February: the Month of Baecation

Hello there!

February is back again with its lovey dovey atmosphere and I must say it is quite infectious as I have been thinking of ways to make your February awesome. This has been on my mind for days now. Today however, the love bug aka Cupid shot me with an arrow so here I am with a gift for not just you but also your bae. I am talking about a baecation February where I share with you tips to help you plan your next trip with bae.

After thinking about it for a while, I settled on the below topics;

  1. How to plan your baecation – 07/02/2018
  2. Where to go on your baecation – 14/02/2018
  3. What to pack for your baecation – 21/02/2018
  4. What to do on your baecation – 28/02/2018

I know most of you plan on getting on the baecation train this year and I want to offer you the very best assistance I can give. I am a sucker for love stories and travelling. And if you and bae can travel together and still stay together, then you are made for each other or you just got awesome personalities. Why do I say so? Well, I have come to understand that travel brings out the good, the bad and the ugly in a person. If you are able to deal with this on the road or in a different country, then you can handle just about anything.

So, I hope you enjoy “February – the month of baecation” and use these travel tips to plan your next trip with bae.

If you need help with planning your trip or any travel advice, contact wanderlustfulsights@gmail.com .

We will be happy to help!

Love,

Naana

PS: What do you call a person born on the 13th of February? Cupid, no?

african_american_cupid_aiming_his_bow_and_arrow_of_love_0521-1002-0613-0708_SMU

Featured Image: Woman Beyond Borders

Planning your Travel Budget

So you have finally decided on your holiday / vacation spot and decided on your mode of transportation from home to your destination. That is great! As you prepare for your trip however, do not forget to plan a budget for the following.

 

Other transportation

Getting to your destination has been taken care of but have you thought of the transportation within? If not, then put some money aside for boats, trains, rental cars, parking, bus or taxi.

 

Accommodation

It is not only about getting there. It is also about where you will be laying your head each night. Will you be staying in a hotel, b&b or an Airbnb home? Book accommodations in advance to save time, expenses and help you plan your budget accurately.

 

Food

If you are staying in an Airbnb home, then you have to decide whether you will be cooking or eating from local restaurants. If you will be making your own meals, then you have to locate the local grocery store and purchase what you will need. Enquire about local eateries even before you leave home – that is if you will be eating out. If you are staying in a hotel or b&b, then make sure that breakfast is included in your accommodation fee.

 

Activities

Will you be going on any tours during your vacation? Are there any entrance fees for museums, parks, safaris or other attractions? Do you plan on doing something more expensive like skydiving, island hopping, scuba diving or a hot air balloon ride? Add these travel costs to your budget and make sure you know what is and is not included.

 

Shopping

Do you like to shop when you travel? If you only buy a few postcards and souvenirs, then you will not need to budget much here. But if you are going on a shopping spree, leave yourself plenty of room in your travel budget.

 

Emergency

Always have extra cash for medicine, miscellaneous expenses or ticket change fee.

 

It is always a good idea to track your travel spending. This will help you know how much you spend while you travel and also keep you in check so you do not go broke in a foreign land. 

18 Reasons Why You Should Travel

Last week, I shared with you our intentions for 2018 as wanderlusts. This week, I want to share with you reasons why you should not be content with seeing the same things and doing the same things each day. Reasons why you should go on trips this year. Reasons why travelling is good for you.

Here we go;

Travel for new experiences

How is it possible to do the same thing each day, live the same way and not yearn for something new? No wonder you are dying slowly on the inside. Get out there. Go to a new place. Try out new things. Go to a place you have never been before. Rejuvenate! Live anew! Dream again!

Travel for all the delicious delicacies

If you are a foodie such as I, you will know how important it is for the taste buds to try something new often. Treat yourself to meals from around the world. Eat whatever you want without feeling ashamed. You can worry about the calories when you get back home. And you will expand your menu list also.

Travel for the memories

Most of my cherished memories are sitting on Lake Togo sharing a sandwich with Ellen; going evening swimming with Mary at Takoradi; learning basic French with Albert, Afia, Mary, Reggie and Shika; strolling at the beach with Jacqueline; Nuella and I making fun of people at the Winneba Beach; sharing a hotel room with Dee on the mountains; staying in a beach house with friends and acquaintances for a weekend; holding the tail of a crocodile at Paga; having photoshoots with Edem, Jacqueline and a donkey at Burkina Faso; relaxing at the swanky Royal Senchi with Paa Kow; Elim’s birthday party on an island at Aqua Safari; Lizzy’s on the green mountains of Aburi etc. I can go on and on for days. Hopefully I will make new memories soon with the Jacobs at New Orleans.

