Hi all. Today’s travel blogger that I’ve interviewed is Nigerian travel blogger from Lagos, Eromonsele Emmanuel. He has a wonderful blog, with so much information for travel and life in Nigeria it’s hard to know where to start! He’s not just great at blogging, but he’s a very active member in the blogging community as well connecting people and always around for a chat and advice. I feel privileged to have stumbled on his blog a year or more ago now. Enjoy!
1. Hi Eromonsele! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview. Would you mind starting by telling us who you are and where you’re from, and of course the name of your blog?
Hey Andy, thanks for having me here today. I feel super elated about this interview and I’m pleased this happened.
I’m Eromonsele Emmanuel and I’m from Edo state, Nigeria. It’s a historic state in the Midwestern or South-South region of Nigeria and I currently live in Lagos, my nation’s economic capital and business hub in the Southwest.
Lagos is a bustling cityscape and although traffic congestion can be overwhelming sometimes, the number of beaches, restaurants, entertainment centres and ecotourist attractions are more than enough reasons to love here!
My blog’s called Ericotrips and it was coined by combining my nickname – erico and journeys – trips. And when I’m not punching the keys on my blog, I’m either enjoying family time, watching my favourite television shows or movies, listening to the radio, surfing social media, reading a book or touring picturesque places in Lagos where I’m based at the moment.
2. When did you start your blog and why did you decide to start a travel blog?
I started blogging in September of 2018. Before then, I was doing an internship at an architecture firm and during the time, I had the opportunity to explore many parts of my city because my boss sent me on a lot, and I mean a lot of errands.
Every time I went someplace to perform my official assignments, I would be intrigued by maybe a building, street scene or a part of Lagos cityscape that I’ve never actually seen.
This birthed a whole new passion in me and I began writing short notes for my WhatsApp updates on many of such attractions. It was initially nothing rigorous and I shared my thoughts just for fun. Lol. That’s until a friend of mine spoke to me…
He advised me to start a travel blog and although I was reluctant at first, I heeded his suggestion months later.
My travel blog wasn’t so difficult to set up with WordPress and on 24th September 2018, I churned out my first ever article.
3. What do you like to write about and why?
A bundle, Andy. A bundle. However, now that I think of it, my favourite thing to write about is my visit to art galleries. I find such spaces very creative and the stories behind some artworks can be so good that they’ll leave you dumbstruck! Many bloggers from this part of the world don’t appreciate art talkless of writing about it so I’m glad to be part of a change agent… sort of.
Another one of my favourites is public transport. Now you know how content creators review plane trips, ticket prices and inflight comfort?
Well, it’s mass transit that actually tickle my fancy and whenever I’m travelling or commuting anywhere in Nigeria, I review the efficiency, civility and challenges of both the drivers and transport available whether buses, taxis, auto rickshaws or bikes.
Also, I love to talk about places of interest in cities and towns I visit and I squeeze in some important details like how I got there, costs, warnings, freebies, what/where to eat, things to do, and most recently, Covid-19 guidelines.
And finally, I enjoy writing travel blogging tips from time to time. As you can tell, I didn’t start travel blogging quite long ago but with each stride I make on this journey, I learn something new about the process of looking for places to visit; finding ideas to write about; importance of titles, social media sharing and comments; SEO and SERP; and editing new or old blogposts.
It’s always fun to share what I’ve learned about travel blogging with everyone and I publish posts like TOP 5 ALTERNATIVES TO TRAVEL BLOGGING every month.
4. What have been some of your favourite destinations?
Okay, so one time I travelled to Ile-Ife in Osun state, it’s where according to Yoruba cosmology the world began and it’s a very cultural town for the Yorubas – a major ethnic group in Nigeria.
I was visiting for a day and I started off my adventure at a friend’s place before going to art galleries, museums, landmarks and finishing off with a sumptuous meal at a local restaurant. I can tell, that’s so far my favourite destination. Even today, I wish I could see much more of Ile-Ife like the Moremi statue – a symbol of female empowerment in Yoruba history, Ife Palace and Dotun Popoola Studios run by a prominent scrap metal sculptor in Nigeria.
I’m focusing on just three for the sake of this interview so the second has to be Agodi Park and Gardens in Ibadan, Oyo state. It was a hectic journey for me getting there but I smiled at the end of the day because of the fun filled adventures I had with friends. Agodi Gardens is the first place ever that I tried paintballing and it was the bomb! Other attractions here include green gardens, swimming pools, water slides, GQ Lounge and for kids, a play area.
The last of my favourite destinations has to be Nike Art Centre or Gallery in Lekki, Lagos. It’s the most visited place in the whole of Nigeria and it’s also home to the largest art collection in West Africa. I saw a bead work worth hundreds of dollars, several acrylic paintings and animal sculptures made with recycled tires. I’ll never forget my visit to this artistic world and since I love art, I’ll be visiting again sometime.
5. Who do you see as the audience for your blog?
I think my audience will be people interested in visiting popular places of interest in Nigeria, art lovers, fellow travel bloggers, public transit enthusiasts and adventure seekers.
6. What advice would give to someone just starting out blogging?
Find something you’re passionate about and no matter how weird your niche looks at first, blog about it!
Also, you want to focus on writing great and engaging content with SEO rather than keeping your eyes glued to your blog stats or frequently scavenging for pro blogging tips (this affected me big time when I first started).
Furthermore, you need to avoid burn outs. Stick to a perfect schedule that fits you whether daily, weekly, biweekly or monthly to keep your creative juices in top gear most of the time.
Finally, take advantage of social media – Pinterest especially and design graphics that go well with your blog aesthetics.
7. What is the hardest thing about running a travel blog?
Sadly, I’ve seen quite a number of travel bloggers turn to food, lifestyle and parenting bloggers or stop blogging completely due to this global pandemic.
