Women

Meet Akosua Shirley, who was reportedly the first to backpack solo through Ghana in 32 days

Akosua Shirley turned heads with her 32-day solo backpacking journey across Ghana. Shirley, a Ghanaian travel consultant, content creator, and blogger, told Travel Noire that her expedition was backed by curiosity.

“I just really wanted to know what everyday life looked like outside the capital, I wanted to visit tourist attractions I had only heard about or seen in our textbooks. My sense of adventure and budget influenced my decision to do it backpacker style.”

The blogger revealed that she watched a lot of videos about backpacking and bought a map to get ready for the trip. She also spoke with a few others who had visited various parts of the nation in order to have a better idea of what to anticipate.

The lack of information, Shirley said, made her trip a little difficult. It was unexpectedly hard to get contact details, rates, accommodations, operating hours, and directions to places of interest if one didn’t know anyone who had been there, she said.

The daring entrepreneur revealed that she concealed, for safety reasons, that she was on a solo backpacking journey until the adventure was over. Shirley even carried a pepper spray, a concoction of habanero pepper and apeteshie (a high-percentage alcohol manufactured locally), with her to further protect herself.

“For the most part, I told people I was a tourism & hospitality student exploring for my final year project. I felt people would struggle to understand I was just a girl who loved the world and was traveling for traveling sake and might think me a spoilt rich kid who could be taken advantage of. It’s amazing to say that I was alone on the road among complete strangers for over a month and never had any problems,” she recounted.

She pointed out that the experience taught her that there was a need for development in every location. She suffered food poisoning once in the Eastern Region of Ghana, which almost made her reconsider her decision. Fortunately for her, there was a hospital in the place she was visiting, and she had access to medical care.

Overall, she remarked, “What I found to be true about Ghana’s culture and diversity, especially being from here, is that it’s absolutely beautiful. I also think that there are a lot of misconceptions about the regions and tribes of people that schools and traditional media have failed to enlighten us on. I’m thankful for social media and content creators because everyone now has a platform to share and show their everyday life, and it’s really helping tackle harmful stereotypes.”

Dollita Okine

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