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Isio’s Travel Adventure: São Tomé – Part IV



IsioSo, it is not a secret that I scuba-dive. Every morning that I have woken up on this island, I keep staring at this impressive bit of rock that peeks out of the ocean surface, off the coast of the Santana part of the island. From where I stood, it looked like a cave.


I was so drawn to it, and so, I went to one of the local PADI centres and registered my intention to go on a few dives. Imagine my excitement, when the dive-master said we could dive around the cave that I had found so intriguing! And what a great bonus, there were a few ship-wrecks around the island too.


So I went back home to prepare. I did my lokosuna leg-kick-warm-ups in my bedroom. It had been six months since my last dive in Zanzibar, and since I was determined not to die in the ocean, I took the day out, to familiarize myself with the smell, feel, sights of these waters via swimming with a life vest, and snorkelling by the reefs. The Mediterranean Sea and the Indian Ocean, yes… I had been in those waters, but the Atlantic…? Errrrr, no. Never ever. Even though I was born in Lagos, and I live in Lagos, the part of the Atlantic that is near our Lagos is where all the locals shit and piss in, and where (in my mind) all the suck-a-way of the whole Island deposits all its yama-yama into. I am serious! There is no way in hell, heaven on earth that I shall be dipping a toe in those waters – forget diving. In fact, the thought of eating any fish caught those waters leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

Ani mi o je. Ese pupo.

The next day I left home to go snorkel at the beach, something horrible happened. The currents came… they were so strong, and for a while it dawned on me that I was struggling, and I got this close to drowning.

The water sucked me in and spat me out, and when I was pulled out. God bless his soul. 

I took a moment to just sit down, before I climbed a low hanging palm and just stayed there. I think psychologically, I needed to be far away from the ground as possible. That night, I wept bitterly, and I was so overwhelmed with intense flashbacks of the smashing waves and the vivid futility of trying to grasp onto water- struggling to stay afloat. I cried some more. I took a while, but I finally fell asleep.

There are no words to describe the moments in which you are face-to-face with your own mortality. It is simply indescribable in words. You know, it takes one to experience that which you already know, for you to fully understand what knowing means. You can read about it, hear about it, talk about it, but until you experience it… nah-ah-ah… it’s not the same. Knowing things does something to you. It jolts you out of everything you think is important. It is an instant call-back to reality. Life is a gift, everything is only as important as you think it is, and every day you live, is a day closer to the day you will die. Morbid, maybe…. But true.

The next two days, I stayed still. Very still. I gave my gratitude to God, and in our moments of conversation, I would ask him why would shakara me, his padi like that… haba na.  You see, God and I, we have this relationship, and we yarnnnn well-a.

And so, I started…

Me: Ehen… (Oghene-Chineke-God) Why You go allow that kain tin happen to pesin sef. I don’t like it o.

OCG: Calm down jo. {He chuckles} Nobody is interested in killing you jo. I don’t want you to come and wahala me in heaven. Stay there first.

Me: {still smarting} I just don’t like that kind of rough play.

OCG: You are fine. You told me before you came on this trip that you needed some clarity. To be free from anxiety. You wanted to know what was best between the career and life you thought you wanted when you were younger, to what you have now…

Me: Yessssss, so…?

OCG: I gave you your answers. I caused you to experience. You are living, you are doing, you are acquiring, and yet, you are worrying. You forget to just be. To do your best, and not over-estimate your abilities, nor underestimate the ability of life itself to snuff you out in a heartbeat (which was for instance this water). All your strength, all your wealth, all your things and all your abilities are powerless against nature, which is life itself. Everything you have, is a gift. Everything you choose, is a choice. You forget that your being here is temporary. What you do, is what is “kinda” permanent. Because that is what leaves a ripple effect. And it goes on, and on… until the end of time.

Nothing you choose to do in this life is better than the other, it is simply different from the other, my little Sun. Whether you work-in and own a 50-floor skyscraper – a la Jessica Pearson style ­-  or you live in the mountains, tend to your family, farms and livestock and write books upon books- for the world to read, and paint stories after stories – for the world to see…

{He shrugs} The Isio that you will be if you face IDDS Interiors squarely, is not better than the Isio you will be if you choose the latter. It is simply different.

Every choice has its costs, and its sacrifices. Whatever the case/cost – that’s not the most important thing. The most important thing is that you are STILL here. That you are able to be. To feel, to touch, to think, to breathe, to love. Look around you. The world is beautiful. The ocean successfully did in a few seconds what books/movies would have needed a lifetime to do… Life is a gift, everything is only as important as you think it is, and every day you live, is a day closer to the day you will die.


MAKE. IT. COUNT. Make it count.

And stop worrying so much.

Me: Woww. You are really smart.

OCG: {Chuckles} I know… I have to go now… the angels are calling…

I blew air-kisses and tuale-ed to my biggest, bested friend in the world.

These were the life lessons I learnt.

The next day, I got ready to get back into the water. The Mister had worried that I might develop an irrational fear of water due to my experience, but I decided it was time to squash that fear. No better way, than jumping right in.

