The Kenyan Nomad

The Kenyan Nomad

Monday, August 31, 2015

10 Great Ways to Adjust to a New City


Most of us, at some point or another, have moved cities in the past. However, most of us are also witness to the fact that adjusting to these moves gets much harder after graduation! If you've just moved to a new city (or an old city you haven't lived in for a while), or are planning to, I hope these tips are useful to you:

1) Before you move, network!
Get in touch with family, friends, friends of friends, fellow alumni, old neighbours, and whoever you may be able to. If these people live in the city you're moving to, they could become great friends (if they aren't already). If they lived there in the past, but have now moved away, don't be afraid to ask for tips! Knowing about where to shop, the best neighbourhoods to live in, fun things to do, etc, before you move to the city, can save you valuable time settling in!

2) Get help with your move! 
I speak from personal experience when I say that taking along a friend or family member to help with the move and initial settling down can be very helpful. It's even better if this person can stay a few extra days and explore your new home with you!


3) Make sure to stay in touch with family and friends from home. 
Moving to a new place doesn't mean losing touch with those who're far away, and staying in touch with these people means that they're still an important part of your life! Again, I speak from personal experience; sometimes, distance works wonders in making these relationships even closer.

4) If you've already found a job in your new city, ask your co-workers for tips . 
Maybe they know about the amazing restaurant down the street that has half off on Wednesdays that you happened to miss. Or the concert that you should definitely check out. Either way, many of these people have probably been in your situation before, and understand what it's like to move to a new place where you don't know as many people as you'd like. Maintaining good relationships with your coworkers is also a great way to make friends!

5) Look for networks you could join. 
For example, when I was in Iowa, I started attending meetings of the American Marketing Association. I didn't stay long enough to join, but I definitely got to meet some new people, and learn new things! Most big cities have young professional networks, and some that are more specialised that welcome new members.

6) Get to know your neighbours. 
When I was in university, most of my best friends were people I lived close to freshman year. We may not be in dorms anymore, but getting to know the people you live around can be very helpful; not only will you probably make good friends, but you'll know that you can rely on them if you need to (and vice versa)!

7) Sign up for a class you've always wanted to take. 
New city, new start right? If you feel that in your old place, it would have been kind of weird if the straight-laced software engineer wanted to take up creative writing, now's the time to go for it!! You're in a new place, and have a chance to do things that you've always wanted to, but never got to because you were in a comfort zone of sorts.

Car driving on dust road

8) Remember to be open to new experiences and new people. 
I'll say it again; you're in an entirely new place, and it wouldn't be fair to expect it to be like the place you moved from. Be open and ready for experiences you wouldn't have encountered before, and be willing to meet people who may differ from the people you usually socialise with. Go ahead and have some fun with life!

9) Don't be afraid to go out on your own. 
Whether this is a new city where you know a few people, or a new city where you don't know anyone at all, one of the best ways to get settled in is to go out exploring on your own. So go ahead and make reservations for one at that fun Italian restaurant you drove by, or sign up for a nature walk by yourself. One thing though: remember to be careful and do your research! Let's just say that you don't want your adventure alone to take you to any unsavoury neighbourhoods.


10) Push yourself. 
You're going to have to be more active about doing things. As the new person in town, you're going to have to make the effort to go out and meet people, to learn about your city, to get comfortable. Don't wait for things and people to happen to you; go out there and familiarise yourself with your new home!

Do you have any tips for adjusting to a new city? Leave them in the comments below!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Incredible Human Project

A few weeks ago, I got back in touch with a fellow Sewanee alum, Will Harper. I had read an article he posted on LinkedIn, and was impressed by the work he was doing. The things he's writing about are important, and more people need to read them. A few posts ago, I spoke about knowing people who're fortunate to have found work that they're passionate about; Will is definitely one of them. I'll let him do the rest of the introducing, and I hope that you go over to his website to learn more!

