Around the world with me

I may have been born in Nigeria and raised in the US, but it's my travels around the world that have formed and molded me. Many of these international experiences started during my teenage years and carried into early adulthood. As a result, I see myself as a blend of the experiences and the reflections I have about certain moments. It would be impossible to tell you about me without me talking about traveling. 

Here are some questions and answers to understand what travel means to me

1. What is my favorite travel experience?
Hands down has to be a 7-week trip I did from end of 2015 into the new year of 2016. The trip had a memorable start and a memorable end. On my first day, I ran around Tokyo alone finding memorabilia of two my favorite shows — Dragon Ball Z and Gundam Wing — that transported me to my childhood.  On the last day, I saw two college friends marry each other at a temple outside of Bangkok, Thailand. In between, I had so many other enjoyable and thrilling moments. I learned to bike in Hanoi, Vietnam and had to bike for my life on a major street because I made a wrong turn. I got to give some elephants a bath in Thailand. I visited Angkor Wat and other temples in Cambodia. In Taiwan, I ate xiao long baos everyday and drank bubble tea every night. In Singapore, I unexpectedly ran into a college friend one evening and met up with another college friend on another evening. Then there was the fun and glitzy New Year's experience in Hong Kong.

2. What is one place I could go back to and why?
Barcelona. I have been three times, including three months for an internship. I speak some Spanish, so I find it easy to get around. I love the paella and tapas life. There are so many beautiful places for sightseeing and so much history. I also like the Spanish approach to life. I really feel like I know the city. 

3. What was the most recent new country I've visited and what new countries do I want to visit next?
The most recent new country I have visited is China, back in 2019. The countries at the top of my list are probably Portugal and Philippines. I want to visit Portugal because I know so many people that have been, and they all love it. I want to visit the Philippines because I am always looking for new Asian countries to visit. I grew up in an area with a sizable Filipino population so it would be nice to visit the country.

4. How do I pick where to travel? And what do I like to do when I travel? 
Food and friends. Food is certainly the biggest criteria for me. I have gone to some countries just because I liked the food. I have been fortunate to have friends in so many different parts of the world, so now I will travel just to see some of my friends.  I also love cities where I can easily walk and/or bike.

5. How does travel influence how I think and work as a PM?
Since I have lived, studied, or worked in so many different places, I have learned to accept that each place has its own set of metaphors that it uses. I find that if I want to be understood, I have to pick up their metaphors. Being a product manager is about transporting yourself to the distinct worlds of your stakeholders and being able to both capture what they are saying but also represent them to other stakeholders.

Oh the places I've gone

Africa: 9 countries / territories

  • Cameroon
  • Côte d'Ivoire
  • Ghana
  • Kenya
  • Nigeria
  • Rwanda
  • South Africa
  • Tanzania
  • Uganda

Asia-Pacific: 12 countries / territories

  • Australia
  • Cambodia
  • China
  • Hong Kong
  • India
  • Japan
  • Korea
  • Macau
  • Singapore
  • Taiwan
  • Thailand
  • Vietnam

Europe: 9 countries / territories

  • Czech Republic
  • France
  • Germany
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Netherlands
  • Spain
  • Turkey
  • United Kingdom

Americas: 11 countries / territories

  • Argentina
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • Cayman Islands
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Cuba
  • Mexico
  • Panama
  • Puerto Rico
  • United States