So now that I know, I’d say the hardest thing about running a travel blog is not being able to explore new destinations because many travel bloggers really want to experience places they write about first hand.
Obviously everywhere is not the same and I’m happy that countries are already opening up to tourists.
If you’re a travel blogger who can’t afford to travel right now, you could write about your past adventures, collaborate with friends and bloggers, write opinion based articles or make a list of your best posts occasionally.
I sincerely hope this helps.
8. How has your world changed due to Covid-19? What restrictions are in place where you are right now?
Not much. The only thing that changed was with the initial restrictions and since they’ve been eased, I’ve been exploring more of my neighbourhood recently.
In Lagos, we had a full lockdown for a couple of weeks but it’s been called off now. At the moment, there’s a restriction on number of persons allowed in public places; social distancing markers in airports, banks, shopping malls and offices; religious centres can hold service for only two hours; face mask is compulsory; and handwashing equipments are a must in most visited locations across the state.
9. How do you think travel will change due to the pandemic?
Umm… travel’s already changing as we speak. They’re new protocols popping up everyday and now, many intending travellers know that wearing a facemask inflight is compulsory, a period of self isolation is crucial and Covid-19 testing, testing and re-testing is mandatory in some countries.
From what I can observe, many people are beginning to appreciate more of domestic travel and I believe that there’s a number of reasons for this including fear of catching the virus, attractive incentives, boredom, ban on international travel and government restrictions.
In this trying time, domestic travel and tourism is increasing in parts of the world but I fear that when everything comes to an end because Covid must go someday, many travellers will resume to full scale international travel and local destinations may suffer a downturn in visitors for a while.
10. What place would you really like to visit and why?
Republic of Seychelles! I’ve always liked the idea of visiting the East African country to explore picturesque landscapes, beaches, street food, culture and people. It’ll be a dream come true when I finally do.
11. You blog from your home country, Nigeria. Please tell the readers why they should visit Nigeria and what they should see and do when they come!
Nigeria is home to several hundreds of ethnic groups and millions of people so if you want to experience multiple cultures all at once in Africa, I’d say my home country is a great place to begin with.
Still on culture, I’ll advise tourists to visit cultural centres and monuments across Nigeria like the Osun-Osogbo Grove in Osogbo, Osun state. You’ll hear so many interesting stories and folklore about ancient gods and legends and interesting creation tales too.
Another thing you should try is the food, you won’t want to miss many finger licking delicacies like tuwo shinkafa, nkwobi, efo riro, omoebe and I don’t know if you’ve heard of jollof rice before but that’s something you need to definitely try out.
Nigeria is big on street food too so make sure you taste any of the following – akara, puff puff, suya, roasted corn, roasted yam, dodo ikire, bole, tapioca or agege bread.
Again, afrobeat is becoming increasingly popular on the global stage so why not come see where its headquartered? If you travel to Nigeria in December, they’re a number of big shows and events in Lagos state where you get to witness the performance of some of our best artists like Wizkid, Davido, Burna Boy, Tiwa Savage, Yemi Alade and Simi.
On a final note, Nigeria has natural, religious, historic and artsy places for you to visit across all geopolitical zones. In Lagos where I live, you can see Lekķi Conservation Centre, Cathedral Church of Christ, Tafawa Balewa Square, Nike Art Gallery, Oniru Private Beach, Eko Atlantic City – an upcoming eco town, Five Cowries Ferry Terminal, Jara Beach Resort and Terra Kulture.
Other cool spots in Nigeria include Azumini Blue River, Moremi Statue, Queen Amina Statue, Emotan Statue, Oowu Waterfalls, Gurara Waterfalls, Agbokim Waterfalls, Susanne Wenger’s House, New Afrika Shrine, Crushed Rock and Zuma Rock.
12. Please recommend three posts from your blog you’d like people to read (and why!)
Ahem, the first post I’ll be recommending is a recent one about my homeland, Edo. It’s a full exposure on Edo state and I talk about our local food, awesome dress culture, traditions, tourist attractions and Oba of Benin, Omo N’Oba N’Edo Uku Akpolokpolo Oba Ewuare the second.
I’ve already spoken about my trip to Agodi Park and Gardens in Ibadan so you know that one too is pretty amazing. It’s action packed with paintballing enthusiasts and if you ever get to visit Ibadan, I wrote a listicle on Nineteen other things you should try in Agodi Gardens.
Thirdly, I need you to go read my writeup on Okada – a primary means of transportation in Nigeria. It’s an interesting take on the history, riders and commuters of the motorcycle taxis and since I invited everyone to share names of public transport in their cities make sure you read the comments and leave yours.
You’ll have a good laugh or two, I assure you!
13. Finally, how can people find you on the net and social media? Please include blog address, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube and any other channels you use.
Okay so I blog weekly at https://ericotrips.wordpress.com
I joined Pinterest because I heard it was a traffic goldmine and yes I’m absolutely having fun pinning every other day so you can specifically find me there.
14. Finally (again!) what are you hoping or dreaming for in 2021?
First and foremost I’m hoping for a Covid-19 cure. I believe people need to be able to travel, visit relatives and go on vacation without fear of catching ‘rona.
I’m also hoping to explore more places, history, art and cultures in my home country and I want to kayak so bad (fingers crossed, maybe I’ll try that before the year runs out… haha).
On a concluding note, I want to get a job which gives me the opportunity to visit someplace new or travel at least once every month.
Thanks again for having me Andy! May the journey never end here.
And an even BIGGER thanks to Eromonsele for such an interesting and in depth interview. I hope you dear readers got just as much out of the interview as I did! Thanks for popping by today – May the Journey Never End!