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Exclusive: I sleep better – Tim Njiru on career change from journalism to aviation

By Winnie Mabel September 2nd, 2023 3 min read

For 23 years, Tim Njiru basked in the dazzling limelight where cameras clicked and recorded, followers multiplied and recognition flowed like a river.

He made his mark as a TV presenter and producer at Standard Group’s KTN, Nation Media Group’s NTV and Al Jazeera where he produced shows revolving around art and travel.

But beneath the glamour, a silent longing simmered and the yearning for a life less ordinary grew stronger with each passing day.

In the midst of a thriving media career, Tim’s heart yearned for solace in the open skies. These yearnings were spurned by the seasonal media industry in Kenya, where media houses wooed new talent in the first quarter of the year and paid for their air travels to meetings across the country.

Unforeseen to him, in 2015, his career was impacted by the TV signal switch from analogue to digital in 2015 and his contract halted. It was then that he decided to re-establish himself in the media industry as a TV producer. New doors opened for him following the switch.

“Aviation has been mt life long dream since I was a child. There’s something about air travel – a boarding pass, the airport, an aircraft and the people around it – that continued to etch itself in my mind,” Njiru recounts.

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“All that triggered me to where the dream was. Half of the time during travel, my mind kept saying ‘I want to be here and I want to know more about air travel and most of all, see the world from a front view, not a side view. I want to inspire and move the dreams I had created for the world on TV and make them realities.’ People travel for many reasons. My TV shows had all that encapsulated in art. I wanted to move art and artistic expressions across borders,” he says .

Eventually, he found solace in the open skies, as the allure of aviation beckoned, offering a chance to soar beyond the confines of celebrity status, into the boundless realms of the unknown.

At age 38, the decision to leave the glare of the spotlight three years ago for the cockpit was nothing short of audacious, a departure from the familiar into the uncharted.

Yet, it is precisely in this audacity that Tim’s journey finds its remarkable essence – a transition from fame to freedom, from media sensation to the sensation of flight. All done through the encouragement of family and friends.

“Family always. Dad, mum and my siblings; nephews and nieces, all the kids that call me Uncle Tim. The Family has been number 1 in this. Always been my biggest support. They have been there from day 1 till today. They did it all within their reach. I owe them everything I have. My close friends too. They were not surprised at all. This small circle is most amazing set of boys and girls in my life,” Njiru says.

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According to Mr Njiru, his media experience was a great boost to him in making the transition to aviation. By interacting with people across the world, he was able to learn who he is, how to live with people and ‘join the dots’ in transitioning to any industry of choice – all coupled with his interest in learning how things work.

“I now sleep better, eat better, manage money better, travel lighter in heart and mind, plus there’s that room in my life that simply says ‘stay interesting’,” explains Mr Njiru.

So, what’s his advice to people who hope to make career changes later in life?

“It starts when you say ‘I want to start’ and if you feel you want to start, then start. Take the first step. You might not see the end of the stairway, but it is important to start. Embrace light and some love. The torch on your phone can only illuminate a certain radius. That’s all it takes to make the step ahead of you. Love what you want to do and have a simple understanding of what it is,” he says.

Mr Njiru hopes that with his new career in aviation coupled with his skills in videography and story telling, he will become one of the top African aviation storytellers around.

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