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Atoke’s Monday Morning Banter: Seychelles, Ogbomosho, Barbados…In Search of a Little Peace & Quiet



The first paragraph of this banter is usually so difficult to write. It’s what will show on the home page that’ll determine whether it’s something worth clicking or not. So, in the past 4 weeks I’ve tried to be as airy and as inane as possible but I find that I’m getting bored. I mean, if I had to read me spewing some diatribe EVERY Monday about how Mondays are a drag, I might have to pull out a pistol! But you guys are kind and patient so you really should be celebrated.

Anyway, as the year draws to a close it’s getting more and more difficult to think of work as my mind finds itself drifting towards the holidays. I mean; time off work, food, family and just generally being a bum is so attractive right now. It is said that Nigerians don’t know how to relax, and before you bite my head off saying it’s a lie “they said” I’ve heard it said before that we have ZERO concept of holidays but I don’t agree. It is said that Nigerians equate holidays with “shopping season” and not necessarily a time to just sit back, sip cocktails and enjoy the beautiful sunset.

You see, when I was younger, my folks would pile us in the back of two vans (large extended family sontin) and we’d head up north, or the east. I remember the trips to Shiroro dam, and the war bunkers in Umuahia! Those trips were blissful. Just seeing the sights and no feeding restrictions.  No Lacombes, or Understanding Maths, or New General English…. none of that… just a blessed departure from the realities of life.

As I grew older, real life started to take its toll on me. To plan a holiday required money, time off work, the weather of the place you’re going, the logistics of getting there… and it became more and more difficult to get away. This weekend, I was talking with a friend of mine about holiday destinations and he said London! I screamed “You people who go to London, Manhattan and Lagos for HOLIDAYS are heroes oh!” Those places are too busy and too noisy for any kind of rest to go on. I mean, how do you just “chill” in London? Everything is so BUSY and everybody is rushing. Isn’t a holiday meant to be restful? People with kids even have it more difficult; imagine going on a trip with 3 toddlers. All of them screaming for attention or heaven forbid one of them falls ill. There goes your holiday, right into the dumpster!

I asked a couple of my friends and I got a diverse range of responses, Mauritius, Yankari Game Reserve, India, Zanzibar, Singapore, Kenya. My friend, Tanwa had the best response, “Anywhere where the weather outside is bearable and the sheets in the hotel are clean, the bathroom is sparkling and the comforter is indeed comfortable.”

Anyway, so where’s your perfect holiday destination for peace and quiet? Where’s that place that your heart longs for when everything is just so busy and you need to shut down? Where’s that place that you think about dreamily and know you just wanna go!?

Please share your special places with us. Have a great week ahead, remain positive and keep a smile on your face.

Love, peace and cupcakes!


Photo credit:

You probably wanna read a fancy bio? But first things first! Atoke published a book titled, +234 - An Awkward Guide to Being Nigerian. It's available on Amazon. ;)  Also available at Roving Heights bookstore. Okay, let's go on to the bio: With a Masters degree in Creative Writing from Swansea University, Atoke hopes to be known as more than just a retired foodie and a FitFam adherent. She can be reached for speechwriting, copywriting, letter writing, script writing, ghost writing  and book reviews by email – [email protected]. She tweets with the handle @atoke_ | Check out her Instagram page @atoke_ and visit her website for more information.


  1. missy

    December 3, 2012 at 9:56 am

    My Father’s House. Its in a small town with absolutely no noise outside. I am not required to cook nor clean. All i have to do is be. I dont even step out of the house all day If i want, 24/7 light. Bliss.

    Another blissful chilled holiday I had was to Mombasa in Kenya. It was a truly blissfull weekend by the beach and pool dressed in nothing but shorts and a tank top.

  2. Tiki

    December 3, 2012 at 9:59 am

    My holiday destination is in London o, believe it or not! It involves an über-comfy hotel bed, a warm-bodied boo, some chinese noodles, and white wine! I prefer a town where I speak the language, know my way around, and feel secure. Plus I can shop at a bargain!

    I do plan on going to Mombasa though, and Gambia. apparently the beaches are to die for!

  3. WUNMI

    December 3, 2012 at 10:07 am

    That will be Germany, Grossefehn precisely… No pollution in whatever form (noise, water, air etc), most beautiful views, riverside views… Ok so my reasons are endless…

  4. nems

    December 3, 2012 at 10:10 am

    Atoke I look forward to your Monday morning banter! Barbados is my perfect Holiday destination and the fact that Nigerians don’t need a visa takes a huge amount of stress off.

