I do not consider myself a hoarder. Though my version of it could be keeping used envelopes and shopping bags. It’s strange but I struggle to throw them away.  I try to achieve as lean a wardrobe as Manu Chandaria, one of the wealthiest people in this neck of the woods. I heard that he has just a few suits and pairs of shoes. While I don’t know how true that is I somehow believed it. Maybe it’s his philanthropic nature that led me to be frugal in his wardrobe. Could it be that many of us aren’t wealthy (or financially healthier), because we spend money we don’t have, to buy things we don’t need to impress people we don’t like? A penny for your thoughts folks.

That slim wardrobe story of Manu motivated me to give out an item once I bought a new one. When I buy a new shoe I give out a pair or two. The same applies to my other clothes. I like the feeling that comes with giving out stuff, and not just worn out stuff but good (and even new) stuff. I’m trying to inculcate that giving attitude to my baby sharks. It’s a steep uphill task but a necessary mindset for life. Even the Good book says that it is better to give than to receive. And as a parent, I have to lead by example. Children do what they see not what we say. May we succeed in bringing up a generation that will love their neighbor as they love themselves.

My clan and I took a small Easter break to Soysambu Ranch in Nakuru county. As usual, I was excited because it is a photographer’s paradise. Lake Elementaita has some interesting facts. It is about thirty square kilometers and very shallow. During this dry season, I was told it could be just over a meter deep. Means I could walk across the whole lake and prank my baby sharks that I’m walking on water like the biblical Peter hehe. It also has no outlet and just one inlet. Due to evaporation and the delayed rains the water level keeps declining, unlike the neighboring lakes that are fed by several inlets. Lake Elmentaita is also a UNESCO heritage site. No human activity is allowed here. We were lucky to find many flamingoes and pelicans in the lake. Did you know that there are lesser and greater flamingoes? Now you know. The lesser are smaller in size and the greater are larger. Wow, how intelligent was that description?  hehe…

Eric, our guide on the lake told us that they have migrated from Lakes Nakuru and Naivasha mainly due to pollution and a lot of human activity. That has reduced their food (fish and algae) so they took off to a place that will meet their needs. Two lessons I took from this over and above that Kenya is the most beautiful country on earth. It really is guys. Tembea and see for yourselves.

The first lesson is that seasons and life wait for no one. The flamingoes did not stage a protest on the streets (lakes) of Naivasha seeking to stop the pollution of their habitat and overfishing. They just flew off to a more suitable lake where they would find peace, food and breed. Many a time we are stuck in one place well past our move by date. Lake Nakuru and Naivasha must have been smelling due to the unfortunate human activities and the flamingoes and pelicans had to fly off or perish. Folks when a season is over, we (and even others) can smell the stench, real or imagined. Our survival depends on when we move on to a new phase and sometimes even location.

Just as the birds are equipped with wings to fly, we too have our minds and inner awareness that can lift us to new places and seasons. We are mostly held back by fear but that too we have to overcome. I hope that we, folks at 40 have achieved a good mix of fear ( read being conservative) and curiosity for life. Philosopher Martha Nussbaum put it well when she said, “to be a good human being is to have a kind of openness to the world, an ability to trust uncertain things beyond your own control.”

Those birds didn’t fly to Elemetainta assured of a conducive environment. Something in their nature just led them there. Success does leave clues. Life might just be less harsh if we welcomed a little uncertainty and grew our curiosity. The lake over the hill may just be where our future lies. Fly away folks.

The other learning from this pink migration was that they just upped and went. Once they knew time was up at Lake Nakuru they didn’t second guess themselves. Neither did they pack some rotten smelly fish in case they miss food huko mbele. They just flew off. Well, this is how the animal kingdom operates and I agree we can’t live a flamingo’s life but we can learn from it. Because times and seasons wait for no one, we have to keep up if we are to thrive. I left Elementaita wondering if the paper bags I’m hoarding are carrying unnecessary baggage that I need to let go of.

Similar advice I got from a mzee pal during a photo editing session. He told me that after every photo safari I should go through my images and reduce them by fifty per cent or more. That’s difficult as I struggle to choose one image over another. It got worse when he said that once I reduced to the few good ones I should delete the rest that missed the shortlist. That’s is photographic suicide right there, I felt. I’m still at the stage of backing up everything thrice because I’m too attached to my images. But just like the flamingoes, I have to abandon many of them by pressing the delete button. The end result will be a collection of high-quality images that will be sought after by many.

Folks when you get the same message twice from totally unrelated sources, then kindly pause and take note. We get more by leaving a lot.


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3 thoughts on “Travel Light.”

  1. Mike Eldon says:

    Like you, I find it so difficult to edit my photos – much easier to edit my words.

  2. Geff Waweru says:

    Thank you for this piece, it’s an apt reminder! I have come to recognise the importance of not only knowing but acknowledging the end of different seasons in my life.

  3. David Kimani says:

    Thank you Lucas for the wisdom. Difficult to practise, but very essential for a fulfilling life.

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