Life Map

Thursday, January 27, 2022 maps learning maps

Ever wondered why we opt to ask a stranger for directions when stranded and in unfortunate circumstances end up more lost than ‘found’? and if lucky to ask that security person in uniform only to find out that he too is new to the environs just like you?

And all this time if there was a map you could just map your way out of anxiety to your destination. But yes! We have google map on our smart phones and all you need to do is swipe!

From our education if we had a map with us we can almost get anywhere with ease if the information therein is up to date.

Just this week I had a meeting at the eastern bypass via Thika super highway, I was so keen to follow the many signs so as to know when to exit to the service lane. Then on alighting my acquaintance was late so I had to wait at the place advised. I asked three strangers; a fruits vendor, a tout and a local for directions since my smartphone failed me; internet connection was poor! And for once I was thinking if I had a map in my bag….

We have never used maps to the extents that we can, we employ them mostly for work related issues but rarely do we appreciate them further. In the Western countries a map is part and parcel of ones travel, to us it feels like only tourists need maps, wait a minute, do we even make maps for daily use? I imagine how frequently updating would be required for the maps to be useful. Can we grow a culture of using maps especially with the levels of insecurity and misinformation out there?

I love maps, always have and was excited to train as a Cartographer! I finally was so close to maps by becoming a map maker. A map will show where you are, then you can point to where you wish to go (destination), and the story lies in between the two points. The story that I will use all through to relate to life…

So, you have identified where you are on the map (starting point) and also where you wish to go (or be) which is your destination. With a detailed map you are able to plan on several issues; mode of transport, what to wear and even when to travel.

See, a map relates information of places and you will be amazed how much information one can learn in one map, you also travel mentally before the safari begins! So the map will help you address several questions pre – trip:

Where am I?

Where do I want to go?

How am I going to get there? What guides the mode of travel that I choose?

For how long will I be on my trip?

What is the purpose of my trip?

Do I need a team?

Am I the one in charge of that trip?

And so much more….

Same applies to our daily lives, every morning you need to plan your day and answer several questions. At times the plans for the following day are initiated the night before, same to packing days prior to starting your trip.



Where am I?

That moment you are struggling to define your current situation. You are having a hard time concentrating in class or work. You are tired and you just woke up. You are lonely, anxious, overwhelmed, and for some, thankfully you feel alive and having the best day of your life. Another may be battling an addiction, mental health issue and so much more.

Identify where you are in the moment so as to know how to deal with the situation and that brings us to where do I want to go?



Where do I want to go?

So I now have pointed on my map where am at. After assessing myself am sure or have an idea of where I wish to head. Is it to have another great and fulfilling day at my job or school? Is it to have a medical checkup, is it to reach out to a friend? Is it to try again at what I failed yesterday?

Most important is I now have my destination point, which I will also mark out on my map!



How am I going to get there? What guides the mode of travel that I choose?

This is where most of the story lies. As we said a map is almost always rich in information of all the places appearing in it. You will observe the following and much more:

  • There are several routes to get to your destination – for every situation there are possible means to bring a solution to the current issue at hand. I may be struggling mentally and talking to a friend will help or I may have to talk to a professional. I may be having a hard time with my school work, I can get help from my friend, get a tutor or spend extra time in the library studying and repeating the same for long hours till I feel I am making progress. No situation has a one time fix or a one way to go about it.
  • On each available means, there still are options on what to use – if I choose to travel by road, I have many options that include bus, private vehicle, our most common matatus, uber, taxi, motorcycle and we can keep adding to the list. You settle for a mean to use, could be one for entire journey or you may switch along the way.
    I use a motorcycle to get me to the place where I am now able to access matatus. Other times I will drive from my house all the way to my destination. And when in need of reflecting I may choose to walk the motorcycle distance then get to the matatus. 
    Whatever situation that you are in there is so much ways of dealing with it. Some you have options to choose where others may be forced by your current circumstance.
  • The costs are varied depending on travel modes – especially where so many options are available, your financial ability decides what means are possible. Flying is most of the time the most costly way. I relate this mostly to how we choose to live, it is always wise to live within your means, don’t compete or compare your life with that of your friends or family. You are not headed to the same destination and even if so use the means that you can comfortably afford. You will still get there!
  • One plans appropriate wardrobe – your smart map will tell you the weather forecast of your area of travel. You will then select the right clothes and footwear to make your journey comfortable. You will pack the right items for your trip. Whatever life situation you are in you will equip yourself with the right resources to see it through.
  • Possible to predict duration of travel – when one uses a google map after entering your location and intended destination, you then get directions and several modes of transport are shown, on each one will have an approximate time indicated and this is where you decide, by what you can comfortably afford, the mode to use. Do I cycle? Self drive? Take a bus? What life issue am I dealing with? What options are there for me and which of those options can I afford? You do not have an option of not making up your mind as life does not halt for you to do so. You may be having a very dark moment but fortunately, it will not last forever!

For how long will I be on my trip?