Will Harper
Two years ago, I began a research project to understand the psychology and philosophy of human experience and the means and characteristics of its greatest expression. In trying to understand what people want in general, I discovered what I want in particular and now am running straight for it. I have left two jobs, am in the midst of moving for the fourth time and am rapidly draining my bank account as I launch a new business. I couldn't be happier.

I went to college at The University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee. Sewanee did what any great educational experience does: it harnessed my open heart and curiosity and turned them inward on my rather unaware, adolescent mind. It enabled me to see the world from a higher altitude.

After graduating, I moved to Mexico City, where I became a management consultant, working on problem-solving SWAT teams in big multinational corporations in Latin America. The learning curve was steep and the work was fascinating and intense. Living in another country stretched me more than I would have guessed. The constant challenge to learn to do everything in a slightly different way transmutes our many "should bes" into "could bes." Truly seeing that other ways aren't wrong, but merely different is among the most important of life's lessons.

After four years in Mexico, I moved to Chicago to attend the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. While there, I became aware of my own aimlessness. I had plenty of opportunities for post-business school life, but no clear way to evaluate different cities, industries, workloads and levels of prestige. I realized that I didn't know what I wanted. I looked around at my classmates and saw the same lack of direction. We were ambitious achievers, but were focused on our resumes rather than our lives as a whole. 

I formed a five person research team and we spent 6 months studying the psychology of happiness with the goal of helping our classmates understand how to incorporate fulfillment into their approach to life. The research was personally transformative. When we presented to standing room only crowds on two different dates, I realized that I had uncovered work that was deeply fulfilling for me and valuable to those around me in a way that the many spreadsheets I had created in my twenties hadn't seemed to be. 

I have spent the last two years deepening my understanding of how we can live full, rich lives and how, in organizations, we can do so in community. We all want to have an impact and to be happy; we want to do good and feel good. This is fueled by a compelling purpose and our outlook on life. I am excited to be sharing these lessons as widely as possible, through writing, talks, workshops, coaching and consulting. I would be honored to have you as a reader and to hear your stories and reflections on happiness. 

Monday, August 24, 2015

10 Ways to Have an Awesome Monday

Stomping Grounds Cafe, Ames, Iowa

Mondays seem to be the most dreaded of days, at least according to the people I know! But what if we somehow found ways to make Mondays work for us? Imagine being around people who're absolutely excited about their day, who treat their Mondays like they're Fridays. Now imagine being one of those people!

1) Get enough sleep the night before: 
By making sure you get enough sleep, you'll start your Monday morning feeling refreshed. This in turn will mean that you're more energised and productive during the day, and less likely to feel stressed during the day.

2) Start your day off with some exercise: 
You don't necessarily have to run 10 miles before breakfast, but even 10 minutes of mild stretching or yoga will do! Exercise in any form is a great stress reliever; it helps increase the production of endorphins, boosts self-confidence, relaxes you, and enables you to focus on the moment. If you're doing it right, it can be a meditative experience! Plus, the long-term health benefits aren't too bad either. Of course, some more exercise in the evening, if possible, is a great way to wind down the day and leave you feeling good about your Monday!

3) Dress up:
Monday is a great day to take a little extra time to look your best. I'm sure many of us are familiar with that feel-good that comes from knowing we're looking good. Is this a little vain? Maybe, but that doesn't make it wrong!

4) Get in a good breakfast: 
They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and still, it's the meal that most of us tend to skip during the day. It's easy enough to grab a cup of coffee and get out the door, but sitting down for something nutritional in the morning can go a long way! Aside from the health benefits of regularly eating breakfast, your morning meal will start you off with the energy required to tackle your workday.

5) Clean out your clutter at work and identify any pending work on Friday: 
It's a perfectly human tendency to tend to relax toward the end of the week. But if you set aside sometime every Friday to clean up the clutter at your desk and to identify and prioritise pending work, you'll save that time and energy doing so Monday morning; leaving you ready to start your day on a productive, energetic note!

