It’s past three in the morning, and cold
And I’m lying on the road,
At the mercy of armed hooded men, ready to offload,
This is not a cute poem, or a poem at all.
This is me getting robbed.
It’s March of 2010, and Sagamu-Ore Highway is not a nice place to be at 3 in the morning. Especially when just a few weeks ago, a story was making the rounds that some robbers forced passengers to lie in the middle of the road. Next, they made a bus run over them. Why? Because they refused to part with money.
Anyway, you’re reading this because when I wanted to explain to them that I was just a broke student traveling for exams, they didn’t shoot me.
They just gave me correct beating.
A few days later, my mum and I were arguing because I wanted to travel to Lagos, by road. At Night.
The Yoruba Mother won.
A few months later, someone gave me money to fly to Port Harcourt. But the airline I used was one of those ones at Jibowu, that have four tyres, and lets us stop at Ore to eat and shit.
I think it was Ifesinachi Mass Transit.
Now, I can’t remember whether I took a bus because I needed extra cash or because I just wanted to touch asphalt.
The thing is, I love the road, very much. I love to travel by road. I love it. I love it so much I once made the decision for a 10-hour road trip, in less than 15 minutes. I just packed a small bag and hit the road.
I’ve travelled in a car with friends, from Rivers State to Kogi State, with nothing but Google Maps and a reasonable supply of junk food. (We got lost once though. The Map re-routed too quickly)
So now, I’m travelling again, but it’s nothing like I’ve ever done before. This time, I’m travelling round the entire country. In one stretch. With one backpack and nothing else.
I’m round-tripping it. So I’m leaving from Lagos, then headed to the South-South, then to the South-East, then the Middle-Belt, then the Northeast, then the Northwest, down to the North-Central, back to the Southwest, and back to Lagos.
I’m planning to spend 8 weeks max, and I intend to start mid-March, but I’ll be needing some help.
First, I’ll be writing stories on the road, and taking pictures. I don’t have a DSLR (yet), so I’ll be taking the photos with my phone and my memory. Most of it, I’ll be documenting on Pulse.
Second. I want to make this road trip cost as little as possible. That means zero hotel costs. So if you know anyone willing to spare a couch in any state, my body is ready.
Bonus: I don’t bed-wet.
Another way you can help me is by telling me things you think I should explore. Just to give you an idea, I’ll be going to Upper Sakpomba, in Edo State — the place Lawrence Anini grew up. I’ll be looking for weird things in weird places too, like the village in Ebonyi where no one is allowed to kill snakes (God, snakes terrify me). Or like the dog meat market in Itam, Akwa Ibom State. Or the vagina therapists of the North. And if you know anyone who’d take me to Sambisa, I really don’t mind to be honest. So yes, please tell me things you think I should see, or eat, or do.
I don’t think I can do this alone, mostly because I don’t have two heads. So I look forward to the things you want to share, or the ways you’d like to help.
Stay awesome, or better still, pack a bag and hit the road.
P.S: This was supposed to be a motivational/inspirational/life-coachinal piece. If you didn’t feel inspired, please start from the top of this page, and read to the bottom. Thank you.