Celeste is an online entrepreneur that splits her time between Holland and Ghana. Read about how she has adjusted to the Ghanaian way of life.
My name is Celeste van Joost, I’m currently in Rotterdam, The Netherlands which is where I’m from as well. I'm an online entrepreneur with my company Celmatique, which is about style, travel but mostly inspiring others to be themselves. Traveling to me has always been a very important experience in life. You learn so much about who you are, what you want in life, and it makes you change your perspective in so many ways. You really become an open minded person.
Have you always lived in/visited Ghana?
My travels to Ghana started 2 years ago. My first visit to Ghana was during the summer holiday in 2015 and I stayed for 6 weeks. That’s when I met my boyfriend Charles. He moved to Ghana when he was 23 years old and we met when he was already living there for a year. After that my visits got longer and longer. I went from 6 weeks, to 2,5 months, to 3,5 months, etc. Right now I basically live in Holland and in Ghana. I’ll be going back to Ghana next month.
How would you describe the culture and life in Ghana?
It’s dynamic, chaotic (not structured at all), free and slow at the same time. Everything in Ghana takes time, haha! But I love it. There’s always something happening, changing and I sincerely love the vibes. And the music!
How would you recommend travelers prepare for a trip to Ghana? Is it a relatively easy country to navigate independently or would you recommend visitors travel with someone that is experienced with the country?
I think the best way to prepare yourself for a trip to Ghana is by expecting that literally anything can happen. Not a day is the same. But that’s what makes it the most fun. You easily meet new people there, so I don’t necessarily think you need to travel with someone. Just make sure you have money and mosquito repellant, and you’re good to go.
What recommendations can you share for future travelers interested in visiting the country?
Best foods to try and great local cafes/restaurants:
Fufu with groundnut soup (fav!) at The Chop Bar or Jollof (which you really can't can’t go wrong with) and The Tea Baa
My absolute favorite place to eat is a spot behind Shoprite in Osu. It’s a place where you eat outside on basic plastic chairs on the streets. They serve Acheke and the best grilled chicken I ever tasted. Besides that it’s super cheap and you get to experience the real Ghana.
Activities to do and cities + Places to explore:
Elmina Castle, Aburi Mountains, Busua, Escape Three Points (eco lodge)
Roots Yard in Volta Region
Jamestown, Elmina Castle, Arts Centre
Visit Makola Market, Kantomanto Market, and Arts Centre
What would surprise most people about Ghana? What would you like people to know about it that the media rarely shows?
People always ask me: “Is it safe there?” Yes, it is. If I can walk there by myself, so can you. What the media never shows is basically how beautiful Ghana is. I never see items on the news which illustrated the hidden treasures in Ghana. There are so many places that are stunning. Sometimes when I post a picture, people don’t even believe it’s in Ghana. But honestly, even if the media did show us, you have to experience it yourself!
Where do you go to enjoy yourself and socialize?
A place I’d really loved to go to at the beginning is Kokrobite Beach. Nowadays I do feel there are a lot of tourists, but that happens! We usually now look up the more quiet places, like Gomoa Fetteh. I also love Busua and Cape Three Points. Mostly because there are still a lot of locals, there are not many tourists and it’s beautiful!
What is your favorite/funniest memory from one of your trips to Ghana? Is there a particular travel moment you would relive given the opportunity?
I have a lot, but my favorite one must be the first time I experienced lights off. Which was actually a very romantic one. I was at home with my boyfriend and we looked for all the candles we could find. It was breezy that night, so we opened all the windows, put the candles everywhere in the room and talked for hours and hours. We managed to create a special moment out of a shitty situation. I’d also rather create new travel moments than relive them!
What’s next for you? Any final words of advice?
I’ll be in Ghana next month, so looking forward going back again! Just travel as much as possible guys, it’s good for the soul.
Images Courtesy of Celeste Van Joost
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