Travel for cool stories

As the saying goes; don’t tell me how educated you are, tell me how much you have travelled. Travel adds up to you. It somewhat increases your vocabulary and gives you a lot to say on that date, to friends and family. Your travel stories can be an icebreaker if you are nervous about starting a conversation though I believe travel boost your confidence since you have the opportunity to interact with various people from various ethnicity. Travel just makes you so cool and super interesting.

Travel to make new friends

People you meet while on the road become some of the most valued names on your contact. I have friends from different countries and backgrounds on my contact list. Some I met while I was travelling or while they were travelling. These friends have given me a glimpse of the world outside my community and has forced me to look beyond what is around me and strive for more.

Travel for bonding

What makes me enjoy solo travelling is the fact that I get to realise so many things about me on my trips. I do not know how it happens but being at a new place sort of open my mind’s eye to things I have ignored or buried deep inside. Also, if you are travelling with a loved one or friends, nothing says bonding than being stuck in a house with a group of people for a couple of days. You find yourselves getting closer, making memories and overcoming obstacles together.

Travel for adventure

How do you expect to be fun, daring and adventurous when you have been sitting at the same desk for centuries? Does it not bother you that you are getting too old for your age? Spice things up! Take a speedboat ride in New Zealand, zip-line over the jungle canopy of Peru, bargain prices in the markets of Marrakech, visit the safari in South Africa etc. We are wired for excitement and adventure. So go on that trip!

Travel opens your mind

The most open minded people are those who have travelled a lot. They have seen so much and learnt so much that they are open to things all the time. They are somewhat more relaxed also and take life rather easy. This is an ideology I am yet to unravel. The different people, new experiences, reality of things and foreign places have a way of shattering preconceived ideas.

Travel for creativity

Some of my best poems and write-ups was while I was in a new place. New places do that to you. You will find yourself identifying solutions for problems you or others have been facing for a long time. That is why entrepreneurs are advised to travel often as it gives them a new perspective about things.

Travel for education

If not for the fun, go see the world for education that you will not get in school. Relive history through the walls of ancient ruins. Learn about socio-economic differences and its effects from locals and personal observations. Learn about politics, sociology and geography while living / experiencing / seeing it.

Travel challenges you

Travel not only changes you but it also challenges you. It has you reconsidering certain thoughts and actions while encouraging you to set new goals for yourself. It has you doing things in a totally different way.

Travel for the language

I do not know about you but it feels rather satisfying when I say a few words in Greek and French. I know just a few words but being able to throw it into a conversation with natives gives me a small victory. You do not have to learn a whole new language but being able to say “hello”, “thank you” or “how are you” in Chinese, Arabic or Spanish should be everyone’s goal. You can also just luxuriate in the beauty of a different language and accent. You see that French you have been struggling with, you can easily learn it if you find yourself in among natives.

Travel to make your dream come true

Do you dream of the Eiffel Tower and feasting on the delicious pastries of Paris? How about learning the story of the Incas in Peru? Or partaking in Mardi Gras at New Orleans? Or is it the Carnival in Brazil? Maybe it is island hopping in the Caribbean? Or an euro trip? Maybe it is visiting the Maasai people of Kenya and Tanzania. Or exploring the exotic life of Zanzibar. Whatever your travel dream might be, making it happen means dreams do come true and that should be motivation enough.

Travel for a sense appreciation, gratitude and perspective

One thing I learnt about myself while travelling was I lacked appreciation and gratitude for what I have. This is because I had become so used to my blessings that I did not realise that not everybody has it like I do. Travel changed me as seeing new places, interacting with locals, seeing how others live etc. had me appreciating what I have. I no longer take the little things for granted.

Travel to live in the present

If it is your desire to move to Bangkok for a few months, why not do it? If it is an Europe trip for the summer, why not do it? If it is to help a non-profit in another continent, why not just do it right now with Operations Groundswell or Kailend? We make so many excuses and put so many things off for later when it can be done right now. Do everything that you want to do and do it now. Nobody knows what tomorrow will bring. Live in the now. Enjoy what it is that you have right now.

Travel else you will regret not doing so

So many things we are striving for right now can wait but travel cannot. You won’t be young forever. You will not have this energy forever. You will not have this perfect vision forever. So now that you have what it takes to travel and see the world, you better do it and not live in regrets later on.

Travel for love

I am a sucker for romance and happy endings and I have seen enough to know that travel heightens the connections you make / have with people. There is nothing as refreshing as holding hands while watching the sunrise with a new love; slowly moving to the rhythm of a foreign song with a love interest; rekindling lost passion with an old love on a secluded beach; bonding with an old flame on a road trip; discovering your feelings for someone you have friend zoned on a camping trip; or enjoying a couples’ massage with some sweet scented oil in Hawaii. As you are your truest self while travelling, let your guard down, be open minded because you will never know where love will come from.

