A woman working from home. (Courtesy)

Since the entry of Covid-19, the world has changed the way we live. Before the pandemic, people were tethered to their places of work for most of the week.

Then the pandemic hit, turning everything around and leading to big changes. Now people can work from anywhere – a sense of freedom they have never had before.

Though vaccinations have tilted the angle of working from home, working from home remains a preference for many. Workers, the self-employed and travellers view working from homestays as “the new norm” holiday alternative.

Home today does not mean your home, house, room, or cubicle (whatever you call your fixed abode), but a setting that offers you a home away from home experience (vacations are about experiences), and solid enough to match the comfort of your office.

I was in Meru for a six-day assignment and did not intend to work from my home (not an office-friendly place) or from a hotel. I was looking for an establishment that provided a ‘home away from home’ setting – a facility that would also offer activities to do, giving me room to explore and unwind during my free time.

Such a unique facility would make it possible for me to experience my surroundings in a more authentic, connected way that would promote a sense of belonging to the surrounding community. After a two-hour scouting, I settled for two places; Home Park, Makutano, and Karimba Lodge, 11 kilometres away from the outskirts of Meru Town. I settled for Karimba Lodge.

I was excited that I would be filing my stories from a new ‘home’ whose serene environment gave me a feel that allowed the mind to explore my creativity. As I walked through, I had this feeling that I was discovering my new home. I could not wait to settle in.

The first thing I did was figure out a place that I could turn into my corner office, set my laptop, all this within the privacy, comfort, and quietness of my new home-away-from-home environment.

Dinner time was announced by an inviting aroma, which reminded me that this is a home setting and the kitchen is within reach. The food, the setting, the mood, the cutlery (this was quite an attraction).

After dinner, I worked from the confines of the lounge, which I had turned into a comfy office. 

Work and leisure

My day two started on a promising note as I wake up to a wonderful sunrise. As I drew the curtains, I could hear the soothing rhythms of nature - dawn choruses from birds, chirping, and unidentifiable notes from a collabo of squeaks, screeches, croaks and moos from the neighbourhood.

After breakfast, I hit the Meru-Isiolo Road for the day’s assignment. I came back in the evening, and right on time for the storytelling session, a bonfire affair.

My day three assignment was in Maua. After my morning ritual, I left for Maua, after which I had a whole afternoon to spend on a leisure drive back, taking in the beautiful sceneries, and making interactive stopovers.

I made it back in time for an expedition to the Njuri Ncheke Shrine, now a national museum. There, I learnt the history and culture of the Meru people and the role of Njuri Ncheke elders today and in yesteryear. 

By the time I got back home, darkness had fallen. From the veranda of my “home”, I could see some mongoose, wild rodents, and a pair of colourful birds doing a “circus”.  Like me, they seemed to be in tune with mother nature – doing their final rituals before retiring for the day.

I spent the next two days working - mornings and evenings spent on walks within the lodge and the precincts of Karimba shopping centre. 

Soon, I found I had only one day to go. The Timau assignment gave me an opportunity to explore the town that I last visited five years ago. It is growing to be a complex town within Meru County. 

The next morning, I woke to a wonderful sunrise. Through the curtains, I could see beaming sunrays, the promise of a sweltering hot day ahead. From a distance, I could hear the sound of a trumpet, which reminded me of elephants...

I closed my eyes, took a deep inhale, and as I did, I knew it was going to be an exciting day out – tracking the elephants of Gaketha Elephant Maternity Sanctuary and learning about them.