5 months in Diani + life update

No matter where you are, there you are.

I’m starting off this blog post fully cognizant that I haven’t posted an article in well over 3 months. When I started this website, we were knee deep into a whole panoramic, and I thought writing lifestyle & opinion articles would be a good way to cope and entertain myself (and you guys) during a pandemonium. Almost 8 months since my first blog post, I’ve learnt a lot about consistency that I hadn’t thought of before I committed to being a ‘blogger’. What I’ve realized, however, is that sometimes we may be quick to put out content just to keep up with algorithms, but really, it’s important to honour our creativity and inspiration, and just put out content as and when we can. I’m glad I took a little break from writing articles here, but I’m back baby! I have so much to share about what the past 4 months have been like for me. I’ve been low and I’ve been high, but I’m here.

At the start of 2021, I interrupted normal programming of my life and moved halfway across the country from Nairobi to Diani, Kwale County. If you follow me on Instagram, then this isn’t news to you. On my second week in Diani, I posted on my stories that I was going to be there for 6-10 months, & to no-one’s surprise, I received a multitude of questions asking me why I moved, what inspired my move, and how I was planning to financially sustain my move. I couldn’t answer all those questions on my Instagram, but hopefully all the answers will be found here!

Right before I made this decision to temporarily move, I had visited a friend of mine who had just recently moved to Diani. When I visited her, we took a trip walking from Diani down to the Kenya/Tanzania border (read that blog post here). We walked for 4 days camping along the way, until we finally made it to the border town of LungaLunga. When we got back to Diani, I decided that the next time I came here, I wouldn’t leave any time soon, and so, I began planning my move!

I know a lot of you who might be thinking about moving out of Nairobi would be curious about cost of living, so here’s a bit of my experience. Cost of living in Diani is generally cheaper than in Nairobi (I’m convinced any East African city has a lower cost of living than Nairobi), so I worked out how much money I would need monthly to be in Diani, and then worked backwards. The first thing I did was to look for jobs in Diani – writing jobs, office jobs, literally anything to keep me afloat for the first few months. Being an artist is great, but my reality was that my craft was not a stable enough source of income for me at that time to keep me afloat halfway across the country, especially in a place where I didn’t understand how the gig industry works. I decided that I’d first get something stable, then when I find my footing as an artist in Diani, I would focus full time on my craft. I really need you guys to understand that I was RISKING it all, lol. It was as if someone had thrown me into the deep end of a pool and told me not to drown ( I was the one throwing myself into a deep end). Fortunately, my friend let me stay with her for my first few weeks in Diani until I was get my footing.

Diani is a relatively small town, and so house hunting is made easier as long as you identify the area you want to live in. i.e do you want to be on the beach? Do you want to be closer to town (Ukunda)? Somewhere in the middle? For a week I dedicated a few hours a day to just walking around the area I knew I wanted to be in, and just kept an aye out for ‘To Let’ signs. I did this religiously until I finally found a place I liked. So, yay! I was able to stay a float long enough in this new town. When I had vistited Diani sometime in 2020, I wrote some articles on my page about this really cool place called Diani Backpackers, (read the articles here and here) and so when they heard that I was around, we worked something out & I began hosting poetry open mic nights every Friday at their venue. This was great because not only was I doing what I love (performing every week? A dream come true), but it also gave me the opportunity to meet new faces in Diani, which was great because I was so far away from home and all my friends.

Now, you’d probably be wondering, ‘but Mumbi, why? Why put yourself through all this? Why put yourself in such an uncertain situation?’. Believe me, I asked myself those very questions multiple times. At this juncture I’d just like to mention that I am a Nairobi city girl to the core, I mean, I was born and raised in Nairobi my whole life. For a few years now, I have known that I want to move out of Nairobi at some point, and experience living somewhere new even for just half a year. This was just something I needed to do for myself. I was scared. On so many days since being in Diani I wondered if I had made the right choice, and if I should just pack up and go home. It wasn’t easy, but I am absolutely proud of myself for making it there for 5 months! This is just to say, that in theory it might sound great to move away from home and experience something new, but it takes a lot of strength to be away from everything you know, especially alone. That said, I would highly recommend getting out of Nairobi and seeing what life is like beyond the capital. If anything at all, it definitely builds character.

I hope you enjoyed this post! Please feel free to have a look at my previous articles on this site, and look ouut for more posts in the near future!

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Published by mumbimacharia

Performing spoken word poet, writer, event curator, East African.

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