  5. Anonymissie

    December 3, 2012 at 10:11 am

    The gambia is it!

  6. Parisien

    December 3, 2012 at 10:28 am

    My list – Paris – the food, the atmosphere, the bistros, the cafes, the gardens, brassieries, I can go on and on. Paris is a city which is busy too, but unlike London, Paris almost forces you to chill, if you are there on a holiday. London forces stress out of you. Get a good hotel in Paris, and within walking distance, you can find a small cafe, where you can eat crepes, or croissants, omeletes, munch on brioche or baguettes, sip your coffee, and just watch the rest of the world go by their business, and observe the chic fashion of the ladies. Finish your breakfast, and head to the museums. U can spend a whole day walking about and admiring art in the Louvre, Musee d’Orsay, Musee d’Art Moderne. The Luxembourg gardens await you to simply chill and watch lovers loiter all over the place. Hop on the train and visit the town of Versailles, you will not regret it. The beauty of the gardens, the palace, the history – I mean you can walk through the same grounds that Marie Antoinette and the host of other French Royalty walked in. Finish your day at Versailles amazing restaurants. Hop back on the train to Paris for dinner. Find a restaurant you’ll need to dress up for, it’s part of the experience, and oh my word, the French can cook. Dinner in Paris is a culinary experience not to be missed, and the service is usually very good and friendly. I can extol the virtues of Paris for days. i cant wait to have kids and take them to Paris like a gazillion times. Speaking french will be mandatory for them. Lol

  7. ruth

    December 3, 2012 at 10:29 am

    The Hague is peaceful&perfect 4 holidays esp christmas holiday, buh in my dreams i tink bahamas will b great too and i’d luv 2 visit soon.

    • Mz Socially Awkward...

      December 3, 2012 at 3:09 pm

      I agree with you about going to the Netherlands but for me, it’s Amsterdam. I love Amsterdam during christmas, it’s absolutely delightful.
      Barcelona is my second nomination… the sun! Plus it’s easy enough to navigate even if you don’t speak English.
      My madre wants us to go on a carribean cruise next year, I’ve heard good things so will be saving and getting prepped for that in 2013! 🙂

    • blacky

      December 4, 2012 at 5:54 am

      Yes go to the carribiean i have been there a couples of time and trust me you will love it

  8. Iny

    December 3, 2012 at 10:29 am

    It would be Capetown; the mountains and the beaches are so lovely….The Maldives, Mauritus and the South of France are also top on my to do list

  9. Tincan

    December 3, 2012 at 10:31 am

    I loved Barbados. If a relaxing holiday where you can laze about is what you are after, then that’s the one. Get up at 11pm, breakfast, grab a book, beach chair, plonk yourself in front of the sea for hours on end, then snooze… Bliss. And there are just about enough things to do, if you wanted ‘do something’ every other day or so.

    However if you like a mix of activities, SHOPPING, SHOPPING, places to visit, etc then Singapore’s your man. I absolutely adored it.

  10. Neo

    December 3, 2012 at 10:33 am

    For me it used to be Brass Island, Bayelsa. Nothing beats carefree village life by the Atlantic and all the seafod delicacies. That was ages ago tho, today my beloved Brass Island has been invaded by “modernisation” with everything ranging from dubious tatoo parlours to Hausa speaking okada riders!

    I have always wanted to go to Mauritius tho, the ocean there is clear, blue and seemingly endless!

  11. Jen.

    December 3, 2012 at 10:47 am


  12. Parisien

    December 3, 2012 at 10:57 am

    Other places – Tyrol in Austria – specifically high up in the mountains. They rent these cabins in the Alps. Beautiful. You arrive at the foot of the mountain, and you are driven up, a very winding road, with a sheer drop of hundreds of feet below (lol), it will scare u to bits your first drive, but you’ll get used to it. You get to your cabin, which is situated in a charming cosy village. The air is crisp and very very clean, a little cold, but its a good kind of cold. The view is to die for. I mean waking up every morning with a view of snow capped mountains, and a roaring fire in the lounge, with a full hearty breakfast. Breakfast in the mountains can send you straight to sleep, but the weather dictates you have enough energy for your day. You can take walks in the forest, loads of hiking trails, or simply sit by the stream or brooks and just listen to water flowing. If you go with a lover, you’ll probably spend half the time in bed wink* wink* it is a very romantic. In the evenings, you can walk through the villages, and browse through the shops. Its a small vilage, so very little cars, just people walking and cycling. Yes they speak German, and yes you probably will be the only black people there, but the people are soooo warm and friendly, and even inviting. Its a tourist haven so they are used to foreigners. Just learn a few words and phrases in German, and they’ll smile at you, and even correct your german. The food shops always invite you to taste something, whether it is the bread, sausages, cold meats, or the beer (which is disgusting, le boo loves it though. Ugh). When it gets dark, simply chill on the sofa in front of the fire, with a good book and a glass of wine. Or just talk with le lover with a glass of wine. One of the best times of my life. We have a policy, NO CELLPHONES, when we go up there.

