I was just organizing my email account when I noticed that, coincidentally, today marks the anniversary of my decision to move to Kenya. Exactly one year ago, I received the first email with information on the Green Economy project I was going to work for in Nairobi.
One year ago, a lot of things were very different. Some would argue that it was a better time. Nobody was suspecting that Donald J. Trump (the J is for Jerk) was going to be the republican presidential candidate. No surge of terrorist and amok attacks had hit Europe yet. Reality was breezy and chilled, and also heading the German charts. All in all, things were looking quite peachy.
Not so much for me, though. I was stuck in more ways than one. Even though I had finished my master’s degree almost a year before, I was still working in my old student assistant job. Which was good for what it was, but did not offer me any kind of perspective whatsoever. Job market-wise, I got the whole Berlin treatment. Potential employers either did not reply at all, or they invited me to assessment centers, which meant a lot of hard work for me only to not be picked in the end.
Berlin was starting to piss me off, with its pretentious bearded Hipsters, the puke- and poo-stained sidewalks of Friedrichshain, and the long commutes. On top of all that, I was miserable in my relationship.
When the opportunity came along to move to another continent and do something good with my time, it did not feel like a hard choice to make. I quit my job, packed my stuff, broke up with my boyfriend, and left. I just went where I felt the breeze was taking me, and I haven’t regretted it even for one second. I have been to Germany twice since moving to Kenya. When I meet new people there and tell them where I live, I will often be congratulated on my “brave decision” to move to Africa. If only they had any idea how awesome my life here is.
I have a sweet freelance job which provides me with a steady influx of cash and the freedom to work whenever I want, from wherever I want. I work in several exciting fields, environmentalism, language and culture, with two great organisations. I spend my free time by the pool or at the club, hanging out with the cool kids of Nairobi (you know who you are), spotting lions in the Masai Mara, or chilling at the white beaches of Diani. I have met so many weird, wonderful, interesting, inspiring people. Most of all I have learned so much about myself as well as the world around me.
If one year ago, somebody had told me all that… honestly I don’t know how I would have reacted. Probably just shrugged and said: “Sweet, bring it on.” This has possibly been the best year of my life so far. I am excited to see what the next one will bring to top it.
To anybody who is currently miserable with their own living circumstances and thinking about making a drastic change: I can only recommend it. Of course, it does not always work out as it did for me, but chances are you will at least learn a lot.