Our story begins when our neighbours, and good friends, learnt about their two year posting to Kenya. We were excited for them, and delighted for the excuse to visit the country with our 5 and 3 year old boys. They left in August 2015, leaving us with their Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Loki, and a plan to book a ticket to visit them in Nairobi.
In February 2016 we boarded the plane and, for the first time in nearly 5 years, set out on holiday that took us out of Europe. I had long had a plan to visit Kenya, and owned guidebooks dating back nearly ten years – proof of aborted plans made at a very different time of my life. It was such a delight to finally visit the country, and it didn’t disappoint.
I found travelling with young children a very different experience to travelling as a single, responsibility-free twenty-something, and this difference was exacerbated by the fact that we were staying with, and being hosted by, a family living a comfortable expat lifestyle. Without wanting to place my children in any unnecessary danger, I yearned to get under the skin of the country that I was in and be more…adventurous.
We had a fantastic holiday, seeing the sights and the accessible wildlife in Nairobi; flying over and staying in the Masai Mara;
and kicking back on the Indian Ocean in Diani.
Our experience was shaped by the expats we were staying with and meeting. Before travelling I read Daphne Sheldrick’s moving memoir, An African Love Story: Love, Life and Elephants, and it was an absolute treat to visit the fruits of her labour, the elephant orphanage in Nairobi.
Back at home, for the next few months, life continued as normal, with plans to visit our family’s house in south-west France, and booking an Austrian ski holiday for 2017. Then one morning, after a particularly hot and humid night, unusual for rural Berkshire, my husband piped up with his idea – What if we spent six months on a road trip? I was thinking Alaska to Argentina?
What if we spent six months on a road trip? I was thinking Alaska to Argentina?
The idea was seeded, and on our long car drive to and from France in July, questions were raised, some answers were formed, and the plan was begun.