BIRTH OF A SOLO TRAVELER by Millicent Kaimenyi, Kenya

Mombasa is a city in the coast of Kenya. A city known for its beaches and warm weather that attract both international and domestic tourists. For most Kenyans, they know that Mombasa is the ultimate vacation destination. The town is quite peaceful and orderly unlike the main city of Nairobi. One feature that stands out in this city is the use of “tuk tuks” a means of transport that people within the city use. Food prepared in Mombasa is more flavorful and full of spice than food found anywhere in the country. Pilau is a meal common in Mombasa. It comprises of spiced rice mixed with beef.

Four years in law school had come to an end and all I could envision was a trip that I had planned to the coast with my friends. This trip would comprise of my two friends with me being the third party. Jane is a pal I knew since my second year of school. She is a reserved girl who can switch to a bubbly personality with the right company. Adventure is a part of her identity. However, she still embraces it when all is planned out. Mary was the other friend. The tallest among us and she was always concerned about looks. She also likes adventure but her looks would always come first. In this trip her number one priority would be to buy water-proof makeup. In my mind, I could see us boarding the elegant bus and taking a whole row to ourselves. Snacking throughout the bus ride and constantly cracking jokes and laughing during the eight-hour journey to the coast.

On our arrival to Mombasa, we would take rooms that face the ocean. Every morning the sun would kiss us good morning as we woke up. Once awoken, we would go to have our breakfast near the pool and thereafter change to dress to explore the city. Our dress attire would comprise of long strappy dresses, hats, sandals and sunglasses as no other attire can put up with the heat in Mombasa. Along our walks in the town we would sample street food prepared by Swahili women covered in “lessos” seated on the road side. We would also visit the known historical sites and take millions of pictures to remind us of the adventure and to sieve the best from a variety of different things. Later we would return to the hotel and relax by the beach watching the waves and discussing the events of the day. All these plans and imaginations were to remain a fantasy.

The friends that I had counted on, relied on and trusted decided to back out in the last-minute. Each gave a reason as to why they could not make it. As flimsy as I found the excuses to be, I had to respect their choices. I decided that I will still travel whether I have company or not. Group adventures are fun and comforting but you can never force someone to travel until EVERYONE is ready. Don’t be afraid to travel alone, the world is full of friends waiting for you!

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