happy#144 – dealing with fear

Fear seems to be one of the most limiting factors in life. As true love can be the most motivating one and is able to move mountains or tear them down fear can build them up.
The strange things about fear though is, that fear happens only in your head and mostly deals with the future. Can you even remember the last time that you were frightened here and now?
This happens only in situations that are really dangerous for you and it makes sense to run away or fight.
It is activating your fight or flight response. As a constant process in your head and in your body it may be even quite harmful.

As the thing that you are worrying about is in the future it can help to let the fearful idea go and focus on a positive outcome instead. At least a way to manage a way to take. responsibility for your action and take the decisions that serve you best.

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happy#143 – sometimes sh*t happens

Last time I promised you a feedback about my time in Zanzibar and well… here we go. This has been a disturbing time for in May and I had my struggles to focus on the positive side of things.
Yet, what does it do any good to not not see things positive. It is as it is and the only thing truly matters, is the question of who to be in relation to that.

Therefor I decided to not go too much into detail. I did not unroll the details and the lies that happened but focused more on telling what happened when and where to give a rough idea about the situation.
I am not going publicly after someone. Sometimes things go wrong after all. The only thing that I am fighting for is driven by my sense of honesty. If we close the whole thing down, that is sad. If somebody else is taking over based on lies and then tries to generate an own income, with work he did not put in and money he did not invest himself, I feel betrayed.
Although letting go of stuff can be truly liberating, accepting dishonesty leads towards a society that I don’t feel comfortable to be a part of.

I strongly believe that each one has the right to be different. I want that right to be based on honesty and understanding. I think it is helpful to speak up against it publicly. No matter if  family, a group of friends, a business or a whole society is involved.

Don’t give room for betrayel and grief and fight for honesty, transparency, understanding and loving care!

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what is patreon?

Now that I kept talking about Patreon in the last blogposts, podcasts and elsewhere, I think that I should at least give you an overview about what Patreon is all about. The short version and official description on their platform is this:

Patreon is a service that allows to collect ongoing financial contribution for projects.

My longer version is this:
Patreon is a social media platform very similar to Facebook. You can create you own profile and post content: texts, links, audio and video. Just like facebook, the content can be uploaded to Patreon itself or linked to another source.

Other members at Patreon can access your timeline and subscribe to it (just as liking a page on facebook).

Here comes the huge difference: Subscribers to a certain page, can financially contribute. There can be different contribution levels with different benefits attached to it. The creator on the other hand, can decide who is allowed to access which content. Free for all, for all Patreons or for a certain contribution (pledge) level only. The contribution will be due each time that the Creator decides to upload a paid content. Each subscriber/contributer can decide how often per month he wants to pledge maximum.

Furthermore Patreon has a community platform, which is comparable to writing on somebodies timeline on facebook. Once again this may be limited for contributing Patrons only.

I also use Patreon and the different contribution levels to grant different access to my website at Happylife.Coach.

And as an important side affect, I am using Patreon to collect money for our education project in Zanzibar. 50% of all my pledges will go to K-I-D-Z.org and finance education for undepriviledged children.

Interested?

Support me & KIDZ on Patreon, patreon.com/flohjoe

happy#142 – who you are, when you lose control

It is easy to be the person you want to be when you are in control. When everything is going exactly the way it way planned, you might emotionally not be disturbed. But what happens when you lose control?
What happens when everything goes wrong. When things are not going as planned, when you are frightened, when you are terrified. How much of your higher self can you maintain when your emotions are going wild. Unfortunately I tested that in the last week, where I didn’t publish anything and I can tell you, I learned a lot.

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summer project

As I am writing this I am traveling in Morocco, recording some video Material in Marrakesh and the High Atlas for you. (Soon to be published for my Patreon supporters)

After posting about personal motivation and plans for the current year, I can now tell you about one major project for this summer.

I will travel to Tanzania soon and beside some Caveman projects in Zanzibar, I will travel across the whole country which will end up in endless miles on the road. My plan is to reach the lake Victoria, which is regarded by many as the source of the Nile. I will cross it by boat and later make it all the way back to Zanzibar. I will take you with me on this journey for sure. I will also document my time in Zanzibar and the Caveman progress.

After my return I will head to Provence for this years edition of the RIDING experience. Taking last years film crew of the SAHARA experience  I am so excited to have a documentation about the magic that happens on that tour. Sitting on a horse and therefor interacting with another living being all day as well as being surrounded by the most stunning landscape is only one part of the experience. The other will be intense coaching sessions, metaphor stories and hypnosis experiences.

My way back to Switzerland from Provence will then take a while. My plan is to run by foot. I will be mainly unsupported on my run across the Alps. I wish to make it at least across the main mountain range and reach Italy. Depending on weather and condition I will proceed to the Italian coast at Triest and you will know about it, since I will write and post about it life on different channels. By the way have you checked out my Instagram yet? I post my nicest pictures there.

I think it has been long enough since my last physical project… crossing the alps from North to South together with my friend Markus as a part of the transalpine run. The plans are not 100% fix yet and I will go with the flow since I believe that life should be fun..

how i plan to work in 2018

Having told you in previous posts that:

I realized once again that I love most to inspire people.
I also want to help improve peoples life.
I love to travel, be outside and be physical active.
I love to create lasting memories.
I want to be on an adventure most of the time.
I love motivating people to join me on a journey.
I love to share my stories.

I am ok with sitting my butt down and record my ideas into a podcast, write it down for a blog post or record a video for a publication. I am ok, improving my website, cutting the podcast and videos. I am fine with sitting down with people on very specific times to help them overcome their own obstacles.

I absolutely hate to talk people into something. I don’t enjoy building a marketing funnel. I don’t like selling to people who have no need for buying.

I figured, that although I love coaching and the adventure seminars, I don’t want to be a traditional Coach, I don’t want to have my office downtown. I don’t want to schedule back to back coaching where people stop by for an hour.

No! I want to be a part of your life. I want to leave a lasting impression. And I want to empower people over a period of time to help them change life for the better.

And while doing that I want to keep growing mentally. That means to learn new stuff, discover areas of the world I haven’t seen before. Meet new people, learn from other cultures and get inspired by the beauty of this world.

While doing that, I want to share it with as many people as possible.
Therefor I am slightly shifting my focus.
I will keep running the “simplicity of happiness” blog & podcast. All content will remain for free and I will focus mainly on the English content, publishing blogpost in English only.

I am asking you and all my listeners though, to invite me on a cup of coffee every now and then through the Patreon website.

I will also keep the website and the services at Happylife.Coach. I will just move to more online content with short coaching interventions and webinars. The possibility for one on one coaching will be limited to only a very few and of course my main focus will remain on the adventure seminars, that will need to fill up to a critical limit 6 month ahead of time to be confirmed. All access, to coaching videos, webinars and my one on one coachings will be granted through Patreon https://patreon.com/flohjoe. That means that other than the simplicity of happiness content, a Patreon membership is required to access the Happylife.Coach content (starting at 2$…)

As you can see, the centerpiece of my work will be accessible through Patreon. My main work will consist of producing and uploading up to 4 inspirational videos per month, where I am taking you on my journey and projects offering you insides, thoughts and learnings as well as special prices for the events, access to single coachings and special at the Caveman Lodge in Zanzibar.

