A Remarkable Transformation

I grew up in a small village in Northwest Germany, neatly nestled between the fields and the forests. After I had finished school at the age of 16, I started an apprenticeship as an electrician. At that time, settling down, building a house, driving a fancy car, and doing the same work until I retire sometime was what I expected from life. Through the lens of society, I was conditioned to believe that this is undeniably the path to follow for the future. However, as I then travelled Australia in 2009, my worldview changed significantly.

Whilst travelling thousands of kilometres through the outback, I had a lot of time to reflect upon my life. Is this really the way I ought to be spending my precious time on earth? What do I want to do in my life? I became more and more aware that following the well-lit standard path that was laid out in front of me by society, that is saving for a mortgage to buy a house and creating that picture-perfect white-picket fence life, is not for me. Since then, I nomad around the world seeking adventures. The bigger the thrill, the better. I just want to see the world with my own eyes, pure and undistorted.

My metrics of wealth and success have changed wildly through travel. While my goal in life once was to build a big house to fill it with all that stuff that one 'needs', I have come to realise how senseless hoarding material things actually is and that it makes you feel empty, rather than giving you fulfilment. It's not that I'm completely against ownership of things. Rather I feel the issue is the meaning we give to these things. Hence, one may say I am a minimalist, in the sense that I live a deliberate life and try to add true value to it. I tend to devote my limited time and money to gathering experiences rather than accumulating stuff. However, I do not religiously track the number of socks in my cupboard. Instead, all my possessions serve a purpose or bring me joy.

Ever since I left home for the first time, I have travelled 46 countries and sort of can't sit still. Many aspects of the typical geo-stationary standard lifestyle are just fixed and predictable. Seeking new experiences, learning new skills, and opening the door to new ideas inspires me and educates me in a way that little else does. Whereas, vegetating in one corner of the earth doing the same thing over and over again, that is following any kind of routine, is not just boring but hinders me from growing as an individual. The urge for the great unknown has shaped my life all along.