Ghana : Why Everybody Ran Back !

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After seeing this pic on the gram, I knew that the Year of Return in Ghana had to be my next topic I blog about. You guessed it, over 1.5 million people took plane, ferry, catapult or whichever method of transport to get themselves from all over the world, to the sunny and vibrant lands of Ghana. From Ludacris to Cardi B and her infamous chichinga incident to even the Queen B’s mother herself spent new years in Ghana.

Of course, I was watching like a lot of my friends from my phone via SnapChat and Insta stories. Whilst I was drying my eyes of the tears due to not doing up enjoyment like everyone else, I do feel glad that I somewhat saved money. Prices skyrocketed to over 1 grand, and that’s just the tickets alone. If you didn’t get transport and accommodation sorted also, then I guess your bank accounts definitely felt the pain! Nevertheless, 2019 was the definitely the year of African awareness and self-consciousness.

The Year of Return

I actually had to find out from a colleague what it was and why it meant so many people were returning home ( they need to teach this during BHM in schools ).

The “Year of Return, Ghana 2019” is a major landmark spiritual and birth-right journey inviting the Global African family, home and abroad, to mark 400 years of the arrival of the first enslaved Africans in Jamestown, Virginia.”. yearofreturn.com

In hindsight, it was an invitation of all descendants from years and years of slavery to come back to their original roots, original heritages and come back to their true homes. The project has many goals and targets. One being for people to come and experience culture and enjoyment in their hometown, another to celebrate the freedom that Africans all over the world currently have and also to boost tourism as it can be a leading indicator to business and investment.

What does this mean for Ghanaians, Africans in general?

For me, I think it brings a new sense of emotion and patriotism for not only Ghana, but for Africa as a whole. If you think about it, Africa definitely wasn’t the dream spot that people wanted to spend their Christmas season at. If it wasn’t America, it was Canada. If it wasn’t the UK it was somewhere in Europe ! But the fact that thousands of people dream about going home to see the places where their parents were born and raised, really brings a sense of change and greatness.

Afro Nation, the festival which features many African and Caribbean artists sharing the beautiful and lovely music that Africa has to provide is also a massive contributor to many people going to Ghana. The festival celebrated the vibrant and emerging culture of Africa and it has definitely had an impact on the younger generation all over the world.

Overall, I am proud of where Ghana and Africa as a whole has transformed and come to be in this current year, it’s rise in popularity, public perception and view has made it a number 1 tourist destination. Who would of thought- not me ! and who knows, mabye Ghana will be seeing me this year after-all ! *crosses fingers*

Thanks for reading !

2020 Is That Year.

2020. The year of clear vision.

The start of a new decade. I really had to sit down and ‘deep’ it. I have lived for a decade and I’m about to enter into a new decade. As I listen and read the many phrases of “you are about to enter into your best year yet” and “2020 we’re not slacking” I start to wonder how I can make this year my best.

2019 was hard. I’m sure many people can attest to this, for me personally the combination of second year of university, working on my personal development, my blog and applying for placements (which is too complicated to go into I don’t even know how to explain) it was a tough rollercoaster. It’s weird how people can relate to the feeling of 2019 bringing nothing but disappointments, lack of achievements and hurt.

But hey- it’s 2020, if you don’t remain positive, who will ?

1. Stop saying “New Year, New Me”.

Now I’m not trying to be a negative Nancy here, but stop saying this phrase unless you are actually going to do something about this “New Me” thing. I’m sure many of us on social media have seen the various stories and posts of how 2020 is going to be better than the previous year (including the woman who is stepping up on those steps with a box named “edges” signifying she is not leaving that behind lool) and how this year is going to be the best year yet because “I am now a changed person”. But it’s easier said then done. Don’t just say the phrase for saying sake- act on it.

Yes 2020 is the beginning of a new decade and it is good to have a positive outlook of your character for the year; however, it is important to remember that come December 31st 2020, you are not going to see a change in yourself unless you have worked on it
consistently throughout the year.

2. Get an accountability partner.

So, if you are going with this “New Year, New Me” vibe, at least get someone who can be
accountable for this. My suggestion will be to write down all your goals, either financial,
spiritual or character motivated and hand it over to someone who will be willing to check you up on some of your goals you had for the year. This can be someone close to you like a sibling, parent or a good friend. Make sure they are reliable and motivational though, you wouldn’t want it to be someone who doesn’t care about your growth or wellbeing. Therefore, look for someone who is going to add to your improvement and be accountable for your goals.

3. Get a gratitude jar.

I was introduced to this idea by my friend Tisha, who suggested getting a jar and writing on a piece of paper something you are grateful for within that day. By the end of the year, you can empty the jar and read all the things that you are grateful for within that year. I think as we go through the year, we may go through struggles or difficult time that makes us forget the smaller things we can be grateful for. Just having air go in and out of our lungs each day is a blessing, that can be something you put in your gratitude jar !
If you want this year to be remembered as a year of success, this gratitude jar will help you achieve it.

4. Just live.

This point applies to my generation, the younger 20’s or the older teens. I’m sure you have heard the saying “This new decade is going to be wild- you’re going to be married, having kids and buying a house” wait up, hold on a minute ! Please we are just 6 days into 2020 !!
Yes, the next 10 years ahead of you may look like a lot in terms of life changes, and it’s
nothing to be afraid of, but I urge you to just take this year and just live.