Some of that content will later be available on Youtube as well, but you will only get early access or access to the exclusive content when you are a member at Patreon.

So I am asking to join me on my journey and get access to all my work with simply joining me here.

Just in case you are wondering, you will find me on most social networks under the nickname: flohjoe

who’s in charge of your life?

It is now about one year that I am not actively working for ESCP Europe anymore. Although that I am already living my life and worklife relatively self-determined for some years now, I can tell you that it is a huge difference when nobody expects anything from you anymore.
Furthermore and quite important to me, did my son and his mother move so far away that I have absolutely no chance on seeing him on a regular basis anymore. In fact I have seen him only ones in the last 30 month.
Despite this being very frustrating, it leaves me being responsible for nobody at the moment.
Since I have reduced my financial obligation to almost zero in the last years… not being dependent on anyone and not being responsible for anyone is quite an unusual situation to me.
Apart from true freedom, this can also be very scary. I can or even have to ask myself for every single action I do: what is purpose behind it and why are you about to do it?
The only one who can put a reason behind it is myself. There is absolutely no one left to blame in on. Every single step is purely because I take an active decision for it.
This has, if you look at it closely, always been the case… (just like in your life) and still did I so often try to find an excuse, why something is somehow just not my choice and others make me do this or that.

Does that idea sound familiar to you? Well, realizing that whatever situation you are in, it were your own previous choices that brought you there is the first place.
Realizing that is the first step to personal freedom.
The scary thing though, is that freedom doesn’t always feels like fun. It sometimes is hard work. Being responsible for your own thoughts and actions will give you no other choice than put you actions where your mouth is.
You are the only one in charge on where life will take you. You are the only one to put in the work that will take you to where you want to be?
But guess what?
You will have to go through some ups and downs. You might ask yourself not only what you’d enjoy most… while making your way towards your goal, but also what you’d be willing to suffer.
Be honest with yourself. Are there things, that you are just not going to do? Maybe you go down a different road instead?
So, where did this lead me, you might ask?

I realized that I love to inspire people. I want to help improve peoples life. I also love to travel, be outside and be physical active. I love to create lasting memories. I want to be on an adventure. I love motivating people to join me on a journey. I love to share my stories.
I am ok with sitting my butt down and record my ideas for a podcast, write it down for a blog post, record a video for a publication.
I am ok, improving my website, cutting the podcast and videos. I am fine with sitting down with people on very specific times to help them overcome their own obstacles.

I absolutely hate to talk people into something. I don’t enjoy building a marketing funnel. I don’t want to create an event where I then have to sell it to people to join.

Let’s take the Caveman Lodge for example. I don’t want to find people whom I need to talk into a vacation in Zanzibar and then into staying at my Lodge. No I want to do it the other way around. Be found be people who are looking for a vacation anyway. Put my offering out and help them to have a remarkable time while they are there.
It turned out that I want to do something quite similar with Happylife.Coach.
I’ll tell you what that is in my next posting.

happy#141 – discrimination

In Zanzibar I often face an enourmous discrimination. This discrimination is not as I expected it to be. I thought that it might be against colored people but it wasn‘t at least not from white against black people.
The main discrimination that I saw and experience on a daily matter is from man against women. Or against against different sexual orientation, although nobody dares to talk about that openly.
This brought to my mind that there is no real difference between  discrimations. All take some kind of outside characteristic that you would not be aware of, if you were blind or death and turn them in a form of justification for discrimination.
What would happen if we‘d drop all of that today?
Visit http://instagram.com/flohjoe to leave a comment.

happy#140 – why oh why

Have you ever struggled with your mission? The why behind your Job, your project or your duty? Well, I see very often that people are getting confused with their original goals and the results that they are actually measuring.

LINKS:
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adventure seminars


https://k-i-d-z.org

happy#139 – change it with a breath

Although unaware to most of us, we were given a shortcut to our unconscious mind. To our autonomic nervous system, which runs everything important to our life without our conscious mind even recognizing it.
Our breath and our lungs are the only organ that we can consciously control. Since our breath directly influences our physiology, our state and our performance, you can do as well. Activate you sympathetic or your parasympathetic nervous system in a breath.

happy#138 – quality

Quality vs. quantity. What do you prefer? More of what you don’t like anyway or just enough of exactly the right thing? You might not be able to influence the quantity of your life as each day has just 24 hours for everyone, but you can massively influence the quality of your life.
Quality is made in your head and it is only up to you what is going on in your head.
LINKS:

KIDZ

This is why we founded a children education project: KIDZ.

Although I believe one should not put too much meaning in the end of the year I am still using the date for a little review of the old and an outlook into the new year. Especially with Christmas season, plenty of time, new year and my birthday all within two weeks there are quiet a few reasons for a review.

End of December I came back from 4 weeks in Zanzibar and had family and friends time in the Swiss mountains. I love the difference between the winter and the tropical island and gives me the opportunity to get the best out both world.

One thing lacking in Zanzibar is education though. I am not talking about an European school or value system at all. I mean having enough basic knowledge to be able to form an own opinion. In contrast to that the local eduction focuses on stupid repetition only.

Therefor the only way to receive an ‚important‘ and/or ‚powerful‘ position later in life is through intransparency, misinformation or just force.

Most people in Zanzibar fit into one of the following roles, the dictating authoritative or the repressed person. Sometimes people are both depending on the situation. Both roles lead to a stagnation in society, which nobody enjoys. Almost everybody you ask, is unhappy about the lack of possibilities, the amount of wages being paid, the ongoing corruption, the inability of the officials and so on.

It is sad that although nobody likes the status quo, nobody is able or willing to change for the better. I belief that one major reason for that is education, which be it at home or at school consists mainly of two things: shut up and repeat.

Young people learn to sneak around, not getting caught and repeating what is expected without understanding why. Society is a mirror of that.

Now that I somehow slipped into being a Hotel owner in the most southern village in Zanzibar I asked myself what to do about it. I thought that I have the chance to either complain as well or do something about it and I chose the latter.

Back in Switzerland we founded the association „KIDZ individual development for Zanzibar“ K-I-D-Z.org and we are collecting donations to send as many kids from Kizimkazi as possible to a private  non for profit school. At the moment private school seems to be the only form of education that makes a difference, at least until enough people become aware how important a decent education is and the public school system will start to improve.

If you want to support that idea, you can either head over to K-I-D-Z.org directly or support me on Patreon patreon.com/flohjoe where you will also support the children in Zanzibar as well as exclusive content from me.

happy#137 – what comes around goes around

Whatever you will put out in the world will come back sooner or later. And I am sure that the world won’t distinguish between good or evil, revenge or justice. You may describe this phenomena with the balance of energies or just the RAS, but I am going to explain that in the podcast.
LINKS:

happy#136 – patreon

While figuring out how to prioritize tasks I had the idea that it might not be about now. Much more important might it be that one day we have no time to change but can only look back and then it will be about the person we have been. It is now that you take the steps towards that person you once have been. My goal is to inspire as many people as possible to live the life they love. And you can help by becoming a Patron.
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happy#135 – educate kidz

During my last trip to Zanzibar it became so obvious, that all the people surrounding me where not heading towards a positiv future for themselves and their families. The uneducation seemed to have become an even bigger problem and leaving me no option to work with local people from the village. I thought that I could  either complain or do something about it.
I took the second option, founded KIDZ individual development for Zanzibar and am sending local kids to school now!
LINKS:

youtube

Should I upload own videos on Youtube? What would be the difference to my Podcast channel and what happens if no one watches them?

