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How a 30 before 30 goal inspired flourishing black female author and Brunel alumna to write a children's book

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30 before 30: Flourishing black female author, Destynee Onwochei, on how her 30 before 30 goal inspired her to write a children’s book about travel and culture, all while working full-time in the world of corporate finance.

This summer, Destynee Onwochei - Brunel Psychology alumna from the class of 2009 - released her sensational debut children’s book, Tobias the Dream Adventurer in Tanzania; the first in a magical series based on experiences from her travels to over 30 different countries, teaching children the importance of travel and encouraging them to dream. As a first-time author, Destynee had been to only 11 countries when she set out to visit 30 countries before the age of 30, giving herself the challenge of traveling to 19 countries in only two years. On 4 December 2016, she arrived in Australia, country 30 of 30 at the age of 29, 96 days before her 30th birthday.

Dreaming big

The British-Nigerian self-published author, raised in South East London, is quite the dreamer herself. She has long been infatuated by travel, with a whizzing mind fuelled by a longing for epic adventures. She currently resides in London where she works as a Project Manager in the corporate finance world, and has done so for eight years, working between New York's Wall Street and London. In her free time, she travels, often to multiple countries in one trip, and most importantly, dreams big.

Destynee holds an enchanting, ambitious aura and an imagination full of adventure, which empowered her to complete her 30 before 30 quest. The now 33-year-old documented her journey on social media and can be seen climbing the Great Wall of China, dressing up as a Geisha in Japan, feeding reindeer in Lapland, visiting the Taj Mahal in India and, of course, climbing the majestic free-standing volcano Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa. Set in Tanzania, the book reflects Destynee’s very own experience climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, and the hardship and enormous achievement that comes hand-in hand with the once in a lifetime adventure.

For Destynee, experiencing such an adventure was not just about crossing countries off a list, but about dreaming, experiencing culture, fighting stereotypes and pushing past barriers to achieve her goals. She hopes to pave the way for not only children, but women and people of colour to do the same.

“I fight stereotypes every single day, in and out of the corporate world. I am very ambitious, so if I believe I can do something, there is no doubt in my mind that I will get it done. I am a woman of my word, so if I say it out loud, I will do everything I can to make it happen, which includes ignoring the naysayers or those who try to box me in a cage.”

A quest to inspire

It is Christ who strengthens Destynee, as well as friendship; a theme which is portrayed so perfectly in the book, empowering her in completing her 30 before 30 quest. She hopes to inspire young children to dream big, travel far and wide, and welcome new cultures and people through their adventures with open arms. In her words, her vision for children who read the book is for them “to be open, to be helpful, kind and compassionate, to always be positive and loving, willing to learn, and always continue to dream”.

Onwochei herself continues to dream. She dreams for Tobias. She dreams of exploring the wondrous world that we live in further and adding to her extensive list of visited countries. She dreams of pushing boundaries, fighting stereotypes, getting married, having children and one day inspiring her own children to dream too.

About the book

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The book is about a little boy, Tobias, who ventures up the amazing mighty Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania with his friend Nalah to help her revive her father’s lifelong dream of being a mountain guide. Like any exciting adventure faced in life, challenges appear along the way for Tobias and Nalah, but their positive attitude, eagerness and drive to complete the quest keeps the dream alive, not to mention Tobias’ handy magic aid. This is the first book in an extraordinary series, where intrepid adventurer Tobias will be seen travelling through countries all over the world. 

Tobias The Dream Adventurer is an inspiring, colourful and vibrant series encouraging children to follow their dreams and believe that anything is possible. Destynee has written the perfect educational story suitable for all children captured by a dialogue between a single father raising his son, who educates Tobias about the wonderful world we live in, whilst encouraging him to dream big and to take on the world with everything he’s got. Concentrating on some of life’s most important values such as kindness and love, this inspiring and empowering book seamlessly weaves in and out of fiction and reality making for a book full of realism and wonderment. It includes amazing educational snippets from the Swahili language, fascinating facts about Tanzania and the epic Mount Kilimanjaro, unlocking the explorer in every young reader.

Next stop for Tobias... Norway.

Tobias The Dream Adventurer is available in ebook (£4.99) and paperback formats (£6.99). Readers can purchase their copy on Amazon or on the author’s website.

With special thanks to MXDERN. Communications for supplying images and press release content.