Small Adventures

Someone once told me that they try to have some sort of adventure every week, even if it’s so ‘small’ as trying different food or driving a different route home from work or such like. And I thought I like that idea! The thing with adventures is that they make you realise that there’s something bigger than just you. They make you realise that things aren’t always under your control. They make you realise that it’s wrong to be dependent on only yourself. New adventures, new challenges, pushing you a little bit out of the comfort zones.

And living in Kenya, I’ve found adventures are more likely to be forced upon you – you don’t have to go and seek them, they come to you.

Here are some of the small and simple ‘adventures’ I have on a day-to-day basis:

  • Walking down the street: every time I walk the street new adventures come flocking to me. Sometimes it’s being accosted by the local drunk. Other times it’s stopping to help an epileptic who’s fitting on the floor and being ignored by all passer-bys. Other times it’s fighting off matatu touts desperate to get me in their vehicle. This week, my adventure was being serenaded by a man on his boda-boda (motorbike) who had a massive boom-box attached to the back blaring out Westlife.
  • Taking the bus: an adventure? Really? Surely you just hail the matatu, get on, sit down, reach destination, get off? Nah, too simple. Too boring. We’re for the adventures here! These can include things such as seeing how many hours you sit in traffic for, going a wildly different route, or fighting off pick-pocketers. Sometimes all three in one journey – that counts for a nearly a months worth of adventure in one ride! Yesterday’s bus adventure involved the vehicle bombing down the wrong side of the road to miss traffic, leading it to go the wrong way round the round-a-bout causing oncoming traffic to swerve out of the way on either side of the matatu.
  • The washing-machine: every time I do my washing I have the thrill of waiting to time the very moment the machine is about to drain the water and seeing if I can rush outside to put the exit pipe down the drain before the outside patio floods. Always an excitement!! Our washing machine is under a small shelter outside but there’s no way for the exit pipe to be plumbed in, so the pipe has to manually be directed to the drain every time the tank is about to rinse. No, the pipe cannot be left down the drain as it needs to be upright to stop water emptying straight out when the machine is trying fill with water. Generally the method for washing clothes goes like this:
  1. Load machine with clothes.
  2. Mix washing powder with boiling water so it dissolves (machine only uses cold water so powder doesn’t mix properly if put straight in the machine)
  3. Start machine. Make sure exit pipe is upright to prevent water draining from the machine
  4. Let machine fill and wash.
  5. Listen very carefully or monitor machine. When water starts bursting from pipe rush outside and put pipe down drain. Leave there until the fountain of water finishes.
  6. Put pipe upright again and allow machine to fill again
  7. Repeat step 5.
  8. Wait for machine to finish rinsing and spinning.
  9. Hang out washing. Boom, sorted!

See, even the mundane chores can add adventure to your life!

  • Post office: yes, going to the post-office is definitely an adventure which involves a whole separate blog post
  • Shopping: being in a foreign country means that it’s not always possible to get foods that you’re used to back home. Either they just aren’t stocked or they’ve been imported meaning they’re ridiculously expensive. It’s always exciting to find some food that you’ve been missing for a while at a reasonable price. I recently discovered a supermarket in Nairobi that stocks chorizo that’s been made here so is at a reasonable price. Guess what I’ve been eating lots of lately?! Mmm…pepperoni pizza!
  • Mango eating: even eating a mango can bring a little excitement… Cut it open. Will it have maggots?! Won’t it?!

Yes, some of them seem so small that they maybe they don’t even count as an ‘adventure’ but to me it’s something that’s different to the everyday and shakes things up a bit that matters. And yes the adventure isn’t always fun. At the time it can be frustrating, tiring, exasperating but at the end of the day it provokes me. My reactions challenge me. I learn – or I try to learn – from the small things. Adventure is good! Life is never boring! Who wants a boring life?!

So I ask you, what adventures have you had recently? Or what changes are you going to make to have more adventure in your life? Even small ones count!


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