In an inspiring meet and greet organized by Africell Sierra Leone. We had the honour of being among a select group to meet Pelumi Nubi, the remarkable Nigerian woman who drove from London to Lagos. Her sensational journey left us all motivated, sharing invaluable lessons on resilience, resourcefulness, and self-discovery. We couldn’t help but curate some of the golden nuggets and 5 major life lessons from this thought leader, adventurer and brilliant creative.

1.Embracing Yourself
Pelumi’s story began with an interesting childhood (relocating from Lagos to London) where she faced bullying due to her appearance. Seeking solace, she retreated to the library, where she discovered a love for reading. Books, she found, don’t discriminate. This early experience taught her to embrace herself and be authentic. “Be you!” she emphasizes. A lesson that has stayed on forever. Her curiosity also plays a role in her daily life. For example: since taking a DNA test that revealed she was 0.1% Sierra Leonean, this has fueled her desire to visit Sierra Leone.

2.Planning and Preparation
Pelumi’s journey wasn’t spontaneous. It involved over 12 months of meticulous planning, where she paid great attention to detail. Despite doing it alone, she reached out to others who had undertaken similar journeys, read numerous blogs, and gathered as much information as possible. This emphasizes the importance of preparation and seeking knowledge from others’ experiences.

3.Utilizing Available Resources
When asked about the logistics, Pelumi mentioned, “I made use of the car because it’s what I had.” This simple statement encapsulates a powerful lesson: make use of the tools you have and just go for it. She packed essentials like a water gallon, garri, and Indomie, teaching us to make the most of what we have and not wait for perfect conditions.

4.Overcoming Fear and Doubt
She had a set date for her journey and, despite feeling fear, decided to go ahead. She shut out the noise from naysayers and took the leap. Her message is clear: feel the fear, but do it anyway. She strongly believes in the fact that a higher power (the God factor) supports through our goals.

5.Building Confidence
Nubi started with shorter journeys/trips to build confidence, especially with her parents. This highlights the importance of starting where you are and gradually building up to bigger challenges.

Highlights and Achievements: makes the journey worthhile

Pelumi’s journey was filled with unforgettable moments. From seeing the Eiffel Tower to navigatingThe 3-kilometre (1.8-mile) long train, known as “The Snake of the Desert,” has the daunting task of transporting 85 tonnes of iron ore (chunks of black sand-like material) through the Sahara Desert on a single track of 704 kilometres (437 miles). Tourists and locals alike can ride this train if they wish , each experience reinforced her resilience and self-confidence. Her story, captured through videos, photos, and storytelling, became a sensation, inspiring thousands worldwide. She sought to change the narrative by using her journey to tell a positive story. She tapped into her love for the Pan African Movement, spending two days at the Liberian border and joining a protest. In essence, she was trying to experience the challenges regular travelers face.

Her journey celebrated humanity, kindness, and the joy of diverse cultures. Her car (Lumi) was donated to the Lagos Museum, inspiring future generations. Pelumi is now a Lagos Tourism Ambassador.

Pelumi with some leading ladies in Sierra Leone

Challenges and Resilience: the never-ending cycle

Delay does not mean denial
Pelumi’s original plan of 74 days changed due to a crash in Ivory Coast. She was involved in a car crash due to poor street lighting and a lack of signage, which caused her to drive into a parked heavy-duty truck. Local residents quickly called for an ambulance, and she was taken to a hospital.

“The police asked me to press charges against the truck driver, but I refused. I only wanted my car fixed within five days,” she explained.

Despite this, she remained determined, showcasing sheer determination to finish her journey. She faced personal values challenges, like refusing to indulge in bribery which could have made her trip less challenging at certain border controls.

Safety and Discernment
Pelumi also faced sexual harassment during her journey. A hotel worker in Morocco crossed boundaries, but she courageously stood up for herself. She used discernment, fake rings, and extra safety steps to protect herself, highlighting the importance of being proactive about safety.

Photo Credit: Bella Naija

The Magic is in the Doing

Pelumi is excited about unveiling a life-transforming project with Africell Group that will impact Sierra Leone. She plans to curate her travels into a documented form or book. For Pelumi, collaboration is key; she believes in shared goals and openness to work together.

Her journey teaches us to advocate for ourselves, fail fast, rise again, and build our dreams. Pelumi Nubi’s story is a testament to the magic in doing (her personal mantra), inspiring us all to take action and make our mark on the world.

Written by: arianadiaries

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