The only constant in life, the old adage goes, is change. And there can be nothing more true for the life of a travel writer. Mark and I have been on the road in Kenya for two weeks now, and in that time we’ve stayed in everything from luxury lodges to old colonial inns to (mostly) our airy tent – pitched in deserted campsites, beneath marula trees or in the backyard of quarter-star hotels (have you stayed at the Lady Diana Paradise Hotel yet?).
Perhaps even more diverse have been the offices we’ve worked from – coffee almost always in hand – during the past 14 days. We’ve written over stodgy pasta and cold coffee in an airport café, and tapped at our keyboards 30,000 feet above Africa in a KLM jet. We’ve scribbled furiously in our Moleskines while perched on the roof of our old Land Cruiser, in the most remote corners of Kenya’s biggest park.
Between the harrowing beats of an amateur DJ, we tried to file stories from the poorly lit bar of an overlander’s camp. We’ve fact-checked and caught up on emails from an opulent couch in the lounge of a tented camp, tucked deep in a forest. We’ve bashed out emails and pored over maps from the lawns of a tatty colonial-style inn, with Mount Kenya peeking through distant clouds. We’ve edited photos on a balcony overlooking a waterhole cluttered with lions, and we’ve blogged from camp sites, with our feet up on the Land Cruiser’s bull bars, cold Tuskers in hand, while elephants snacked on branches 30 metres from the tent.
For an entire day, we sat in the back of a roadside café and wrote stories on our laptops; our sculpture of adaptors almost drained the establishment of electricity. To compensate – and to keep us motivated – we feasted on coffees and multiple orders of possibly the most delicious samosas south of Nairobi. (If you ever pass through Voi, stop off for samosas or petrol at Petrozen – and say hi to the very friendly, very helpful owner, Mr Mohammed.)
There’ll be a lot more change, many new offices, and countless cups of coffee in the weeks to come. We’ve just arrived back in Nairobi and as soon as we’ve scrubbed the red dust of Tsavo off our skin, we’ll take an overnight train to Mombasa, where I’m sure we’ll work with our feet covered in beach sand. Or we’ll edit in a market in downtown Mombasa, or catch up on emails on a hill with views across the Indian Ocean. Or perhaps I’ll write from the cool calm of a yoga retreat in Lamu. I’m not too sure.
One thing is for certain: every day, the view from our office will be different. And you know what? I wouldn’t change that for the world.