6) Minimise distractions when you're at your most productive: 
You hopefully already know the time of the day when you're most productive. Block this time out on your schedule; avoid scheduling meetings at this time, send your calls to voicemail, and set your phone on silent. Not only will you be able to get a lot done, but at the end of the day you'll feel great about having accomplished so much on a Monday.

7) Take a few short breaks between tasks: 
By scheduling a few short breaks during your day, you'll keep yourself from feeling lethargic and losing concentration on the task at hand. Spend this time walking a little bit if you have a desk job, or read something funny and/or inspirational.

8) Leave your work at work:
This one's pretty important! Learn to compartmentalise, and your future self will thank you for it. When winding up your work day, make sure to leave your work there, and tell yourself you'll deal with the rest tomorrow. If you've had a productive day, you shouldn't have any guilt about this at all since you'll have already done so much! This may be harder to do for some professionals, like entrepreneurs, but trust me on this; finding a good work-life balance will do you wonders, even if you're absolutely in love with your job!

9) Spend some time with your family and friends: 
Even if many of your loved ones live far from you, modern technology means that you can still have quality time together! Time with your loved ones is a great thing to look forward to, and a wonderful pick-me-up (at any time during the week)!

10) Treat yourself: 
You deserve to indulge yourself once in a while; be it by getting a chai from your favourite cafe, buying a good book, or wine and dinner with your best friends. Find something that you can do for yourself at the start of every week, and you'll be looking forward to Mondays in no time!

Happy Monday, dear readers! What are some tips you have to improve Mondays?

Thursday, August 20, 2015

SMA Awareness Month

Louisa, 24.12.11-19.05.12
Many of you may not know that August is SMA Awareness Month. In fact, many of you might not even know what SMA is. I certainly didn't; until I lost a niece to it. Louisa passed away at the tender age of 5 months, and is very much loved and missed by her family.

SMA stands for Spinal Muscular Atrophy, a disease that is the number one genetic cause of death for infants. It robs people of physical strength by affecting the motor nerve cells in the spinal cord and leads to progressive muscle wasting. While it does not affect the minds of those who have this disease, it hinders the ability to do many everyday things; eating, breathing, walking, speaking and swallowing. 1 in 50 Americans are carriers of the defective gene that is responsible for SMA. If two carriers have children, each child has a 1 in 4 chance of being affected.

While there is no treatment or cure available for SMA, this is one of the very important reasons for raising awareness about the disease.

More than the obvious suffering that infants go through because of SMA, it's the families who suffer. How can anyone adequately put into words what it's like to lose a child? And yet, that's a reality that parents of babies with SMA have to deal with on a very regular basis. They know that the time they have with their angels is limited, and they have to live a life cherishing each and every moment in ways that none of us can possibly imagine.

What can we do about SMA, you may ask? There are organisations doing wonderful jobs of raising awareness and funds for SMA research, like and
There are many ways to get involved, from donating, to hosting events, to volunteering at events, and many more. Hopefully, a cure will be found soon!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Come On, We Can Get Up and Go!

You, yes you… you might be wondering how you got up from bed this morning or why would you bother putting on a cheery ringtone to wake up… if that would make any difference!

Here it comes
Monday comes and goes and goes and comes. You have put yourself in the position you want, in other words, getting out of bed and heading to job you are in, it was all you, baby. You should either be proud of that or start making a change, if that is what you are aiming for.
Let’s go over some key reminders on why we are able to do what we do!

Nothing last forever
Whether you have the Winter blues or you are just on the end of your rope, remember nothing lasts forever. Whatever is driving you up the wall, it too shall pass. If you are on the flip side and are generally happy, take some time to remember that too. Why?

Appreciate it all
Yup, this is why. No matter if you are on the rocky side of life or signing constant mash-ups from Glee without a care in the world, appreciate everything you've got. Without entering in religions, just ‘Say a lil prayer’! Be grateful to your friends, family and most of all yourself. You’ll be happy you did since it tends to give out a whole vibe to the day.

