How I Fell In Love With Kenya...

... And Turned My Passion Into This Site

 

Arjen Koopman,
webmaster

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My name is Arjen Koopman and I’m a journalist based in Amsterdam (Netherlands). I started this website about Kenya in April 2007. I love having this site, being of service to people around the world with something I love.

I’ve always loved travel. I love arriving in places I don’t know, seeing new things and meeting new people. It’s filling in another part of a world map that was blank to me up to that moment.

And besides the plain fun, traveling also has tremendous other benefits. I’ve learned so much by stepping outside my own cultural surroundings, and traveling helps to create bonds between people across continents. It always strikes me how much people have in common, despite their obvious differences. There really exists something that’s universally human.

My First Kenya Trip

I first went to Kenya after some German friends asked me to join them on a planned trip. It would be my first trip to Africa, but I said ‘yes’ immediately as I was always intrigued by that dark and wild continent. I didn’t know what to expect – people told me you either love or hate Africa, there’s no in between…

As for me… I remember my first night there, it was late at night and my friends and me were eating wildlife and drinking Tusker beer in the garden of a great restaurant on the outskirts of Nairobi. We were sitting around little open fires under a dark sky filled with bright stars, and I loved every minute of it. I remember texting my girlfriend at home, who would join us in a few days: “I love Africa!”

During the next weeks, we did what all first-time visitors do - travel through the country, visit wildlife parks, spent days in Nairobi and Mombasa, and stayed at a beach house. And while it was all great to do, Kenya had a kind of magic for me that went much further than just some nice tourist destinations.

I don’t know exactly what touched me – was it the rawness of life, the good-natured practical wisdom of Kenyans, or the fact that Africa showed me that you can live life in a totally different way as well? I don’t know but I do know now what people mean when they talk about getting the Africa fever. I’m not blind to all the downsides of the continent – in fact I could lecture for hours on it – but still, once I end up on the couch with a map of the African continent, and look at all those unknown countries and towns I still want to visit,

Back Home In The Cold…

When I returned home in cold and rainy Amsterdam - it was January, very hot in Kenya and ice cold back home - I felt outright miserable for having to leave Africa so soon. At that moment I just wanted to return as soon as I could, but work and family responsibilities put rather strict limits to that.

So… creating this site enabled me still do something why my longing for Kenya – to keep a connection and share my passion and knowledge. Looking to the ever growing site traffic (now over 35,000 unique visitors a month) and the thank-you emails I get, many people find it helpful.

My Vision: A Real Community

My goal is to turn this site into a real online community: a place where people come to exchange information, give their best travel tips, etc.

You can help to turn this into reality. Help others to find this site by linking to it. Every link helps! Give a travel tip, show us your best pictures of Kenya or help somebody who posted a question right here.

A big thank you for visiting this site, and I hope I’ll see you back here soon!

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