I think it all began with this book. I read it maybe 8 years ago but its provocative theory felt compelling. Work four hours a week, delegate tasks, make some phone calls, travel the world and become rich. Tim Ferris claims: It works. Four hours, not per day – per week! The rest of the time: Unwind! Who would say “No” to that?
The idea has taken a back seat in my life in the last years but now it is on the surface again, with power. There is nothing wrong about working less. Why do I have to have a reason for it, like family and kids? We work more and more to accumulate more and more stuff we don’t need. “I want to preserve my standard of living”, many might say. “I have to”. Is that so? I try not to take part in that race and I do not want to give any reasons for that other than “slowing down”, just for the sake of it.
Freedom. Independence. Love. Trust. Achievement. Authenticity. Belonging. These are, according to my Indian coach, my most important values. Freedom is a theme that appears again and again in everything I do. I never noticed how important it is for me. And it is one of the best ingredients in my current job as a journalist. That is presumably why I have always been drawn back to my profession – even in times of turmoil. Because being a news journalist has changed in the last ten years and it will probably change again profoundly in the next decade, with more of what is called “Social Media” and accelerating news cycles. Still, I want to be part of it. I want to write, I want to report, I want to tell the truth, I never want to lose my curiosity.
When I read an ad on Facebook some months ago, I was thrilled. Some digital experts teach others how they themselves might become digital experts, “digital nomads”. Their slogan: “An idea is worth nothing without taking the first step”. But: Do I even have an idea? Is there anything that hasn’t been done before? Is it a childlike dream to sit in front of my laptop in a beach café, do some writing and earn a bunch of money? Is it a myth? Is anybody really doing that or do Facebook and Instagram just make us believe that these people exist? The initiators of the “Nomadweek” shall tell me. 20 people, seminars, workshops, inspiration. I will spend several days with the “cool guys”, the kind I always admired, envied. Who are they?
- Laura. She writes the travel blog “Placeless” . She decided to quit her job and exchange five holidays a year for one big journey around the world. With not more than carry-on luggage. Her motto: “Karma and love instead of money”.
- Olli. He is a freelancer, traveler, blogger, podcaster – with his site “Wolfsmilch” – and still part-time citizen of Hamburg. He will talk about branding, “slow travels” and working self-determinedly.
- Daniel. He travels Latin America, blogs and podcasts about it here: “Southtraveler“. He also writes blogs for others and promotes non-profit projects.
They seem to be what is called “Lebenskünstler” in German. Could not find a proper translation for that. Maybe a hedonist mixed with a tumbler? Somebody who always lands on his or her feet. Is this a skill, an art of living, or is it just a question of karma and a different perspective on the ups and downs in life?
“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” (Franklin D. Roosevelt)
The “Nomadweek” in Lourinhã, Portugal, wants to address our fears. I “fear” several days are not enough to list all of mine. The timetable promises sessions such as “Your personal hate list”, “Where do you want to be in five years?”, “WordPress”, “Online Marketing”. It gives me the creeps when I hear expressions like “unique selling point” and I rather put “advertising myself” on the hate list. I will never be an “influencer” in the current sense. If I influence one or two out there, for the better, enough for me. Aside from all the self-discovery, there is also free time for surfing and yoga (yeah!). This program must have been invented just for me!
I will arrive in Portugal on Sunday with a lot of pragmatic questions about a blogger’s life but also one, that Kyle Chaka asks in the following NYT article: What if being a working nomad and keeping yourself afloat kills the magic of traveling? Does it?
Am I to old-fashioned to be a “digital hipster”? Do I really speak the language of the new era in journalism, the language of blogs and FB and Insta?
Not long ago the head of a leading radio program in Cologne turned me down for a job with the words: “We are looking for somebody who is greedy about new technologies, you know. Well, we missed this greed in you.” This feedback really helped. My disappointment vanished. I do want to be a greedy person, not financially and not in the figurative sense. I am who I am. I am no “early adopter”. If I have to be one to compete – bye bye. I want to have less and do less. I believe that minimalism can unveil power in you.
Lourinhã might lead to clear outcomes. Possible, that I return to Germany with no more envy because I decide that I am not one of the “cool guys” and do not want to be. Process of elimination. Possible, that I get a starting point to turn my life around. Or something in between. I have always been good with the latter. Lourinhã might leave me torn and that is also ok.
Sometimes it can be good if a dream stays a dream. Because in my imagination it is just perfect. Reality never is.