23 year old Olatokunbo Okuwobi AKA Toks AKA TokitoNegrito if our Fly Guy of the week. At such a young age, Toks has put many of us (yes, including me) to shame with his travel. His name means born overseas with wealth and happiness. Born in Newark New Jersey and raised in Houston, Texas to Nigerian and Dominican parents - maybe there's a few reasons he's has a head start on this travel thing. Read On!
Soul Society 101: What inspired your interest in travel?
Toks: Movies, Music Videos, the Travel Channel. Meeting other people from other countries and different cultures gives me this curiosity to go see for my self what it is like to be in their foreign land. But what really fuels my travels is the ignorance of people saying a certain country is like this or like that from watching the news or from what they heard, and they've never been outside the United States yet alone their city. I just want to travel to every country and show the world that their preconceived ideas are wrong and in every country you can enjoy yourself and take something from it with you.
I believe you learn more from traveling than in a classroom.
Soul Society 101: What are your top three travel experiences to date and what did you love about each of them?
Toks: Bali, South Africa,Sydney.
I love Bali! The way of life there is so simple. No one is worried about the latest fashion trends or materialistic needs. Everybody is hard working and just worried about making ends meet for their family. Everything there is super cheap. Beyond cheap actually, dirt cheap. Love the culture, the temples, the traditional wear in Bali is so cool.
Capetown, South Africa was so beautiful. At any given turn you could see something scenic. Either a bulging mountain, beautiful coastline, or fun filled beaches. I loved Robben Island. It was an amazing educational experience. All the staff their that are doing the tours used to be political prisoners and give so much insight. You could just feel their struggles from their stories. Also you learn about how Capetown was founded and dig deeper into slavery and the slave trade having a map with a timeline of slavery in different countries. Robben Island is a must when visiting Capetown. South Africa has so much history. Good way to begin to dig into your history.
Love Sydney, Australia. So much to see and do. You can go from taking in the views Opera house and Harbour bridge to the scenic blue mountains learning about the aboriginals and Australia's uncut raw ugly history that is never talked about. In Sydney I met so many people from UK, France, Germany, Sweden, Belgium, Burkina Faso, Thailand, Indonesia, Canada and Hong Kong. Most of them came to Australia for the same reason, to work and party. The nightlife in Sydney is crazy. It took me until Tuesday to recover from a party that was on Friday. Five consecutive days of partying. Sydney is also a really cool place to see wildlife and the city at the same time.
Soul Society 101: What is on your travel list for 2015?
Toks: Philippines, Cambodia, China, South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Java, Laos and Myanmar, God willing.
Soul Society 101: What's your dream location to visit within your lifetime?
Toks: My dream destination is French Polynesia. I heard so much about Tahiti and the Society Islands. Everytime I log into instagram I see Bora Bora on my timeline reminding me that I havent been there! I plan on visiting the French Polynesia before I am 25yrs old.
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?
Toks: Out of all the destinations I have been there are a few places I could see my self living, but I would choose Dubai. Fastest growing city in the world. I could never get bored in that futuristic city. In Dubai there are endless opportunities.
Soul Society 101: What has your biggest learning experience from traveling been?
Toks: My biggest learning experience is to plan for the worst case scenario. By that I mean packing at least one outfit that you plan on wearing once you arrive at your destination. So I left New York in a heavy trench coat with long pants and timberland boots. I arrived in Bali, Indonesia and my suitcase didnt arrive with me! All my clothes I packed where in my luggage. I didnt recieve my luggage until two days later arriving in Bali so I had nothing to wear until then.
Also another thing I learned from this trip was to buy a durable suitcase that can take a beating. I left New York with a relatively new suitcase. By the time I landed to my final destination, my suitcase was destroyed. I received my luggage with one wheel and a totally removed handle (like how is it possible that there wasn't even a trace of my handle left). Also I learned to buy a suitcase with a combination that secures your items. Not every airport and destination is trustworthy. When I received my luggage I was missing a pair of my running shoes, cologne and all my back up batteries to my gopro camera. In a foreign, unfamiliar country I wasn't going to let this ruin my trip. I found a market bought some clothes more suitable for Bali tropical weather.
Hope for the best but plan for the worst.
Soul Society 101: Here at Soul Society 101, we love food! I know H-Town has some great eats. What are some of your favorite places to dine out in Houston?
Toks: My favorite restaurant in houston is Fogo de Chao. It is an authentic Brazilian steakhouse with all the finest cuts, an over the top salad bar and about 10 different cuts of meat are pit fired and served tableside. You are given a card, one side green (keep it coming!), and one side red. I tried to sample almost every cut of meat, all pit fired and moist. Each server will give you about a 2-3 oz. cut of meat. Filet Mignon, bacon wrapped chicken breast, NY strip, leg of lamb, rack of lamb (my favorite!), pork medallions and the list goes on. On top of that, the server will automatically bring you some tasty sides. Mashed potatoes, fried plantains, yucatans, and Yorkshire pudding. Definitely recommend this restaurant. The restaurant is kind of pricy. $32 per person for lunch and for dinner $48.50 but it is totally worth it.
I am a foodie. Timmy Chans is a nice spot to get some Chinese food. Lil Flip a Houston rapper always talked about this spot in his songs. They are best known for their wings.
Another hidden gem in Houston is King Wok, another great chinese restaurant, also my favorite chinese spot. Their food has so much flavor and no dish is lacking. They also make their own special hot sauce. It isn't like the typical red hot suace it is more like adding more seasoning and flavor to your food with a little spice. I really recommend going to the one located on Highways 6 and Bellaire.