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Hand Luggage Only!



Travelling from an exit point like the Murtala Mohammed Airport, Lagos, Nigeria, one may not easily realise that it is one of the few airports in the world where bags and luggage are still manually searched by the customs and immigration officers, thus making it a rather tedious and slow process checking in your travelling bags.

“Madam where you dey go”? Asked the immigration representative, a question I imagined was already answered with my passport and ticket in his hands. My answer was simple, “Spain, Sir”. I had been looking forward to this trip for a long time and it was my ‘one chance’ to really experience life; to live outside the box, set my worries aside and live like I only have today.

Any traveller knows that the hardest part of embarking on any journey is the preparation/packing process – mentally preparing for all the eventualities you may need for the trip – warm clothes, camera, toothbrush, foreign exchange, gifts for loved ones, travel documents, etc. Similarly, in the journey that is life, just like travelling, we are constantly trying to equip ourselves with the right tools which we may require for the future, like education and useful skills.

As I sat and waited for my flight, I couldn’t help but observe the vast amount of people at the airport. There were lovers hugging goodbye and anxious relatives eagerly waiting to welcome their loved ones and the airport looked like a picture-perfect definition of life- people dragging their ‘luggage’ from one end to the other. Some travelling really light and others with so much luggage I wondered how many planes would be required to transport those to their destination! It was then that it suddenly hit me: “we all carry something”.

The New Year, with all the congratulatory messages, resolutions and all that accompanied it, now feels like a hundred days old. It’s a new start and, for some, it’s the same old mess with just a difference in dates. Many of us have still carried our ‘baggage’ from the previous years into 2011 – memories from failed relationships and mistakes, bad friendships, fights, toxic words uttered in anger and every form of malice and heartache under the sun. Just like we have to pay at the airport for excess luggage, we do have to pay for life’s excess luggage in currencies like unnecessary tears and ill feelings, depending on the amount of excess weight you are carrying.

As I watched the other passengers struggle with various shapes and sizes of luggage, I made a mental promise to do away with all the clutter in my life – hurts and aches of the past, text messages I have needlessly hung on to, sentimental gifts that have kept me bound to the past and memories that are now meaningless in my future (ladies, you all know what I am talking about).

It’s time to make a change and dare to be different! It’s time to do away with the yearly resolutions we let go of after the first couple of weeks. Let’s make progressive promises to ourselves and our future. Let us embrace 2011 and all it holds with optimism and excitement, leaving the bad memories of the past where they belong- in the past! It’s time to save some extra cash by refusing to pay for excess luggage from 2010 and previous years. Let’s take only the most important items with us in our hand luggage, making our journey through life easy and light. What’s the point of starting a New Year if we are still holding on to the old? It’s time for a new start, new beginnings, new dreams, new aspirations and, above all, a conscious effort towards making the best of whatever you set out to do.

As with all things I know, this may be hard to do especially when these hurts and mistakes have deep roots. But really, the other options are few and far between and aren’t necessarily healthy for us in the long run. So, instead, let us learn to use the ‘block button’ when those emotions and memories of the past begin to cloud our vision for the future.

My people, it’s a new season; a time for progress, a time for change, and a time to be the catalyst for your own change. No longer should you have to pay for what you no longer need; no more blaming the world for what you don’t have – in all honesty, very few people owe you anything. Quoting from a friend of mine, 2011 is the year of the “boundaries”; guard your heart from unnecessary emotional drama, keep the friendships you deserve, eat healthy, pray to your God and love endlessly.

Always remember in 2011, we are keeping it drama-free; hand luggage only!


  1. Nogo

    January 17, 2011 at 4:23 pm

    Great metaphor! Nice article x

  2. tols

    January 17, 2011 at 4:46 pm

    aawwww bless……. great write up!

  3. sleekish

    January 17, 2011 at 4:49 pm

    yaay first comment.
    I swear dis post makes sooooo much sense. its so true. We all have luggage, many of which are unnecessary.
    I hope I can heed to these advices.


      January 17, 2011 at 7:19 pm

      not quite…lol

    • KOKOlet

      January 17, 2011 at 11:23 pm

      …lol..i think BN is doing this on purpose! lmao

  4. D.O.T.M.H

    January 17, 2011 at 4:58 pm

    Thanks love

  5. lola

    January 17, 2011 at 4:58 pm


  6. Yemikush

    January 17, 2011 at 5:13 pm

    I love this piece

  7. partyrider

    January 17, 2011 at 5:14 pm

    “to forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover the prisoner was you” – Lewis B Smedes.

    its easier said than done to let go,but trust me your life will have a whole new meaning after you do.

    do not allow anyone or anything enslave you and your emotions.God has great plans for you ahead,but to get “there” you have to travel dont want to carry the wrong friends, hatred,envy, jealousy etc along,cos the journey alone without these “excess luggages” is a long one.

    begin your healing process now,and ask God to help you.

  8. deebaby

    January 17, 2011 at 5:15 pm

    Love it!

  9. lizzy

    January 17, 2011 at 5:17 pm

    Good one, will try to keep that in mind.

  10. say it as it is

    January 17, 2011 at 5:19 pm

    Fantastic piece!


