Three weeks ago I sat down with my lovely boss and told her I was leaving the FT. It was fairly unpleasant. She was completely supportive, and wonderful, and told me that we have to grab these opportunities at every chance, and said everything you could ever have wished your boss would say when you tell her you’re quitting your executive role at a well-respected organisation and moving to the other side of the world. Then she told my team, who were also all hugely supportive and thrilled for me. It was fairly unpleasant because, however exciting an opportunity like this is, there’s the reality of leaving people you care about, and who care about you, behind.
I’ve read a lot of blog posts in the last couple of years about people who feel ‘trapped’ by the corporate world. About how organisations have sucked out their most of their soul until one day they stormed into the CEO’s office, hair sticking out at odd angles from the constant pulling, and yelled ‘I QUIT!’ with some vigor.
It’s not like that for me. I have loved living in London, I am hugely grateful for the opportunities I’ve had at my job, and for the fascinating individuals I’ve met. Being surrounded by journalists actually reminded me how important writing is to me, and inspired me to set up this blog and start pitching to publications. I think there’s a lot to learn from working for different organisations: they teach you what you do and don’t want, and I wouldn’t change any of my career choices to date.
Generally speaking, I just strongly believe in taking the good bits out of every situation and not having regrets. There are many things we can’t change in life, but even more things that we can. It’s all about the subtle art of learning when to give a fuck.
Travel and writing are things I very much give a fuck about. So, despite all the wonderful things I’m leaving behind, I’m moving to Nairobi to go full-time freelance. And I am unbelievably excited about it! I’ll be writing about things I’m hugely passionate about like travel, conservation, wildlife and the environment, and also doing some interesting communications work with organisations like Singing Wells – who share, record and archive tribal music in East Africa.
Why Nairobi? There are lots of reasons. One fucking fantastic one is that the love of my life just moved out there, and I want to be with him. We’ve spent most of our relationship long distance between London, Jo’Burg, Lagos, Dublin, Edinburgh and now we’d rather like to live together. Another is that Nairobi is an exciting hub of social enterprises and has a big entrepreneurial scene so we figure there’ll be some very interesting opportunities. Owen is working for one such cool organisation called Sanergy, which provides sustainable sanitation to slums.
From a personal perspective, we’ll be able to spend our weekends exploring East Africa, climbing volcanoes, seeing mountain gorillas and other such outrageously awesome activities I can’t even begin.
I’ll be continuing the blog, which I plan to fill with new adventures and information on what it’s like to live in Nairobi. I hope you’ll join me for the ride.