• Interview
  • Wandering Feet // Hiking Tales

    Into the wild I go:

    losing my way, finding my soul…

    There is a passion that comes with listening to people talk about the things they love.

    The way their eyes light up, the way their eyes glaze over, recounting experiences or how their laughter starts at the bottom of their bellies and bubbles all the way up and out of their mouths. It is totally infectious!

    This is the same  energy that Usualsuspect gives off when talking about travel and hiking.

    So naturally, what does Iwu do? Hunt him down and ask for an interview.

    This was supposed to be a recorded interview, however it  was the day I took a day trip with his hiking group ‘Monstatribe’ to Gurara falls for the first time. So, yeah, too much exploring and roaring waterfalls to set  that up but, here’s this awesome Q & A session with him you’d totally enjoy.

    Meet The Nomad

    “When Ogli Joseph Valacci is not being a Risk Management, Brand Management and Information Technology consultant, he’s a hiker, biker, writer and adventure seeker.

    Founder of the lifestyle platform ‘MonstaTribe’ an acronym for [Movement for the Obliteration of Negativity Stereotypes Tribalism and Acrimony, he aims to foster the spirit of togetherness, instigating the spirit of adventure amongst members of the society and creating the incentive to visit locations in Nigeria. His focus being on local tourism sites to improve the desire to patronize, develop and buy Nigeria and the Nigerian identity… “

     

    Facebook : UsualSuspect

    Instagram : @1usualsuspect

    Instagram : @monstatribe_

    Instagram : @thenetworkprojectng

    Could you kindly introduce yourself?

    My name is Ogli Valacci Joseph, I am a Nigerian, Christian.

    I am a Risk Management, Brand Management and Information Technology consultant.

    I am a capricornian, born on the 1st of January. Hiker. Biker. Writer and adventure seeker.

    How Long have you been hiking for?

    I started hiking 1999, but it wasn’t a consistent passion until 2009 when I found myself going through a very difficult phase and so I would hike to clear my head, calm my soul and get my mental compass pointing true north. I stepped up the rate of my hikes in 2012 when I was faced with the reality of how transient life was, so I decided to bond with nature, submerge myself in the beauty of the outdoors and see my environment from a different perspective.

    Tell us a bout your hiking group

    MonstaTribe, an acronym for [Movement for the Obliteration of Negativity Stereotypes Tribalism and Acrimony] is a lifestyle platform birthed on the 10th of January 2016. Before the advent of the Tribe, I had built and helped in building several social and lifestyle platforms, so I eventually set it up, had it registered, vetted and affirmed according to Government regulations and it was set up to become a platform to forge friendships, bonds, business affiliations and foster networking whilst incorporating the regiments of improving a healthy lifestyle, facilitating local tourism which helps to boost patriotism, instigating the spirit of adventure amongst members of the society and creating the incentive to visit locations in Nigeria, beam focus on local tourism sites and improve the desire to patronize, develop and buy Nigeria and the Nigerian identity…

    MonstaTribe currently has the Abuja, Lagos, Port-Harcourt and Enugu Chapters. MonstaTribe also has a City-Run chapter in Abuja that carries out week day and weekend street runs with a focus on achieving fitness goals.

    Tell us about your favorite hike ever

    My favorite hike was the southern kaduna hike I embarked on in 2016 with a few friends. We lodged at Kagoro, visited the Matsirga Waterfall then a friend and I embarked on an almost seven hour hike to the top of the kagoro Hills where we happened on an interesting settlement resident atop the hills and decended only for supplies and travel. It was a beautiful experience, the climb was done during the rainy season so we got pelted by heavy rains, exhausted our rations and drank from streams, but the most exciting part of the adventure was that, here we were at the crest close to the top of the hills, my partner and I, exhausted from the climb and almost passing out when a woman, barefeet and carrying a baby on her back, a bag of rice on her head, practically hopped, skipped and jumped along the bush path, passed us and bounded away as if she was a gazelle. It helped crystallize the unique differences of our various realities for me.

    I also made a friend, a seven year old girl who lives atop the hill and was descending to meet her friends who reside in kagoro town. The next morning after the climb, my friend and I went back to the foot of the hill to watch the cloud formations drape over the topmost part of the kagoro Hills, cloaking most of the hills in hazy beauty and we saw the same girl, Sarah, returning from church in the kagoro town with her friends and heading off to surmount this astounding and imposing hill.

