Destynee Onwochei, a Project Manager in our People & Property Division, has an extraordinary talent outside work and a fantastic story to tell.
Destynee is author of the newly-published children’s book, Tobias the Dream Adventurer, which inspires children to understand the importance of learning about different cultures, travel and to dream big.
Tell us about ‘Tobias the Dream Adventurer’, what’s the book about?
Each bedtime, Tobias spins a globe, and wherever his finger lands, his dad tells him wonderful facts about the country as he falls asleep. Then when he dreams, he travels to and explores these countries, meets different people, and learns about new cultures. In this book he travels to Tanzania and climbs Mount Kilimanjaro.
Tell us what inspired you to write your book?
When I was 28, my friend inspired me to travel to 30 different countries before turning 30.
It was tough going because I had only visited 11 countries at the time and was working full-time…but I did it!
One of the countries I visited was Tanzania where I climbed Mount Kilimanjaro. It was such an amazing experience and inspired me to write the book. Many of the other countries I’ve visited have also inspired me to write, which forms a series of Tobias The Dream Adventurer books. The next book is going to be set in Tromso, Norway, where Tobias sees the Northern lights….this was definitely a travel highlight for me!
After I’d visited 30 countries, I got the travel bug and couldn’t stop! Since then, I’ve been to 78 countries and am looking forward to getting country 79 under my belt when we can travel more freely.
Tobias, the principle character, is based on my nephew. I kept this a secret until the book was finished, and finally got to reveal the published book to my nephew, Tobias. Seeing his face and his parents face was so touching.
Why was writing this book so important to you?
I wanted to use this book as a way to give back and encourage others. The book’s so important to me because it encourages children to travel and dream big.
We didn’t go on holidays when I was growing up. The only Black children on TV were the ones on charity adverts about poverty. But this book says to anyone who doesn’t think travel is for them; you can go! Cultures are rich. Be exposed to them and choose to learn. That’s the only way you can really understand others while becoming a well-rounded person.
I love understanding what makes people tick and helping them develop confidence in themselves. I think you can only make the impact you were meant to by being yourself. And this book helps me to live my purpose and helps children to realise they can dream big too.
What’s life been like since the book was published?
The last couple of months or so has been a whirlwind since my book – Tobias The Dream Adventurer was published.
I’ve been pushed out of my comfort zone with interviews on BBC Radio, ITV and Sky News. But seeing how much the book resonates with other people after giving so much of myself to it, is simply mind-blowing! The amazing feedback has kept me smiling and gives me the desire to keep going.
Where can we find your book?
Right, here comes the shameless plug. if you fancy a copy of ‘Tobias – The Dream Adventurer’ you can order a signed copy on my website: www.Destynee.com. It is also stocked on Amazon – The book also comes as an eBook which can be bought on Kindle, Apple iBooks, and Google Play.