It has been an eventful year. When I look back, I have every reason to thank the almighty. I have travelled. The spirit of #TembeaKenya possessed me this year. Malindi, Watamu, Diani, Tiwi, Naivasha, Kajiado, Chale, Wasini and Nakuru among other places have been honoured by my presence. I am not a selfish man. For this reason, I managed to tag some people along in all my travel plans. My better half, Karasha, Nick, Kalahi, Edward, Ichamie, Esther, Brian, Maureen, Sylvia, Emma, Fiona, Mash, Carol, DJ Swaj, Jay and Faizy among others rode on #TravelwithEliud. I also managed to influence a lot more people to travel some of whom have never done it before. The excitement derived from first time travel encouraged me. This year has been exploratory. We have gone to places that we didn't know existed. At #TravelwithEliud, we do not ask where we are going. We also do not ask for sneak peeks of the destination. We just know it gonna be lit! This year has been successful. How about yours?
From #Travelwitheliud, we wish you all a Merry Christmas and a prosperous, travel- filled year 2017. Yes, the holidays are here. Where are you travelling to? If you travelling to hotels away from home, I hope you have booked in advance. Places get full very quickly during this period. Nevertheless, go and have fun. Make sure you explore your destination. Wake up early on one morning and take in that sunrise. Make me emotional by tagging me. Try as much as possible to make your experience something you would write about. Or something you will cherish for a long time.
For us going up country, all I can tell you is good luck! Am sure you don't want to ask why. Somebody wrote on social media the other day "it's exactly 12 days before I go to the Village to explain why I don't have a husband". Well, you will agree with me that the villagers are experts in keeping tabs on your life. The society has expectations. You are a child of the society. My best advice is: do not get scared or avoid the villagers. Talk to them nicely and make them understand your position. You don't want to leave them guessing about what is happening in your life. You know they are good at that. Am sure you have saved something from your hard working year. Slaughter a goat for them. Let the birds in the village know their valued son/daughter has come home. If you got uncles and some village friends who usually enjoy one for the road, get a whole crate of their favourite. Let them feel like you’re their own. It will not cost you much. That is how you become an MCA without much effort.
Try and leave the accent in town. Feel free to speak all the mother tongue that you know. They will relate with you more that way. Dress up nicely. That’s how you earn their respect. Your folks will be proud that you have maintained the values they taught you. Don't stay up late in your local pub. In the village they go to bed at 9pm. They might start wondering if that is how you live in town. If you are saved, this is the best time to preach the gospel to villagers using real life examples from urban life. All in all, make sure you enjoy your time there. Go hiking at that hill you used to go hunting when you were little. Go explore that forest you used to fetch firewood. Go and play with that water you used to 'duff mpararo' when you were young. This will help you realize how much you have grown. The idea is to make your stay in the village interesting.
For those staying in town during the festivities, I am sure there are ways to make your experience different than the normal hustle days. Look out for events happening within the City. Go there and have fun. Meet new people and get acquainted. You might create important contacts to help you in 2017. Try and do things differently, otherwise you will get bored. The city is so empty during the festive season. Most shops are closed. Therefore, there is need for a plan. The bottom line is try to and have fun.
For those tied up at work. *Sigh* do not get depressed. Everything happens for a reason. You will be laughing in January when the rest of us will not even afford a glass of juice. Focus on the most important things and hold your head high. Look out for events happening at night or evening. Go hangout and create time for a nap. Download those favourite series and go ham on them. Let yourself do something unusual to mark the festive season. Eat differently. Try new recipes at home or try a new meal at your favourite restaurant. Treat yourself to that expensive wine and empty it yourself. Call up a house party with the friends in town. Make it fun. If you think about work too much, you won’t enjoy yourself. Keep off social media. Otherwise, we will tag you with pictures of a hanged goat ready for slaughter or those of bikinis by the beach. Why would you want to torment yourself? At that point you will be wondering how cruel can the world be. The most important thing is to focus on being happy!
Festivities are seasonal. Do not overdo them and forget that bills are waiting for you in January. Do not drink and drive. Respect other holiday makers. (Use a condom if you cannot abstain) Try to coexist with other people and make peace. Let’s welcome 2017 happy and with a lot of expectations. Do not let these 10 days ruin your happiness in 2017.
All I am trying to say with all these words is, Merry Christmas and a prosperous 2017.
Eliud Ndungu, a part-time adventure travel blogger who’s been exploring his motherland-Kenya for over 3 years