Omo and Eulanda Osagiede are like the couple next door, with a twist. The multicultural couple share a passion for cultures, their faith and travel – some of the many, many things that brought them together. They are the founders of Hey! Dip Your Toes In (HDYTI), a travel and lifestyle site that explores their life as a couple living and working in London, their travels and adventures around the world, as well as their expertise in curating multicultural experiences.
Born on a US Air Force base in Illinois, Eulanda’s parents grew up living in various countries in the ’60s and ’70s, and passed along the love of travel to the family. “I remember my parents constantly telling us stories about living in Germany, Greece and Japan. Every time I lost a tooth, they’d put foreign money under my pillow from the ‘tooth fairy’. I’d look at these coins, and dream of these places, telling myself that someday I’d visit every place I had a coin for,” Eulanda fondly recalls. For her, this childhood fantasy spurred her adult pursuit of a lifestyle filled with global travel.
Her husband and life partner, Omo, grew up in Lagos, Nigeria in the ‘80s and ‘90s, and was exposed to TV and radio programming from the UK, the US and strangely enough, Latin America. As kids, he and his siblings lived vicariously through books, images and radio shows on the BBC World Service and Voice of America, and would dream of the places they talked about while acting out the different cultures they were learning more about.
“We especially loved nature documentaries voiced by Sir David Attenborough,” Omo says. “We would spend hours poring over encyclopedias and atlases, exploring far flung countries with our imagination. My childhood was basically spent traveling through our imagination. That surely prepared me for a life of travel as an adult.”
And travel as adults they have.
While they don’t necessarily keep track of how many countries they have visited to date, they’ve been to a combined total of nineteen countries, and are expecting to travel to five new ones this year. A travel philosophy that they share through HDYTI is not to keep score of where they’ve been, but to dream of where they would love to go. Their top five destinations in order of preference are: Morocco, Sri Lanka, Costa Rica, Malta and Portugal. Morocco makes the top of the list for very special reasons.
“There’s something about Morocco that completely connected us to it; through the sites we explored, the people we met, and the food we tried. Morocco has the perfect combination of city, desert, mountains and coast. It offers a travel experience that changes from one location to the next. It was amazing to draw similarities between Moorish architecture in Morocco and architecture we had seen on previous trips to Spain and Portugal; it was almost like seeing a story complete its full circle,” the couple says.
Eulanda describes an interesting experience that they will remember for many years to come. “We brought our traditional West African clothing with us to take photos in. During our Sahara Desert trek, Omo was dressed in his Nigerian Djellaba (long tunic) and a turban. Everyone in the camp who spoke Arabic kept approaching him, asking questions and making comments in Arabic. We had no clue what they were saying, and once they figured out we didn’t speak Arabic, they’d say to Omo, ‘Ohh, I thought you were Berber!’ They’d slap him on the back, and start laughing, saying ‘brother!’
Beginning with local trips in the UK (Stonehenge) before graduating, to international trips (Costa Rica), traveling as a couple is something they began doing very early on in their relationship. Those early experiences helped them understand each other’s travel preferences and styles; now they seamlessly tune into each other’s likes and dislikes, and have learned to find a middle ground that works for both of them.
We caught up with the Osagiedes to find out what their top tips for traveling as a couple are —just in time for summer travel planning.
- Plan trips together. Discuss every aspect of your itinerary and be sure that both parties have their say. No one likes surprises or being dragged around to places they would rather not go to.
- Planning is important but also leave room for spontaneity. Following a rigid itinerary can be draining, especially if one person’s energy suddenly starts to fade. Some of our best travel experiences have been spent just sitting at a sidewalk café and watching life happen around us.
- Depending on where you are in your relationship, you might want to discuss things like money and who pays for what during your trip. This can be a deal breaker if not managed carefully.
- Due our strong interest in photography, one interesting habit we have developed as a couple is to go through our itinerary together and pick out clothes and accessories that would accentuate our photos while taking into account the local weather and cultural norms. We often share suitcases too, given that one of us is a heavy packer (guess who?)
Image: Courtesy Eulanda Osagiede
The Voix is a creative platform that empowers the voices of global storytellers. For more information, visit: Thevoix.com.