Kenya part 2

I’m not normally a religious person, but on Sunday I found myself cutting all kinds of deals with God.

I hadn’t expected the plane from the Masai Mara to be so tiny. Sure, the one on the way out had been small, but this 12 seater was like a minibus with wings. I can be a nervous flyer and I don’t like turbulence, flying in the rain or being able to see into the cockpit. So of course I got all three:


The plane was operating like a train; it made several stops on the way back to Nairobi. Each time this meant taking off from runways that looked more like narrow gravel roads. I think I held my breath the entire journey and I swore that if I got out if the plane alive I would – in return – never drink again. Ever.

So as I’ve made it home in one piece I guess I’ll have to keep that end if the bargain or who knows what might happen …!

It was a pretty dramatic end to an exciting fortnight in Kenya and an awesome safari. 


I did a lot of thinking on holiday, just taking stock of where I am and what I’m doing. It strikes me that drinking put a giant pause button on my life. It’s my 30th birthday next weekend and frankly I still can’t believe it’s really happening because my twenties just slipped by without me noticing. I know everyone feels that way to some extent but I really feel like I wasted a lot of time. That’s what drinking does. It takes you out of the moment but time carries on ticking by. You’re just not present enough to appreciate it.

Many of my peers are now married and having children or they’re in better paid jobs than me. I know you shouldn’t judge other people’s insides by their outsides but I can’t help feeling that I’ve been left behind. Of course I did notice all this when I was drinking, but I ignored it, squashing down uncomfortable feelings with large glasses of wine.

Seen as rich, gorgeous husbands don’t grow on trees – damn – for now I’m going to focus on the one thing I feel I can do something about: my job. Whilst I was away I realised how bored and fed up I am with it. I need something more challenging, more satisfying. So, I’ve made a little plan. A list of things I’m going to do to try and get another job. I might even consider leaving journalism altogether. I’m still working it out.

Most importantly, I am not going to rush into anything. All too often I make rash decisions and I think that is my alcoholic, impulsive, ‘now, now, now’ side. For example, on holiday I got it into my head that I should set up my own business. Why didn’t I think of that before? I wondered. This is how I could earn my millions! But then … slight snag… what kind of business should it be? I actually began to get quite stressed because I couldn’t think of a decent idea. Seriously – I was on holiday, worrying about the fact that I couldn’t produce a multi million pound business idea out of thin air.

So maybe I’m not going to be the next Richard Branson. Who knows, maybe I will struggle to find another job. But at least I’m trying to get where I want to be and not just waiting for something to fall into my lap. You make your own luck.

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12 thoughts on “Kenya part 2

  1. sober365days October 1, 2013 at 11:19 pm Reply

    I couldn’t agree more that alcohol fuzzes the mind and slows down forward motion. I know I felt like I lived a stagnant decade when I was drinking. That being said, you’ve probably done way more than you’re giving yourself credit for. You’re a terrific writer, and journalism will definitely be worse off if you hang up your pen. I wish you a terrific birthday! Keep in mind that the 30s are a decade of tremendous growth. Sounds like you are already thinking forward. All the best!

    • soberjournalist October 2, 2013 at 7:23 am Reply

      ‘A stagnant decade’ is a great way to describe it, I know exactly what you mean. Thanks for your kind comments.

  2. jenisthesoberist October 2, 2013 at 12:42 am Reply

    You are doing a lot of cool stuff now, even if you didn’t accomplish everything you wanted while you were drinking in your 20’s. You never know how much your life can change in a year… I often tell that to friends that who get hung up on being single or feeling stuck in another area of life. I have been with my husband for a little over two years and we are now happily married with a ten month old baby. I never would have imagined it right before we met. It sounds like you are planting the seeds of change for your career, so things will happen!

    p.s. If you get that brilliant idea for a multi-million pound business, would you mind sharing it with your sober friends online? 😉

    • soberjournalist October 2, 2013 at 7:27 am Reply

      Ha ha if inspiration strikes I will let you know! That’s amazing about you and your husband – I guess it shows how quickly life can change when you meet the right person. I keep thinking stuff like “but I want my first child by no later than 34 so I can have another before it’s too late… I want to be engaged a year before that … I’d need to know him for two years before the wedding … so that’s like, err next year when I HAVE to meet the one …” and blah blah blah it continues. So I’m putting a whole load of pressure on myself when it doesn’t have to be that way.

  3. Rebecca A. Watson October 2, 2013 at 12:43 pm Reply

    Wow, what a great post. I have to agree with you about your 20s slipping away. It’s tough to believe that I was even participating in that decade! I think it’s great that you’re considering a career move…journalism is a tough field and it’s peppered with folks who struggle with our affliction. (Not that other fields aren’t touched by it; it just seems we’re expected to have a problem.)

    I also have to agree with jen: You never know what life may hand you. Things can change dramatically, very quickly. I was planning on buying a house less than 5 months ago. Now I live in a different country. I think you’ve got the right idea: focus on what you want and what you can change. The rest will work itself out. Best wishes to you!

    • soberjournalist October 2, 2013 at 8:42 pm Reply

      Moving to another country is huge! I guess you never know what’s round the corner. Thank you for your lovely comments.

  4. Mary LA October 2, 2013 at 3:21 pm Reply

    Those planes are little wobbly sky trippers, aren’t they? Wait until you get out into Serengeti. I spent much of my childhood in Kenya and those wild spaces are so exhilarating. And that is what sobriety is like. Drinking, we put our lives on the shelf.

    Welcome to the roller coaster and serious writing, big relationships and vertigo.

    • soberjournalist October 2, 2013 at 8:40 pm Reply

      Ha ha! It will take me a while to get back on a plane like that – although a little bit of me loved it…

  5. Anonymous October 3, 2013 at 7:50 pm Reply

    I would have been the same on the plane, I am rubbish with heights. I am cool if I can’t see how high up I am, so that wouldn’t be for me.
    Slow down with the whole life 360 makeover!! Give yourself a break, you have just gottten yourself sober and are doing amazingly. Don’t pile the pressure on or what seems like a saily, easy time right now, might just go flying out the window. Not too many major changes in the first year isn’t that what they say?
    Start with work, sounds like an interesting challenge that is needed anyway, and who knows where that might lead. But as they say in the world of touchy feely self discovery here…focus on the first thing and let the universe take care of everything else for you.
    Just be….
    Holiday sounds amazing though, good for you.
    C x
    ps. Are you coming to London on 13th to meet with Belle, can’t remember where it is you live

    • Anonymous October 3, 2013 at 7:51 pm Reply

      Not sure why that’s annonymous
      Carrie x

    • soberjournalist October 4, 2013 at 1:05 am Reply

      You’re right, maybe I do need to slow down. I just want everything to be fixed and sorted NOW!
      I didn’t know Belle was coming to London, it would be amazing to meet face to face. Are you going? I live in Manchester but as it happens I’ll be in London that weekend and getting the train home Sunday evening – would be great to meet up before I go back x

      • Anonymous October 4, 2013 at 7:27 pm

        Yes wild horses and all that! I can’t wait. It’s tea and cake somewhere late afternoon near Soho?
        Email her, she will include you in the arrangements. Be fab to meet you too!! So exciting x

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