These have been questions that went through my head by the end of the old year. Three things influenced me most to go for a YES.

1. Sometimes I was not able to transport the magical impressions that I had on my trips, journeys and coaching seminars in writing or photos. I wanted to take you with me.
2. I started watching some Youtube Channels about boat journeys and am amazed to see people and projects develop. The excitement is so much more realistic when you follow real life people and projects evolve.
3. In my Podcast conversation with John Lee Dumas of EO Fire he left with the advice that if you touch only one person it was worth it.

So I decided to give it a try and started to make the best out of what I already had, put together a shaky video of the RIDING experience. At the same time I started recording more video material, cut a much better version for the SAHARA experience, bought a new camera and have plenty of material for the following episodes.

I don’t think any special publishing tool better than any other or even the best, the just show life from a different perspective. However you prefer it you can now follow my stories and ideas here in writing or as:

audio on:

photo on:

or video on:

life is now – coming back to zanzibar

I am on my way back to Zanzibar as I write this.
I left the island May 5th to travel to Toronto, Canada where I met Chris Thompson and Mike Mandel of MikeMandelHypsnosis.
On the one hand I was tired of the island, tired of the slow processes, tired of the officials who are just not willing to help for any process.
Often it seemed to me, as if people I worked with are only interested in their own corruption money and once you gave it to them forget about it immediately so you will have to start all over again.
As soon as you plan to make any fast progress it will be more than likely that you reach a point of frustration sooner or later.

On the other hand, I was so exited to go to Canada and was even more impressed to reach Canada, where it seemed to me, as if everybody was just friendly and helpful.
If there was kind of problem to appear, somebody came to immediate help. I even arrived at the airport with a number twist in my visa application. Somebody called the embassy and sorted it out.Even better was my one week training with Mike Mandel, where I had hoped to learn some insights and gadgets about Hypnosis. I thought that I might catch up some party gags that I could use to make people more curious about their unconscious mind.What I did not expect was such a profound and deep training into hypnosis as a coaching tool. We did not only learn how to hypnotize, but also how to utilize our learnings to help people improve their own life. While learning our own consciousness and unconscious mind improved dramatically.

After Canada I stayed in Germany for two weeks and then went on vacation in Ethiopia for three week where I had enough time to deepen the learnings of the one week in Canada.

Now I am on the way back to Zanzibar and am curious to see the Caveman Lodge again. It seems as if our team has done a great job and is well prepared for the Zanzibar summer. Some of the official documents that where missing when I left are still not processed, but I guess that is part of the deal when you get in exchange the life on a tropical island.Although I have experienced and seen so much, on Zanzibar almost nothing has changed while I was gone. When nothing is changing, or at least not with any recognizable speed, it just makes no sense to hurry up with whatever you are doing.So maybe, I am asking myself, there is nothing such as a universal time for all. Maybe time is only what we experience and everybody has its own.

Wherever you are, wherever you go. Take your time. What you make of now, is what you make of life.

happy#134 – the urge to buy a book

happy#133 – no reality

time distortion in summer

I discovered my own kind of time distortion over the last 6 month. In the rearview they took for ever and I have no idea where they went and how all of that could have happened so fast.

Early May, shortly after Django suddenly died, as I wrote in the second last post, I left for Canada and my hypnosis training with Mike Mandel, followed by a stop over in Berlin and a nearly one month trip to Ethiopia (see my last post).
After Ethiopia we went back to Zanzibar to do the final preparation of the Lodge for the coming high season. Some stuff broke or collapsed in the very intense rainy season and had to be repaired.
We left end of June for Switzerland where Judy had to start her new job at Berns main hospital.
Since then we share a small apartment in Bern with another doctor. I jumped all the way into computer work. I was so happy to finally have sufficient internet again and jumped onto my new website since I had rebranded everything to Happylife.Coach, went for English only and planned to offer some downloadable products.
That meant a lot of time sitting in front of my computer in the smoking hot summer, it had been.
In between I tried to be in the mountains as much as possible and train for my ultra runs in the mountains and in Berlin. Training was a ton of fun and I enjoyed every moment out on the trails. The runs went not as good as expected and where a mental setback, leaving me surprised on how much I seemed to have lost while living on sea level for so long and having no possibility to train in the mountains.
Soon it was end of August and we discovered the possibility to get hold of a small mountain hut near Bern. Situated at 5250ft and with a stunning view we went for it immediately, not knowing yet how much work it would be. The house is not connected to any public infrastructure and will not even have a road for 6 months in the winter. I’ll write more about that in another post.

Mid September I offered the very first edition of the RIDING experience in Southern France and it was lovely and magnificent. We will go on the second tour in June 2018 while all of the lavender is blossoming.
Back in Switzerland I jumped head first into the work on our house Heidi, as it is called and left for edition #6 of the SAHARA experience mid October where I brought a film crew to shoot a little documentary about the tour. It was purely magic.
Nov. 1st I returned to Heidi (which can be booked through AirBnB now) in the mountains and am now day in and out working on the house to prepare it for the winter season. Already covered in snow I am very positive to be ready before I leave to Zanzibar 28th November to check back on the Lodge and prepare everything for the winter high season. It feels like the blink of an eye since I published the last blog post but looking back it seems an eternity since I left Zanzibar. I suppose that’s a good sign and am looking forward for a great winter season in the mountains… After returning from the tropical island.

time distortion


Do you know time distortion?

One time a moment takes for ever. Another time it seems as if time is not passing at all. You experience the same amount of time completely different then another time?

That can also happen in hypnosis. When a hypnotic subject is in a really deep hypnotic state and experiences some major internal shifts he might come back and either think he has been gone for only second when it was indeed 30 minutes or he might have experienced it as hours when it where only very few minutes.

Something similar can happen when you are very much concentrated and focused on something you do. You might drive home in the evening and can’t even recall how you got there. Or you are waiting for that airplane to finally arrive and you are so concentrated on that, that it takes for ever.

Which is, I think quiet logical, if you regard hypnosis as a very ultra high concentration state. I often use this example to show that Hypnosis it not at all anything special, or even magic whoowhoo (although it might feel like that). A hypnotic state is something very usual and common to being human.

I would even suggest that you spend your time doing stuff, where you forget about time at all. Imagine spending your day with a project where you even forgot to look at you watch and you only notice when you are done. You might come close to happiness.

happy#132 – talking about the weather

happy#131 – know yourself

happy#130 – simple foods

last month’s review

As I am writing this I am sitting on the top of a mountain in northern Ethiopia (3300m). The town nearby is Lalibela and worldwide known for its wonderful churches that were carved out of the mountain. Some carved more than a thousand years ago.

