It is almost impossible not to notice Muthoni Maingi’s presence on social media. What drew me to her most was her unrelenting love for adventure, travel and most recently creation of travel content. She does it so effortlessly and has lots of travel tips to share from her wealth of experience as a globe trotter. Here is a small interview I did of her and granted, I will be catching up with her every so often to feed my wanderlust and for more travel inspo!
Who is Muthoni Maingi?
I am a digital technology strategist by profession. I have worked in FMCG, media, education, telecommunications and now non-profit in this space.I love what I do but in my down-time I spend a lot of time outdoors either working out or climbing and hiking away. If I am lucky to be in a seaside spot that is warm I also scuba dive.
Are you always traveling?
I do travel a lot, that is because that is something I sometimes need to do for work. But in general, I have always traveled a lot. It is just that I now have a blog so the content is a lot more visible than it used to be.
Typically my whole adult employed life has been 2 weekends each month traveling. I started with Kenya (been everywhere from Mandera to Lamu to Mt Kenya Region, Nyanza and the Rift Valley other than Turkana) and then East Africa, then Africa and now the world. I basically save a lot for this and plan way ahead with a lot of detail on where I want to be and what I want to do when I get there so that I can financially and time-wise manage it. I also travel solo, which means I don’t have to wait for people to be involved to go.
What did you study in school?
What was the last book you read and when was that?
This week I read ‘You are a badass, how to stop doubting yourself and start living an awesome life’ by Jen Sincere
How many countries have you been to? If you spent a two hour layover in a foreign country, would you check it off your bucket list and list it as countries visited?
I have been to 20 countries, some of them I have gone to several times because there is always more to see there-such as Tanzania-I don’t count layovers as destinations.
Who is your dream travel companion?
How do you finance your travels?
Savings and side gigs!
Top three most overrated travel destinations in your opinion?
Hotel rooms, tourist traps (like the horrible site seeing ones that are swarmed with hawkers and too many people) and can I say resort hotels again? I hate resort hotels.
Would you market Kenya as a tourist destination?
Kenya is the most beautiful destination, honestly. There is everything-mountains, beach, safari, deserts. We just need to do a lot better on infrastructure and professional standards on service delivery.
What motivates you to be a better version of yourself?
Myself. Who else can motivate you better than the person you spend the most time with, which is you?
Has travel impacted your life in anyway?
Yes! I have had to learn to trust myself and my instincts a lot more. I also learn a lot about my personality when I go solo, because it forces me to deeply engage with a place and space. Either through deep research on what to do or through talking to people and forming relationships with new folks. Sometimes these end up being long term friendships and sometimes it is just a fleeting but well-worth it connection. I once went to Kakamega solo and wanted to go to the rainforest for the day. I went with the watchman at my hotel on his time off because I was scared of the snakes I had heard about and he said he had never been there and was not afraid of snakes so I paid for him to take me and he got to go experience something he always wanted to and I got a tour guide and security on the cheap! Do we talk still? Nope. It was over 8 years ago, but one of my absolute favorite travel memories!
Five travel tips any traveler must know by now?
Be open, to experiences, to things going wrong, to things going absolutely right and having your mind blown! An openness to exploring and being surprised is the best approach. Also, save a lot more than you think you need on a trip, do not underestimate the need for travel health insurance and sunscreen! Even in cold destinations, sunscreen is your friend!Tweet: Also, save a lot more than you think you need on a trip, do not underestimate the need for travel health insurance and sunscreen! Even in cold destinations, sunscreen is your friend!
What are some of your fears when traveling?
Gender based violence, rape or sexual assault is my biggest fear as a woman solo traveller. That and falling sick.
When was your first solo trip and where?
A day in Machakos when I was about 21, took a bus in and out. Spent a day wandering around that cute little town and ate Samosas from T-Tot.
Who are some of the people you look up to in life?
Tracee Ellis Ross is a mood! I also love how Lupita enjoys her life in the limelight.
Most scary travel experience?
I got a bacterial infection in Malaysia, it hurt my spine so bad I could not walk and I had the worst migraine of my life too. I honestly didn’t think I could make it to hospital, it was the worst!
Best travel experience?
Walking at night behind camels carrying mattresses that I would sleep on next to a volcano, under the open sky in Ethiopia’s Danakil Depression as Afar folks guarded us all for the night.
Luxury or budget travel?
Best African Country? Why?
Hahaha! Pass! I love them all!
How do you document your travels?
I use my phone, selfie stick, bluetooth button and tripod.
Have you been treated differently before because of your race/colour and gender?
Yes, what is life without a few racists and sexists? Haha!
Worst country you have been to and why?
I honestly don’t have this.
Things that don’t miss in your travel bags?
Sunscreen, phone charger, passport, creditcards, health insurance card/s
If you were to make travel videos, which Kenyan artist(s) music would you use?
Dela-her first album. I absolutely love it! https://g.co/kgs/9LsvTm
Is travel expensive?
Yes and no, it is all about planning and traveling within your means to locations that you can afford!
If you have no been keeping up with Muthoni Maingi(Nonie MG) on social media then you don.t know what you have been missing out on!
Here are her social media links.