37. Travellers

Oluseun Onigbinde
4 min readSep 18, 2022

I guess we all felt like pausing time at some point, asked ourselves why the hurry? Can we catch some breath? Is it not interesting that another year has passed and like faithful sojourners without a map but just walking through life as afforded by the mercies of God, we have come to another celebration? As the journey of life that waits for no one ticks off vigorously every day without our permission, one comes to accept the wisdom of Yoruba, “ayé nlọ, a ntọ̀”. I can make it easier with the recent Asake’s Peace Be Upon You viral intro, “help, help me, I no know where he dey carry me dey go.”

Life is a convoluted path with highs and lows mingling into a single embrace. We are “herd" on a road, being demanded to hug all that appears in sight. We might call it fate or destiny, it is life happening. That’s why I prefer not to see life in parts, I accept its wholesomeness. If one chooses to count things separately but not make it a brew of hills of excitement, troughs of expectations and valleys of disappointments, it leaves one not fully digesting the meaning of life. As the French (or Believers Loveworld’s university poster reminds me) would say, “C’est la vie”. Such is life to accept that once I get cold mail of rejection, pain from a personal loss or disappointment in my behavior, it all leads to an understanding — that it’s all part of the journey.

Along the way, one must come to appreciate adventure; that sometimes it is okay to get lost in order to be found. Up until late 2021, I was coveting other people’s fortunes, trying to dazzle again into the blitz of building something new, raising money like cool kids. Well, that did not happen. I lost myself in the trenches. I am still digging my heels in BudgIT. A graceful journey that either sees me setting standards for the Nigerian BudgIT office, hustling to be in the good graces of funders by delivering impact or keeping up with new offices across West Africa. I even got into crypto and the little toss has lost 55% value to date. No wonder I don’t hear WAGMI on the streets again. All for what? All in seeking adventure that might not really be mine. I heard that there’s fortune on the other side of town, I emptied a few jars and ran along. A little bit of missing the trails and getting lost in the woods is not a bad thing. I have learnt to re-focus on my path and “bloom where I have been planted”.

As Alexander Elle reminds us “the sun will rise and set regardless. What we choose to do with the light while it’s here is up to us.” In the road ahead that we have found ourselves, I have learnt to take breaks, breathe and pause moments. Take in the good rest, have a lot of fun and suck in the moments — good and ugly. There is always the tendency to be in an unceasing wheel of work, running in haste with an illusion of the finishing mark. Life asks us to take those moments to reflect, hug our loved ones, goof around, listen to that new song, watch Sabinus and Macaroni, learn the dance routine, suck into football and run the treadmill. Honestly, I am learning to do so. “Trouble no dey finish, try to dey enjoy”

Leaving a trail in the course of life must be the fuel for the journey. That’s why one gets up again and again whatever cards life deals with us. We accept that we are on the journey all for ourselves, but also for others. We have added “baggage” and reaped the toil of our forebears on this route. Friends, family, children, acquaintances, employees and the society are looking to us, asking if we journey together to make this all worthwhile. It means we all keep iterating learning, accepting humility, loving and forging ahead with courage. It is not just our journey; we have brought our whole selves to embrace and wheel together like airport carry-on bags. I have learnt to take responsibility.

37 feels good to do more reflections on the journey. Take on the journey, fully understand the wholesomeness and not in parts, seek adventure to understand the focus and leave a trail of kindness for society and loved ones. There is no other journey. This is ours. This is mine. Whether I have to drive hours for a child’s feeding therapy, run grocery errands or shuttle Lagos-Washington D.C like a dash to Oyingbo market, I have learnt to embrace it. May the sure mercies of God guide all through and continue to make it easy.

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Oluseun Onigbinde

God's Unfinished Sketch. Policy & Data Wonk. BudgIT Lead. Ashoka, Aspen Voices & Knight Innovation Fellow