Since I left Zanzibar about a month ago I have been traveling quite a bit. From Zanzibar I caught a plane to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. We had the president of Zanzibar on board who went for some meeting to Addis. This gave us the wonderful opportunity to fly around and right over mount Kilimanjaro after having stopped at Kilimanjaro airport. From Addis I flew over Heathrow in London to Toronto, Canada. I had near been to Canada before and was positively surprised. I heard Canadians speak about Toronto, as if it wasn’t there most beautiful town and still I enjoyed it a lot.
Seemed to me as if it was a City in the US, just more green, more pedestrians and even friendlier. I stayed in Kensington market which gave me the opportunity to walk to University of Toronto early in the morning for class.
There I took a one week hypnosis training with Mister Hypnosis himself: Dr. Mike Mandel. To put it shortly, it was mind blowing and had the potential for changing life. Mine as well as those who will profit from these learnings in the future.
After that amazing week I flew to Berlin to meet my brother, some friends and take care of some stuff. Three days later I left for Cologne where I had another business training. I met my parents, grandma and a good friend and his family. After three days I left for Berlin again, where I met Alex Dahms of ‚One Million Good Thoughts’. We recorded a great interview for the next ‚One million Good Thoughts‘ edition this summer.
I also had to clean up my former office at ESCP Europe and had a little farewell party at the Campus, met some more friends I hadn’t seen in ages and went to business conference for digital nomads ‚DNX‘ organized by my podcast guest Markus Meurer. Great people, great audience, great day. It was definitely worth it.
Only eight hours after the ‚DNX‘ ended I was on my way to Frankfurt to catch a plane back to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to meet Judy. We had planned to go on a three weeks vacation.

The winter season in Zanzibar was a dream that came true I would never want to miss. Still it was a whole lot of work. Judy doing her best in the Zanzibar health sector, working and teaching in three different hospitals and me building up the Lodge, mainly creating and installing processes.
When I go there I will do several things different, but for the first times I still had to learn a lot. Now I have a place at the Indian Ocean that keeps growing and expanding with a great team at work. And Judy will start her new position at the University Hospital Bern, Switzerland in July.
First it was time for some vacation for us. As I am planning some Ultra Mountain Races in Switzerland over the summer I wanted to be up in the mountains somewhere. Judy who has a personal history with Ethiopia wanted to visited the country for the first time in her life and since most of the country is above 2500m above sea level it was the place of choice. We started in Addis Ababa in a runners camp of Haile Gebrselassie whom you might know, then went on to Gonder and the Simmiens mountains for a week, where we went above 4000m for several times and I climbed the highest mountain in Ethiopia.
Now we are for some days at Lalibela to see the gorgeous historic monuments they crafted here decades ago. After we will visit Harare, the ancient muslim center of Ethiopia and then will go on to Zanzibar before we leave to Switzerland for the summer, where I will work on the online programs for happylife.coach.

I can tell you, as beautiful as traveling is, sometimes I need to rest a bit to be able to process all the learnings. I don’t know how it is in your life, but it might make sense to go for a change every once in while. And may it be only to become aware that you enjoy what you already have.

django

By now, it is a while ago that the story I am about to tell came to an end, a story about trust, thankfulness and the ability to let go.

I moved to Zanzibar for the winter 25th of October 2016. While still adapting to the island life and getting used to the work that needed to be done, to open our Lodge fully by December, we found somebody feeding on the garbage at one of the houses in the village.

It is quiet normal to see a lot of animals (well a lot of cats and every now and then a dog) searching for food. Amongst them are always a lot of kittens and puppies since pets don’t grow very old in Zanzibar and they reproduce quiet active.
There was a difference though. This time it was one single puppy and it didn’t run away in an instant. Although very afraid of humans he was curious enough to stay around and started playing with us in pure joy.

I posted a sentence the other day saying: „A friend is someone with a soul that resonates with your own.“

That was the sentence that came to my mind when I thought about that dog and how our relationship was going to evolve over the next 6 month. It happened to be, that we adopted that little skinny doggy and made him be our lodge masquot from that time on:

Django.

Back to November 2016:
I clear him from literally hundreds and hundreds of ticks, clean him all up and fead him as much as he likes.
Within hours he absolutely trusts us, changes his posture and his behavior towards people in general. Was he a scared and shy dog yesterday, he happens to have the sweetest character and turns out to be the Lodges happy soul.
Unfortunately he becomes very very sick during the first 3 week and becomes even skinnier during that time. I seriously fear that we might loose him right away and start to care of him 24/7. Now he is (other than planned) allowed to sleep inside the room and although that is very untypical in Zanzibar he is allowed to join us everywhere. From that day on he doesn’t miss a single tour to the mangroves, snorkeling or the island.
All of a sudden it is impossible to leave him anywhere alone. As soon as we try, he sneaks out and tries to us. I end up being accompanied on every step I take.
Although not planned before, I have a (dog)friend all of a sudden. He manages to survive his sickness and starts growing and growing.
He is coming with us on mainland trips, to Daressalam, lake Malawi, lake Tanganyika as well as on safaris. I guess, he might be one of the very few dogs in Tanzania to have ever been on a safari at all.

Now my biggest problem becomes the thought of leaving him on this own when I will leave Zanzibar for weeks and months. After all a travel by plane with a dog will not be the easiest and cheapest way to travel.
By March 2017 we have our current team for the Lodge complete, I give responsibility to the team, start to leave him with the team during the day and now he is allowed to leave the Lodge on his own, since he is not approaching other people anymore and always comes back on his own.
He starts sleeping next to the night-guard, is fed by our kitchen staff.
He remains the proudest dog in the village though. Always tail and head up. He is not afraid of anyone and still he somehow figures out to whom he could go and to whom not. I never see him near other people he doesn’t know. He goes to the beach with our guests and shows up on his own.
He has grown a lot and is around 7 month old. Everything seems to have worked out. I am confident, he will manage to be a happy dog when I leave. I am so happy that I will be able to come to Zanzibar and have Django waiting for me in the future.

By now it is end of April. The Lodge is up and running, the team is working smoothly, Django feels at home and does a lot on his own. In 7 day I will leave for a training in Canada and we are in the middle of the rainy season.

He still doesn’t like water and chills with Judy and me who doesn’t have to work to day all day long. It truly feels like he knows it is the last weekend together with both of us, as if he wants to say goodbye.

What I don’t know, is that is really is a goodbye. In the evening the sky clears up and it stops raining. Django runs out to chase the cat. I finish my dinner, turn around and there lies Django. Peaceful, without any sign of stress or pain, but dead.

We have no idea what happened and will never know…

So the last week in Zanzibar truly becomes a week of saying good bye. It feels like loosing a close friend and digging his grave in our little valley at Caveman Lodge is not how I pictured my last week here.

It becomes a week of facing my own fears, my own sadness and my own mistakes. Letting him go teaches me a lesson on life. Everything that comes, will go, it is just a matter of time. Don’t be attached and enjoy to the fullest what you want to enjoy, the moment you have it. When it leaves you, be thankful that you had it before. You will loose everything anyway, at the latest when it is time for you to go.

Enjoy now! Be thankful for what you have.

And a safe travel to Django…

get a happy reptile

result of the last 6 month

As you may have seen on the blog and heard on the podcast, I spent my last 6 month in Zanzibar. I was living a childhood dream and realizing a little business opportunity at the same time.

Having my own little spot on the Indian Ocean and being able to share it with others. Together with my business partner Omi, we built up the Caveman Lodge and opened for the first season in December 2016.

It is indeed much more work than expected. We had a great time though and it looks as if our guests are enjoying it as well. Have a look yourself and if you like, be our guest.

