Kunle Adeyanju, a London-based Nigerian adventurer who traveled on his power bike from London-Lagos, spoke to THE WHISTLER on the telephone. He planned the journey, which he tagged as “Adventure” for one year. But he obviously did not reckon he would also encounter wild animals in his path.
He shared his experience in an interview with our correspondent. Excerpts:
You mentioned the adventure was inspired by your desire to create awareness for polio, please tell us more about this?
The driving objective for that was borne out of my desire to use my lifestyle, my gift and talent, the way I live to touch the lives of the underprivileged and humanity in general; to solve some of those little problems in the world. I chose polio because Polio is a personal fight. I have a friend that lives with polio, he passed on two years ago and I knew how difficult it was for my friend. When we go out playing like young boys, running, playing football, swimming jumping and all that, he couldn’t, not because he didn’t want to but because he was limited by his condition.
I knew the pain and how difficult it was for him and his family, therefore, said to myself that if I have the means to ensure this continues, I would ensure that no other child ever goes through it.
Do you think there could have been another way you could have created that same awareness except having to travel that distance on a bike?
There are a thousand and one ways to kill a cat, but you just chose the one that works for you. There is no one correct thing to anything in life
Will I be correct to say that the adventure was inspired by the fact that you are a professional biker?
It’s not correct. I have a series of things I want to do and I have a life plan for myself. Riding from London to Lagos is one of those things I want to do, I would have been selfish if I had gone ahead and enjoyed the fun and the pain. Can I use it to give back to benefit humanity by using my lifestyle to touch the lives of the underprivileged.
So at the end of the trip when you arrived in Nigeria, would you say you are satisfied with the impact and the lives you touched?
Yes, I am. The awareness is now very high. People are now more aware; people are finding their inspiration and finding reasons to be human again.
What was your biggest challenge on the trip?
Well, I would say it was a difficult challenge as every difficulty has its own uniqueness to the last day. If you say one of the most painful moments for me was when i lost my rear tyre and I was stranded in the bush where there are lions and hyenas in Mali.
How did you maneuver this situation?
When it happened the first thing I did was to put my eyes out for any animal so I ran to climb the tree. While I was climbing the tree, I saw a touch light, I saw it was from the villagers and they accepted me, and protected me. They fixed my bike for me, they gave me water and climbed me back and made me comfortable, and they showed me true African hospitality.
Did you get to any point during the course of the adventure you felt like giving up?
Well, I knew what I was going through before I embarked on the journey and I decided I was going to do whatever it takes to ensure I arrive at my destination. There was no point I felt like I was giving up, there are times I felt so much pain that tears trickled from my eyes. Fear sometimes has a way of controlling your emotion so it’s okay to cry sometimes but what is not okay is for you to quit on your goal.
Did you ever think the journey was impossible at any point?
Before going on the journey I knew it was possible and how I knew is because I spent a year working on the plan, after building my plan for one year I knew I had a good plan because of the time spent and I knew the good plans now depend on son me executing it so as long as I remained committed to my plan, it would be difficult, painful, extremely tough but you have to see yourself through.
Apart from the animals, was there a robbery or any form of criminal attack?
No, I never experienced that.
How were the borders?
I got the borders and presented my papers and they gave me a pass, if you have the required documentation then there is no problem, you only have problems if you don’t.
If you had embarked from Lagos to London, would it have been that seamless?
No, it’s the same border you cross; it doesn’t matter where you start from. If you don’t have the required documentation, you can’t go anywhere; you will scale the borders if you have the required documentation. It doesn’t matter the passport because if you are genuine, the immigration officers would see it through you and if you are criminally-minded, they would see it too and if you have the required papers, no one will stop you on your journey.
What would you say to young people who have been trying to achieve a milestone but find it impossible?
Young people need to learn all the things they need to achieve their goals and they need to understand that their goals will not happen in a day. It takes a lot of hard work and time so people should be ready to persevere, they should be ready to accommodate the fact that it takes time to build success.