When I was planning my backpacking trip, I debated between starting it in Lamu and Malindi. Lamu is beautiful and I will definitely go backpacking there later in the year, but Malindi holds a special place in my heart, I’ll explain.
The year was 2009, the last week of November. I did my last KCSE paper on Tuesday of that week, went shopping with my pal Tabby the following day and was on a bus to Malindi that night. Tabby was my friend in high school, who had mentioned that she was going to visit her uncle after the exams. I had never been to Coast, not even Mombasa. And even at that point in my life, I had never traveled with anyone outside my family. So I was excited to ask my parents’ permission when they came for prayer day, I think I was more excited about the trip more than I was about finishing high school. So 2 days after my last paper, I was in Malindi ready to begin the next chapter of my life.
Malindi shaped my adult life in more ways than I had realized before planning this trip. You see, the only part of coast I knew was from pictures of my neighbor’s family which they took every December at a beach that looked really beautiful but crowded. What I later came to know as Jomo Kenyatta beach. So when I arrived in Malindi and was met with long stretches of white sand beaches which only had a handful of people, I felt like I was in paradise. That feeling of ‘there is nowhere else I’d rather be in this moment’ is what seduced me to the world of travel.
Malindi also taught me about responsibility. Being the first time I had traveled without my parents or a family member meant there was no one to stop me from doing anything. Which was quite a challenge, especially for a young girl straight from high school in a place filled with foreigners looking to have a good time. It was like learning to swim by starting off at the deep (funny thing is I also learned to swim in Malindi). But even with a mind of an 18-year old, I knew that with everything I did, I had to make sure I could live with the consequences.
I met my first boyfriend in Malindi that same morning I arrived, not a mzungu (not that there is anything wrong in dating one) but a guy I spent a good number of years with and learned so much about relationships from.
Malindi is where I began my adult life, it’s where I learned my first lessons about the responsibilities that come with adulthood, and it’s where I first encountered love. Romantic love and love for travel. So the verdict was reached, my trip just had to start in Malindi.
I’ll be posting fun things to do in Malindi soon.