Photo: Pelumi Nubi

This Solo Traveler Is Driving From the UK to Nigeria in Her Purple Peugeot 107

Road Trips
by Katie Scott Aiton Feb 1, 2024

On January 24, Nubi, a former Ph.D. Biomedical Sciences student took a step back from academia to set off on a solo overlanding trip from London, UK to Lagos, Nigeria in her purple Peugeot 107. When she makes it, she’ll be the first Black woman to complete such an expedition.

If you’re reading this and questioning “Why?” You’re not alone. Reporting from Barcelona, Spain on January 26, Nubi shares her reasoning with Aminata Kamara on BBC Radio London.

“Why not?” Nubi jests, “I wanted to inspire people to go for big adventures. I’ve always wanted to connect my two roots. I was born in Nigeria and grew up in the UK.”

Nubi relocated to London when she was 10 years old but considers both the UK and Nigeria home.

“This [journey] feels like moving from one home to another,” she explains.

Pelumi Nubi in Lamu Kenya

Photo: Pelumi Nubi
Pelumi enjoys a boat tour in Lamu, Kenya.

What is driving Nubi — other than the 1.0 L 3-cylinder engine in her trusty purple Peugeot — is her love of travel and desire to increase representation of solo Black female travelers, peculiarly in the overlanding community. As a content creator, it’s also her goal to share stories from people she meets along the way, especially from other women in Western Africa.

Nubi’s passport is already well-worn. She currently sits at 80 countries and will bag a few more over the next couple of months. It’s also not the first time Nubi has taken on a travel-related challenge. She reels off personal achievements such as her road trips from Lagos to Ghana, an 2,500 mile trip across Namibia, and London to Lake Como. But overlanding from the UK to Nigeria is her greatest adventure yet.

Pelumi Nubi in Benin

Photo: Pelumi Nubi
Pelumi awaits a bus in Benin during her first West African road trip.

The journey will take Nubi and her Peugeot over 6,000 miles, crossing continents and borders, spanning 17 countries across Europe and West Africa. The route crosses exciting destinations such as Western Sahara, Mali, Ghana, and Morocco.

The trip should take around two months. If all goes to plan, Nubi will make it home by March to celebrate her mom’s 60th with the family. They are her support system, “I couldn’t have done this without them,” Nubi continues. “I’ve never been told, “You can not do it,”” and that was instilled from a young age.

Pelumi Nubi in San Marino

Photo: Pelumi Nubi
Pelumi enjoys the views in San Marino.

However, there have been a lot of practical hurdles to get over. Overlanding gear is not cheap. In order to be comfortable and safe, there are certain necessities you can’t go without, but you can start with a few adaptations to your vehicle and build on those foundations. For Nubi, putting aside any spare money for travel has always been a priority. It’s taken a year to save up, and the budget for the trip is carefully controlled. The Peugeot is her home for the next couple of months. After adding a customized bed on the passenger side seat and a cooking area, she is now able to wild camp and avoids the expense of accommodation.

“It’s actually a cozy night’s sleep,” Nubi adds, “where there’s a will, there’s a way.”

And this trip will take a lot of self-confidence — an attribute Nubi explains has taken time to build. Over multiple trips to Europe, she flexed this muscle and became more savvy at overlanding. With street smarts and by taking calculated risks, she promotes solo female travel and hopes that others will take on similar challenges.

“The journey is larger than myself. I want to represent anyone who has dreams but is doubtful”, says Nubi. “You can dare to step into the unknown — it’s the only way we get to connect with ourselves and inspire others.”

For real-time updates, follow Pelumi Nubi on Instagram, TikTok, or Twitter, or subscribe to her newsletter, The Inner Circle.

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