Croydon woman drove solo to Lagos in 10 weeks

Pelumi Nubi and her Peugeot 107. Pic: Justin Jamgbadi

A Nigerian woman who grew up in Croydon drove solo from London to Lagos in a Peugeot 107 despite a car crash.  

Pelumi Nubi, 29, decided to journey between Europe and Africa in a bid to ‘connect two places she considers home’.  

The travel content creator set off on the trip on January 24, 2024, to Lagos, Nigeria, covering 10,000 km in her small Peugeot, documenting the trip on social media as she drove across continents. She arrived in Lagos, where she was born, on April 7, 2024.  

She told Eastlondonlines: “I enjoy road trips, in the past I’ve solo driven across Namibia, which was great.

“I just didn’t see any female being represented in the overland space. I just wanted to do something brave; I wanted to do something daring and different from my usual means of travelling; you know, I’ve been to over 80 countries.   

“It was just me doing another crazy Pelumi trip and obviously that has sparked adventure in other people to go after their goals as well.”  

Pelumi Nubi in Morroco during her solo drive. Pic: Pelumi Nubi

Nubi said she took many safety precautions during her journey.

“I did a lot of research, I spoke to other people who have done similar trips around Europe and Africa. I read blogs, watched YouTube videos, read forums in depth, any online articles from the embassies of these places to get as much information as I could.”  

“I did a solo drive from London to Lake Como, Italy last year just to practice using the ferry.”  

No real-time social media sharing

She told Eastlondonlines that she was not too concerned about safety while driving alone as she took many precautions.  

“I did not share in real time on social media, so I never posted my live geographical location. Sometimes I had to tell white lies when I was in places ‘like oh my friend is coming’ even though I was doing it solo. I had an air tag on me all the time so my family could know exactly my pinpoint location. When I was driving the window was usually up and the doors locked from the inside, so nobody could just open them and grab something,” she said. 

“I had blackout curtains in the back of my car because I had valuables in there, so if anyone was just walking and peeping, they wouldn’t see my camera gear or whatever. I was just safety conscious the same way I would have done in the UK or anywhere in the world.”  

Nubi added that she avoided travelling by night and used a camping app to find safe locations to rest until daylight. She said: “As a woman, we are seen as vulnerable, and society can try to take advantage of that.”  

Car crash

Nubi had a scary car crash incident in the Ivory Coast which damaged her car but left her unharmed. She was able to get her car fixed to continue the drive in the same vehicle she started it.

She said that she overcame such challenges and explained: “The trip quickly became quite bigger than me, there were a lot of young girls I was trying to empower, women who were tapping into my story, so quitting was just not an option.  

“I just needed to keep on going. I just tapped into the adventurer in me, and fate was a big part of it, and my family and close friends cheering me on even in difficult times.  

“I had to tap back into my ‘why’, ‘why am I doing this?’, ‘why did I start in the first place?’ A lot of self-reassurance.”  

‘Just do it’

Nubi said that anyone who wants to pursue their dreams should “just do it” 

“The magic is in the doing. Planning is great, but I felt the difference when I decided that I would pack my bags and I would do this drive, and I set a date and set out of my house, I think that’s when everything changed for me. If you are thinking of an idea, something you constantly just cannot stop thinking about, just do the thing.” 

When Nubi reached Lagos, she said: “It was magical, I didn’t expect such a warm homecoming. It felt like I was internationally celebrated, but in Lagos I was just really made to feel welcome home after such a big adventure. It was incredible.”  

She told Eastlondonlines that her parents and siblings were ecstatic when she arrived in Lagos. 

“I think my dad said something like the world, to them this was entertainment, but for them they were worried, that was their little girl, I’m the only girl of two boys. They were over the moon to just like, ‘Ooph, don’t do that again.’ 

“But they know me, they know I’ll be on another adventure soon.” 

Pelumi Nubi in Ganvie, Benin Republic. Pic: Pelumi Nubi

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