And so, a group of us took a boat. We headed to the cave-mountains to the North-East of Santana. And, oh-my-gawdddddd it was the most gorgeoussssssss place everrrrrrrrr! And, if I thought entering the cave was magnificent, the world of wonder that met my eyes when I dipped my head under-water just sent my soul leaping for joy within my body. I can’t describe it all…

Adjacent jagged reefs of rock cut through the water in a deep, deep under-water canyon that was deeper than my mortal eyes could see. And everywhere, colourful fish swam and dazzled in their glory. And the water, crystalline blue – somewhere between cerulean and teal. Looking up, you begun to understand that the cave-mountain wasn’t just a patch of stony land, but that it rose from within the waters of mesmerizing depth, to leap out into the air, high, grand and majestic. When I was in there, I felt no fear. I just felt wonder… I felt alive, and I felt happy, and so, so lucky.

Here’s a video, kinda like a compilation of my time in Sao Tome and my underwater photos…

That was my last adventure in Sao Tome. The next day, I packed my bags and returned to Lagos. But I would never forget Sao Tome. That island was good to me.

Isio Knows Better resumes next week.

Love and xx.

Photo Credits:, | Song credit: “xo” by Beyonce.

Isio De-laVega Wanogho is a Nigerian supermodel, a multi-award winning media personality and an interior architect who is a creative-expressionist at her core. She uses words, wit and her paintings to tell stories that entertain, yet convey a deeper meaning. Follow her on Instagram @isiodelavega and visit her website: to see her professional body of work.


  1. O'Kel

    October 27, 2015 at 9:46 am

    You inspire me gal.

  2. beauty

    October 27, 2015 at 10:05 am

    She’s bleaching…

    • Austar

      October 27, 2015 at 10:34 am

      Nigerians and their bleaching mentality… Anyone that takes a picture and looks bright must be bleaching. Was that all you could pick from the article? Please receive small sense.

    • Audrey

      October 27, 2015 at 1:06 pm

      pleeeeeeeeenty sense!

    • iCare

      October 27, 2015 at 11:55 am

      Like seriously! did u even watch the video to realize that its lighting effect. Damn! u is a pure hater. May God help ur dark thoughts.

  3. Austar

    October 27, 2015 at 10:30 am

    Isio I love your lipstick. What brand is it?
    However…. I am so happy that you had fun. Can’t wait for IKB to resume fully

  4. lanre

    October 27, 2015 at 10:31 am

    who???she??? jess!!! is that all you can pick from the write up? did u forget about camera effects,makeup(concealer,highlighter and the rest)?? trust me life is too simple to always come out with negativity. remain blessed.

  5. mrs chidukane

    October 27, 2015 at 10:45 am

    Oh Isio, you make me wish I did more when I was single. So glad you didn’t drown. Nice video.

  6. Priscy

    October 27, 2015 at 10:48 am

    Wow….this is deep
    Having a near death experience can really make you think what really matters in this world
    I had a terrible accident one time and God pulled me out with just a little scratch, I began to think that all of the shoes, bags, clothes does not really matter.
    How many people have I helped no matter how little, how many have I put a smile on their faces, how many have I inspired by the life I live….these and many more were the thoughts that plagued me
    Even though I still love my shoes, I try to be a better person to myself, my family and my neighbors
    May Oghene help us all

  7. amaria

    October 27, 2015 at 12:44 pm

    I had a near death experience when I was 6months pregnant. OK maybe not near death like sha but enough to scare the shit out of me .. I was in a taxi that somehow lost control on a very busy lane and was swerving while still speeding trying to regain control without hitting anyone . I was sitting in front and of course like the kanu kanu that it was, there was no seat belt. As we were swerving and swerving a million thoughts ran through my head. “My baby! My life! My husband ! My baby! My baby! God pleaser me go to heaven. Scratch that, God please let me not die let me only wound. ..but if I wound how will I completer this pregnancy??” Then finally we hit someone and he fell on the windscreen and shattered it. I felt the glass scatter all over my body and concluded I was dead .. when the car eventually stopped , I just picked my hand bag walked away from the gathering mob and sat on the pavement by the road and started crying. I cried there till my husband came for me . It was that day I understood that shock can indeed drive u mad.

  8. amaria

    October 27, 2015 at 12:48 pm

    *kabu kabu

  9. marie

    October 27, 2015 at 1:49 pm

    Nicely written

  10. Annie

    October 27, 2015 at 4:21 pm

    This is INSPIRING! Thank you Isio.

  11. lola carey

    October 27, 2015 at 4:35 pm

    Isio,u have turned to oyibo o. And please BN commenters, don’t give me d crap about camera effects.

  12. solape

    October 27, 2015 at 7:17 pm

    pls come back home…e don do…Sao tome today, sao tome tome tomorrow, when its not Home video

  13. n

    October 27, 2015 at 10:16 pm


  14. n

    October 27, 2015 at 10:17 pm

    Ciaos (hello)!

  15. Really?

    October 28, 2015 at 4:11 am

    Lol! Isio, I love you but there’s a thing called over do. This Sao Tome thing, Is just that. At least make the fact that you were paid discreet. I actually roooooolled my eyes when I saw Part IV

  16. Asabe

    October 28, 2015 at 12:25 pm

    Good to have you back Isio.. and its obvious the trip was enjoyable and insightful as well..
    I actually got touched by the analysis of the various life options and the fact that the choices and their consequences are just different, not better… thanks so much and I really hope that answered whatever question prompted the trip in the first place..
    Of which,…Isio wrote about reflections after a near death experience and all the deep things that accompanied the experience now, our spirikokos in the house press CTRL+IGNORE…the day Isio writes about man and woman matter, abeg make nobody talk skabash, parental control or any of those stories that touch o!!!..

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