February 27, 2019

WCW - February - The Ufuoma

Woot woot, it's WCW - February edition! As you know, this was a series I started two years ago, but stopped for various reasons. I restarted in January of this year (see Amama Ekwere's post here) and this month, I am featuring a woman whose Instagram feed will have you wondering what you're doing with your life. I can't remember how I first came across Ufuoma - it might have been on another blog - but I remember the first time I really paid attention. She had traveled to Cuba with a friend and her photos were being liked and retweeted all over Twitter. First of all, I have a desire to visit Cuba one day. Secondly, I fell in love with her photos - they were bright, colorful, vibrant, and I appreciated that Ufuoma and her friend wore their ankara clothes in glorious splendor! 

I have followed her online since then, and I am inspired by her love of God, travel, and people. Without further ado, let's hear a little bit about Ufuoma.

1. What is your name and what do you do?

My name is Jessica Ufuoma and I work as a Communications and Finance Analyst in one of Canada’s biggest companies. I am also a Travel Blogger who loves to seek new cultures and experiences and share with others online.

2. You are VERY popular for being a Travel Blogger, specifically advocating Solo Travel. What made you decide to travel solo [internationally] in the very first place? 

My first solo trip was to Paris, France in 2015. I lived in Europe at the time and had traveled extensively with some of my classmates. We had talked about going to France on multiple occasions and my birthday was coming up and because Paris was the place I always wanted to visit, I thought it’d make for a great birthday getaway. However, as the day got closer, people started giving excuses as to why they couldn’t come on the trip. One day, I decided I would travel on my own as I was tired of waiting on people to come on board. And that was it! Scary as it was, I booked my tickets to Paris and the rest has been history. I will always be an advocate of solo travel because it’s really made me a more confident and independent person.

In a world that thrives on attachment, finding yourself and being able to steer your life in the direction you want without seeking validation or permission from others will always be a strength.

3. You work full-time, travel extensively, write/blog, and recently launched your Travel Planning Services? Did God dash you a secret block of extra hours per day??? How do you handle and balance it all?

Haha! First, this is you assuming that I have it all together. I don’t. What you do not see are the unread messages, the missed calls I failed to return, the times when I couldn’t spend one extra minute with a loved one because I had some things to attend to, and a lot of the things that fall through the cracks.

With that being said, balance isn’t something I strive for. Balance can be a slippery slope or a misleading compass to follow. It’s like saying you should work only four hours a day and rest for the other three hours but balance doesn’t take into consideration that you may indeed need more than 4 hours if you want to meet a certain target. I don’t think great people get ahead by looking for balance. Balance is nice only on paper because sometimes you have to go to the gym and spend your precious hours there because there’s a goal you want to achieve. I’d much rather strive for excellence and sometimes that means balance will have to fly through the roof.

I think what helps me is that I am able to prioritize and focus on what matters at the time. There are days when I put more focus on my day job and my blog suffers and there are days when I put more attention on family or my blog or whatever it is needs more attention at the time. I already know that I am only one person and if I give 80% to one thing, I will only be left with 20% for the other and I have to be okay with that decision. I just always ask for wisdom to know how much of myself I need to allocate to the different aspects of my life and be okay with the outcome.

4. I love that you're unapologetic about sharing your faith online. I'd like, if you can, for you to share some Bible verses that speak about traveling?

My favorite bible verse on traveling is the part in Genesis when God looked at all that he has created and called it “Good”.  Genesis 1:31. I can see the world through that lens – from that place of awareness of all that He has created is good. It really shapes the way I navigate the world on my travels. I am able to appreciate a sunset even more. I am able to walk graciously on a foreign street and interact with the locals because He created it all. I have better command on the grounds I walk on and able to go without fear because it is all His.

I also like that He says that the world isn’t our home. So this makes everyone a traveler here on earth. 1st Chronicles 29. Every time I travel to a place outside my resident country, I never fully unpack because I know it is not home – I am only visiting, so there are no attachments. It’s the same way being on earth – I do not fully “unpack” and behave as if I am here forever – I know I am only passing through and I am trying my best to make sure I make the best use of the time I have here – just like being in a foreign country.

5. Can you share your favorite destination you’ve been to, what made it so special; and also the worst place you’ve been to, and what you didn’t like about that trip?

I think my favorite destination so far has been Peru – and it is mostly because it holds a special place in my heart as the place where I looked to the sky and whispered “I will travel the world”. Peru is beautiful with great food, great people and a vibrant culture. I loved it there. The worst will probably be France – I found it dirty and the people a bit rude to non-French speakers. I also had very high expectations and it was a bit underwhelming for me.

6. Why aren’t you afraid of lions, tigers, bears, elephants, giraffes, etc like me? Do you have any fears?
Hahah! Animals are so precious and I have a soft spot for them really. As for fears, I can’t really think of anything I am afraid of. I used to think not fulfilling my purpose was my biggest fear but I am no longer afraid of that.

7. Which country has the best food that you’ve tasted? I’m asking because I’m hungry right now and would like to travel somewhere and eat. 
AHHH! Has to be Thailand. I absolutely loved stuffing my face and eating my way through Thailand. I didn’t have one bad food in Thailand and for a picky eater like me, that is such a big deal. Every bite was a hit.

8. Do you speak any languages other than English?
Yes. I speak Spanish. Pero no es mucho nadie con quien hablar.  

9. Finally, what and/who inspires you to keep going every day?
The world does. The world never stops for a second, it continues to work as planned. I have been here long enough and the sun has always set and gone on to rise the next morning without fail. I can keep going knowing that. Also, my family – love them to bits.  

Thanks a bunch to Ufuoma for agreeing to be featured in my WCW series. For whatever reason, I thought that if she spoke any languages, it would definitely be French - MAIS NON! If her photos don't give you a serious case of wanderlust, then I don't know what will.

You can read her blog and learn more about her travel planning services here, and you can follow her on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter @theufuoma. 


I'd love to hear from you about this post! Let's all learn and share our worlds.