A while back I had a long trip where a flight was not an option but a must. That was my most stressful trip yet. For the destination was foreign in so many way including the language, culture and so much more. Fortunately for me, I was sure of the duration of my stay but still had a tough time packing for the same and getting necessary documentation, permissions and passes.

Also being a parent I had to plan my household for the time that I would be away, I had to call a couple of close friends who were to be the first response to any hiccup in my home while I was away.

Took a matatu to the city, my flight being at midnight I spent some hours at a friend’s home, then took a taxi to the airport. Being my first time flying I will honestly say it wasn’t a pleasant experience and I was nervous most of the time. The first flight was ten hours long, had a layover of ten hours (a terrible duration for a first time flier) and another flight of I guess five hours.

I had no option but to wait until the time to proceed, which also happens in life, at times the only option at a particular time can be uncomfortable, may feel lengthy but it too passes eventually. You work through minute by minute, hour by hour until you get out of the situation at hand.

After landing on second flight, I had to take the train to my new home for the next few days.

What is the purpose of my trip?

On this particular trip, I was participating at a conference. If it was during the pandemic, I may have presented my work online in the comfort of my home. Then I had to go all the way. The purpose had also influenced what I had packed for my wardrobe.

Why am I taking this course? Why am I getting that job? Why am I relating with this person? Why why why? Do I have an answer to the current whys in my life? Moreover, if I have the answer, is my current cause of action the best one?

Do I need a team?

As I write enjoying my quite night outside with the beautiful view of a blanket of stars, I recall that not one of my initiatives or ideas have come to fruition from my efforts only. I always work alongside other persons who share my values and visions. As you plan your journey carefully pick the right team members that you believe will help you accomplish your plan or adventure!

Still relating maps to the life maps, as you make a map for a specific purpose you get to learn more about a subject that was not the purpose of that map. Surprisingly this new information answers questions that had not been asked! And empowers you in one way or the other!

Just like the terrain and other factors may not be pleasant in a physical journey, so it is in our lives and we must keep finding ways to make it to our desired destinations!

The image is a pullout map from Mappy Maria book






Otieno Paul Peter(...)
Thursday, January 27, 2022
Beautiful! It means our lives are full of maps whether we use/disuse/abuse them or not and we always need to know our point of origin, destination, itinerary, etc. It's not easy, but with discipline, it's possible to be that organized and thus get the desired results. As Margaret Ogolla said, a good thing worth every single struggle.
J. William OToole
Friday, January 28, 2022
I use maps all day long for my work, but I never thought of visualizing my life cartographically until today. Thank you!
Hilda Koech
Friday, January 28, 2022
This is amazing.its always a pleasure learning from you Catherine.
Catherine M. Njore

Is There Any Hope for Our Country?

 All reasonable Kenyans agree that Kenya is headed in the wrong direction and that this has been orchestrated by years of selfish and glutton leadership. Kenyans are strong people and very resilient. All that we need is an enabling environment where we can prosper. We don’t need a public office. We don’t need handouts. But an environment where we can run our businesses without hindrances; an environment devoid of unwarranted state bottlenecks and unjustified tax laws pushing the cost of living beyond the reach of over 90% of Kenyans. JM Kariuki had said decades ago that Kenya has become a nation of 10 millionaires and 10 million beggars. It is truer today! We now have 50 millionaires and billionaires and 50 million beggars.

It is not that Kenya lacks resources. No! Kenya has whatever it takes to be a first world country in 10 years. All that we lack is leadership. Selfless leadership. Genuine leadership that can make real and meaningful change; seal the loopholes that make us lose 2 billion shillings a day and lower taxes. Leadership that will invest in security and make entrepreneurship thrive. Leadership that will empower youth to be self reliant and achieve their dreams as opposed to beggars waiting for handouts. Leadership that will make every single well meaning Kenyan to afford good food, access clean water and proper healthcare. Leadership that will make us dream again; dream again like our forefathers dreamed before independence. Leadership to make us reach the stars and be counted among the rich nations who do not need Western AID that comes with strings attached, but a nation that can instead also offer grants to other nations and be able to bargain better at the global assemblies. John C. Maxwell says, “Everything rises and falls on leadership.”

Einstein said that We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. It is true! We need a fresh leadership. It is as obvious as day and night. That is why we need men like Reuben Kagame whose lack of physical sight has given birth to deeper insight and inspiration to make a difference. Helen Keller once said, “The greatest tragedy to befall a person is to have sight but lack of vision.” As Reuben Kagame says, because he cannot see anyone, everyone is the same. If you’re involved in corruption, no personal feelings. You just face the full force of the law. RK is not looking for wealth. He has not stolen anyone’s anything and thus does not look for state machinery to protect any ill-acquired wealth. He is, probably, our only hope for now. Let’s introspect. Let’s pray about it, evaluate our needs and we shall see that GOD has finally offered us an option. Proverbs 29:2: “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.”  Lipotumaini! #Lipotumaini!