Isioma Utomi

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Best Laid Plans

Nauseous. Not a good feeling when on a rock-climbing expedition and too far along to turn back.

At the base of Olumo rock

At the base of Olumo rock


In my effort to try new things this year, I signed up for a rock-climbing trip last weekend that I heard of via Sade’s List (a newsletter providing recommendations on local spots and activities in Lagos). It was hosted by Active Tourism, which organizes fitness retreats. I’m not really the “outdoorsy” type – movies, music, and reading have historically held more appeal than adrenaline-filled activities – but I have been blessed with quite a few adventurous friends who would never let me stay in my home cinema bubble.

So you can imagine when I felt ill half-way up Olumo rock, my internal monologue was a cycle of “Who asked you to go climb a rock this weekend?” and “There was a perfectly good (indoor) brunch you could have gone to instead”. Right then, I knew the intense afternoon heat that had developed by the time we arrived (a bit later than scheduled) combined with my enthusiastic pace on the first half of the climb, had left me dehydrated. To my chagrin, my trusty water bottle was right where I’d left it – on the bus. At this point, I was falling behind the group and had to ask one of our trip organizers for help. Unfortunately, she didn’t have any extra on hand – apparently those were on the bus as well. However, she took it in stride and went back down the rock to get some water for me while I sat down in the shade trying not to feel like the most un-fit person in the galaxy. After a while she returned with water for me and the other participants. Thankfully, that bottle of water was exactly what I needed and I was able to catch up with the rest of the crew to enjoy the remainder of the climb.

The last man up had the whole crowd cheering him on!

The last man up had the whole crowd cheering him on!

Scenarios like these can make or break an experience and it’s important when your business involves planning events or activities – especially one with a lot of variables – that a business owner and her team assess the risks and potential issues that might arise at various stages. However, you can’t plan for everything – if you try to it’s unlikely you’ll ever get off the ground (or ever leave your house for that matter). The best you can do is mitigate risk, which could be as simple as using the 80-20 rule to assess the most likely scenarios. And of course, there should be continuous improvement. Take the opportunity after every event to gather feedback from your customers – they are your best insight into opportunities for growth in the future.

Overall, it was a fun trip and I’m definitely glad I went. The team at Active Tourism did a great job putting it all together – especially in the middle of an unexpected fuel crisis. If you know of any interesting activities or experiences that might expand my horizon, I’d love to hear about them in the comments section!


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  1. JZ Jatau March 17, 2016

    The beauty of every endeavour is survival against all odds. Well done and maintain your focus. You would climb Everest!!!

  2. Phong April 21, 2016

    This is bringing the freshness and beauty of nature to memory

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