Japa or Not to Japa



For anyone thinking about leaving Nigeria permanently, I'd like to attempt to share a balanced perspective on this topic as a traveller and someone that has lived away from home. I spend a lot of time in Europe and whenever I visit, I’m always struck by a powerful quote: “There are no solutions. There are only trade-offs.” On paper, there are many things wrong with Nigeria. So many in fact, that I don't blame people for leaving. The problem is, most people think the act of leaving is the solution, when really all they're doing is trading one set of pros and cons for another. Sometimes people are so focused on what they don't like about about their home country while simultaneously taking the amazing aspects for granted. You only really understand the intrinsic value of these overlooked qualities when you're on the other side of the world for a while. The problem is, once you're in a new country, and once the rose tinted glasses come off, there will be many other things you don't like on that side of the world too. As crazy as this may sound, I actually encourage people to leave if they really want to. We live in a global world and it's not true that just because you're born somewhere, it means you have to stay there forever. The only advice I ever add is, just make sure you have many good reasons to arrive in a new place. Running away from something will make moving even harder than it already is. As someone that travels a lot, I speak to many Nigerias all over the world. There is no question that most of them see Nigeria differently after living abroad for a while. Many other nationalities feel the same about their home country too. That said, moving away may indeed be the best thing that some of you have ever done. I think the reason for this is simple. When you move, you will either love it or hate it over time depending on what you value. But again, you never just value one thing. And this is often why moving is hard. Like most of you, I value safety, good health care and security but I also value that warm and aggresive Naija spirit and friendliness. In Europe, I really value the ease of travel. This is something that's a lot harder to get right back home. When you're in Europe, you are two hours away from 50 world-class cities. But then travel can be incredibly expensive this side compared to back home. The cost of eating out is so much cheaper and you get so much more bang for your buck. I could keep going with the comparisons but again, no matter where you live in the world, you have to be aware of all the trade-offs should you want to leave. Leaving in and of itself isn't the solution. The best solution I have personally come up with is that I want to live on two continents at once. i.e Live in Nigeria and live somewhere at the same time, will this be possible, well as a husband and father of an amazing 2 year old, I still don’t know how I will pull that off. I absolute LOVE abroad for many reasons, but I also love Nigeria for others. As it stands now, I don't think I ever want to leave Nigeria completely but I also can't live in just one country my whole life. So I'm going to do both. If my version of life sounds crazy to you, I think people who leave because they hate one or two aspects of a country they were born in without considering the other trade-offs are even more insane. Last point. The reason why there's no right or wrong answer to leaving your home country is because the trade-offs are all relative. Asking someone else if they're happy they moved isn't going to answer the question directly for you. I don't blame anyone for wanting more from life. Sometimes a move will give you just that, and other times it will show you that you had the best of life at your fingertips all along. Sometimes you will realise you were never meant to live in just one place, and sometimes you'll be crazy enough to want to live on two continents at once.