It was better before yet it is still getting better and better 
This one is a deep thought phrase. Food for thought, as they say. For example, something I struggle with money. I’ve been fully supporting myself for many years now and as a young adult, it can be something quite challenging. Whether it is due to changing jobs or apartments and even the few cases of moving from city to city, it has been a challenge that I've been having for the past few years already. Now, when things got real tight, I would think to myself about all the times I did have enough. And from that moment, my next reaction was to get mad at myself because I didn't have enough at that moment.

Gradually and slowly, this train of thought turned into reminding myself that I have survived worse times and that it always got better, one way or another. And each time I find myself slipping, or already in negative, I raise up thinking that I have enough to maintain myself and best of all, I do work hard every day to overcome this situation once and for all.

So, it was better at some point, however, each day that you work hard for what you want, it is getting better… gradually and slowly, better each and every day.

C is for You

You are strong(er than you think).
Seriously, you are. Let’s go back into my yearbook again. A few years ago I had to face a few situations that torn me apart and torn me all around. It damaged me so hard hat I snapped. My constant train of thoughts were that I wasn't able to survive, they drove me down to the ground to places that I thought I wasn't ever going to get out off. Constantly crying on the floor, bawling my eyes out for the whole world to hear repeating to myself that this was going to break me.
A year passed and I still wasn't okay, but I was better than I thought. Gradually and slowly, I showed myself that I was stronger, braver, wiser, whatever word you want to put in here, thank I thought. It took me more years to recover, to get back up and still get some off days. Be that as it may, I look around at what I’ve got and see how far I’ve become every day. Making sure I remind myself that I am strong and that my past won’t break me. Making sure that what I have right now is what I want and that it will continue getting better because it is up to me.

Someone help! 
Even though it is always good to be self reassured on how strong you are, it is always okay to ask for help. It takes guts to ask and it comes in different forms. For me, that same situation stated above took various paths for me to get better. It started by calling a friend and sobbing next to them and continued to sitting down with a therapist to go over all the details of many heartbreaking situations. I had made myself keep inside of me what was wrong for so long that the thought of opening up was painful itself. Years later, it has helped more than you can imagine. As for you, no matter what you are going through or went through, take time and courage to ask for help. It will always do you good.

Discover other options 
There were many points in my life where I was just looking at one option without realizing I had plenty to choose from. In other words, we get so set in our ways that we forget what is around us. And what is around us is the fact that there are many options, many choices, many opportunities, many things we can do and consider in order to get a weight off your shoulders. Being guilty of still thinking this way sometimes, I try my best to remember that I’ve got many other paths I can go down and that they are worth a try. After all, any road is a good road as long as you get to where you want to be.

Keep Flyinh high with #GoDoFly

There are always going to be better things in front of us than behind us
Paraphrasing a C.S Lewis quote right here, it is a quote that I hold dear to my heart when nothing or no one else can bring me comfort. Surprising me every time I realize its true, it seems to be a keeper in my book. As far as it goes for me, years later from having to struggle with one of the hardest parts in my life, I’m living in a city that I love, sheltered with friends that love and support me and starting to work in a field that I am passionate about.
I survived, I got help, I figured it out, I worked hard, I believed, I did.
There are always better things along our way. For all of us.
So, come on, get on up and be part of us. It is always going get better.
Feel free to leave your thoughts and comments down below.
The Always Believer

Ariadna Arredondo

The Always Believer

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Dropping Uncertainty

If you Google "uncertainty," the definition you'll get will probably look something like "the state of being uncertain." It might sound weird to define something using that word itself, but it's easy enough to replace "uncertain" with "unsure."

Often, we act to fulfill the responsibilities we have, or think we have, in line with various societal roles we play. Mother, Doctor, Friend, Sister are just some of the ones that come to mind. However, how often do we allow ourselves to find a purpose that allows us to act in line with our true selves, to epitomise authenticity?

