Tell us a little about yourself
My name is Amarachi Ekekwe, an extroverted introvert who loves to travel and write fiction. I run a travel blog called Travel with a Pen (www.travelwithapen.com) where I encourage Nigerians to seek out new adventures and travel differently.
When I’m not traveling or writing, I am working a day job as a systems engineer.
What makes one adventurous?
I think it’s the ability to overcome your fears, do something out of your comfort zone and try out new, sometimes strange things that makes one adventurous.
How safe is going for adventure in Nigeria?
How safe is anywhere really? Some places require a higher level of caution and precaution than others but if you do your research, you’ll find that most places are safe to go on adventures in Nigeria.
It is important to take measures to control the things that you can. If you’re not comfortable exploring places that have been brutalized by the media, then stick to the traditional tourist routes – which based on my experiences, are very, very safe.
What’s your wildest adventure so far and why?
I have done a couple of things I’d have termed ‘wild’ a few years ago. For example, I have gone paragliding, hot air ballooning and once, I camped in a tent in the wild. (There were hyenas and lions visiting our campsite that night!)
In Nigeria though, the ‘wildest’ thing I’ve done so far also has to do with camping. I was part of a tour organized by Unravelling Nigeria to Omo Forest Reserve. We slept in tents in the great outdoors. It was crazy and exciting!
What do you think can help grow Nigerian tourism?
Making places more accessible would be a great start. Before we even talk about maintenance, a word that seems to be elusive in the Nigerian Industry vocabulary, we need to be able to get to these places first.
Have you gone hiking in Nigeria? What was it like?
Yes, many times. I’ve been on hiking trails to Idanre Hills, Olumo Rock, Erin Ijesha, Oke-Ado and Omo Forest Reserve. Each one was challenging but very rewarding. Almost all of them have very steep paths with little support but I guess that’s part of what makes the climb interesting.
On your blog travelwithapen you always give nice details of how to travel on a low budget, can one really travel solo on a low budget?
Yes, you can. I’ve written a couple of series on my blog about traveling on really small budgets. I have traveled to three countries with as N15,000 – solo. So, yes, it is possible with adequate planning and the application of cost cutting techniques.
If you were to be the Minister of tourism for just a week what change would you bring to the Nigerian tourism?
I’d launch a massive tourism awareness campaign on social media by hosting Travel bloggers and photographers on a trip to various sites in Nigeria. The impact of social media on Nigeria tourism is amazing, so I’ll capitalize on that.
What’s your best waterfall experience in Nigeria?
For now, it is Erin Ijesha. The fall is very beautiful with many layers. I also loved the hiking trail leading up to the different layers.
One of word to every Nigerian Adventurer out there
Just do it! Your best life is at the other side of fear!