AYSHA YEBOAH



11.10.18      



This week we chatted with thirty-two year old traveller and teacher, Aysha Yeboah from the UK. She discusses with us everything from the strength of working women to the beauty of serendipity.



“I’ve come to realise that loneliness is fleeting; one second you feel it, and the next, someone’s walking over to you asking where you’re from. It doesn’t last long.







What’s your profession?

I’m a teacher, amateur photographer and I dabble in ceramic art.



How old are you? 

I’m thirty-two.



Tell me a bit about your background?

My first serious travel stint was one month in Malawi when I was fifteen. My parents were great and encouraged me to go - I think that’s where the travel obsession began for me. Now, my friends and family laugh when I get back from somewhere, as I’m already planning where I will go next. I’m originally from the UK, and grew up in a small town, before moving to London after University. I’m currently living in the Middle East, having moved here two years ago with my husband - which is an adventure in itself. I’m excited by all the places I can travel to from here!



When did you first decide to travel solo and where did you go?

I first entered into solo travel with a short trip to Copenhagen. I’m really interested in art and design and had read about the city and heard positive things from friends, so I decided to go alone to soak up the culture and see everything on my own terms, in my own time.



“I’ve come across so many hardworking women, who maintain a positive outlook, and have a smile on their face whilst also showing kindness and hospitality.”







What’s been your greatest achievement whilst travelling?

For me solo travel was a great achievement, pushing myself out of my comfort zone. However, I also felt a great sense of achievement when I visited Ghana and taught in a rural school, helping to update the school facilities with a group of volunteers.



What have you found to be the most challenging part of travelling solo and how did you learn to overcome it?

The challenging part of solo travel can be occasional loneliness. I’m someone who is content in my own company but I love being with others. I’ve come to realise that loneliness is fleeting; one second you feel it, and the next, someone’s walking over to you asking where you’re from. It doesn’t last long.



What’s the weirdest thing that you saw or experienced on your travels, and in which country?

In Thailand I thought I was being taken to a shop and ended up being dropped off at an ‘unusual’ show.. I made a sharp exit!



Who was the most inspiring person that you met whilst travelling and why? Can you tell me a bit about them?

I’m inspired by the strength of women on my travels. Often women in developing countries have so much to juggle. They sometimes work in jobs which require physical labour - many times with children on their backs! I’ve come across so many hardworking women, who maintain a positive outlook, and have a smile on their face whilst also showing kindness and hospitality. So many people have inspired me whilst travelling, but mostly it’s people who have nothing but are willing to share what they have or even give it all away. There’s so much to learn from other cultures.



“I also find that travel becomes so much more meaningful to me when I make the effort to get to know local people, to make conversations and enjoy the precious moments.”
 





What was your best experience with a local and why? Can you tell me a bit about them?

I have had many tender, beautiful experiences with local people, however the specific occasion that springs to mind is when I visited the rice fields in the North of Bali. I learned so much about how people live and how hard they work for their livelihood. One particular occasion I stopped to take a picture of a man and woman who had bought their children with them to work. They were eating their lunch, and it was clear they didn’t have much food however; they still offered me some and kept insisting that I eat. I was so touched by them offering me some of the little that they had.



Where was your favourite travel destination so far and why?

I have enjoyed every place I’ve been for different reasons, however I particularly enjoyed the Philippines, I remember feeling at home as soon as I stepped off the plane. The relaxed nature of the phillipeno people made me feel at ease. Also this is the place that my now husband proposed to me so it’ll always be special.



Where is the next destination you plan to visit? What do you plan to do?

Ahhh, the big question! I have so many places on my list....I hope to visit Japan, to get lost in Tokoyo to eat authentic Japanese food, to experience their culture and visit the beautiful mountains.



How can we make our travels more meaningful in this day and age?

In my personal opinion travel becomes more meaningful when we don’t plan too much and go with the flow, when we take risks and follow our hearts. I also find that travel becomes so much more meaningful to me when I make the effort to get to know local people, to make conversations and enjoy the precious moments.



“Taking the plunge and travelling on my own was one of the best things I’ve ever done.”






How has travel influenced and impacted your life? Would you change this given the chance?

Travel has been one of the most important things in my life since I can remember. It has impacted and shaped who I am in so many wonderful ways. It has broadened my perspectives, provided inspiration, and given me an insight into other cultures and ways of life.



How has solo travel empowered you?

Before embarking on solo travel I felt daunted. I had many questions running through my mind. Would I feel lonely? What if I didn’t meet anyone? Would I feel like a failure? Taking the plunge and travelling on my own was one of the best things I’ve ever done - and ever will do - it unfolded relationships, laughter, and amazing experiences.



If you could journey back to before you first travelled alone, is there anything you know now that you would tell yourself?

Don’t be afraid, embrace the unknown – Do it – go now!



Do you have a favourite object that you bought on your travels, and what’s the story behind it?

I’m not at all a hoarder, infact quite the contrary however I LOVE handmade products; I love things that have a story, a meaning. I also love knowing who made an item. As I mentioned above my first major travels were to Malawi aged 15 – I remember coming home with a suitcase full of amazing handmade items, I was so awestruck by the craftsmanship.

On this particular trip we visited a town that made handmade pottery. It was so wonderful to see things being made, to know that the money I was spending was going back to local people, and to take something home that I considered to be pure treasure. My mum and dad still have most of the pottery in their house and when I go home I get a nostalgic feeling when I drink tea out of my Malawi mug.








Photographs taken by Aysha Yeboah (Bali, Indonesia: 2018; Denpasar, Indonesia: 2018; Kerala, India: 2017; Busungbiu, Indonesia: 2018; Yogyakarta, Indonesia: 2018).