100 days of podcasting

In 2012 I started blogging when I was in preparation for my solo Sahara tour and I wanted to talk about it. So man people asked me why I was going to Sahara, other wanted to now how I was about to do it and all of them wanted to know how I was doing. Therefor I included a blog in my domain gluecklichtrainer.com and wrote about my journey. Later in 2014 I decided to give my blog and own space: simplicity-of-happiness.com. Simultaneously I gave different guest appearances at different podcasts and discovered how much I love talking about my topics and I started an own podcast in 2015.

By today I am writing simultaneously in German and English on the blog and am recording a German and an English podcast (which I started in 2016).
While the German podcast is quite popular I missed out a little on the English show and took the decision for the new year to broadcast daily for 100 days. I think that is a good way of getting to know me and presenting my philosophy to the English speakers and am welcoming all of your input.

If you have an idea what to talk about, drop me a line.
If you like the show, please tell your friends.
If you don’t now it yet tune in at simplicity-of-happiness.com/podcast

ups and downs are everywhere

I am in Africa now for more than two month and it is still amazing. The Lodge is ready for the season, we have guests, food is great and people are enjoying their time with us. I set up my work routine, am productive most of the time and go swimming with the dolphins or coral snorkeling every once in while.
Sun is shining every day and life is good.
Nevertheless sometimes it is hard to get up and focus. When every day is about as beautiful as the other it sometimes is very hard to get up and go the extra mile today. What it teaches me, is that it is not about how hard or easy or awesome your circumstances are, but only about what you make of it in your mind.

As I am writing this on Christmas Eve, I am sending you all my best wishes, sunshine and my most positive thoughts. Wherever you are, whatever you do… it is your own decision how you perceive the world.

You decide about your happiness. Keep that in mind and enjoy the season!

back to the roots

I am sitting a my Computer, checking mails, process bookings for the Lodge, record Podcasts and am planning my milestones for 2017. Then one question hits me:

Do I really want to keep writing stories on my blog? Yes!

Good, but what exactly? I wasn’t sure.

Since I shifted my focus on recording and broadcasting my German and my English podcast on a regular basis I missed out to write any articles. The main reason for that is that I am so much more spontaneous when talking. I am able to think about a topic, sit down to list some notes, start recording and the episodes evolves while I am talking. When a thought slightly shifts because I mention another dimension of the same problem it feels and it sounds natural to the listener.
When writing an article though, I always thought that I was expected to write „the perfect“ article. According to my own standards I often didn’t meet those and therefor created frustration in my mind.
While resonating about that, I thought about the time when it became so hard for me to write. I didn’t figure out yet what exactly it caused. I only know that there was a time when my expectation shifted and I tried to write not only an interesting story but a really good article, simultaneously in English and in German.
That was not the reason for me to start a blog though. I never meant to write news articles. I wanted to write stories from life and for life. I wanted to take you on the journey to the happiness through simplicity. A journey of life, where mistake are to happen, were experiences are to be made. I don’t aim to tell you what to do, I want to collect examples where it did work and where it did not, for me or for others.
What conclusion you are drawing from that will be up to you.

I will take my blog back to the roots of blogging. Writing a web-log about life and dreams and inspiration. Since I started to write, I created a life I would have only dreamed about 5 years ago. I am taking you on that journey and very much appreciate your thought and opinions.

Back to blogging! About the simplicity of happiness!

I believe!

I so much like these guys and am really looking forward for my hypnosis training with them in November. They sum up a lot of my believes:

one family?

Imagine somebody could tell you where you´re actually from. A journey around the world and it all sums up to be you.

This is a commercial, but well, what would happen, if you´d find out all, the people you hate most are actually your ancestors?

End the end, we are one family. Amazing:

crappy on the outside?

Hi there, I am back in Berlin for some days. I spent the last month in my Zanzibar home after having spent all winter in a skiing resort in the Swiss mountains.

Custom officers keep asking me about my crappy passport but I always tell them, that although it might not look new on the outside, it has so many stories to tell in the inside.

Just like I want my life to be.
Not shiny on the the outside but full of memories in the inside.

For those who want to learn more about how I managed to live the life I dreamt about, I created a webinar. It doesn’t tell you what to do, but helps to ask the tough questions and create the surrounding you need to truly thrive.

If you send me an email with the topic “Your Happy Life” you can participate for free.
June 8th 2016 6:30pm CET. (this time in English)

relations matter most

This TED talk really is worth being watched. It’s about a 75 year long happiness study which comes to one conclusion: The quality of relationships is what matters most in life.

Those who were the most satisfied with their relationships in their 50s were the healthiest in their 80s. Just watch yourself:

do what you love!

This winter I fulfilled a dream of mine.

Since I was skiing for the first time as a kid, I never want the vacation to end. I love the summer, the heat and the sun but I also love the mountains, the cold and the snow. It just has to be either one.

I never wanted to understand why you have to be either on vacation or at work/school/university/home. I wanted to do the fun stuff every day.
Why can’t I work on a project while sitting at the beach?
Why can’t I be on my board, before or after work?
Why can’t I have a conference call while sailing?

I was told, when I was younger, that this was not possible. Life is not fun, it’s serious.
Guess what, I had to find out in the last 10 years, that it is 100% up to you whether life is fun or not.

Last winter I spent 44 days on my snowboard riding almost 1000km. I loved it and I still got a ton of work done. I had to switch around some of my priorities wich worked out fine. Now the winter is over and I am sitting in Zanzibar, recording podcasts, writing articles, doing online coachings, training for an Ultra race and in between I go for a swim the dolphins.

Having a happy life is quite simple.

It’s not always easy, because you will have to ask the tough question and you will have to go through training and exercise. But in the end it will pay off.

And you can do it, too.

I put my learnings in an 90 minute webinar that I will offer on June 8th 6:30pm CET for the first time.
Hurry up and send me a request with the text “your happy life”! if you want to participate for free.

minimalism documentary

These guys are a great inspiration to me concerning minimalism and focus. Now they made a documentary about what matters most and what doesn’t. Here’s a preview:

almost there

Almost, I almost made it. After several rearrangements, changing the format, the name of the future show and hunting ideas for the first episodes the new podcast is nearly ready. Feb. 25th 2016 the first episode will go online:

Once you grew old, do you want to look back on the stuff you owned or the stories you can tell? When more is too much, it may become time to focus on the essential in life. The simplicity of happiness helps to focus, get rid of distraction and find out what matters in your life.
This show will help you to find out and live up to a better and happier version of yourself, complemented by interviews with people who already did.
It is the simplicity of happiness that matters most.
The weekly English podcast version to the blog: simplicity-of-happiness.com

Until then, if you speak German, you might want to listen to the German podcast. Just click on the German flag in the header or here!

wanna play?

Don’t we all have our issues that let us believe there is something we can’t do?

what makes up an adventurer?

What it means to be human.
A man who is never comfortable with the situation he is in talks about becoming the adventurer of the year by National Geographic.

Cory Richards, a Highschool dropout who believes that the richness comes with struggle:

strike down by the desert

This is one of last year participants personal story about the sahara experience. I love it and just in case you want to find out about yourself, let me know.

