I am a DIGITAL NOMAD travelling the world for months now and this is what it means

Lake Victoria

When I decided that I wanted to travel the world and not just take weekend trips, I really had no idea of how it would be. For a long time since January 31st 2021, the day that I said goodbye to having a permanent address, I did not even refer to myself as a digital nomad. All I knew is that I wanted to travel the world, go everywhere I can, make memories and leave an impact. I only started calling myself a digital nomad a few months ago.

The other thing is that I struggled, mostly mentally, to find a niche in the travel community. Every article that gives advice about advancing your social media, talks about having a niche. That is on Instagram, blog and Youtube (which I now have btw https://www.youtube.com/c/KirrasWorld). The problem is I have always wanted to do a lot of things at the same time and that is the same thing with my travel. I enjoy hiking, waterfalls, mountains, city tours, local food, meeting people, and sometimes just sleeping in, as long as it is in a new city/town/country, I will be happy.

Then the other day I met one of the most vibrant women alive and as we were talking about social media and Instagram, and in particular how I struggle with it, she mentioned something that stayed with me. She said that when she saw the words “Digital Nomad” on my profile, she thought that I meant that I work digitally for different companies, without settling for one. Maybe it’s because the title software engineer also was there.

My current Insta profile

That statement summed up the reality. The truth is that I really suck at Instagram. I have so many stories and experiences to share and I just don’t, for no reason whatsoever. Across the three platforms I am active on (Insta, YT and this blog), none really describe me as a digital nomad. Even Youtube, which tells my tales of travel has no clear definition of it.

So I decided that my comeback story on this blog would start to tell that side of my life. I will also try to tune both Instagram and Youtube to tell the same Tale. But forgive me if I don’t get it right. As my pastor always says, it is about progression and not perfection.

Here goes…

The very first time I knew I wanted to travel the world was in December 2017, to the best of my knowledge. Prior to that, I knew I loved travelling but I hadn’t known how. The rest of my confusion is in this article https://kirrasworld.com/personal/travelling-like-a-pro/ where it says boyfriend replace with ‘ex’. I really have no desire to revisit and edit.

Fast forward to January 2020, as I was going back to Nairobi after a wonderful 6 months in Europe and awakening. https://kirrasworld.com/travel/my-epic-three-weeks-trip-in-europe-on-a-budget/, I thought the world was my oyster and I would conquer travel in 2020. Then COVID HAPPENED!!!!

In late 2020 when I needed to look for an apartment, it was when I got the AHA moment. Why look for an apartment and purchase expensive house stuff when all I wanted was to travel and be free.

That is why on January 31st 2021, I left my home and started living with just a suitcase. I started in Malindi, Kenya, as a way to experiment with how I would feel, while still in the country. Covid was still a major thing at the time and I wanted to feel safe being closer to home.

On August 25th 2021, I took the first flight to Kigali Rwanda, to really get started with my actual Travel the World Plan. It was really happening, sort of. The truth is I have friends in Kigali that I met in 2015. https://kirrasworld.com/experiences/my-visit-to-kigali-rwanda/ This meant that in Kigali I ended up living with the couple at their home as opposed to renting a place. Rwanda really is a second home to me.

As much as Rwanda is a second home to me, it gave me an overview of what my life would look like in the near future. Combining full-time work and travel put me in a middle place between full-time travel vloggers/bloggers and 8-5 working folk. I got to work Monday – Friday and travel around the country during the weekends.

The next country I went to is Namibia. Here I truly was a digital nomad. I got the place from Airnbn and paid for the entire month of November before I even saw it. My friends couldn’t believe I did that but my gut said I was right. Initially, I had planned to do a Southern African trip from Malawi but the internet situation in Malawi could not allow me to stay there for an extended period.

In December when Omicron hit the Southern part of Africa, I was then again faced with a decision. Keep the ticket I had booked to Botswana and take my chances, or fly back to Nairobi for the month and be/feel safe. Nairobi won. I always follow my gut when I travel.

In December I stayed at my sister’s home, which is my go-to place when I am in Kenya.

Next, I decided to go to West Africa and visit all the countries I could manage, Visa-free. My initial plan was to start with Nigeria but that quickly changed when I learned that they had cancelled the visa on arrival for Kenyans.

The ones in blue, green and yellow are visa-free or e-visa

On 1st January 2022, after celebrating the new year with my brother’s family in their Church, I was on my way to the airport. This time on a flight to Benin Republic, Cotonou city. By now, I had reduced my suitcase to a travelling bag. Got better at packing.

I stayed in Cotonou for an extra week that I had’t planned for. Because I had met good people and some other factors that I may share later.

When I made the decision to travel to West Africa, I intended to move between countries using land borders. This would reduce my expenses immensely as flights in Africa sometimes feel like they cost an arm and a leg. However, land borders were closed and the promise to open them in January 2022 ended up being just that, empty.

This was the reason Togo, which neighbours Benin, did not make it to my list as the next destination. The flight cost + visa fee didn’t add up as a worthy investment.

The next logical choice was Ghana. I loved that country I ended up staying two extra weeks, of course, some external factors were at play too.

Before leaving Ghana I needed to pick my next destinations, Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone, Gambia and Senegal were the contenders. See, the problem is that most of the other countries I could go to are unsafe due to internal conflicts and political coups. This also meant that whether land borders were open or not, I could not really use them since the roads crossed the ‘unsafe’ countries too.

The logistics and expenses involved in travelling between these countries started to become a nightmare and I needed to make a decision. Some external factors also came to play and the next thing I was on a flight back to Nairobi. Temporarily, of course, I am a digital nomad after all.

Do you now get what that means?

It means I don’t have a permanent address. Every few months or just one, I will be on my way to a different destination. As you have maybe realised, there are myriad factors that I have to consider. And more often than I would like, external factors force me to make decisions that I wouldn’t otherwise.

As I am writing this I am in Nairobi, in an apartment I got thinking I would stay here a while. Let’s just say that is not the plan anymore.

I will try my best to showcase the life of a digital nomad on my socials and here too. Those external factors will be more clear and hopefully help one or two people with their own decisions.

I don’t need a travel niche anymore. I just need to be happy and fulfilled in all I do. It is about progression, not perfection, so when I don’t live up to my promise, cut me some slack. I am telling myself that last part more than I am telling you. Sometimes we are too hard on ourselves.

Wanna guess my next destination???

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