Travel for the heck of it

Why travel? Because you can! Because you want to! Because it beats the alternative of staying home! What will you do with all the money you are working so hard for if not to travel!

So just go already or plan your next trip with triphobo trip planner for better travel experience.

Intentions for 2018

Dear Fellow Wanderlust,

I first want to thank you for the follow, likes and comments throughout the year. I really do appreciate it. It has been 2 years I started Wanderlustful Sights and there were days I could go MIA but you were still here. I do appreciate it. Thank you very much.

Last year, I had plans to do a whole lot of travel but could not because life had its own plans. The thing is that though I was unable to travel to the places I wanted, life compensated me with unplanned and planned trips that were just amazing. Also, I had my close friends visiting some of the places I wanted to visit. This gave me the opportunity to see these places through their eyes which I am thankful for.

26056065_1563681930353276_3452942716855466600_n.jpg

2018 however, we are going to do things differently. I want you and I to make a promise to go see the world no matter what. No more excuses! We are taking charge and doing this. Right from January 2018, we will be writing out our travel plans and stories for / throughout the year. We are going to go see all the places we have dreamt of; heard off; seen on instagram and in movies. We are going to go skinny dipping, hiking, dancing, eating, meditating, impacting, living, skydiving, scuba diving, island hopping, visiting museums and sanctuaries, discovering, savouring, writing, photographing, documenting, videoing, road trip etc. We are just going to do it! You would not have to start with Paris if you cannot afford but you will have to start somewhere. I suggest you start with your own country and its neighbouring countries then when you can afford – explore the world.

26168864_1564443570277112_4472991906174928430_n

Our mantra for the year will be “Out with the old, in with the new”.

If we have to travel solo, with a loved one, friends, an NGO or Social Entreprise, family, a travel group etc., we are just going to do it!

If you are with me, say “AYE”.

 

Love,

Naana

 

Share your travel photos and stories with wanderlustfulsights@gmail.com

Christmas Gift List – Late Edition

A Christmas Gift List that comes out less than a week before Christmas you say? Preposterous you say? Surely all have completed their gift shopping with varied degrees of success!

WRONG!

What we have here is a list of non-personalised gifts that are good enough to save you but general enough that you don’t need to think much when deciding about them.

Hampers – A true standing tradition in Ghana, hampers are especially a standard among corporations and every year shops nationwide roll out their selections. However, my pick for Hamper of the Year is the Marina Mall Supermarket. Ranging from the extravagant to moderate, there is something for everyone in their collection. An honourable mention goes to All Pure Nature at the Marina Mall with their hamper of all-natural beauty products and to Farmer’s Market located in Tema, Comm.11 (I believe they also have a branch in Labone, not sure though) with their beautiful fruit hamper, pricey but beautiful.

ef20134bd4486a7f4ad638a4945ed5cf
Photo credit: http://www.i.pinimg.com

 

Gifts Sets – While not as large as hampers, gift sets are still a good option. While bath sets are nice unless you are absolutely sure of the recipients tastes best go for the chocolate/biscuit sets. This year’s winner, by a mile, is Evergreen. They truly brought the A-game this year, with some of their sets in such lovely packaging that wrapping them up further should be considered a crime. With prices ranging from moderately high to just plain moderate, you cannot go wrong here. Honourable mention goes to Maxmart.

Beauty-Christmas-gifts-231452
http://www.cdn.images.express.co.uk

 Books – As an avid bibliophile, it is my sacred duty to present this option. Don’t have time to find a bookstore or don’t think they would want to tote around a heavy book. Do they have a smartphone? If yes, who are we kidding? It’s yes, there is a marvellous new invention called e-books. Get some. Or if you have money to spend, get them a kindle.

christmas-book
http://www.metrouk2.files.wordpress.com

Gift Vouchers – Reached your absolute limit and don’t know what to do, then these are for you. Most major malls have some so go in and ask. Too lazy to do that? Put some money in an envelope with a Christmas card, more practical anyway.

xmas-gift-vouchers-at-beausynergy
http://www.3mcf0w2op2yfef3b31oen60u-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com

 

So that’s it for my Christmas Gift List – Late Edition, got any ideas I missed? Write them in the comments.

 

Cosmos out.

