Once upon a time, nomads—largely hunter gatherers or pastoralists—knew it was time to move when the game animals moved on, or the fields became depleted. They followed the tides of nature.
Some traveled in caravans of camels or on horseback. They were self-sufficient. They carried their homes with them—bundled tents, cookware and provisions.
I will be the first to admit I have nothing in common with those nomads.
I travel by bus, train, or car. Boat if I’m lucky. I do not gather my food—though the markets in Mbita are hardly a walk in the park. If you dropped me in the middle of the desert, I would not have the requisite resources for survival…
I carry no tent; no cookware; few provisions.
But maybe I still share something with those wanderers of old who have always captured my imagination.
An initial wave of excitement carries me to a new place. The promise of a work exchange. The open door to a friend’s home. A spark catching in my belly and igniting my anticipation.
That first surge crests, and the tide begins to ebb—weeks later, or maybe months. The work is monotonous. The place too isolated or too busy. The enthusiasm never dies, but it smolders more faintly.
Then a new opportunity calls. This time on the coast, or in the mountains, or across the border. Another surge gathers momentum and I follow.
I can usually feel when it is time to move.
No matter how many times I follow this cycle, that initial burst of excitement never seems to lessen. The making of plans, the preparation to move, transition, journey, holds a special kind of magic for me.
In three days, it will be time again. The ocean is calling. The sand, waves, salt and always, always the
unknown beckon. From tides of intuition to tides of water.
There is a backpackers on Diani Beach (30 km south of Mombasa) with room for volunteers. I still have 2 months left on my Kenyan visa, so I think I may stay there a month if it fits.
Time to say goodbye to Rusinga Island and the rock paintings I may never find. Time to pack up and head east to meet the sun.
Time to move.