White Masai – One woman’s journey across East Africa
How did I become Nashipai – White Masai? I once read a book whose first chapter was headed “A Confluence of Paths – Two roads diverged in the middle of my life, I heard a wise man say, I took the road less travelled by, And that’s made the difference every night and every day”. That is also my story, my social media message reads “It is Life that writes the best stories” and here is where it begins…
I am the youngest of five siblings, my mother divorced my biological father when I was six and I was blessed with the gift of my step dad who has always been and will always be my dad. My parents were good hard working Christian people and our lives were hand to mouth. Even as a child I saw their struggle and it made me want to make them proud and work hard. It was a happy childhood and thanks to the dedicated tutoring, love and patience of my dad I excelled at school, college and university. Rather painfully my dad died of cancer when I was 18 and he never got see me graduate university. I lost my mother tragically when I was 29 but she saw the woman I became, she was at my graduation from University and my graduation when I qualified as a Chartered Certified Accountant. She saw the sacrifices I made and even though she could not help me financially she encouraged me to be a strong, independent woman with no fears. It was thanks to the very small inheritance that I received from my mum I started my successful accountancy practice just after she died. My practice is dedicated to the sacrifices, love, support and belief my parents had in me and I carry them in my heart wherever I travel to in the world. They are the reason I travel confidently alone with no fear, they taught me to feel the fear and do it anyway, never see obstacles just challenges I can overcome. I am blessed to have had them in life.
That was one chapter of my so far very interesting life. The other chapter is that of a love of another man who believed in me, heart and soul. Another man who I will always give thanks for his love, dedication, belief and support, my ex-husband. So many people divorce and become disconnected but I celebrate and give thanks for that love and happy time of my life, I dedicate my new found freedom to that wonderful man. I met my soul mate and love of my life when I was very young. It was heady love at first sight and we enjoyed nineteen mainly happy years together. We grew together and shared a deep passion for travel and wildlife. We were inseparable like honeymooners, I was happy and we travelled the world together on so many adventures. Sadly a tragic event changed my husband and I lost the love of my life. That was in 2015 and it was a hard time for me, walking away was painful. I lost my true north, my anchor, my other half. What would I do? I drew strength and decided that I had a choice and I decided that this was an opportunity to grow as a women, to discover what I wanted. I did not know how I could do it without my best friend, fellow adventurer and travel companion but I knew that this was meant to be. I have always been strong and independent and a real outgoing free spirit so this was my opportunity to spread my wings and see where life would take me. So I was at “A Confluence of Paths” I decided to take the road less travelled and carry on exploring this amazing world by myself. I would feel the fear and do it anyway. I have always been outgoing, confident and sociable and believed in that phrase, strangers are just friends you have not met yet.
My first safari alone was to Botswana just four months after my separation. I had tested the waters first by travelling to Berlin and Brussels alone and it felt so empowering, liberating and I made so many new friends. This trip to Botswana was different, this was a safari, something I had only ever done with my husband and I had never travelled that far by myself before. I had always wanted to go to Botswana and so I decided to go for my birthday rather than staying within my comfort zone and being with friends and family. I bought a t-shirt for my trip that said “All women are born equal but the best are born Leo”, I have always felt an affinity with Lions, the sign of my zodiac. I donned the t-shirt and set off on my 22 hour exhausting journey with several flight changes. Part way through I wanted to go home but I carried on. Botswana was the start of my passion for undertaking safaris alone. I met some incredible, interesting people on this safari, everyone was just so friendly and wanted to know my story. I found peace here and realised that to be truly happy we need to find ourselves, to find out what makes us really happy. I was such a smug married I lost sight of who I was, I did not grow as a person, and I was only ever the half of a whole. I have no regrets about marrying young because professionally I was able to develop due to the love and support of my partner but personally I was stunted. I have grown so much as woman in these last few years.
The next safari I went on was to Brazil to see the Jaguars whilst travelling down the Pantanal River. It was another long tiring journey with several flight changes. What was even harder was the fact I had booked this trip for my husband and me but I decided to go anyway. I went through so many emotions on this trip but again it was empowering and liberating. Brazil is a stunning country and we had 13 amazing Jaguar sittings including one jumping into the river and catching a crocodile and dragging it up the river and eating it. It was such an adrenalin rush watching this unfold from a few feet away in a small canoe. I made friends with several of the guides and other adventurers and it was a memorable trip.
I found my passion for travelling alone after this, I travelled around Europe having incredible adventures, meeting new people and saying yes to life. Then one year to the day after my separation I went back to Kenya to the very camp that my husband I last visited just a week before we separated. Kenya had already become my spiritual home and great love after years of visiting and studying the prides but I knew coming back alone would really test my new found independence. The moment my guide Jonathan greeted me at the airstrip I felt at peace. Jonathan enquired after my husband and I explained we were getting divorced and he in his perfect honest Kenyan style said that was good as I was such a happy friendly woman it never made sense why I was with such an unsociable man. It did make me laugh and I spent 13 hours a day in my safari vehicle with my guide and driver having an incredible safari. We laughed, exchanged stories and my free spirit soared. It was from herein I became Nashipai White Masai, confident, independent, woman adventurer. It was here I started to write my safari blog of my incredible experiences. I felt the desire to share initially with just my friends my passion for East Africa, the culture, the people, the wide open plains and the wildlife. I then decided I needed to share my passion with the rest of the world. I wanted everyone to see through my eyes the beauty, passion, wildness and contrasts of this amazing country. I then wanted everyone to be able to see, smell, feel and touch everything I experience. I hope through reading my blog people travel to East Africa and experience even a fraction of what I have. I want to fuel people with passion and desire to have amazing adventures and say yes to life. Most of all I would like through my story to show people how life is not just made up of one chapter, we can be more than we think we can be.
This is my story, my journey into the wild, my experiences, my passions, my Africa …