Iroko Beach Villas: Home Away From Home

I fell in love with Iroko Beach Villas the very first time I visited with friends in Summer 2014. Who wouldn’t? A beautiful timber house with a huge compound right on the shores of Oshiye – Kokrobite with the sea breeze flowing through spacious rooms. I must say, the owner, architect and interior decorator did a wonderful job with this villa because I felt right at home. The house has this warm homey feeling which makes you feel like this is right where you belong. Well, this is how I feel every single time. So when a friend suggested we go on a trip on the holiday weekend, I knew I had to get them to Iroko Beach Villas and that was exactly what I did.

IMG-20171204-WA0001

The Journey:

Kokrobite is an hour drive away from the Accra Mall depending on the traffic and the kind of car you use. Thus, we used an Uber cab and despite the traffic, we got there a couple of minutes after an hour. We were charged between 45.00 Cedis to 75.00 Cedis. If you are going by public transportation, you can just pick a trotro heading towards Kasoa; alight at the barrier; cross the road and head to the Kokrobite Taxi station and alight at Abena W) Ha Spot or Israel Enterprise at Oshiye – Kokrobite. This should cost you less than 10.00 Cedis.

IMG-20171202-WA0019

The Place:

Iroko Beach Villas is a large architect-designed modern timber-framed beach house with four bedrooms (3 doubles and 1 twin) all with modern on-suit bathrooms and balconies. There is a huge open-plan living area (plus a large outside deck), a modern kitchen, and a barbeque area making the house ideal for entertaining. The large garden has a decked path onto the beach and an outside shower. The ocean views and sounds are uninterrupted, as is the 24-hour cooling sea breeze. The house comes with a 24-hour watchman and a housekeeper; internet and it is family friendly.

IMG-20171204-WA0010

The Environs: 

Kokrobite beach is a fantastic place to relax, but yet still within easy distance of the city and airport. The local bars and restaurants, which are a short walk along the beach, are starting to develop an interesting music scene, especially at the weekends. There is the beach right outside the door; a few local bars and restaurants a short walk along the beach; the Kokrobite Gardens; a large international supermarket chain 10 minutes drive away; a go-kart place about 20 minutes drive away; bojo beach etc.

20171203_063658

Getting around:

Local taxis can be waved down and are cheap and plentiful and are fine for short journeys, but tend to be a little small and warm for longer journeys.

received_10203968056879542

The Activities:

Depending on what your reasons are for visiting and the group you are with, here are some activities I can recommend.

  • Visit the Kokrobite Gardens
  • Visit the Kokrobite Academy of African Music and Arts
  • Reggae Night at Big Milly’s Backyard
  • Go-kart racing
  • Go swimming
  • Sunbathe
  • Evening and early morning strolls
  • Watch the sunrise and sunset
  • Have a bonfire night and barbeque
  • Play beach soccer
  • Do some yoga in the open air
  • Go jogging or running along the shores
  • Watch the fishermen cast / draw their nets
  • Stay home and play some board games / cards
  • Dine on some fresh seafood
  • Take some amazing photographs and videos
  • Laze about in swimsuits

If you are looking at getting away from the busy city life for a weekend or for the Christmas holidays, then I highly recommend Iroko Beach Villas.

Go-Kart Racing, Pizza or both???

When we (Mary, Afia, Regina and Shika) saw the Go-Kart place (L’AfriKlub) on our way home last week, we knew we had to check it out before leaving Lome. With Shika leaving this Thursday, the plan was to go go-karting on either Monday night or Tuesday night as our Wednesday night was taken – barbecue party for Kailend Volunteers and team. So on Tuesday night, we arranged to go go-karting and then have pizza as we have not yet had anything outside the delicious homecook meals by Sylvina. We set off from the Kailend Volunteer House / Headquarters at Togo Deux Mille to Afrik Klub which was a 7 minute drive.

At L’AfriKlub, we saw a couple of people on the raceway. One racer had taken the racing pretty seriously as he kept going on and on at top speed. This sort of got those of us who do not know how to drive a little scared but we were determined to give it a shot. However we lost the excitement when we were informed of the charges (6000 CFA equivalent 44 Cedis) which was very affordable but we had to choose between pizza and go-karting. We finally settled on satisfying our rumbling stomach.

We went up the stairs to the rooftop and ordered a 30cm pizza (5000 CFA  equivalent 36.50) with different toppings. We got the margherita, quart-fromage, cannibale and exotique (Hawaiian). We waited for our pizza over some coke, ice and lemon. Between 15 to 20 minutes, our pizza was served. You should have seen the excitement on our faces as the pizza smelled so good and the quart fromage which was served first looked so right with the thin crust. After saying grace, we dived into the quart fromage and each bite somewhat tasted better than the previous. Within 15 minutes, all four pizzas were gone.

And though we were not able to do what we wanted to do at L’AfriKlub, we have no regrets as the pizza made up for it. Kudos to the chef for making something so heavenly.