Ever heart the saying: “Send him to the desert’?” Where that might come from?
When I told my family and friends that I was about to walk through the desert, I was questioned: „Why would anyone walk so far?”, „Isn’t that meaningless?”, “That’s totally dangerous!”. When I added that I was about to go there because of work, they just felt pity for me and I already had the feeling that the trip was going to be worth it.

Actually I did not come back as a better person. I just remained myself.

I spent two of my days in desert on a camels back, riding or whatever you would call it. I think, it’s no difference if you sit in a small dinghy in a storm on the Ocean or suffer completely exhausted on such a desert ship longing for home. It rocks like hell.
I have a job in which a project is chasing the other and my rest periods on the weekends had not been sufficient anymore. While my mind was still in the last project, I already had to deal with the next. Nothing unusual nowadays. I’m already doing this job for quite some years. I changed the company lately. No big deal, I thought, but still it felt so damn wrong. I had the feeling that I’m not happy with my boss and it won’t work out well.

The desert trip, if I stay with this topic, was a way for me, to let all the thoughts that rushed through my mind come and go. I had the time and the space to think a thought from beginning to end and learn to accept. That worked for me.
I thought I need the full five days to deal with myself, but after two days of thinking I had it figured out and then the heat hit me, almost knocked me out. So I spent the next two and a half days learning yet another dimension of the desert on the camels back. I did not expect that to happen. Although I felt much better, I was now separated from the group. Well, it was a strike down by the desert.

It wasn’t before I was back home that I realized how much that small corner of the world had inspired and enriched my life.
There is so much to tell about diversity, experiences with nature and his own body, with people who just show up out of the nowhere and disappear back into the desert, about habits that are important to know, about communication and …
All this is accompanied in the wonderful, personal and professional way of Florian!

Jan R.

happy and successful 2016

The change of the year is only a randomly chosen number or a change of it to be exact. Nevertheless people like to stop at crossroads or signs to look back and think about the route ahead.

Same works with the new year. How did the last year go? What are the goals for the coming? We decide ourself wether our look back is a positive or a negative one. No matter how bad the last year was, it could have been even worse and no matter how good it was, it could have even been better. It is just a question of your point of view.

That lets me focus primarily on the good things of the last year. To be thankful that it happened to me. If I do, all the things that didn’t work out that well appear in a much brighter light and it is easier for me to see them as a hint for the future. What could i do better the next time. Grieve doesn’t help.

For the future I have tons of new ideas and sometimes its hard to me to keep the focus. If you know that, it might help to choose only one important thing to change or to achieve. That will help you to focus and it will increase the chances for success. Most of the times the clear focus on getting one single task done will change a lot of little things around your goal as well you’ll change so much more than you first thought.

So, focus on the positive and plan for one special achievement in 2016. The rest will follow. Good luck and all the best for 2016

worlds end – in ibo

Just the other week, I met Jörg, a person who gave me an answer to the question: what it means to do something for the first time. More than 10 years ago he left his good paying job in Germany, got on his bike and hit the road South. I met him on a remote island in South East Africa in an old, long forgotten Portuguese town, many call it a hidden secret in the Indian Ocean.

What, where, why? As you may have read in earlier posts, I am traveling in Africa for a bit. During the Tanzanian elections which could turn out to become a chaotic catastrophe for the country and Zanzibar in special (which is another story to write about), we headed South into Moçambique to get an impression of that beautiful land of hidden mysteries.
While coming from Europe and Morocco already seemed to be out of different time and space but Tanzania is even more so. Surprisingly there is another huge gap to Moçambique. A country which not only had to fight against colonial rule but also against apartheid influences from South Africa and Rhodesia. Those countries were giving its best to destabilize the country which let to decades of civil war. That war didn’t end before the nineties when the devastated country had to be rebuilt from scratch, most of the cities, villages, industry and colonial heritage lying in ruins.
After flying in to Pemba, we stayed for two days, being very surprised that nothing has changed over the last 4 years while decay seemed to be in even further progress now. We left with a local bus which, like all other busses in Mocambique and for no obvious reason had to leave at 4:30 in the morning. Even more frustrating than the need to be at the bus station so early was the fact that the first hours the bus was driving around the town to hopefully pick up some more passengers. Busses in Mocambique go without schedule and if you really need to be somewhere that day you better be there at 4:30 because you never know when they are full and actually leave. What followed was a five hour backcountry overland drive. Half the 120km on a tarmac road, the other half on dirt tracks. Only very few settlements with only few houses each laid on our way, the whole land being dry as a bone, all the trees leafless and no grass to be seen anywhere.
Finally we reached a little place at the ocean or lets say where the ocean was supposed to be. We arrived at low tide and except for water we only saw mangrove forrest, which was crucial for us since we wanted to catch a ferry. That meant to sit down and wait for the water. Our ferry was a local dow that was to be sailed to our destination, together with a motor bike and some other 30 people on board. The sea better be calm, I thought. After another hour on the boat we reached the little island of Ibo, part of the Quirimba island in Quirimba national park in Northern Moçambique. Ibo used to be the Portuguese capital of Northern Moçambique and was an important trading post on the Portuguese spice route. At least until the harbor and Capital was moved to Pemba. Afterward the world forgot about Ibo, I seems. A place full of ancient ruins, forts and houses among those. A sand covered main road, with sidewalks left and right, nonetheless. A piece of lost paradise, if you can find it.
Some of these ancient houses found a loving new owner who built themselves something out of ruins, literally.

And that is how I met Jörg.

Jörg who took his bike 12 years ago together with a friend of his and drove South. Through Balkan, Turkey, Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania to Moçambique, later all the way to South Africa. The tour took them two year of traveling with some time spent at different places. On this route they discovered Ibo and while spending some time here, they saw complete Solar Eclipse and fall in love with this place. They knew they had to come back. Which they did, after completing their tour, having covered more than 12.000km by bike. Another two years later. They bought one of the completely destroyed ruins at the place. The one with the biggest trees around, two of them standing right in front of their house and they called it: Miti Miwiri http://www.mitimiwiri.com/n/ (two trees) or on facebook https://www.facebook.com/Miti-Miwiri-112186838817416/, nowadays one of the finest places in the area. It took them another two years to finally restore the building and have it up and running.
I guess that is how you break with all the conventions and just follow your heart. They didn’t do anything anymore, because they were expected to do so. All they did, they did only because they wanted to do it and on that road they found a passion and love to a place and decided to built something up. Still, friends and family called them nuts, now they go there for vacation. Sure, they had and have their hard times but they followed their heart and live their dream.

Do you have an inner calling? Listen to it!

creating routines

I wrote a blog article about creating routines in Zanzibar earlier this year. I wrote about my struggles finding my way back home while I was living in Stone Town for a month. Although I tried my best to take the same routes every single day, I got lost as soon as my mind was absent for a minute. Now I visited Stone Town again:

First thing to do after I got there was to go for a coffee in my favorite Café. It’s called Stone Town Café and is one of the very few places where you can find good fresh ground coffee on Zanzibar. Afterwards I went for the Dalladalla place to get a ride to Kizimkazi in South Zanzibar. That was one of the same routes I used to take in January and guess what. I did not get lost. In between people tried to tie me up in conversations about selling me… whatever… a trip to the moon and I kept on walking without paying attention and made my way without any doubt. At one point I woke up from daydreaming and was not so sure where I was. I decided to just keep walking until something looked familiar. Soon it did and I was exactly on track.
Funny that I would not get lost although I had no idea where I was. Somehow somewhere in my unconsciousness the way home was saved. On full automatic mode so to say.