    • Mz Socially Awkward...

      December 3, 2012 at 5:18 pm

      I’ve always wanted to honeymoon in Austria!! My choice would be Vienne, just because of its gorgeous antiquity but you just might have swayed my thinking… chei, person go need hubby wey go just flow in the same direction, oh…

    • immathrowup

      December 4, 2012 at 12:28 am

      abeg stop goggling all these places up and mouthing them off as if u’ve actually been there…..#nohatingintended

    • Linda

      December 4, 2012 at 8:09 am

      Whose fault is it that you’ve not moved passed the four walls of your house. Please take a chill pill and stop hating on those of us that want to explore the world. You should probably focus on yourself so you can at least move pass the gate of your house. “googling” should be the right word.

  13. ij

    December 3, 2012 at 11:03 am

    just came back from Agadir Morocco and i cant wait to go back. I actually wanted to go alone but as soon as i mentioned it to my girl Angela she immediately jumped on it and then there were 2 .
    From the airport to the ice cold mango juice that greeted us at the reception at the hotel, i knew i had not made a mistake . The hotel room was something ,i slept like a baby , Next morning, i ate enough pancakes for Britain , i knew there was a beach around because i had heard seagulls earlier so i knew it wasn’t far , but not as near as it turned out to be , just 2mins walk and there it was , the most glorious beach i have ever seen , i played my head off , no holds barred kind of playing in the water .
    Next on the agenda was the Hammam spa , 2hrs of out of this world exfoliating and massage experience , never felt this clean in all my life, the lady scrubbed me like my grandma, then gave the most luxurious massage , reflexology inc.
    Next was the camel ride , this was my friend’s idea , off we went oh and it took all the bravery in this world for me not to sprint off in the other direction when they were bringing the camels, these animals are not small oh, before i knew it ,there i was IJ on a camel screaming my head off, i was scared as hell at first but after sometime i relaxed and enjoyed the bumpy ride.
    It was all incl so I ate like i heard there was a famine coming ,all through the day there was food and drinks. We relaxed by the pool, come and see me singing and dancing no shame at all
    The hotel had the cheesiest entertainment in the evening which surprisingly i took part in, line dancing, karaoke, magic acts in fact i was up for anything , because i was that relaxed , i wasn’t planning to shop at all but how can i go to Morocco and ignore all the Moroccan oil and kaftans, I spent the rest of my money on them.
    The people were nice although it helped that I spoke French and they had a thing for black girls not sure what that was about .All in all I had a ball

  14. pynk

    December 3, 2012 at 11:14 am

    good point. Man i wanna get out of Lag so bad, Abuja might be an option. I am

  15. Southernbelle

    December 3, 2012 at 11:36 am

    Ibiza babyyyyyyyyy!!!!! it is absolutely amazing there…

  16. CA

    December 3, 2012 at 11:54 am

    I want to go to the Gambia, to Kenya and maybe to Ghana. I just want to tour Africa because our continent has much to offer but we Africans don’t seem to realize that.

  17. abimbola Dare

    December 3, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    Infact, I just went through groupon’s offers this morning for a holiday deal! lol. My girl friends and I have decided that we MUST have a yearly get away … and top of the list for some reason is Turkey… Antalya(sp?).I also want to go to southafrica, morocco, ghana.. the list is endless…Anywhere jare, as long as I get away from the UK weather.
    Im loving ur monday morning banters.. keep em coming!

  18. Traveller

    December 3, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    Venice – A lovers paradise, BUT you’ll also love if you go there alone or simply with girlfriends. My first time there was with a group of girls, and we had so much fun it was ridiculous. Beware of the Italian men, they have a thing for black girls, hold your money well, because venice is exxxxxxxxpesive. Go on a gondola ride through the Grand Canal at least twice, once during the day, and another at night, so you can really appreciate Venice. Walk along the cobbled streets, eat gelato to your delight, shop for little trinkets and masks at Piazza San Marco. Go up and down the Rialto bridge, till you look very silly. Then hop over to the Scalzi bridge and do the same. Visit the gorgeous churches – Santa maria dei Farri, Santa Maria della Salute, Basillica of Saint Giovanni and sth sth. Depending on the time of the year you visit, there may be some festival, or musical event at the Piazza San Marco in the evening. My first time there there, we watched an orchestra perform live, it was so beautiful, I almost cried. Get dressed and go for the Opera if you can afford it. Get the ferry to Murano Island and watch glass being made the old fashioned way. A straping Italian man, half naked blowing through a pipe to make the most beautiful glass pieces. Browse through the shops, and see crystal wine glasses, and ornaments you can’t afford. Venice oh Venice.

