- So tell us a bit about yourself and Ayiba Magazine.
I’m Nigerian, but I grew up in New York City and now live in Toronto, Canada. I manage Ayiba Magazine and curate travel experiences to Africa via Girls Trip Tours for the high achieving women who inspire my lifestyle magazine. Ayiba Magazine is an award-winning online and print publication that has been chronicling the African Renaissance since 2012.
What inspired you to start Girls Trip Tours? Was it a natural evolution from your magazine?
After five years of building my online magazine, I wanted to figure out what was next and how I could bring more value to the brand and its readership. The mission of Ayiba is to connect Africans in the Diaspora with the continent. I had done this through creative content, but felt the next evolution was to do this in real life. Where once you could read about Lagos nightlife, Nairobi’s startup ecosystem, or Rwandese artisans in the pages of Ayiba, now, we can arrange for you to experience it first-hand through group or solo travel with Girls Trip Tours.
Girls Trip Tours is a social venture that is a direct manifestation of my magazine’s mission. We design unique travel experiences across Africa with a focus on female empowerment. Our trips have the goal of empowering future female leaders through mentorship, while taking in the sites and dining around town in the company of high profile business women and local industry leaders. I like to think of it as ‘Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants’ with less soul-searching and more self-actualization.
What have been the highlights of this journey?
I took my first group to Ghana in July. The experience was truly transformative. One of the travellers said it best: “There’s nothing else like Girls Trip out there. When people ask me why I went to Ghana, the best simple explanation I can come up with is “tourism.” But that doesn’t even begin to do the trip justice. You are not simply a passive tourist on this trip. You are an active participant in a global sisterhood. You forever become linked to women of all ages from multiple African countries and the diaspora that are all working in some way or another to inspire and lift one another up. I am in awe of my experience and it will shape my life for decades to come.”
This sums it up perfectly. It was nine days of extreme bliss – and high stress for me as the host – but every single moment was absolutely worth it, especially the days we spent hanging out with our mentees.
The next Girls Trips Tour destination is Kenya. Can we get a sneak peak of what to expect for this trip?
On this trip, I’ll be juxtaposing urban and rural life in Kenya. Half the time will be spent in the midst of Nairobi’s hustle and bustle and the rest in Lamu, the oldest Swahili settlement in East Africa on the Kenyan coast.
We’ll start our Kenya experience in the Silicon Savannah, Nairobi, where we will meet with startup founders and industry leaders for curated dinners and nights out on the town. You’ll get to know one of Africa’s busiest cities through the eyes of our local hosts.
After exploring urban life, we’ll head to Lamu, a tranquil old town on Kenya’s coastline. This UNESCO World Heritage site is the best-preserved Swahili settlement in East Africa. Apart from the rich history and culture that fills the streets, we’ll also enjoy lots of beach activities and water sports.
As with all of our trips, there will be an opportunity to mentor high potential young girls and pass on tangible skills, while connecting them to the tools they need for future success.
Do you get to travel often? If so how?
I travel whenever I have I can. Most times I am traveling for Ayiba; I speak at conferences and often get invited as a media representative to large events. Usually, it’s in North America or Europe, but I can’t wait to begin checking off my African bucket list now that I have Girls Trip to inspire my movement.
What other African countries have you been to so far and what’s your next personal travel destination?
In Africa, I have only visited countries in West Africa: Ghana, Nigeria, Benin, and Togo. Shout out to ECOWAS. Next year is my time to explore other regions in Africa. I plan on visiting South Africa and Kenya, for sure. I am also hoping to get a layover in Addis Ababa and explore for the day.
For personal travel, I’ll be going to the Pacific coast of Mexico for my birthday in December. It will be my first time in Latin America, so I am really excited. I haven’t used my Spanish since university.