Life in Nairobi is a hustle.
Anyone who ever moved into this city from the village knows how fast-paced everything, from traffic to people, seems to be. One is suddenly lost in a city that knows no patience or silence. A city, that forgot decency and courteousness, and instead, thrives on the sweat and struggles of its residents. A city of which it has been said by many a traveller, if you can survive in, then you can make it anywhere! This is Nairobi, where the hustle is tough, and always on.
On a typical day, I juggle between family, work and the rest of society that is always demanding a piece of my time. My day starts at 4 am and ends way past dusk; and in between, I have to rely on an app to keep track of my busy schedule and remind myself of that invoice I need to send or that lunch with a new contact I’m trying to close a deal with before snaking through Mombasa Road jam for a meeting with the C.E.O of a new tech firm in town. The hustle!
But this post is not a rant about how busy my life has gotten but rather how I found time and in the process, found myself too. See, sometimes, often times, you never realize how far you have been walking on the wrong path, until someone points you to the right path. Or better still, until someone along the same path to oblivion suggests that you are both lost and had better admit it and embark on a search for an alternative route, and together, hand in hand, you find that better path.
Such was my experience when I attended the #RealManGetaway organized by Serena Hotels. All you needed to do was choose between self-drive or traveling in Serena Hotels Safari vans and I chose the latter.
The journey started at Nairobi Serena where Timo, as we fondly called him, got our bonding session started with a great breakfast. We were about 10 men who opted to take the road package and as we filled our buffet plates, we began the process of discovering that we all shared similar challenges and fears and that we all deserved this break. This was a time to be away from all the hustle, a time to be away from the ever judging eyes of society. To break from the stereotype that society has slapped upon us; the burden of living by predetermined expectations. A time to find what we lost during this lifelong hustle and lose whatever is baggage. A time not for inspirational quotes and talks of half empty glasses but rather indulge in the difficult task of re-calibrating the glass and understanding that it’s not how much water you perceive it to have but what scale you use; what values you uphold and what compromises you are ready to make.
Used to starting my day with a heavy meal, breakfast at Nairobi Serena did not disappoint!
Soon afterwards, introductions done over breakfast, our journey to the great mountain that this country is named after (Mt. Kenya) began.
This journey to Serena Mountain Lodge, on the slopes of Mt. Kenya was a symbolic one. It is as if we (as men) were journeying back to our childhood to rediscover ourselves and open up closets we have preferred closed as adults. This was a journey into the very forest where the ‘Mau Mau’ fought for our independence, driven by the burning desire to liberate this country from the shackles of colonialism. A place where a population, fed up with the oppression, racism and hatred meted against them stood up and said ‘enough was enough’! This was a trip which we knew, and maybe even feared, would unearth emotions we’ve numbed our senses to for a long time, preferring to play the role of the Lion, the leader that never breaks. This was a time to say, enough is enough!
And conveniently, Serena Hotels had reminded us in this #RealMan banner, that (just like in the movie Lion King) the mirror image of Mufasa (big and majestic King of the Jungle) is small, timid, emotional and sometimes naïve Simba (his little cub) that often needs a reassurance, and that in taking this journey, we should expect to encounter that other side of manhood, one that society, political correctness and stereotype does not address. And this we did!
Look out for my next post on “My Experience” at the #RealManGetaway at #SerenaMountainLodge and watch out for the next event.