From London To Lagos: Pelumi Nubi’s 73-Day Road Trip Was A Journey Of Self-Discovery


The world tuned in as professional biker Kunle Adeyanju became the first Nigerian man to ride a motorcycle from London to Lagos. After some research and investigation, Pelumi Nubi discovered this journey had not been attempted by car or by a woman. In January, the 29-year-old content creator, internet personality, and former Ph.D. student set out on a solo road trip to be the first Black woman to make this trek.

Born in Lagos and raised in London, Nubi thought this journey would be a way to connect the two places she called home. Any previous trips between the two countries have been via flight, leaving her curious about her birth country, Africa, and her familial roots. For Nubi, this trip was something bold that pushed her outside of her travel comfort zone, all while allowing her to encourage people to explore the Mother Continent.

A wealth of people from around the globe tuned into her Instagram and YouTube for updates along the way. In between London and Lagos, her journey took her to France, Spain, the West Sahara Desert, Mauritania, Sierra Leone, Senegal, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, and Togo.

But any trip of this magnitude is not without hardship and setbacks. We watched her chronicle the realities of being a solo woman enduring sexual harassment, battling spurs of loneliness, navigating language barriers, sleeping at borders, car woes, being denied entry into countries, and several bureaucratic hurdles. After a car accident that wrecked the front of her vehicle, many of us thought that would end her road trip.

Nevertheless, she persisted. 

“It started as a solo trip—another crazy adventure from Pelumi—but as I kept going, it became something bigger,” she says.

She received messages from parents and teachers, sharing that their daughters and students were invested in her travels. They were curious, and her journey was a testament to a life they may not have envisioned. It showed them what can happen when they step outside their comfort zones to do something audacious. 

“Every time I felt knocked down, people gathered and rallied around me to pull me up,” she shares. “That’s what kept me going. There were just so many people riding along on the journey. I had to finish.”

Amidst obstacles, familial and community support allowed Nubi to experience once-in-a-lifetime encounters. She had exhilarating experiences like parasailing in France and trekking the Atlas Mountains. 

“Gambia had incredible beaches,” she recalls. “And I enjoyed everything about Sierra Leone. The food, culture, and people were incredible, and I immersed myself in every bit.”

On April 7, Nubi completed her adventure by entering Lagos. Community members, family, friends, and government officials at the University of Lagos celebrated her arrival. 

Her 73-day road trip was over a year in the making. In preparation, she modified her car, a Peugeot 107, to include a sleeping area and spot for cooking, which took about a month to get right. She relied on the advice of those who embarked on similar journeys to learn the best routes, tips, and hacks.

Using services like Google, she was able to determine road conditions. Blog sites and YouTube videos provided her with information on the cities and countries along her route to help her learn about attractions, cultural norms, and must-see spots. In addition to spending a year to save funds, she shared that she also had a sponsor, Osprey, the outdoor backpacker brand, who helped with some of the costs.

Upon her return, the car, nicknamed Lumi, was donated to the J Randle Center for Yoruba Culture and History. Nubi hopes a glimpse of the vehicle will inspire others to explore the world.

While she may not embark on this same route again, she says she will continue to take road trips, travel, and embark on new adventures. Between preparing and setting off on the journey, Nubi learned she was an audacious woman who could do hard and crazy things.

“When you put your mind to something, it can come to pass no matter how hard,” she says. “Even when people say it’s impossible and the odds are stacked against you, it’s still possible when you’re determined. This trip was the rebirth of Pelumi.”

Her adventure is just a notch in the belt of Nubi’s accomplishments in her life thus far. She graduated with honors with a degree in medical science and pursued a Ph.D. program in human genetics and cancer research. During her undergrad, she co-founded The Black Explorer, a print magazine that amplified Black travel. As a person who lives a very unconventional life, she believes that she can choose her legacy and what future generations will learn about her by emphasizing the importance of audacity, momentum, and embracing challenges.

Undoubtedly, she’s excited about what the future holds. After a moment of rest, Nubi intends to use her platforms to empower women with aspirations, including hosting seminars, booking speaking engagements, mentoring aspiring entrepreneurs, and making TV appearances. In her words, the possibilities are endless.

“We are so boxed in by society that it is so important for us to seek new things and step out of this restriction that we constantly put on ourselves,” Nubi says.

As she transitions into her new role as a Lagos Tourism Ambassador, Nubi wants to use her influence to promote free movement throughout Africa, address border control policies, and encourage visitors to enjoy nearly 360 days of sunshine. 

It has been incredible to watch Pulumi Nubi’s journey. Her life and adventures prove that anything is possible when you dare to defy the odds.

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