    January 17, 2011 at 5:40 pm

    LOVED IT!!!!

  12. Babe

    January 17, 2011 at 5:47 pm

    This piece is inspiring…thankyou so much just what I needed to hear…no more excess baggage…i aint paying for it either.

  13. neharra

    January 17, 2011 at 6:18 pm

    I love love love this article!!!! who ever wrote this spoke exactly what i needed to hear today!!!!

  14. Timma

    January 17, 2011 at 6:32 pm

    Kudos,Thumbs up!!!! I love this piece, will keep it in mind through life’s journey

  15. Lilley

    January 17, 2011 at 8:50 pm

    OMG, Well done Pacheco, i am so loving your article, infact when nxt i see you in church you deserve a BIG HUG and kisses, pls keep them coming… true. Hand Luggage only for 2011!!!

  16. Ekene

    January 17, 2011 at 10:07 pm

    Love it! Shola. Well said. This year, I plan to see the world, with nothing more than a backpack. No room for emotional drama here!

  17. kenora

    January 17, 2011 at 10:53 pm

    wht a wonderful post thxs alot u said it all…

  18. mary007

    January 17, 2011 at 10:55 pm


  19. lovefashion

    January 18, 2011 at 2:42 am

    Just beautiful.

  20. skellewannabreak

    January 18, 2011 at 4:08 am

    Wat a way 2 start a nu year.God bless yhu 4 dis write up

  21. dlapikin

    January 18, 2011 at 7:35 am

    Not the best writing I’ve read here…

    • Karizma

      January 30, 2011 at 6:14 pm

      Gotta agree with u…but still, its alrite

  22. Queen Erics

    January 18, 2011 at 8:36 am

    guess i have to start a new mantra… no excess luggage, no emotional drama! no excess luggage, no emotional drama! OMG!its working! i feel the excess loads lifting, or is it dropping? anyways, thanks Shola for that beautiful piece.

  23. aminat abah

    January 18, 2011 at 9:51 am

    Wow.. so true.. party rider’s comments touched my heart too..thank u!

    • partyrider

      January 27, 2011 at 11:30 pm


  24. laolu

    January 18, 2011 at 9:55 am

    lovely write up, just what i needed to hear, am moving on with no luggages, and am definately not paying for any either.

  25. nonny

    January 18, 2011 at 10:05 am


  26. cuteb

    January 18, 2011 at 11:24 am

    Nice ! well written and very easy to relate with. Its hard to shed the excess luggage but when down..such a huge relief.

    Keeping it simple and drama free i like. Kudos

  27. Aibee

    January 18, 2011 at 11:27 am

    So true. Almost as if God spoke to me through you.


  28. Golddigger

    January 18, 2011 at 11:38 am

    Easier said than done….

  29. Nefretiti

    January 18, 2011 at 12:08 pm

    This is the best article I have read on bellanaija. Love it !!!

  30. lolade

    January 18, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    True. Hand luggage only.

  31. Gorgeous

    January 18, 2011 at 5:15 pm

    This year its all about me! Achieving everything i want and doing everything i have always wanted. I experienced loss in my life last year which has given me a great appreciation for life. So now i am letting go of friends that add no value to my life, and ending toxic relationships and just DOING ME! I am usually a very selfless person, but i have decided to be very selfish this year and focus on ME! My goal is to see all my goals for this year come to fruition and i have surprised myself by being so on point. This new outlook totally works for me! Yay!

  32. Karen

    January 18, 2011 at 11:11 pm

    Maam …thank you so much GBAM…COSIGN!
    soooooooo true!

  33. miss kamara

    January 18, 2011 at 11:34 pm

    Love it,. This is exactly what i needed. lets keep it keep it moving.

  34. laraak

    January 19, 2011 at 2:48 pm

    straight on point

  35. Ciliny Alce

    January 19, 2011 at 7:08 pm

    Beautifully said!

  36. Anita

    January 23, 2011 at 8:59 pm

    This is what we all need. Less baggage more freedom, time and less stress. It’s always easier to blame the world but we often fail to look within. Like you said – lets do away with new year resolutions we let go of just after a couple of weeks. Lets make a concious effort to change our perceptions about life and hopefully impart positive change in the lives of those that need it most. There’s nothing like the feeling of self worth when you lend a hand, say a kind word or turned the other cheek. It’s a new year “2011” and it’s up to you what kind of year it turns out to be. Be Bold! Be kind! Live and let live!
    Nice on Shola.

  37. Cynthia

    January 24, 2011 at 8:36 pm

    “FANTASTIC” describes this article.
    Very nice piece.

  38. Damian

    January 31, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    Lovely piece!!!!!

  39. Shola pacheco

    February 1, 2011 at 10:37 am

    Thanks guys!!!

  40. maryjane

    February 9, 2011 at 6:10 pm


  41. Jane

    February 23, 2011 at 1:23 pm


  42. Oyinade

    March 8, 2011 at 4:52 pm

    really spoke to me especially this part: guard your heart from unnecessary emotional drama, keep the friendships you deserve, eat healthy, pray to your God and love endlessly. that has been a motto for a while.
    great work, keep it up

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