Last week I spent almost 4 days in my favorite small town, Nanyuki. I never seem to have enough of this place. You ask me why Nanyuki and I can’t explain how I settled for this place to create my shags. I just recall once asking my dad if I can get a piece of land in our shags where they grew up and he asked me to consider Nanyuki. I guess it was the African man in me seeking a rural escape where I could spend my sunset years.  Seems at 40 that picture of retirement gets closer and clearer. Although I don’t believe in retirement. I prefer to see it as a reFIREment. So if Nanyuki is going to be where I hang out a lot in the future then my mission in life is to still impact people’s lives and communities while there. I love that town. Now it’s just to find out how I can make a living from there. Of course, the view of the mountain and the spectacular rainbows is a magical way to start and end the day there.

Covid led to an exodus of people from the big city to small towns. The financial downturn was the most common reason people fled. It just didn’t make sense to remain in Nairobi when one could no longer make ends meet. While in Nanyuki I met a few pals who are former Nairobians. I even bumped into a childhood friend who lives in Samburu, yes Samburu from Nairobi. She is working there and enjoys what she does. That completed the picture for me. Imagine doing what you love from a place you love. There’s hardly a better life than that and I’m determined to live that way for long.

I’m working on a reason to spend more time in Nanyuki but not yet move there permanently. I’m still slightly addicted to the chaos of the big city so I retreat to this small town for a fix of calmness then come and spend it in Nairobi. It would be a balance between here and there for now.

This was the first time I have spent some time with locals from Nairobi so I had a sneak peek into how the small-town outlook differs from the big city. It was clear that it is not as easy to settle in a small town from a big city. In Nairobi, we are very many and it’s big enough for one to disappear in the crowds and buildings. You can easily get away with some things but that’s not the case in a small town. I thought my friends were celebs because we’d enter a restaurant or walk on the street and random people greeted them by name. If and when that happens in Nairobi we quickly profile you as a con up to no good.

Small towns are cheaper to live in and that’s a huge attraction for many.  But it’s easy to get everyone in your business because most people know most people. Their circles also seem tighter compared to the big city. There seems to be an unseen vetting going on before you are invited into people’s lives. So it might get lonely for a newcomer as it may take longer to socialize. In Nairobi, the options are numerous because of course the people are many more.

I guess there are pros and cons to both big-city life and small-town living. Having said that I’d still like to have a regular dose of small-town life. It’s the simplicity for me. Most of the folks I know who’ve left Nairobi are my agemates. And these are people like me who never imagined leaving the city lights. It must be an age thing. We are seeking inner calm and simplicity that’s hard to find in Nairobi. I have a pal who moved to Kilifi who makes me jealous every time he posts photos of the sunrise and sunset by the sea. That minimalist lifestyle is attractive. Nature seems to be the cure for many issues as we age. Perhaps that’s why we seek it and end up in smaller towns where its more natural

That said I still wonder if I’d get bored of living in a small town. For now, I won’t overthink it. I’ll just follow this love affair and see where it leads. If one can find a way of earning an income from a small town then a major part of the equation is sorted.

From a halftime perspective, I think many people move to smaller towns to regain control of their lives. Having crazy careers in a crazy big city has its place. It’s attractive when we are younger but as we age we want to slow down and go deeper and not faster. I have a coaching client who is a CEO. She desires to be fired so that she can go give more attention to her onions and avocados on the farm. I once opined that she’s attracted to the soil and maybe we should explore what that symbolizes for her. Is she seeking to grow again, grow differently, or plant herself anew?

Folks if you are in a place where a small town has been pulling you then maybe my little insights will help. I’m sure there’s still much more I don’t know about the reality of such a relocation. All I know is that as I drove back home early on Sunday morning, I hadn’t had enough of Nanyuki. The only thing I was missing more was my clan.

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5 thoughts on “Small Town Jewels.”

  1. Mike Eldon says:

    No pull for me away from the buzz of Nairobi, and no slowing down

  2. “Is she seeking to grow again, grow differently, or plant herself anew?

    Folks if you are in a place where a small town has been pulling you then maybe my little insights will help. ” Wow, beautiful writing there.

  3. David says:

    Thank you Lucas for the reflection. There’s life in a small town. A good one indeed. Have been in one for the last 12 years and I have no desire at all of going back to the city life. A place to discover, rediscover oneself and see things with a fresh perspective.There are truly are jewels here….

  4. Miriam Tharao says:

    Great writing isn’t read. It’s felt!
    Deep reflections….
    My small town of Kirenga is calling me….😉

  5. I found it peaceful in my small county which positions between two less stressful towns -kisumu and Kakamega . Spoiled for choice in between the two in Vihiga, with fresh set up serene of Village life.Easy….
    Big cities are equal to engrossed in a busy office as a living, competing with young generations for propositions and recognition, while small town is compared to, your life achieved enough and settle your aggressiveness,and content with your achievement and now enjoying peacefully with less pressure. Always looking forward to it .

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