I read and wrote a lot about creating habits and routines this year, but to experience on my own again how powerful habits can be left me speechless.
Scary on one hand to see that all the negative routines we accumulated throughout our lives are leading us that much. Good to know on the other hand that as soon as we change a routine to a positive one it can be as strong and as automated as the previous negative one.

Just keep in mind, it takes a constant daily routine of acting always the same on the same triggers. Scientists say, it takes from a week or two up to some months, to create enough new connections in your brain to create a new routine. In Stone Town it actually took me almost ten days although I was practicing to memorize the route several times per day. And I didn’t have to rewrite any old behavior.

If you have any behavior/routine that you want to get rid of, make yourself a good plan to manage the change. Remember you can’t just stop it. A routine is always triggered by something:
1. Find the trigger so you know what makes you start your behavior. Then you can become aware of it when the trigger happens. You will be able to foresee the undesired habit even before it happens.
2. Think of a new behavior that you would like to do when the trigger appears.
3. Make sure the desired behavior would be good for yourself and your future self (just ask yourself that question and you should think a very direct YES without any buts)
4. Bring yourself in a situation when the trigger appears and actively act with your new behavior. Test it several times so you know what to do.
5. If you fail when the trigger appears in real life, make sure you know you failed, go back to point 3.
6. Actively work on it for at least some weeks.
7. Do it daily!

Good luck and enjoy the better version of yourself.

secrets of happiness

Everybody is a bit weird!

natural building

Is it backward or forward thinking when you go back to construction techniques that are thousands of years old?

hard to view the green

Sometimes it’s hard to view the green between the rocks when you are in the desert.
And sometimes its hard to see the positive when you’re alive. I had quite a busy summer with a tragic car accident, an unexpected travel to morocco, an injured kid, a struggle with my land lord, a broken laptop, a broken car and a 100 miles ultra race I failed to complete.

While all of this happened in the last 6 weeks I didn’t manage to write my posts bilingual. If you know some German, check the German side of this blog or stay tuned, I am going to translate the written posts soon.

Anyhow, most things are on track again and I learned to accept that things happen the way they do. Once they did, you can’t change them.

Make the BEST of now!

ups and downs of minimalism

an english podcast

Just for you, my English readers I thought about creating an English podcast since I launched the German SOH podcast earlier this year.

Now everything is ready and set and new show will be about the indiviual pursuit of happiness. In contrary to the German podcast the pursuit of happiness: POH, will be much longer and contain very personal stories. Since I am often travelling the world I am recording stories and opinions about life, happiness and individual roads to personal fulfillment.

Just so you know 😉
Stay tuned.
The first show will be broadcasted end of September 2015.

perspective matters

Sometimes things just happen. Sometimes it’s just the wrong time, sometimes it’s a bad thing altogether. Often we become angry, when things go wrong. At least, that happens to me all the time. Then I ask myself: why now, why me, why again, why so bad…

I don’t like being angry and when I am, I often become more angry because I’m angry with myself. Do you know what I mean?
Not long ago… yesterday to be exact, it happened again. I had so much stuff to do on the opposite side of town and I had to take my car, which as you may know is a 40year old 6t camping van: EMMA. I had to get some stuff for maintenance of the car. And voilá: half way through town my clutch stopped working. That sucks especially in inner city stop’n’go traffic. I somehow made it into a smaller street stopped and immediately climbed under my car. I wanted to find out what the problem is and keep going. I was in a hurry.
It took me a while to figure out that bars of the clutch were broken. Nothing I could do about it.
Oh boy, I was angry: Why now, why here, why me etc. The rest of the day I was pretty pissed off.

This morning I had another look at it and came to the conclusion:
I am so lucky it happened yesterday. I wasn’t somewhere in the mountains or in the desert. I wasn’t in Switzerland but in Berlin. I found a parking spot right away and was allowed to stay there for free. I was able to make all my yesterdays appointment by foot and on time. I already fixed (another part) of the clutch a year ago and knew what i was doing this time and the broken part is easy to replace after I found out which part it was. My MercedesBenz Oldtimer dealer is located near Berlin I could pick up the spare part by public transportation. And I hadn’t plan to drive anywhere special, today or tomorrow.

Well, its still a lot of stress and work, BUT it’s a question of your perspective. Once again I realized that it`s up to me to see the good or the bad, in any situation. If I compare any given situation with the best possible or do I take into account what could be worse. After all I can’t change the situation. I (or you) can just try to make the best out of it.

Every single moment, you decide about the quality in your life. Do you see the good or the bad? Do your best!

don’t judge

“The most dangerous world view is the one of people who didn’t see the world themselves.“ Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859)

Today I begin with an almost 200 year old quote I could not have put in better words myself. This sentence reminds me of situations that I experienced myself and that made me question the way I see the world and others. For instance situations I remember where people I just knew briefly attacked me on a personal level and called me irresponsible for planning to travel in Sahara on my own and by foot.
Looking back it is interesting to see that those people who did so, had never been to a desert or even Morocco before. People who had never travelled by foot in the arabic world, in Africa or anywhere else outside their five star hotel comfort. It where those people nagging who had basically no idea.
Guess what: All those things that people had warned me off never actually happened. Instead of kidnappers I met friends for life.

Last year my girlfriend and I decided to travel for eight months straight in our old camper called EMMA. We were warned again by people that had never travelled in a camper outside campsites, who had never travelled to the countries we did or who had simply no ideas of old cars. Ok, neither did I, but I was confident to figure it out somehow.
By the way: We never met anybody who actually knew somebody in person who had experienced a robbery at night after the camper was sprayed with KO gas.

On a very personal level I had to take tricky decisions based on reasons I knew only myself. The minute I took those decisions people who didn`t know a thing showed up and told me how they thought I had to act instead.
All of the above let me become more cautious when it comes to judging others. I am still not good in „NOT JUDGING“, but at least I got better.
First of all, I try to see other people, as persons who are grown up and responsible, trying to take their best decisions possible. Especially concerning things I don’t know anything about, I try to stay openminded.

Do you know these situations, where other people take decisions for themselves and you just can’t understand why? When you feel the urge to get involved?
I know them and I try to remind myself secretly: Don’t judge! Please, don’t judge on others Florian!

stuff statistic

One of the most inspiring people blogging about simplicity and minimalism is Joshua Becker from Arizona. He recently published some statistics for the US that might be interesting for European readers as well since we have the same tendency. I am posting an excerpt of Joshuas list that was originally posted here.

