Learn an Unique Excerpt From ‘The Catch Me if You Can’


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I have visited the world’s 195 nations and 10 territories. By way of these travels, I realized two key classes: First, most individuals are good. My journey was made potential by the kindness of strangers—some who opened their houses to me and others who donated cash to assist me attain the end line. I all the time assume the very best of individuals as a result of that’s what I obtained 9 instances out of 10 in each nook of the world. The few unhealthy experiences won’t ever outweigh the great. The second lesson I realized is that we’re extra comparable than we’re completely different.

We vacationers have an obligation to inform the tales of the locations we go to with dignity and respect, to share our adventures with out patronizing locations or folks. One particular person’s expertise in a rustic could cause others to observe of their footsteps or swear to by no means step foot in a vacation spot. So, if I’m going to inform a single story, I search to search out the constructive. I journey with a lens of curiosity and a need to know what on a regular basis life is like. I’m seeking to be taught somewhat than verify biases. And with my new memoir, The Catch Me If You Can, during which I define experiences in plenty of the nations I’ve visited, that is precisely what I intention to do.

When touring, and actually in life, you will discover what you might be on the lookout for. If you happen to search for pleasure, you will discover pleasure. If you happen to search for magnificence, you will discover magnificence. Alternatively, if you happen to search distress, you will discover that. Life offers you what you search. What are you looking for?

For a lot too lengthy, now we have seen the world solely by one lens, and I’m right here to supply another. Most people who’ve visited each nation on this planet are white males, and there’s no query that our experiences are very completely different. Under, discover my expertise in Nigeria, the 108th of 195 counties I’ve visited.


The Federal Republic of Nigeria, dwelling to greater than 211 million folks, is Africa’s most populated nation and the world’s seventh most populated. Anyplace on this planet you meet an African particular person, they’re seemingly Nigerian.

Nigeria has given us Fela Kuti, the political activist, musician, and architect of Afrobeat, whose music “Zombie” could be heard on my document participant recurrently; the legendary author Chinua Achebe; Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the primary girl to helm the World Commerce Group; one my favourite authors, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie; and globally fashionable musicians, together with Wizkid and Burna Boy. Nigeria has given us Nollywood, one of many world’s largest movie industries, in addition to Hollywood stars Chiwetel Ejiofor and Cynthia Erivo. With all that Nigerians have given the world, it’s no surprise they’re a number of the proudest folks I’ve ever met.

If Africa have been a rustic—reminder, it isn’t—Lagos can be its heartbeat. The colourful West African metropolis is full of yellow buses, Keke Marwas (motorized rickshaws), and Okadas (motorbike taxis) buzzing about. It is usually dwelling to a burgeoning tech and inventive scene. The huge metropolis is split into the mainland and a number of other islands, together with Victoria Island and Ikoyi.

Lagos, Nigeria is a large metropolis, divided into the mainland and a number of other islands, together with Victoria Island and Ikoyi.

My first journey to Lagos was a mixture of site visitors jams, drinks, dinners with new buddies and outdated, and a go to to the Kalakuta Museum, the place I realized a small historical past of the empire that Fela Kuti constructed. I additionally took a visit to Tarkwa Bay, a small island simply off Lagos, the place we made our personal picnic because the waters of the Atlantic lapped the shores. At an epic J. Cole live performance, every week after the discharge of his KOD album, I danced with the viewers. I browsed Nigerian artwork on the Nike Centre, utterly charmed by its namesake proprietor, Nike Davies-Okundaye. I negotiated for a brand new bag in Lekki Market and ate scrumptious bites at Nok. Lagos was a whirlwind, and it had me in its grasp.

Lagos can be the place I realized a worthwhile lesson in kindness, constructive power, and the hazard of assumptions. After grabbing a juice with my de facto tour information, Toju, I noticed a mile from the café that I didn’t have my cellphone. We rushed again and searched frantically whereas attempting to name my cellphone. The cellphone rang and rang. Lastly, somebody picked up however didn’t communicate. Utilizing Discover My iPhone, we hopped within the automobile and adopted the GPS sign in what felt like a felony chase. We discovered ourselves in the midst of a neighborhood with nobody in sight. Feeling defeated, we went again to the café to have a look at safety video footage. You could possibly see me go away the shop with my cellphone, after which unknowingly drop it within the car parking zone as I climbed into the automobile.

The nightmare escalated. Whomever had my cellphone had turned it off, eliminating any risk of monitoring it. An hour and a half later, I insisted that we glance up the cellphone once more, and it had been turned again on—somebody answered. Thirty minutes later, we met the person with my cellphone. It was clear he had not showered or eaten in days. He informed us he had seen the cellphone on the bottom and picked it up on his strategy to church. Relieved, we requested him if he was hungry and took him inside a small restaurant to purchase him two meals—one to eat instantly and one to take with him. I gave him all the naira (Nigerian foreign money) I had and thanked him for returning my cellphone. Toju gave him his cellphone quantity, telling him to name on daily basis till he discovered a job. The person by no means did name, however I imagine karma is defending this mild soul.

I firmly imagine in constructive power. The universe introduced my cellphone again to me. Identical with a stolen pockets in Los Angeles, a misplaced pockets in Detroit, misplaced bank cards in Johannesburg, and my passports and bank cards within the Philippines. Even in locations with excessive crime charges, locations folks informed me to keep away from, I’ve recovered what I’ve misplaced—and that is been essential for me to recollect all through my travels: Most individuals are good.

Edited from an excerpt of The Catch Me Whereas You Can, revealed June 14, 2022.

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