top of page

The Suitcase

January 2019 found me in Kenya my native country. I had just spent prior weeks visiting family and friends and I found myself wanting a solo trip to rejuvenate. I was staying with my grandparents in Ong'ata Rong'ai and the hectic nature of the city became boring for me. Without further thought, I booked a 10 day stay in Diani Beach and hopped on the next flight out of Nairobi. Little did I know that what lay ahead was far worse than I could ever imagine. In lieu of this being an impromptu trip, I had very little planned for my stay. Apart from my accommodation and the desire to lounge by the blue waters of Diani, I knew nothing else. After arriving at the airport, it dawned on me that Uber was yet to make it to this part of the country. Transportation was dictated by taxis, tuk-tuks (three wheeled vehicles) and boda-boda guys (motorcyclists). I waved down a taxi and off toward blue waters and endless mocktails we went. The ride to the Airbnb was an interesting one because like a true local the taxi driver relied on word of mouth for directions rather than the handy dandy google maps. Nonetheless I was determined not to let a single thing ruin my elated moods. I had put on my rose-colored glasses and sis was living in color! Many minutes later we made it to the entrance of my home away from home and were greeted by a drunken landlady and her angry dogs. I paid my taxi driver quadruple the amount necessary because one thing is for certain, those taxi guys will rob you once they sense that your broken Swahili has more English words than it should. Lesson#1 Always carry extra cash with you, not all thieves carry weapons, some just drive taxis. Setting my feet into the compound, it dawned on me that this was somewhat a catfish, the lawns were unkempt, the pool was dirty, and did I mention the landlady had a drinking problem? Lesson number #2 do extensive research before booking your stay. After a staggering check in, I decided to take a shower under the waterfall themed faucet. Now, if you are anything like me, a shower is not merely a shower. A shower is a miniature concert where you are the solo artist. Honestly, did you really bathe if you did not serenade yourself into cleanliness? I set up my background music via my phone and proceeded to wash my current woes away. A few hits later, my solo concert was disrupted by the sound of my iPhone crashing onto the concrete floor. After picking it up, I realized that the screen had shattered, and half of the screen had gone blank. Lesson #3, never take your case off your phone where concrete floors are involved. This did not dampen my moods because remember? I was living in color. Now the next part of this story is where things went terribly wrong. My landlady suggested that I visit some of the beachside restaurants for a night out. She even offered to connect me with one of her friends who owned one. I was already 5 days into my 10 days, and I was looking for an adventure, so I agreed. The next evening the restaurant owner came with his friend to pick me up from the Airbnb and off we went. Oh, and I should add I had purchased a basic phone for call and texting purposes. The restaurant was nice, the music was great, and the vibes were far better than I expected. I suggest any time you are in a coastal town, always have the fish. Back to my story, the friend of the owner kept me company all night and suggested he take me to Mombasa the next day. I agreed because life is short, and we ought to grab every opportunity of fun that comes our way. He was at my residence at the agreed time and off we went to Mombasa. Lesson #4 Do not follow strangers into unknown cities by yourself. Obviously, because I am writing this story, he turned out not to be a psychopath, but he was something entirely worse - broke and mannerless. We visited the tourist spots in Mombasa, I tried some of the local cuisine and then it was time for us to head back. Using public transportation is tricky because you cannot dictate your arrival time. We arrived back in Diani around midnight. Oh, I should add this, while we were in Mombasa, he picked up a suitcase because he had scheduled travels in the near future. (This is a key fact for what happened next). To get back to Diani we first traveled by public bus then onto a taxi then onto a boda-boda. The taxi driver could have taken us to my residence but because it was well past midnight, he would not detour off the main road for safety reasons. The final road that led us to my residence was a dirt road - a detour off the main road. It was a five minute ride from the main road but most people walked the distance. What was frightening about walking it at night was the fact that you did not know what lurked behind the bushes because it was not a lit path. The plan was for this gentleman to ride with me back to the Airbnb to ensure my safety. As he was negotiating the price with the boda-boda guy, it dawned on him that when we alighted off the taxi, he did not take his suitcase with him. This realization was followed by him jumping on the back of a motorcycle and chasing after his suitcase leaving me at the main road well past midnight to fend for myself. Now, y'all I am a woman of faith, and I am fully convinced no harm shall befall me however, at the time this conviction was not as strong as it is now. I knew I needed to get back home and so I did what anyone else would do - I climbed onto the back of a boda-boda and headed back home. As we were riding through this dark, bumpy dirt road we got to a part of it where there were no homes nearby and all that surrounded us was darkness. The bodaboda guy proceeded to turn off the motorcycle and place his feet on the ground in an attempt to get off the ride. Grappled by fear and regret, the thought of being raped, trafficked and even killed crossed my mind. How will my family recover my body? What does this guy intend to do with me? Should I scream? What if no one comes to my rescue? We spent what felt like an eternity on this dark road. It was as though he was contemplating what to do next and I was too frightened to say a word. I do not recall if I prayed, but the man had a change of heart and proceeded to start up the boda-boda once again. Minutes later he proceeded to drop me off and went on his merry way. Lesson #5 never ever travel dark roads by yourself there is no telling what awaits you.

Gratitude gripped my heart and once I was in the confine of my rented room, I proceeded to pray and thank God for saving me from what could have been. Many hours later the tactless suitcase owner texted me to confirm I had arrived safely. He then proceeded to tell me he never recovered his suitcase. Lesson#6 Karma is a *****. As though I had not been through hell and high water already, I finalized this trip with a bad case of the stomach flu. I never spoke to the tactless suitcase owner ever again and vowed to always stay at a resort when traveling alone. My final lesson to you dear reader, this is not the only narrative of solo traveling, I have had wonderful experiences as well but if you find yourself in this same predicament, implement the lessons we learned here today. Would I do it again? MOST DEFINITELY.


4 Comments


Rose
Rose
Apr 21, 2023

Absolutely love “a bowl of soup”, definitely gave me a new perspective on the story of Jacob and Esau.

Like

Guest
Apr 14, 2023

😂😂 I admire your courage for solo adventure!!! To many more 👌🏿👌🏿

Like

Guest
Apr 14, 2023

Great read. Good lessons for solo travelers.

Like

Guest
Apr 14, 2023

That is scary but funny

Like
8b58f38d-0e61-48a9-9e0e-07e9660e5ad7.jpg

Hi, thanks for stopping by!

Let the posts
come to you.

Thanks for submitting!

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
bottom of page