    • Timibaby

      December 3, 2012 at 3:23 pm

      As in, you are on point. went there in Oct with a girl friend and had so much fun.

      Boat cruises that stop in different countries also arent a bad idea. The Royal Caribbean cruise liner was very much on point when i was on it. Its paradise on sea.

  19. purplepearl

    December 3, 2012 at 12:37 pm

    I’ll scream Maldives anytime, amazing Islands and destination 2-Venice.

  20. Traveller

    December 3, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    Holidays for most Nigerians is shopping, a huge city (for the love of all things Holy, why why, when you just left Lagos. Lol), or the beach. Most people have been travelling abroad since conception, and they go to the same places, over and over again. Despite all the sites in the UK for example, most people have never passed London. When you mention Stonehenge, the Costwolds, Windsor castle, Bath, Edinburgh, Cornwall, Wales, The Giant’s Causeway, etc, you may as well be talking about a different country. I find that quite short sighted. To add to it, you go on a holiday and stay in someone’s house. Erm, no, I left a house in Lagos, me want to be pampered in a hotel. Same with the beach. Ok, you go to the beach in Barbados or Trinidad and Tobago, and finish. You’ve seen one beach in the Carribean, the ocean is always blue or green, the sand is white, zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz Boooooring. Next. Holidays for me is a chance to explore, to soak in the history, the culutre, the sights, the language, the food, the wine, the people, the local markets, go on tours. Live a little abeg. Expose your minds, broaden your horizon, and have fun and relax at the same time. Dont just shop and shop, clothes will fade, build a repertoire of memories. Memories you will have for life, and share with your children. I’m a bonafide member of the Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants, passed on from my parents and I’m not ashamed of it. Go to Reykjavik, see the Northern Lights you will never forget, Budapest, Verona, Prague, Rome, Lake Garda, Munich, Berlin, Innsbruck, Vienna, Paris, Milan, Barcelona, Hamman, Marrakech, Rome, Tel Aviv, Pretoria, Bali, Malta, Capri, Bucharest, Poland, Mumbai, new Delhi, Sydney, Queensland, Banghok, Malaysia, Monaco, Nice, St Tropez, The Algarve, Crete Thessaloniki……….. Ok, let me shut up now, and go renew my passport. No space left again for stamps. Lol

    • Idak

      December 3, 2012 at 3:31 pm

      I see your point and by the way i am guilty as charged.
      All this talk of peace and quiet come second in my list.
      For me, holiday is all about shopping till i drop and partying with little restriction.
      Every country i step into, one of the first things i look for is the prime shopping location. Even when i am not buying much (in relative terms), the simple art of getting lost in a well designed shopping mall is a treat.
      Add that to club hopping in a new city and my holiday is half made.
      Your idea is right and i guess i need to adjust and find some peace and quiet (when i can afford it!) but truth be told; i am guilty of the charge sheet you just wrote, apart from that staying in someone’s house part. That is so not it.
      By the way,I am a guy!!

    • TheSuspect

      December 5, 2012 at 12:55 pm

      i have always suspected that you are a guy.. Makes a lot of sense now.

    • nwanyi na aga aga

      January 11, 2013 at 11:11 am

      @idak are you married? if not come and marry me. You are a guy and you like shopping till u drop. thank God. At least you will be going to market to shop for our food items* smiles broadly* You can also buy clothes from there.You see I ve market or shopping phobia. looool!

    • Miss K

      December 4, 2012 at 3:05 am

      Ah Traveller you are singing my tune. Shopping doesn’t come up on my radar it’s all about exploring, enjoying the culture and language, getting lost and falling of grid #bliss! So far i’m at 15 countries and i can’t wait to literally go around the world, then and only then will i be able to pick out my favorite destinations 😉

  21. zino

    December 3, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    capeverde, maldives, mauritius, seychelles

  22. partyrider

    December 3, 2012 at 2:04 pm

    I love to travel for holidays, but na money kill am 🙁

  23. oluchy

    December 3, 2012 at 2:58 pm

    In Africa, l chose Morocco n Gambia/Kenya. ln Asia, i chose Bali or Hong kong/lndonesia. Just anywhere that nature is untapped and no phone with beach i fine by me.