According to the Hindu religion, "Swadharma" is the very essence of what you are, and can loosely be translated to "our duty." For example, the swadharma of sugar is sweetness. Take that sweetness away, and is sugar really sugar anymore? Acting in line with your swadharma, with your true nature, leads to peace, joy and happiness. However, acting in a way that isn't true to this leads to uncertainty and unhappiness.

While swadharma could be seen as a religious concept, I believe that it's one of those concepts that holds true, no matter who you are. For example, religions state that we should be good and kind to others, but that's not to say that only religious people are good and kind to others.

When we find the meeting point between our personal passions and inherent aptitudes, we start to act in ways that are more in line with our true natures. We start to do things that make us happy, and not necessarily things that we are expected to do. How often have you met people who are unhappy just at the thought of going to work everyday, and see their work just as a means to an end? These people take little or no pleasure in the process of work itself. On the other hand, some of us may have been blessed enough to encounter those rare individuals who seem to have found work that they are passionate about, that is meaningful to them; a vocation, if you will. What would you do everyday if you were given the chance to do so, without pay or recognition?

I've been fortunate enough to encounter such people, who have been able to live and work in ways that are true to themselves, who find joy in what they do, not just because of the pay cheque they may or may not get at the end of the month. As a matter of fact, I'll be featuring one such individual on the Kenyan Nomad later this month!

How many of you have heard of the concept of flow? Also known as "being in the zone," this is a feeling of being fully immersed in the task at hand, a feeling of energised focus, of full involvement and enjoyment in the process of the activity. Often enough, we find ourselves in this state when we are engaged in activities that are in line with our swadharma, so to speak. Extensively researched by Mihaly Czikszentmihalyi, this is a concept that I first came across a few years ago during my first Psychology class. I won't go much into detail on this concept, for the simple reason that there's a great article written by a fellow Sewanee alum, Will Harper, on his site, that I think you should all read: A Flow Primer.

Take a moment to question yourself, really look deep within, and find out what it is you are meant to be!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Meet Stella Wacheke

A few weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to meet with Stella Wacheke, a young entrepreneur in Kenya. We were meeting for work, but I soon found myself extremely impressed with her ambition, passion, and dedication, and decided that I had to interview her for the Kenyan Nomad!

1) Tell us a little bit about your background.
I was brought up in Nairobi Kenya, the first born among two girls. I'm an accredited Project Manager by profession and current​ly working as a consultant project manager. I hold an MBA in International Business from Kenya Methodist University, a degree in Bachelor of Commerce, Finance Major from Catholic University of Eastern Africa and a Prince2 (foundation and practitioner) and PMP Certification in Project Management.

2) What inspired you to go into your own business?
​The desire to have the freedom to venture into different emerging and ​dynamic opportunities coupled with the drive to own the task at hand and do it to the best of my ability. Stella is a brand and I wanted to keep myself accountable and in the process leave behind a legacy that will have left an impact on generations to come.​

3) If you could only use five words to describe yourself, what would they be?
​Passionate, Reliable, Loving, Kind and Compassionate​.

4) Why do you think it's vital that we empower other women?
In the first place, I am a woman who has gone through the roller coaster of life. Thus, life has already equipped me to guide, encourage and uplift one of my kind through experience so that they too can avoid getting into similar pitfalls that I did. Lastly, I was also empowered and I would like to pass on the baton of hope.. it's only when you give that you receive and attain the climax of your own personal fulfillment.

5) Tell us a little bit more about your cancer trust.
​Haba na Haba Trust is a platform that brings together friends of children with cancer. Our main vision is to salvage a soul by showing them the love of Christ .As you are aware, most people despair and question the love of God during seasons of long suffering. Our acts of love, kindness and care will help to change that perception.​ We extend the love of God through deliberate actions that create special lasting memories of his love for those going through long suffering. It is our unique way of ministering the gospel to the long suffering.

