I have been at my parents’ house for the last 3.5 months of the coronavirus period, as I got locked in Nairobi. I am currently sitting on my bed writing and appreciating how the warm orange morning glow lights up the room, listening to the birds singing and admiring the green trees that I see outside my window. I feel happy and contented in this safe little haven.
Immediately a warning signal goes off in my head and heart. Attachment!!! I am getting attached to the comfort of my room here, the serenity of this area, the soft touch of my purple duvet. And deep inside, I know that it is time to move.
It happens every time I get comfortable, this alarm bell that goes off and makes me leave. This trend began most drastically in December 2016, when I had a stable job with a great salary, working in environmental justice which I am so passionate about. I had a big apartment with two perfect housemates who were open-minded and independent. My friends were artists and activists, the most true souls I have ever met in every sense – honesty and love and fire and justice defined our every word and action. I founded several environmental justice initiatives and worked to support several more in social justice. I attended protests; I partied every Friday; I had the perfect romantic partners. My old Volvo had been graffitied by my dear friend during a street festival, and it was a much loved ride amongst my companions.
Life was so perfect, stable and comfortable, that I had to leave. I quit my job, gave leave on my lease, and handed over responsibility on my projects. By February 2017 I was in Colombia, with no return ticket. I spent a month each in Colombia, Peru, Bolivia and Cuba. I attended plant medicine ceremonies in the jungle, lived in eco-villages, and danced salsa across the land and sea. It was a life-changing journey, but isn’t life always transforming you whether you prompt it or not?
In June I flew to London to visit my best friend who was battling cancer. She lost the fight in November and departed this earth. Thus began a whole other journey that took me deep into the spirit world. From a broken, grief-stricken soul that had lost her sister, I grew into a healer – working with sound and the natural elements to work on myself as well as nudge others on their own paths.
Now, whether I had remained in Nairobi with my perfect, stable life, or chosen to ruffle up the rhythm as I did by moving to roam South America, my best friend would have still left us in November. You see, no matter how much control you think you have over your life, no matter how stable you think it is, something will always come along and shake things up. I recently read an analogy of throwing a pebble into a moving river versus throwing a pebble into a still lake. The river is able to handle the reverberations from the pebble and keep moving, but the ripples on the lake spread across the entire surface and its serenity is completely disrupted throughout its entire being. So I choose to be a moving river, challenging fate and choosing to disrupt my own life and create instability and change so that when life throws the unexpected at me, I am ready.
Back to my current situation, and simple attachments. I choose to be nomadic in order to let go of attachment. A lot of the reason I renounce stability is actually deeply spiritual. When I am backpacking, I am not attached to a fixed home and routine. I have minimal possessions with me as that’s all I can manage to carry on my little back. Places come and go; experiences come and go; friends comes and go. I fall in love with a place or a person, and move forward leaving them physically behind but forever treasured in my heart. I learn unconditional love. I learn love without attachment. I am present. I am free.
In each present moment, I find eternity. As the world and experiences rush past me, I sit comfortably in the eye of the tornado. The act of backpacking and embracing nomadism and instability is how I come to terms with that universal truth of anicca, impermanence. In the movement, I am still and calm. Not knowing what will happen next, where I will end up, I trust. All I need is love, and I know everything will be okay.
Note: I wrote this 3 weeks ago, before my city’s containment was lifted a few days ago. In a few days from now, I am moving to my true home – the heart of nature. For the next month, this will look like the dotted acacia trees that sprinkle the Kenyan savannah, the sounds and smells of wild animals taking their dips in the nearby river, and the world-famous African sunrises over the grassy plains. After that, we’ll see – I have no idea, and that’s ok – uncertainty is my way of life.