When Simon Kabu, CEO,
Simon and Sarah met through Google groups back in the day as that was the main form of social communication. Think, the now WhatsApp Groups. Members would talk about anything and everything and one day, they decided to plan a trip to Lukenya. Sarah and Simon, happened to be among those chosen to organize the trip. The trip happened and it was fruitful. They would then end up being the ones tasked to organize more and more trips as they had more time on their hands, due to the nature of their jobs. After a few months of doing that, they both decided to quit their jobs and venture into the travel business and that’s when Bonfire Adventures was born.
It was not an easy journey for the now CEO and Managing Director duo. What I particularly like about the couple is the fact that they have put the “You cannot mix love and business” misconception to rest. See, the two started as strangers, then they became friends and business partners and then one thing led to another and they fell in love.
During a trip to Amboseli, Simon recounts how he carried flowers and wine from Nairobi. They had taken clients to the Observatory Hill at Amboseli. In front of the clients and animals gracefully grazing, he went down on his knee and proposed to Sarah who happily said yes. In 2009, the two got married at a destination wedding in Naivasha, which he tells me was anything but BASIC. The two have been happily married for close to ten years now. They are enjoying the fruits of their labor and make this whole marriage thing look as easy as ABC. We caught up with Simon to find out how he and Sarah have managed to keep their love alive and their secrets to a happy marriage.
Here’s how the interview went down:
Pulse Live: Let’s talk love Mr. Simon. So, you said you got married in 2009. That’s almost ten years of marriage. How have you kept that love alive?
Simon: You know, in marriage, there’s a lot of forgiveness and accepting each other as you are. Most people try to change their partners. The fact that we work together makes it easy for us to complement each other and be friends. If we decide to travel or go have a drink, we go have fun together. Traveling has also really helped us maintain a happy marriage cause when you travel, you get out of the normal environment. When you travel, even if you’re not talking to each other, you’ll start talking, you cannot go to the U.S together na hamuongeleshani. You’ll have to talk either way. In addition, Sarah and I agreed even when we are not in agreement on some issues, that we should never sleep kama tumekosana.
Pulse Live: How many kids do you have?
Simon: Two kids, a boy and a girl. 5 and 1.
Pulse Live: Ahaa quite a young family…I see. What are three things you like about Sarah? Top of mind?
Simon: What can I say…we rhyme! We are passionate about what we do together. I must also say that she’s a great cook and knows how to take care of her family. She’s the MD here and a perfect wife back at home.
Pulse Live: So, the other day you went viral after gifting Sarah with a Range Rover. Have you always been this romantic?
Simon: I wish Sarah was here to answer this *light laugh*. I’m a unique man…I like unique things and dislike doing things the normal way. Even for our wedding, back then, people were not doing destination weddings. My wedding, held in Naivasha was so unique that some people still talk about it today. I was in a white suit on a white horse and Sarah arrived at the venue on a boat! So, we have always loved unique things. I have always surprised Sarah with gifts, depending on what I can afford. That’s just me. As for the Range Rover, it was not meant to go viral as it did. I wanted to surprise her on a weekday while at the office. I did that for her cause she deserves more than that. A Range Rover might be expensive but why work so hard and not enjoy the fine things in life? I don’t want to be the kind of people who leave property to their kids and then wanaharibu. I work hard. I want to enjoy. If I give my kids the perfect foundation that they need such as good education, the rest, they can take care of themselves. But niseme ati nitajinyima, hapana! Surprises like these are also what keeps our relationship alive.
Pulse Live: Lovely! And speaking of surprises, you surprised her again on Valentine’s Day right?
Simon: I took her to the most romantic restaurant in the world, Ossiano in Dubai. It’s an underground restaurant. We were having the Valentine's dinner and a diver appeared next to our table with a placard that read “Happy Valentines Sarah”. I totally surprised her. She had no idea…she was so shocked. Sometimes she tells me “Simon tell me how you will surprise me next time hehe”. I think she deserves it, she works so hard, she loves me and I always say, if I cannot give her the best, who will? That’s just how it is.
Pulse Live: Oh my! So Kenyan men are romantic after all!
Simon: We are!
Pulse Live: Allow me to ask, how are you able to stay away from temptation in this social media era of slay queens sliding into DMs.
Simon: *laughs* I get all those DMs and stuff. But you see, it’s up to you to make a decision on what you want. Even on Facebook you see comments of people asking for my number and I give them and they’re shocked and end up wondering what to even say. Again, I’m normally very busy. I rarely have time. Even like now, after this meeting with you, I’m flying out. So, I really don’t even have the time. And like I told you earlier, Sarah is my best friend so even when I’m traveling, most of the times, we are together.
Pulse Live: When we are in a relationship, there are small things that our partners do that annoy us. Is there anything that Sarah does that you don't like?
Simon: Erm, maybe what I can say is that Sarah likes to be on her phone most of the time and that’s what I feel she does excessively. You know how social media is tempting, maybe something is trending and she wants to check it out but I tell her, now it’s our time or our kids' time.
Pulse Live: There’s such a high rate of divorce among young Kenyan couples. Some of them do not even finish a year or marriage. What’s your advice to young people getting married?
Simon: My advice to young people getting married is, don’t enter into a marriage with expectations. Take time to learn your spouse; and don’t marry someone because of their money or physical looks. Cause when those physical features are no longer there, you’ll start hating the person. Don’t try to change your partner, accept them as they are. Also, don’t make hasty decisions that could be influenced by your peers. Don’t let other people tell you how your marriage should be, sort out your differences and communicate as a couple!