tHE Travel adventures, cultural experiences & STYLE OBSESSIONS OF A TWENTY-SOMETHING CAMEROONIAN GIRL. EMBARK ON A DISCOVERY JOURNEY with me!
After my adventures in Kribi, Buea, Limbe and Bimbia, my road trip continued to West Cameroon, a region that has always fascinated me with its authentic, vibrant culture and beautiful landscapes. Despite long hours of driving and the fatigue accumulated after 4 intense days of road trip, I was excited to return to Foumban, a charming village in the Noun division I had the chance to visit three years ago as part of a traditional festival. This time, I wanted to explore something new and discover the hidden gems of this beautiful region. Just a few miles away from Foumban, I found exactly what I was looking for: a slice of heaven on earth.
After a short but pleasant stay in Kribi, my roadtrip continued to Buea, a city located in southwest Cameroon, a region I have always wanted to visit, but for some reason, never had the chance to. We decided to stop by Douala for the night before leaving for Buea the next day. It left us a bit of time to explore the city in the morning. Douala will always fascinate me. There is always something to do or discover. My latest find is a hotel: the Pullman Rabingha Douala, formerly known as "Le Meridien Douala" since it has been bought by the Accor group. The renovation works started in march but one can already see the difference in terms of standard, especially when it comes to aesthetics and customer service that I found excellent.
Ever since I moved back, the idea of doing a road trip across the ten regions of Cameroon has been on my mind. I was both eager to rediscover my country with new eyes and explore places I have never been before, but that have been on my bucket list for a long time. I decided to start my journey in Kribi, a city of South Cameroon popular for its beautiful beaches. For many tourists coming to Cameroon, Kribi is THE travel destination by excellence. However, what brought me there first is nostalgia. It's been three years since I haven't been in Kribi, and I totally missed it. The sea breeze and beautiful beaches, the waves sound and amazing sea food, I missed it all! So imagine my excitement about going back there.
I am thrilled to finally share the work we produced for the Bantu Queen Project, a photography series that revisits the essence and aesthetics of Ancient African Queens. The photoshoot was mainly inspired by Goddess Isis, the Egyptian goddess of rebirth, of the moon, of magic and wisdom. She was known as the Giver of Life. A symbol of empowered and utter femininity. The name Isis itself means "Throne". I absolutely love what she represents, as she was the most powerful goddess before all other gods of her time, yet very in touch with her feminine power. She became the model on which future generations of female deities in other cultures were to be based. I am thankful to have been able to work with Cameroonian creatives to make this wonderful series happen.
As we're about to end the first month of the year, I made a promise to myself: that to be grateful every single day of my life. I have learned the hard way that nothing in life is constant, one day you're happy, the next day you're sad. One day you win, the next day you loose. Change is inevitable. Just like seasons change, we, as individuals, are always evolving. So the best attitude is gratitude. I'm learning to embrace the natural cycles of life and love myself as I evolve. To me, gratitude is more than a feeling. It's a lifestyle. It's a mindset that gives birth to more positive feelings. More abundance. More reasons and opportunities to be grateful for.
I have spent the whole month of December in Cameroon, like I usually do each year. There's nothing more precious to me than being able to spend christmas and welcome the new year under the sun, in the place I call home, surrounded by loved ones. I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world. After my trip to Benin, I felt energized and hungry for more cultural experiences. I thought Cameroon would be boring since I spend so much time there, and that nothing new would capture my attention. I was wrong. Traveling to different places allows you to (re)discover your country with new eyes. It makes you approach all things with wonder, and see beauty where you wouldn't have before. What made this experience even more special was my trip to Bamenda, a lovely city in the northwest province. A reminder of how culturally diverse and incredibly rich my country really is.
The second part of my journey in Benin took me to Ouidah, a city at 42 kilometers from Cotonou. Marked by a tragic history, being one of the main centers of slave trade in the 18th century, Ouidah has become over time a tourist-friendly city that attracts thousands of visitors each year.
My trip to Benin opened my eyes to new aspects of what I call my "Africaness". I have learned its boundaries, openings and complexity. This experience reminded me that, despite the similarities many Central and West African countries have, each of them has its specificities in terms of culture and system of values. Cotonou is like no other city I have visited before. And to be honest, I was a bit anxious before traveling there and had no idea what to expect. I watched countless documentaries about Benin, and most of them were about Voodoo. But the beauty of traveling is that it allows you to deconstruct stereotypes and misconceptions, no matter how rooted they are in our minds. Exploring this culture and environment with my own eyes was a whole different story.
For a very long time I thought the only places where I could possibly feel home were in Africa. Where I was born and raised, where the warmth of people is so unique, where the food tastes divinely good, where the sun makes love to my skin, where I am in my comfort zone. Literally. Until I traveled to New York City...
What I particularly enjoyed during my stay in DC was going to Anacostia, a neighborhood of Southeast D.C. mostly known for its extreme poverty and homicide rates. But that's just one side of the story. Anascostia is very different from most areas in Downtown D.C., no one can argue on that. But despite poverty, there is also a rich history. There are people fighting to make a difference. There is hope.
Of all the cities I have been to, Washington D.C. will always have a special place in my heart. It's one of those places I knew I would visit someday, but for some reason, I never actually the chance to. I believe things happen when they're meant to. A few days after my return from Cameroon, I traveled to D.C. to attend a weeklong global leadership program. This experience taught me one of the most important lessons of my life: traveling is not so much about going places, it's about the people you meet along the way. To me, that's the true essence of discovery.