I truly began to appreciate my continent, Africa, when I left it. At the age of eighteen, I moved to the US to study at Pratt Institute from Kenya.
Being in New York, I met people from all over the world and what was especially memorable was meeting people from all over the African continent. I learned about their cultures, tasted their food and danced to their music. Although a lot of these experiences were new, they were also strangely familiar. They made me feel at home.
I took the opportunity to learn more about my continent, informally through social interactions but also in the classroom while also studying African literature, film, politics, anthropology. My love for my continent grew and grew.
During this time, I met a handful of people who'd travelled extensively across the continent and they planted a seed in me. I was suddenly beginning to fantasise about one day "taking a year out" to go from one African country to the next. Visiting, exploring, learning.
There was no concrete plan for this ambitious trip (that would happen one day), but I held onto the hope that someday I'd actually take some action towards this dream opportunity.
About a year ago, I met two amazing Kenyan photographers who I’d been following on the interwebs for some time, Joe Were and Mutua Matheka. As our friendship grew, they let me in on a trip that they were planning to take: a road-trip from Nairobi to South Africa and then back again. I was excited for them and a little bit envious. Taking three months “out" to do something like that wasn’t an option for me. But as time went on, I started to challenge myself about that thinking. Why exactly wasn't it an option? Didn't I work for myself so that I could have flexibility and freedom? I brainstormed a plan for taking care of business AND being unavailable for three months while on the road. I decided to make it work.
Of all the people I'd met who'd done some sort of extensive African travel, not one of them was actually from Africa, nor black. Why is that? Why not?
That's one of the things we'll be untangling with our trip. Sharing, with others who look like us, what it's like to travel by road, across borders, in Africa. We know there will be some challenges but we also know, without a doubt, that it just may be the most enlightening and enriching journey we've ever taken.
We want to transport as many of you with us as possible. That's why we've created a Kickstarter campaign that ends on the 24th of December. On one hand, we get to create artistic works in response to our travels: a photobook, a colouring book, prints and a web series that you can all enjoy. On the other hand, we get to prove that we can come together to make things happen, including by leveraging the funding power of the crowd.
You can find out more about our route, why we're focusing on cities, our crew and how you can support us here.
On a final personal note, this trip is such a meaningful milestone for me. It comes at the point where so many things in my life are in transition:
Relocating back home to Kenya, after 16 years of living abroad in the US and in the UK
Totally transforming my business after 6 years and having the guts to TRULY pursue my passions and dreams
Preparing for motherhood
I hope that our trip will be inspiring, enlightening and of value to you too.