Working from home has proved more nourishing and flexible to most people (Image: Shutterstock)

Since the entry of Covid-19, the world has changed the way we have lived for centuries. Before the pandemic, people were tethered to their places of work, which meant that they could not travel far from their places of work.

Then the pandemic hit turning everything around leading to massive and big changes. Now millions of people have been untethered from their places of work, and can now go anywhere and work from anywhere – a sense of freedom that they have never had before.

Though the vaccinations have tilted the angle of working from home, (hopefully the entry of the Omicron virus will not take us back to lockdowns), working from home remains a preference for many – workers, the self-employed, and travellers who 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 experiences (vacations are about experiences), 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 rewind 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 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, which provided a suitable working environment away from the busy and noisy Makutano.

Located in the tranquil outskirts of Meru Town, Karimba Lodge symbolizes simple country comforts, combining the allure of rustic living with all the conveniences of modern life.

It was a perfect place. I was excited that I would be filling 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 do is 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.

Dinnertime is announced by an inviting aroma, which reminds 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), the ambiance made me feel so comfortable like I were in my own home.

After dinner, I work from confines of the lounge, which I had turned into a comfy office”. The quietude (you could drop a pin and not hear it fall), giving me a relaxing working environment.

 It is easier to keep fit and eat healthy while working from home (Image: Shutterstock)

Work and leisure

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

I scan the “botanical” gardens, and inhale the fresh air deeply; another aroma invites me for my sumptuous breakfast. This, it seems is going to be my morning routine for the next five days.

After breakfast, I hit the Meru-Isiolo road for the day’s assignment. I am back at base tired but cannot skip the story-telling session, a born fire event at the iconic fire pit.

Against the backdrop of a beautiful sunset over the Nyambene Hills, Dr Adriel Mbaabu (a retired agro-researcher), narrates a dream born forty years ago to own a home-away-from-home facility as his retirement business.

By the time the researcher, now turned entrepreneur is done with the story of Karimba Lodge, nightfall is approaching, and it’s bedtime

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

I am back in time for an expedition to the Njuri Ncheke Shrine, now a National Museum. Here, I learn the history and culture of the Wameru people and the role of the “wazee wa Njuri” today and yesteryears.

By the time I am back to base, darkness is falling. From the veranda of my “home”, I can see some mongoose, wild rodents, and a pair of colourful birds doing a “circus”.  Like me, they seem to be in tune with Mother Nature – doing their final rituals before retiring for the day.

I spend the next two days working with mornings and evenings spent on walks within the Lodge and tom the precincts of Karimba shopping Centre. Sure, a homestay gives one freedom to discover and experience as opposed to a hotel stay that limits one.

Too soon, I find I have only one day to go. The Timau assignment gives 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. I am back too tired after the day’s expedition and I settle for a sumptuous room service dinner.

The next morning I wake up to a wonderful sunrise. Through the curtains, I can see beaming sun rays, a promise of a sweltering hot day ahead. From a distance, I can hear the sound of a trumpet, which reminds me elephants make a trumpeting sound, right?

I jump out of bed, draw the curtains and open the windows. A soothing breeze from the botanical gardens of Karimba gently “touches” my face, I close my eyes, take a deep inhale, and as I do so, I know it’s going to be an exciting day out – tracking the elephants of Gaketha Elephant Maternity Sanctuary and learning about elephants.

Diverse activities

Work and no play make Joy (sorry Jack) a dull girl, but my “new home” came along with a treasure-trove of activities, making my working from home fun. I was spoilt for choice, but picked quiet walks, early and evening drives as I enjoyed wonderful sunrises and sunsets, a guided excursion to the Gaketha Elephant Maternity, and a tour of the Njuri Ncheke Council of Elders Sanctuary (now a national museum).

Others were tours to King Muru, Nkunga Sacred Lake, scenic, exploring Meru town and it Gakoromone Market that is an attraction to traders and buyers from East and northeastern Kenya.

However, time did not allow for a visit to Meru National Park, and its sister, Kora National Park which I “dropped” in the bucket list of my to-do things when I am visiting Meru next.