Omo Osagiede and Eulanda Shead Osagiede brought their passion for travel, art and culture to life on their blog Hey! Dip your Toes In.
The travel blog started out as a passion project for the couple. Shead Osagiede’s father had suggested they write a book about their travels. They decided to write a blog instead.
Life changed when their blog won a food category at the UK blog awards. It competed against some of the top blogs in the United Kingdom. The award made them take their blog seriously and consider it a possible career.
“The award, in a sense, validated the idea we had and kinda made our vision a lot bigger than it was at the time,” Shead Osagiede said.
The opportunity felt unreal for the couple, but they soon got busy setting price lists, accepting proposals and appearing on TV shows.
Although the couple maintained content that was unfiltered and organic, they accepted sponsored trips in which they would collaborate with brands to create content, they said. Even if their trip is sponsored, speaking truthfully about locations on their blog remains a priority.
“We don’t believe in pulling the wool over our audience’s eyes because it’s not fair,” Shead Osagiede said. “They’re taking the time to engage with our content. That puts a lot of responsibility on our shoulders. We need to be transparent.”
The couple has learned that the best content comes from being quiet and following the thread of humanity in the locations they visit. They think immersing themselves in the culture helps them understand it. This can be done through, for example, interacting with the locals and taking public transportation.
“We have learned to let stories speak for themselves,” Shead Osagiede said. “Not be the narrator, not try to orchestrate everything so perfectly but be a platform to share these stories and to take ourselves out of showing off as a narrator. It’s not about us.”
The couple cherishes the good as well as the bad memories they have experienced through travel.
“Every destination adds something to our travel story,” Osagiede said. “Even though there are some destinations that we favor more than others, ultimately, every single place we’ve been to has given us something.”
Some places they traveled surprised them. The couple visited Poland in September. They were a bit apprehensive about political uprising in Eastern Europe and anti-immigrant, anti-nonwhite sentiments.
“We’ve had some apprehensions about traveling to certain places because of that being travelers of color, being black travelers,” Shead Osagiede said.
Yes, people in Poland wanted to take pictures with the couple, which felt odd. However, they enjoyed their adventure learning how to pick wild mushrooms, kayaking on a lake and meeting the mayor of the village.
Ultimately, traveling has helped them see the good in the world.
“It helps you see differently,” Osagiede said. “It helps you see the context in which you see common things happen. It just makes you feel hopeful for humanity. There are pockets of hope across the world.”
Their biggest lesson they learned traveling is that shared humanity is everywhere.
“Regardless of religion, social class, skin color, gender: ultimately, we are all human and we all want the same thing,” Osagiede said. “We want safety. We want to be able to care for our families. We want to live comfortable lives. We want to live in peace.”