Don’t we all love to dream of flying away to a tropical island, or a cosmopolitan city in a faraway place? Travel is something in which I take great pleasure. Packing? Not so much.
Now for a confession. Several years ago, we wanted to do a safari holiday. My research showed that the Masai Mara was a great destination to catch site of the big five – elephant, rhino, lion, buffalo and leopard. What my husband didn’t know was that I didn’t want to look at any other, possibly equally qualifying, destinations. Why, you may I ask? Well, I am an author.
In addition to sharing a holiday of a lifetime with my husband and our son, I also wanted to do some research for my book, The Secret At Arnford Hall. I needed a location with a dangerous place, to send the protagonist to, a certain Gabriel Black, as he searched for a man who didn’t want to be found. I wanted to tie it in with a destination the young Gabriel would have travelled to with his parents and siblings. In addition to that I needed somewhere with seedy places off the beaten track, together with exotic destinations that would pull a person back. Kenya seemed to fit all my needs.
Two days in Nairobi gave me an insight into the “downtown” areas, populated with rundown buildings, and ramshackle shops and warehouses. Then you could turn a corner and see palatial hotels with hidden tropical gardens and areas to drink delicious coffee away from the bustle and fumes of the streets. This gave me the location for a car mechanic who fixed Toyotas. I remember everywhere I looked there would be a beat up Toyota on the road somewhere. Kenya seemed the perfect setting for the hapless mechanic to seek escape from gambling debts, get caught up in kidnapping by a violent gang boss, and feel the pull on his heart strings, leaving him wanting to return as a pilot to fly shuttle planes over the Masai Mari. We even took one of these flights ourselves to end our holiday on the beach at Mombasa.
So enough about the research, and more about our wonderful holiday. In Nairobi we visited an elephant sanctuary and a giraffe centre.