There is nothing wrong with staying focused on your future, but also remember to take the time out and just enjoy the year that is ahead of you. My “New Years Resolution” as people would like to call it is to just branch out of my comfort zone and try out new places and new activities, travel more and just LIVE- Not be so caught up and be strict on the goals I had planned for the year.

Thanks for reading this post, I hope you have a pleasant and peaceful year, and here’s to
new posts within the new year “ *clinks glass*

Remain Blessed.

When In Dam.

So, I officially managed to squeeze in a trip to Amsterdam before the year ended. It has always been a fascinating place for me, somewhere I’ve wanted to visit for a while, not for any particular reason and yes guys not to smoke or anything! I guess it’s a place where young people can just go out for a weekend away. I was there for a total of 4 days and I will be sharing what I got up to plus some useful tips for making your stay there pleasant and enjoyable!

Day 1:

We arrived the day prior in the evening, tired and drained from travelling from the airport to our Bnb we decided to start our ventures on the following day, we went to a lovely place called The Breakfast Club for our breakfast in Sloterdijk, I found out about this place via the gram, and surprisingly they have some branches in London which I did not know about. This location was perfect as it allowed us to go into central straight from there via train, where we walked around, saw various souvenir places and got to experience the Dam trams.

The tram services in Amsterdam are great, as it acts as a mini tour bus, so if you see something you are interested in you can simply get off and walk to it. It runs direct through the city, and majority of trams stop at Amsterdam Centraal station where everything is situated.

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In the evening we explored the nightlife of Amsterdam Centraal, going to a bar called the SkyLounge. This was located above the Hilton Hotel just outside of the station and had a spectacular view of the city of Amsterdam, it had a rooftop for you to take pictures on, however due to the cold winter night we decided to stay inside and order a few drinks. I would recommend exploring the nightlife, just like you would in any city, Amsterdam has plenty of bars and restaurants for you to try out, however I would advise you to book in advance as places can be pretty packed!

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Day 2:
We visited the infamous VenusTempel museum also known as the place full of statues of parts where the sun doesn’t shine!

This is located in Centraal once again and was surprisingly very cheap! This was the only museum we visited, the Anne Frank house and the Van Gogh museum were all sold out, turns out you have to purchase tickets 2 months in advance!

We then went to the Hard Rock Café deeper into town, turns out they also have branches in the UK also! That’s the great thing about Dam, if you are not up to trying out new/foreign foods, there is always the safe option of sticking to what you know-majority of restaurants/cafes here in the UK are bound to be there also.

Near the Café was a souvenir shop where I could buy some keychains (I have a keychain collection for every country I go to). Although this shop was not expensive, I would recommend going to the market stalls for souvenirs as you can get some good deals there and buy souvenirs for a much cheaper price.unnamed-14

Day 3:

Day 3 consisted of activities galore! We first went to the Magna Plaza in centraal, I would say a slightly less fancy version of Harrods, but still decent. This place consisted of shops such as Mango and Coach, but we still tried to go to Dutch shops to gain a better experience of their style of clothing.

After bike riding around town, we went on the Amsterdam City Canal Cruise. This was a boat ride that took us around the many canals of Amsterdam, turns out there are many landmarks to see along the canal cruise such as the Crooked Houses, the Illuminated Laundry (AKA Neighbourhood) and the Mayor’s house! I would definitely recommend the boat cruise as it allows you to see the city of Amsterdam without going through the hassle of changing trains or trams.

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Useful Tips:

The Amsterdam City Card:

The Amsterdam City Card is a pass that allows you to get free transport on Metro,Tram, Bus and Train as well as access to museums such as the Van Gogh museum and the Rijksmuseum. This pass allows you to gain access to key tourist areas and allows you to go on the one hour canal cruise ride which was very worth it ! In all, you save loads of money and time from buying tickets and waiting in queues. If you are planning on going to Amsterdam very soon, then I highly recommend taking a look at purchasing the card if you are there for a long stay:

Wrap up warm:

Regardless of what time you go to Amsterdam, the city is full or large lakes and canals, emphasis on the canals- THEY ARE EVERYWHERE. Where we stayed had a huge canal outside, the minute we came out of our door, and although they can be peaceful and they provide a serene atmosphere to walk along with, walking along them at night can be very difficult. The combination of winds with the cold waters can make your walk really annoying, therefore a good coat, scar and hat will do you just fine!

Rent a Bike:

One thing I noticed once arriving to our BnB is that there are well developed cycle lanes everywhere, and EVERYONE rides a bike. It’s almost like it’s the norm to ride a bike, from young kids to elderly women all on bikes. When my friend’s said that they wanted to rent a bike to ride I definitely strayed away from the idea. I have never and will probably never ride a bike on these London streets, I’ve heard of too many accidents happening to cyclists and I wasn’t going to end up being in one, especially not in a foreign country!

However, renting a bike and riding along the streets of Amsterdam Centraal was one of the highlights of the whole trip for me, I felt like I got to indulge in the true Dam experience of riding a bike and especially since there were plenty of bike lanes, I felt more safer than ever ! I would definitely recommend renting a bike, they are cheap ( 1 hour was 4-5 euros) and effective in getting you from A to B.

And that’s all folks !

Thank you for reading my Amsterdam travel blog and I hope to document more of my travels in this pleasant upcoming year of 2020!