    Life is beautiful even within the cracks of its flaws…

    What other countries have you hiked in?

    Ghana. South Africa. UK. Togo and Benin.

    If you were to write a hiking bucket list what cities would be on it?

    1.Zermatt, Switzerland. 2. Banff, Canada. 3. Chamonix, France. 4. Cortina, Italy. 5. Queenstown, New Zealand. 7. El Calafate, Argentina. 8. Mt Kenya. 9. Chimanimani Mountains Mozambique. 10. Ethiopia.

    Are there any tips for first time hikers or anyone looking to try out hiking?

    Before anyone engages in hiking and other related activities, I would advise that such persons carry out health status check, find out if you have any issues medically, take necessary precautions against, allergies, irritations, sunburns, exposure and always ensure you have a guide, pay particular attention to the guide and guidelines, be aware of your environment and obey safety instructions, always dress for effectiveness and safety rather than aesthetics and fashion.

    Make sure to take water, energy bars, Mentholatum, inhaler if needed, bad to store items and wear shoes with good grip, gloves and hats or face caps where necessary.

    Dream💭. Explore👣💚. Discover🔎📍

    .

  • Wandering Feet
  • Wandering Feet // A Baby Sailor’s Tale

    “I really don’t know why it is that all of us are so committed to the sea, except I think it’s because in addition to the fact that the sea changes, and the light changes, and ships change, it’s because we all came from the sea. And it is an interesting biological fact that all of us have in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and, therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea – whether it is to sail or to watch it – we are going back from whence we came.

    [Remarks at the Dinner for the America’s Cup Crews, September 14 1962]”
    ― 
    John F. Kennedy

    They say the cure for most things is in  salt water; tears , sweat and the sea.

    Have you ever sat  perched by the beach and felt the spray of the water against your face as the waves crash against the rocks?

    In that moment you feel so free, so alive and so in sync with everything around. You begin to understand what it must mean to have a universe inside you, when even in the midst of this one element you feel like a tiny dot.

    This is the thrill that comes with exploring and appreciating nature and her elements.

    I can only imagine what it would feel like to go as far as sailing these seas like Dooshima does. (Intense urban nomad envy I tell you)

    Have you met Dooshima?

    Meet the sailor

    Dooshima Mabonga is a Licencensed Professional Counsellor who does mental health assessments with inmates. She lives in Austin, Texas and races sailboats (primarily J24s and Pearson26s) on Lake Travis at the Austin Yacht Club, but is working on doing circuit stops in other cities and States. Dooshima lives for indomie, red velvet cake and hopes to one-day sail across the Atlantic Ocean.

    See why I say she really is the coolest kid around?

    So here’s her account of what sailing has been like for her and a little about her favorite ship and crew.

    I could write you a love song about sail boats and the feeling in your eyes when your sails are full, your crew is working in harmony, and the wind is just right.
    I could talk your ear off about the exhilaration that comes with racing as foredeck, trying to put up the spinnaker when going down wind and knowing that everything you do (not do) affects your spot in the race.
    I could show you all my bruises, sun-burnt forehead, wet shoes, smelly gloves, heart full of joy, face full of smiles and convince you that somehow, I had a great day.
    I could try to express what it’s like to fine-tune before leaving the docks, watch the sunset during a race or jump off an anchored boat in the middle of a lake during a lazy sail day.
    I could go on about the love and support in the sailing community and how sailing clubs for children are producing better sailors than I’ll probably ever be.

     

    I could do all that but it would never compare to the peace, happiness and freedom you will experience from getting on a boat yourself and sailing away from shore. Words will never be enough to describe the swell in your heart as you countdown to the start of a race while your skipper tries to cross the start right as the horn goes off.

    I understand that some people get sea-sick and others just simply don’t care much for sailboats. However, can you truly knock it if you’ve never tried it? Power boats are fun and I can understand the joy found in the simplicity of turning on an engine and jetting off. Sailboats however are a deliberate experience, taking the time to work with whatever nature is offering and bonding with others while setting course on vast or narrow waters will always be captivating.

     

    Friend, it is my hope that you will one day muster the bravery to set sail for a sunset. Dare to get on a boat and ask your skipper to teach you a few things. Learn a knot or two. Grab the tiller and learn to work with the winds. Sail off to the horizon and look out for me.

    Dream💭. Explore👣💚. Discover🔎📍