Covid-19 locked us in Kenya
Harriet James @harriet86jim
When DamiAna and Dale Trimble, an American couple, landed in Kenya on January 19, 2020, they dreamt of having an amazing tour, exploring the wonders of the country.
They had planned to stay for three months, explore the culture as well as understand the difference between the countries and sample the best of each.
From experiencing the white sandy beaches of Diani, Lamu, to the village and safari life at the Masai Mara, the couple and their three children, King, Legend and Love Trimble, were having a good time.
However, just as they were coming from their trips to the capital, something strange happened—their cab driver notified them of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s directive to ban travel in and outside the country.
“When we heard about that, we didn’t panic. We just said ‘ok’, and wondered how this chapter of life would look like. We had never experienced a lockdown,” narrates DamiAna.
And just like that, their plans to just be around for three months was extended.
They booked for accommodation via Airbnb and extended their Kenyan Visa.
They also spent more time learning about Africa, particularly the Kenyan culture through vlogs and the people around.
Change of plans
“We frequently visited the arboretum park with the children. We purchased bikes for them to ride and we took morning walks daily and consistently did a lot of grocery shopping.
We learnt more about Kenyan food and culture. We also went to the streets and blessed 50 Kenyans families financially during the tough Covid-19 period,” she recalls.
The couple had met 16 years ago through a mutual friend and tied the knot six months after dating.
They managed to work hard and were living their dream life, earning a six digit salary, owning three luxury cars and having a big mansion.
But the duo got tired of the monotonous life and opted to sell all they had and devote their life to travelling and became digital nomads.
By definition, digital nomads are a population of independent workers who opt for a location-independent, technology-enabled lifestyle that gives them the freedom to work and travel from anywhere in the world.
“We had everything, but we just wanted to experience life beyond the normal routine— that is how our travel journey started.
In 2018, we were both fired from our jobs—actually my hubby was fired first about three years ahead of me and so we decided that we would start an online business,” narrates DamiAna.
DamiAna says that this decision was the best they ever made as a couple as it gave them the freedom they longed to experience.
She notes how most black-Americans in the US struggle with taking care of their basic needs, paying off debts, that they place travel as the last thing in their budget.
The media too often depict travel as a thing for the whites.
But DamiAna and Dale believe that travel is the best teacher for their children.
So far, the Trimble family has toured 20 countries with a total of 78 flights. Their first country of travel was Thailand.
“Thailand is one of our favourite countries. However, we experienced a lot of culture shock. For example, the locals hardly speak English, so we communicated using sign language most of the time.
They also loved touching our hair and further asked to take photos with us— we had never experienced this before.
We visited a lot of temples, we got in a cage with tigers and so much more,” she recalls
While travelling with children is challenging, the couple loves the idea of being with them all the time.
The children are aged seven, four and three years. Because children don’t have the same level of tolerance as adults, DamiAna and Dale have learnt to make them feel comfortable.
The couple homeschools their children, though they believe that travel is the best form of education they can have— much more than the classroom.
“I keep them distracted with things such as their toys during long flights and long layovers.
I pack their favourite snacks, keeping extra juice on hand, having their favourite shows downloaded in case there is no WiFi and definitely soft comfy pillows and extra blankets for those sleepy moments.
I, in addition, always have a first aid kit. This makes our journey easy,” she says
After the borders opened and the lockdown lifted, the couple toured Tanzania to continue with their explorations.