Four countries in one week: How I survived my impulsive solo adventure Part. I (“Ghana was a FAIL- why do vaccines and travel visas cost so much?”)
“I’m going to Africa and I ain’t going back and forth with yall!”
My impulsive, solo, trip started with just an idea: Investing in myself will be my top priority and I would kick this idea off my by committing to international travel.
It was my birthday and I wanted to celebrate myself like I never had before so I thought “what better way to celebrate (my 27th trip around the sun) than to plan a trip to Accra, Ghana 🇬🇭
I decided I would travel to West Africa which was a no brainer because I have roots there; my father was born and raised in Ghana and I wanted to explore his old stomping grounds, possibly meet some of my family, and overall get a feel for where I come from.
What would be so terrifying about traveling to Ghana solo?
It is completely beautiful and I don’t care what the narrative may look like through mainstream America’s lenses…
I wanted to find out all about Africa’s beauty for myself (and solo if need be!).
I figured if I waited around for other family/ friends I could possibly lose my nerve…there’s no time like the present…right?
No time to answer that! I just began booking!
SHE did it & so can I!!
While being so inspired by the many female travel bloggers/IG influencers making their mark all over the world (like “@thecatchmeifyoucan”) I convinced myself I could do the same thing.
This is so true HOWEVER, planning, researching, networking, and just being honest with myself would have been key and it took a few mistakes for me to realize this.
I dedicated the past couple of years to facing my fears and accomplishing so much; I was about to cross out another “need to do” up off of my list (or so I thought)…
RESEARCH is key
I began “researching” and I started accumulating some of the “must haves” every solo female traveler should have.
I had gained all of the materials but none of the actual knowledge it would take to carry out a successful trip to Africa.
The materials included (but weren’t limited to): an awesome carry on suitcase (with a built in TSA approved lock, a great sized traveling backpack, rain proof slip on sneaker protectors, Anker power bank, travel adapter, new digital camera and mount, selfie stick, travel SIM cards, and a variety of apps downloaded on my phone to help with everything else (what’s app, hopper, WiFi map, cash app, money exchange, google translate, hotel tonight, etc.).
Before I knew it I was in the hopper app finalizing the flight arrangements because I set set, right?
Yes, I would have the physical things I needed for traveling, but the most important question was “could I actually meet the requirements to enter into the country?”
Caught up in excitement, I was overlooking key elements, like securing my safety all in the name of trying to live my best life.
I didn’t consider all of the vaccines until I contacted Penn’s travel medicine and looked into the type of travel visa I needed.
I told the angel and demon on my shoulders “I’ll be fine” and “I ain’t going back n forth with Y’all” (in my best Lil Duval impression).
Without doing the ACTUAL RESEARCH needed to actually be prepared for Africa I booked an expensive flight…
If you’re catching on to how irresponsible this trip was about to be you’re keeping up.
My biggest mistake was not doing enough research first! If I had, I would’ve realized in addition to paying almost $400 for the flight, I needed a visa to travel to Ghana (~$280), and needed to get pumped full of vaccines (averaging over $300).
At this rate, I needed to spend at least a month out there in Accra & Kumasi (and not just a week of vacation time I saved up.
For someone who was balling on a budget, I sure started off by wasting a TON of money I already didn’t have…and needed to dish out more if I wanted to step foot on the continent.
I was honest with myself and admitted I just couldn’t afford this trip (not at this point in time).
I would’ve spent all of my money just trying to get there and one week wouldn’t be enough time at all to enjoy it all!
I was going to keep this trip a secret but as discouraged as I was becoming I decided to talk to my mom about it.
I was so reluctant about that because I knew she would freak out at the idea of me going anywhere solo let alone the place where she had the worst experience of her life.
My parents honeymooned in Ghana with back in 1990 and my mom was so homesick and out of her element so I just knew she would be totally biased against me going.
Anyway, I decided to share my dilemma with her I started off with “mom, I booked a crazy trip” and smiled reluctantly.
She asked where and when I told her she said she was sad and didn’t want me to go but I already knew that.
She said it’s not like it’s Cali it’s Africa lol okkk I realized that I started explaining the money situation because I value her opinion.
Finally, I decided I wouldn’t go all the way but stop in some places where I didn’t need any vaccines or visas, just my passport which I had and was eager to get it stamped.
GHANA WAS A FAIL (for now…but with better planning I’m definitely taking a crack at it again)!!Hopefully I’ll go when I turn 30!!
We all make mistakes and sometimes they cost us big time. I’m thankful I listened to my gut and my mom (and went back and forth lol) because I could’ve spent all of my money just to get to Africa and I probably would’ve had a terrible time (being short on money which isn’t a good look!).
For more on my impulsive solo adventures, and to see what four countries I actually ended up in after this FAIL, continue on in this series!