  24. Mobolaji

    December 3, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    I have always wanted to visit Sao tome..heard its a cool place.

    • Brixtonbabe

      December 3, 2012 at 3:57 pm

      You and me both another Island i want to visit is St.Helena (British overseas territory) off the coast of SA the logistics of getting there is the challenge at the moment you can only go by ship they hope to have an airport ready by 2015

  25. Goodnessme!

    December 3, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    Jamaica Jamaica!!!!! Negril and Montego Bay all the way!!! If you want to relax in idealic settings that is available if you like the more upbeat tempo kind of partying holiday that is available!!! The caribbean infact i just love all the island especially gems like St Kitts and St Vincent idealic not to touristy and bwoyy all that fresh food on a daily basis likkle rum and ting 😉 thats what i call a holiday. I Live in London and growing up i visited alot of the countryside on holidays and i have to say Devon or cornwell are some of my favourite places to visit very relaxing. Another of my favourite holiday destinatioons would be Nigeria i love nothing more than to go back home and especially going to my home town this is special to me and i can literally stay in the village for 1 week as long as ai have all my essentials and of course DSTV, good books and some mags i am good to go rest me up!!!

  26. birdieblue22

    December 3, 2012 at 4:23 pm

    My village. Still struggling to learn my language but I admit its the best place to be during Christmas. Yes I have to fuss over cleaning the family house that hasn’t been lived in for most of the year the first day or 2, yes I have to cook in large amounts in case family stops by, yes I have to arrange for all the weddings, otomus and family meetings. Still. Its the best time of the year cause I get to be with family and friends I will most likely not see in 12 months and I’m really not really into having heart to heart conversations over the phone. So definitely my hometown especially when grandma was still alive.

  27. Goodnessme!

    December 3, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    Can i ask why my post has not been published please?

  28. Mz Socially Awkward...

    December 3, 2012 at 5:46 pm

    I have similar memories of holidays when I was growing up, Atoke. My folks would pile us into those little twin engine planes Bristol used to run then and off we’d go from Port Harcourt to Jos, from where we’d set out into this little private chalet/guest house up in the mountains (odds are the place must have closed a long time ago) and it was idyllic. We’d stay there for a week, hire a car & driver to travel out to see beautiful sights in neighbouring states, the food was FANTASTIC (the steaks used to be all kinds of amazing) and those are my first memories of getting to know Northern Nigeria.

    Even living in Port Harcourt, there was always an excuse to holiday not far away from where we lived, just packing up into the Hotel Presidential and spending a weekend, going to PH Tourist Beach, just relaxing. Those were also the days when going to your village was a real holiday – reunion with family, playing in the sun with cousins or (as you became savvy teens, just generally catching up on gist), watching all the mums and aunts prepare the Christmas feasts, eating until your stomach was a distended mound protruding from your rib-cage…

    I’d love to explore Africa on a holiday as well, especially Ghana which I’ve never been to. However, I haven’t yet cracked Asia so I’m more interested in holidaying there right now.

  29. Tolu

    December 3, 2012 at 6:26 pm

    For me it has to be Paris ooooo. I vexed enough times on a friday, picked the passport and its off on the Eurostar or from London City Airport. I’m going to be adventurous next year and visit Scotland. I’ve lived in the UK for too long, to have ignored Scotland all these while. A well planned holiday would be an Arab experience (Turkey, Morrocco, Egypy, Jordan etc). Those people know how to pamper you to death. Luxury is in their geneology. If I am looking for food and the weather, it is off to South of Europe – France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Malta, The Canary Isalnds. Anywhere South, and I am guaranteed to have a good time. Someone mentioned Ibiza. Ibiza ke, party central of Europe. Drunks and teenagers all over the place. They’ve moved on to Tenerife, and are slowly spoiling the place. Well if it is a party holiday you want, Ibiza is your spot.

  30. Teebaby

    December 3, 2012 at 10:29 pm

    Best holiday destination for me is ILORIN,in my fathers house,I usually get the much needed rest,clean air,fresh food,I can actually stay indoors 24/7,very peaceful,I don’t get to lift a finger till I come back to actually looking forward to Christmas break.

  31. faith

    December 9, 2012 at 5:04 pm

    Never travelled out of naija…hope to go to Dubai next year….

  32. Foluke

    June 12, 2013 at 10:19 am

    The Carribean! Got some great ideas here though, might try them out!

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