Solo travel sounds like so much fun to some and such a bore to others. I prefer to travel with at least one person I know but earlier this year I went solo mostly because I really had no choice.
I wouldn’t say I was completely free of coersion when I decided to go to Jos, the capital of plateau state in Nigeria. I had plans of visiting but not under the circumstances and certainly not so soon but here I was with a medium sized suitcase and a midi bag, headed to the plateau for my youth service.
Initially the plan was to fly but the notice I got did not match my preferred airline’s schedule and the time was specified so I chose to go by road. I booked a seat the day before and as early as 5:30 am I was at the bus terminal waiting for the bus. Although we were expected to leave by 6 am for some reason we left by 8 am. Now, let me point out that before opting for the bus I had done extensive research, articles, blogs and what not. One thing they had in common was that they all said the journey would take a whole day. One in particular suggested packing lots of snacks and I definitely prepared for that one.
All the articles talked about how cold it was so I wore my sweater before hand and had an extra one nearby just in case it was worse than described. I also expected I’d be bored and hungry and at least by midnight I’d be at my destination.
As regards hunger, the bus company at the start of the journey gave everyone a small pack of Nigerian Jollof rice and chicken and a bottle of water so that was breakfast. Occasionally our bus stopped at various States so I was able to eat proper food if I wanted to but I didn’t. I chose suya, chicken and bananas over pounded yam and ewedu and I still had plantain chips and chocolate chip cookies sitting pretty in my bag.
Ohh the journey, the agony, the pain in your backside from sitting in one position for hours with just enough room to stretch your legs forward but not sideways. The exhaustion of my playlist, my saved YouTube tutorials and my short stories and yet I was not half way through the journey at 6pm. Through it all I was just excited to do touristy stuff so I endured. As for the cold, it was worse than described honestly. It was dry, cold and dusty yet the sun, when it came out was scorching hot. And to crown it all, we didn’t arrive at out destination on that day. We got there at about 7 am the next day.
The state is one with a very beautiful atmosphere, there is barely any plains there, everywhere you turn is a beautiful looking hill made of solid rock. Fortunately or unfortunately I wasn’t able to do all that I wanted to do but not to worry I’m definitely going back as soon as my service year is over. It’s a beauty to behold.
Would I ever solo travel again?
Yes! I will but definitely not by road to such a distance. It was a good experience, I stepped out of my comfort zone and ever so slightly overcame my solo travel anxiety.
Jos, I’d be back soon. I hope you’d be ready when I come…Love,