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Travel Diary: Where in the World is Brian McIntosh?

This super-traveler has visited 51 countries and 6 continents. In today's travel diary he breaks down his top six places to see.

June is “No Borders” month at OkayAfrica. That can mean a lot of things and we’ll get to that, but one thing we wouldn’t want to miss out on is the sheer joy of travel. So, to honor the carefree black traveler we’ll be posting new photo diaries from a wide range of African and diaspora super-travelers of their favorite places and why.


Born and raised in Toronto with a Jamaican bloodline, this travel enthusiast from the 6ix is poised to become a trusted figure in the travel industry. His innate desire to travel the globe was first realized at the tender age of 13. However, due to financial restrictions and catering to the fear of the unknown; this dream was never materialized until he turned 26. Since then, he’s been on a quest to see every continent. Even at 51 countries and six continents visited, he still isn’t satisfied. His impressive list of countries visited also includes many of the most arduous destinations to get to. We asked him a couple questions about his love for African travel.

OkayAfrica: What countries have you visited in Africa?

Brian McIntosh: Besides Kenya, I've traveled to Morocco, Egypt, Tanzania, Seychelles, Ethiopia and South Africa.

OKA: Why was visiting Africa important to you?

BM: Visiting Africa was important to me because growing up, I never saw images of African countries that encouraged me to hop on a plane to go see it. Now that I am older and have more awareness of Africa's hidden history, I want to see it all! I think it's very important to immerse myself in its rich and diverse cultures. What better way to reprogram my views of Africa than to actually go and experience it myself? As a photographer, I love capturing the most picturesque scenery to display on my Instagram. If my photos can encourage tourism that directly benefits the people of the community, then I've done my part.

For more pictures of Brian McIntosh, follow him on IG: @whereintheworldisb

Below check out some of his favorite spots around the globe:

Giraffe Manor, Kenya

Photo courtesy of Brian McIntosh

"Throughout my travels, I’ve done a lot of excursions but never once have I had the opportunity to eat breakfast with giraffes as part of my hotel stay. How could I ever pass up on that opportunity?"

Santorini, Greece

Photo courtesy of Brian McIntosh

"Santorini was one of those places that I would always see in a magazine and wonder if the place was even real. It seemed too picturesque! Aside from being aesthetically pleasing to the eye, the people, food and vibe are reasons that brought me back there for a second time!"

Olhuveli, Maldives

Photo courtesy of Brian McIntosh

"The Maldives may boast the purest body of water of I’ve ever laid eyes on. It truly is a dream to be in one of the overwater villas with the Indian Ocean at your footstep. I’ve never seen that many stars before. It was an outer space experience to say the least!"

Cappadocia, Turkey

Photo courtesy of Brian McIntosh

"The pictures of the hot-air balloon flights that I always saw on Instagram were so captivating. It’s a place that makes you Google it to see if those pictures are real or not. Well, seeing is believing and now I am a definite believer! It’s an unreal experience to be floating 500m above naturally made fairy chimneys."

Coco Island, Seychelles

Photo courtesy of Brian McIntosh

"Massive, smooth-looking, granite boulders are really the major draw of the Seychelles; and for good reason! They look photoshopped even when taking the pictures from the worst cellphone camera. I like to call this place, Jamaica Junior. Everything about the vibe of the island reminds me of Jamaica. The reggae music and rastas definitely help out with that image."

Moorea, French Polynesia.

 

Photo courtesy of Brian McIntosh

It’s like Bora Bora’s little sister. It’s just as beautiful but not as costly to stay on the island. If anyone has the opportunity to visit Tahiti and Bora Bora, then don’t miss out on this place. It’s the true definition of a hidden gem!

 

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Photo by KOLA SULAIMON/AFP via Getty Image

#EndSARS: 1 Year Later And It's Business As Usual For The Nigerian Government

Thousands filled the streets of Nigeria to remember those slain in The #LekkiTollGateMassacre...while the government insists it didn't happen.

This week marks 1 year since Nigerians began protests against police brutality and demanded an end to the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). The #EndSARS protests took the world by storm as we witnessed Nigerian forces abuse, harass and murder those fighting for a free nation. Reports of illegal detention, profiling, extortion, and extrajudicial killings followed the special task force's existence, forcing the government to demolish the unit on October 11th, 2020. However, protestors remained angered and desperate to be heard. It wasn't until October 20th, when soldiers opened fire on demonstrators at Lekki tollgate in the country's capital, Lagos, that the protests came to a fatal end. More than 56 deaths from across the country were reported, while hundreds more were traumatized as the Nigerian government continued to rule by force. The incident sparked global outrage as the Nigerian army refused to acknowledge or admit to firing shots at unarmed protesters in the dead of night.

It's a year later, and nothing has changed.

Young Nigerians claim to still face unnecessary and violent interactions with the police and none of the demands towards systemic changes have been met. Fisayo Soyombo the founder of the Foundation for Investigative Journalism, told Al Jazeera, "Yes, there has not been any reform. Police brutality exists till today," while maintaining that his organization has reported "scores" of cases of police brutality over this past year.

During October 2020's protests, Nigerian authorities turned a blind eye and insisted that the youth-led movement was anti-government and intended to overthrow the administration of current President Muhammadu Buhari. During a press conference on Wednesday, in an attempt to discredit the protests, Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed hailed the Nigerian army and police forces for the role they played in the #EndSARS protests, going as far as to say that the Lekki Toll Massacre was a "phantom massacre with no bodies." These brazen claims came while protesters continued to gather in several major cities across the country. The minister even went on to shame CNN, Nigerian favorite DJ Switch as well as Amnesty International, for reporting deaths at Lekki. Mohammed pushed even further by saying, "The six soldiers and 37 policemen who died during the EndSARS protests are human beings with families, even though the human rights organizations and CNN simply ignored their deaths, choosing instead to trumpet a phantom massacre."

With the reports of abuse still coming out of the West African nation, an end to the struggle is not in sight. During Wednesday's protest, a journalist for the Daily Post was detained by Nigerian forces while covering the demonstrations.

According to the BBC, additional police units have been set up in the place of SARS, though some resurfacing SARS officers and allies claim to still be around.

Young Nigerians relied heavily on social media during the protests and returned this year to voice their opinions around the first anniversary of an experience that few will be lucky enough to forget.



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