Kofi AKA Noire Wayfarer is our Fly Guy of the week. Originally from the states, Kofi has lived abroad and according to his Instagram, appears to be in a different country every week. Jealous of that travel life. Get to know him below!
Soul Society 101: What are some of your favorite places in NYC?
Kofi: Some of my favourite places to visit are the Guggenheim, MoMA, the Whitney and American Museum of Natural History. I love going upstate to hike, either the Catskills or Bear Mountain. I don’t really go to clubs/bars much stateside but whichever ones my friends happen to go, I’ll tag along. I’m a bit of a foodie and no longer eat meat, so I’m always on the hunt for new places to eat, that are still tasty and flavourful! In the spring and summer, as well as some not too cold winter days, I like to run along the East River and Hudson River running routes. I love staying active and running is one of the ways I do it.
Soul Society 101: What inspired your interest in travel?
Kofi: Reading. I must have read hundreds upon hundreds of books as child growing up. Education was a number one priority while growing up, and I would be mesmerized by descriptions of faraway places, different and vibrant cultures and meeting new people. Even if the novels where fantasy, such as Lord of the Rings, The Chronicles of Narnia, Bridge to Terabithia, Where the Wild Things Are,etc, they inspired me to see and think differently and really let your imagination move you. What better way to tap into your imagination than travel and touch new lands, interact with a world of people, taste new cuisine’s and let go of what you think you know and actually come to realize what is? In a way, I suppose my mum has inspired me to travel as well. She’s a very spirited woman and in her youth would constantly be traveling, and since we have family in Europe, she’s been to a few countries on the continent and is happy to hear of my stories and experiences. She always seems to find a way to get and do wants done, and I admire that quality.
Soul Society 101: what was the first stamp in your passport?
Kofi: Ghana. It’s where I lived before returning to the States.
Soul Society 101: What are your top 3 travel experiences?
Kofi: Brazil. I actually had the opportunity to live in Rio for a while and my experience couldn’t have been short of amazing. No wonder it’s such a travel destination for millions, and was the number one city to visit in 2013 according to the NYTimes. From world wonders, to culinary delights, amazing beaches, promising night life, and a boosting economy, it has a lot of offer. It’s still a developing country and you can see the disparities, especially within the favelas. I volunteered in one of the favelas near Leblon, called Vidigal and it was a fantastic experience. The kids I worked with, didn’t have much, but they did not let that get to them, and showed up eager for soccer practice, taught me capoeira and so much more!
South Africa. I was in both Johannesburg and Cape Town, but Cape Town easily takes the cake! It’s a different side of Africa than what you would expect and really gives me hope for the entire continent. The landscape of Cape Town, Lions Head, Table Mountain, and all the amazing beaches like Camps Bay, the garden route where you’ll find towns like Gansbaai and Hermanus are all simply breathtaking. It’s also more gay friendly than I was expecting and that was a pleasant surprise. Like the locals say, Cape Town is the more fun, liberal and vibrant city, than its sister Joburg. I would totally recommend this city to any and every one!
Thailand. There is so much to say about this country. Just go. Bangkok has a lot of offer and that is where I was for the majority of my month there, but there are so many other cities and islands, especially if you want more of the beaches, to visit. It’s where I rode my first elephant, fed fruit to monkeys, and spotted a Monitor Lizard around Lumpini that all the locals didn’t even flinch at, which I eventually came to see as a regular occurrence as well since I ran around the park. Pattaya is a close enough of a beach getaway from Bangkok and it’s fun city, with awesome beaches. There are so many temples, such as Wat Arun and Wat Sraket that are really good to see and experience.
Soul Society 101: What is on your travel list for 2015?
Kofi: I really don’t make travel plans, which I know might seem odd. Whenever the opportunity presents itself and the tickets are for a good price, I will literally book a ticket and go, so long as there’s no scheduling conflicts with work. For example, a month ago I had no real desire to go to Tel Aviv or visit Stockholm again, but as I was searching for ticket prices and researching a few things to do while there, I was like okay. Just do it! And I went to Stockholm during MLK weekend specifically to see a Jeff Koons closing exhibit at the Modern Museum. I mostly travel for the sake of travel, and try not to have too much of an agenda so I can really soak up as much as possible. But here is a loose list of places I would like to go to this year. Two of the remaining five choices, have already been booked. One of them I’m going to for my birthday in March and I’m super excited!
Tel Aviv (already checked off) Stockholm (Already checked off)
Atlanta (February 2015)
Soul Society 101: What's your dream location to visit within your lifetime?
Kofi: This is such a bloody tough question, because almost anywhere is a dream location, because for a lot of people, being able to travel is just that, a dream. I think a month each, in New Zealand and Australia would be a dream location. I think both countries are absolutely beautiful, rich with colourful landscapes, beaches, vibrant cultures and awesome experiences waiting to be had. Also, toss in Bora Bora while we’re at it. It’s the French Polynesia! Who wouldn’t want to spend some time, basking in the sun and staring away the crystal blue waters?
Soul Society 101: If you could live a parallel life anywhere in the US or around the world, at the same time as your current life in your current city, where would it be and why?
Kofi: Another tough question! I’m actually not sure, but it would be somewhere that is constantly warm, as I hate the cold! Actually it’s hit me. Cape Town! I was there for almost a month at the beginning of last year I absolutely fell in love with the city. To me, it’s the crown jewel of South Africa and has a tremendous amount to offer. I met some really awesome people there and still keep in touch with them. I am yearning to go back, so yes if I could live there right now in a parallel life, I wouldn’t hesitate!
Soul Society 101: What has your biggest learning experience from traveling been?
Kofi: The biggest learning experience from traveling so far is to travel with an open mind, heart and stomach. I have been to five continents and lived in three and I can’t begin to tell how much of truly immersing yourself in your current environment helps your experience. Have an open mind and realize that things are done differently than from what you are used to, and instead of getting frustrated, work with it. The millions of people living in whatever country you are visiting make things work; surely you can too for a few days or weeks. Travel with an open heart, see the good in people, speak to the locals, share stories and making connections. You never know how far it will take you. Also, keeping within your allowable dietary bounds, try any and every food. When is the next time you’ll have an Ostrich burger, some stewed beef, rice and shito, an authentic Brazilian paella or drink one of new favourite Turkish drinks, Sahlep!