“Some journeys in life can only be travelled alone.”
It’s been 2 weeks since I got back from my trip to Kenya and what an experience it was. For those of you who don’t know, I was born in Kenya then moved to London when I was 5 years old. Since then, I’ve travelled back a hand full of times (three to be exact) and each time I’ve either travelled with family or friends. So for my fourth time back I decided to try it on my own. I spent 1 week visiting family in Nairobi and Naivasha, then another week visiting my best friend in Mombasa.
Though travelling with family and friends can be a wonderful and incredibly rewarding experience, I believe it’s important to travel alone at least once in your life. Especially when it comes to travelling “back home”. I use the term back home loosely as I’m not sure if Kenya is really more than just a place I was born. My inability to speak my mother tongue fluently and the fact that I didn’t remember a lot of the people or places there reminded me just how far removed I am from Kenya. Is it really my home? Those 5 years I lived in Kenya seem so vague to me that I almost feel like a fraud calling it my home.
And that’s what travelling on your own does. When you venture out into the world on your own, it allows you to face up to who you are, what you’re about and what matters to you. It teaches you things about yourself you didn’t know and forces you to grow up a little.
Though I was staying with family and friends, the fact that I was able to plan my own trip and get myself there and back alone safely (without losing anything) was important fto me. It not only boosted my confidence in my own abilities but also helped me create vivid memories of Kenya because I was present in every moment, not just a by-stander. Most importantly my family back in Kenya was able to meet the 25 year old young woman I’ve become without my mother holding my hand.
I used to think I could never go back to Kenya to live there, but after travelling on my own I can see it being possible. Someday…
Whatever your motivations are for travelling I want to encourage you to try it alone even just once. It doesn’t have to be a completely new place, it’s about creating new experiences and new memories even in the places you’ve already been to. Life is too short and unpredictable to not seek out new experiences and make the most of the time we have now.
It’s never too late to build new memories in old places.
Stay tuned for my next post where I’ll share with you the things I got up to on my trip to Mombasa. From feeding giraffes to eating Japanese food and waxing!
In the meantime, please feel free to leave your thoughts, comments and questions below.
What was your experience travelling alone for the first time? Where did you go? What did you learn?