned. Sometimes, it is so easy to get caught up in work day-in day-out that we forget to take breaks and just chill, we forget to do nothing and just see life for what it is and for what it could be.
We get so worked up with urgent deadlines that our lives become a rollercoaster of anxiety, pressure, stressing ourselves out and so on that we forget that on another part of the planet, people are waking up happily and taking their life one day at a time while enjoying the beauty of life. Why can’t that be you?
Happiness is Free
This one touches my soul ever so slightly because while we took a full day tour of Mahé Island and its villages, I noticed that houses were smaller, cars were smaller, supermarkets were smaller, almost everything was smaller. BUT, locals were as happy and peaceful as anything. Because the island is so small (about 92,000 in population on Mahé), almost everyone knows everyone and people are just so so chilled in general. No rush, nothing. Just happy and peaceful.
To say my time in Seychelles was simply amazing would be totally understating it. My eyes were totally opened to another way of life and culture (alot of things could not be put in this blog post, and I did not want to break the post into part series). BUT, it was truly beautiful, life-changing and amazing and I look forward to similar and better experiences in the near future.