6) Why is it important to know and believe in the value of your personal brand?
​You are your biggest cheerleader and your own best friend. We should never sell ourselves short. Therefore once you realize that every individual has weaknesses and strengths as well as unique gifts, then you have no choice but to value your personal brand because you are unique, special and valuable in your own right.​

7) If you could give advice to yourself 5 years ago, what would it be?
Speak positively and believe in the impossible because if you can dream it you can achieve it through God​'​s help. You are also very unique and capable to contribute to the society in your own way.​Finally, it's okay to be different.. never follow the crowd.​

8) What do you think are the greatest challenges facing young, ambitious women in today's world?
Fear and peer pressure.

9) Any advice to these women?
​Let your ambition come from within, not from without. Only bow to positive ​peer ​pressure and just go for it!! It's never that serious. There is a 50/50 chance of succeeding and failing. Thus, ​take the route of success. When you fall or fail, stand up, crawl or limp but forward you must move.​
​Remember to always do more than you are paid for!! It pays off in the long run.​

10) What are some of your favourite books that you would recommend?
Battlefield of the Mind, Million Dollar Habits, 17 Laws of Success​​, The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari​

11) What are some rituals of success you follow religiously?
Ask God for wisdom daily, give thanks and give to back to God. Help others without expecting anything in return​, family should always come first no matter what and lastly, ​engage in ​positive self talk.​

12) Do you have any favourite quote(s)?
Be the change you want​ to see in the world.

13) Who has been your biggest inspiration to date?
Joyce Meyer​

14) And finally, what's next for Stella?
W​atch this space...​ I'm currently writing a book called 'The Odd One Out'​ ​and looking forward to start​ing my family soon!!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Keep Holding on to That Feeling

Another guest post by Ariadna! 

Hello there world reader!
From what part of the world are you reading this?
Let me know babes! Would love to hear the feedback!

How are you today? How is that positive vibe going?
Try not to run into anything today, either mentally or physically.

Go on and get the best hugs you can today.  (or licks, those work too)

Remember to keep your eye on the prize, you ARE able to do.

Now for all those having parties recently, since the season is about to start… send invites to everyone, you never know who can surprise you.  Be Brave.

Now talking about superhero moves on a day like today:
A superhero is the one that makes other people smile, is the one that has enough patience to teach, is the one that holds your hand when you need it, is the one that makes sure you get home ok, is the one that achieve their own goals, is the one that is proud of the ones they love, is the one with enough strength to know that it´s better to keep going, is the one that celebrates life at any given time, is the one that saves you from danger, is the one that protects you, is the one that pays for the person behind him in the coffee line, is the one that even though they may fall, they still find the courage to get up all because you are there.

Keep believing in those superpowers of yours, either your smile, your patience, your self-love, your determination, your goals or simply your outlook on life, anything that makes you go on forward, anything that helps you get that strength to fly, TAKE IT AND DO IT. It´s worth it!
That kid like fantasy that we had way back then, keep with it, we are all big kids and we have to believe it ourselves that our dreams do come true. Believing is the first step, now, go out and get them. Louder, bigger and stronger.

Keep holding on to that feeling !!

This next one is for creativity. For turning some random object into something else. That is art. That is imagination and knowing that anything is possible.
Do you know that feeling?

Now, for last my dear readers and world creators,

Today, I am throwing even more this positive vibe. We all need a picker upper and with these sayings, with these words or just these funny pictures, I sure hope I put a smile on your face today. You are worth it, live this moment. Let go of the rest. Have fun and you know, everything passes by, it is what you take from it that makes you stronger.

Once more, have fun today! Whatever it is that you are doing, wherever it may be that you are heading to, just keep believing and most of all doing.
Thanks for the read!

For more, be sure to check my Facebook page, my Instagram and my Twitter.
And of course, please write if you have any thoughts, questions and comments. I love feedback!
Spread the word, spread the love,
The Always Believer

Ariadna Arredondo

The Always Believer

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