  1. There are 300,000 items in the average American home (LA Times).
  2. The average size of the American home has nearly tripled in size over the past 50 years (NPR).
  3. And still, 1 out of every 10 Americans rent offsite storage—the fastest growing segment of the commercial real estate industry over the past four decades. (New York Times Magazine).
  4. British research found that the average 10-year-old owns 238 toys but plays with just 12 daily (The Telegraph).
  5. 3.1% of the world’s children live in America, but they own 40% of the toys consumed globally (UCLA).
  6. The average American family spends $1,700 on clothes annually (Forbes).
  7. While the average American throws away 65 pounds of clothing per year (Huffington Post).
  8. American homes have more television sets than people. And those television sets are turned on for more than a third of the day—eight hours, 14 minutes (USA Today).
  9. Some reports indicate we consume twice as many material goods today as we did 50 years ago (The Story of Stuff).
  10. Currently, the 12 percent of the world’s population that lives in North America and Western Europe account for 60 percent of private consumption spending, while the one-third living in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa accounts for only 3.2 percent (Worldwatch Institute).
  11. Americans spend more on shoes, jewelry, and watches ($100 billion) than on higher education (Psychology Today).
  12. Shopping malls outnumber high schools. And 93% of teenage girls rank shopping as their favorite pastime (Affluenza).
  13. Women will spend more than eight years of their lives shopping (The Daily Mail).
  14. Over the course of our lifetime, we will spend a total of 3,680 hours or 153 days searching for misplaced items.The research found we lose up to nine items every day—or 198,743 in a lifetime. Phones, keys, sunglasses, and paperwork top the list (The Daily Mail).
  15. Americans spend $1.2 trillion annually on nonessential goods—in other words, items they do not need (The Wall Street Journal).

That I owned so much stuff over the last years is one part of the story, that I owned so much stuff I didn’t really need is the other. What about you?

lessons from stonetown

In late 2013 I had the idea that it might be right for me to work for a while from a far away place. I was sick of going into the same office every day. I had the feeling that nothing would change ever again in my life if I kept doing exactly the same every day. I came to a point that I worked only for the money and not for the love of it.

I was and I am looking for a reason in my life and for what I do. I want to do something special. Last winter I fulfilled a dream of mine and chose one of the most beautiful places to work at: Zanzibar. This is exactly the point. I want to work. I just don’t want to have the feeling that I am missing my life while I am at work. I strongly believe that I need to follow my inner motivation, to be good in what I do and to create a lasting difference.

Furthermore I thought that an external view on my daily life and my routines could help me find out what I truly want.

After traveling through northern Tanzania on a beautiful three week vacation, I went back to Stonetown, Zanzibar on Dec. 25th to work from there for one month. I was were I wanted to be. I had plenty of time and I had such a big problem starting to work. I found out that Stonetown didn’t provide any space for me to focus on my work and still feel good. My room was small and had no real windows. The small windows of mine were covered by mosquito nets and the house on the opposite side of the road was only about 1 1/2 meters away. Not what I regarded as a beautiful view.

When I was working inside the building I had to switch on the light because it was too dark. The lights were fluorescent lights. That was not what fired up my inspiration either. Next to my Laptop I kept a towel because every few minutes my table was so wet with sweat that my hands kept gliding away.

I wanted to be outside, I wanted to work outside. I had my laptop with enough battery and I had an internet dongle with a ZANTEL card to work online as well. But guess what: That’s not what you do in Africa, sitting somewhere in the park with your laptop. First there were no parks, second there was either beach or shade. Third: if there was an open place to sit, my laptop would attract many people to sit directly next to me and stare on my screen and/or talk to me.

I figured, I had to work from somewhere else. Rooftops, although plenty of them could be available are not common in Zanzibar. If you have sunshine all year round, that might push you into the shade.

No work on a rooftop either. I tried different cafes that seemed to work and walked a lot to discover new places. As you can imagine I felt quite unsatisfied during my first days. That was not what I had expected. Every morning I thought about where to go and where to work and ended up running around Stonetown to find a place. I got lost every time. I had to walk straight in one direction until I reached the end of Stonetown and then run around it until I found a place I already knew. Otherwise there was no way finding home for me. Funny how much effort it costs my brain to find my way. My brain put full concentration on creating new routines to make my life easier again. Actually time went by quite fast when I was wandering around town. My mind was completely occupied with scanning my surrounding trying to find any hints where I am and how to find my way back. Slowly I found out about places where I could sit for while, where they had coffee and some even good coffee. I could even remember how to find that place again and how to go back home. My days became easier and I could focus more and more on the work I wanted to do.

When I came to Zanzibar I wanted to get rid of my routines because I thought that they might be in my way of working happily. Then the complete lack of any routines (where do I sleep, how do I sleep, breakfast???, where do I eat, when do I eat). Basically everything made me so insecure that I even thought it was a mistake to go there in the first place. Then I started creating new routines and when I finally was at an ease with myself the month was over and I flew back.

Now looking back at my time, I realize that it was the best thing I could have done last winter. I developed such a clear focus on how I want to work and what I want to do. I developed new routines not by accident but because they helped me to achieve my goals. And I was actually able to take these routines with me to new places. I work so much more efficient than I did ever before. And I am happier with it.

Some of my lessons from Stonetown are:

  • I hate routines
  • I need routines
  • I could complain wherever I am
  • It’s my own decision to focus on the bright side of life, or not
  • Nothing is perfect.
  • Everything can be perfect for moments.
  • If I know what I want, I can do it.
  • Get rid of expectations and live NOW!

What makes a remarkable life remarkable is not the chances you get, but what you make of your chances!

Are you interested in working without an office, too? I put all my learnings from Stonetown into my Webinar: officeless office!

what our brain does when it does nothing at all

I am so happy to present yet another wonderful post by Lisa. Without knowing she wrote about the reason why my sailing and Sahara seminars have such an impact:

Sometimes it happens, someone asks me:“What are you thinking about right now?“ Suddenly I am torn from my thoughts which were just wandering on their own. In order to come to a suitable answer I try to structure the chaos in my head and bring my thoughts into some order. But then my only answer is: “Well, nothing.at all“ Knowing that this is not true at all.

Because our brain never stops spinning the wheel.
Amazingly I find my own mind on special colorful routes, coming up with the most creative ideas when I am not productive at all. When I feel almost bored.
Like recently in Melbourne. Far away from my routines and social network I found myself with lots of time and my brain with unsuspected capacities. I used to stroll around without destination when my mind came up with a thunderstorm of thoughts – memories from my early childhood, the taste of long forgotten dishes; dialogues that have never happened; people I never met… it felt like a theatre play of my past, present and future mixed together with countless actors and endless storylines. Way too complex to put it into words. Daydreams…
Some brain researchers explain those moments with the so called DMN (Default Mode Network) which gets activated when our brain is not occupied with other tasks. The DMN does not respond to stimulations from the outer world but is specialized in introspection and the processing of experiences. This makes it essential for the construction of our identities: In an ongoing inner monologue we are telling our own story over and over again. As if the DMN is working itself through a huge pile of ‚post its‘ that were hidden in our unconsciousness. Piled there through our daily experiences. And it keeps assigning, structuring, reinterpreting. Building the basis for reflected decisions.
That is why we come up with creative ideas and complex troubleshooting when we less expect them… under the shower, taking a run, or staring at the ceiling.
But in our modern overstimulated world, tight schedules keep our brain constantly challenged. And we don’t have much time for letting our thoughts wander. That’s why my experience in Melbourne taught me to leave space for idleness. Because I am more in line with myself and my life when I let my thoughts wander around regularly.
Aristotle would be proud – in antiquity the highest value was idleness.

BUD principle

I love to own things. In my past I always wanted to own everything that somehow seemed interesting to me. I sometimes still have the tendency to do that. Most of the times I nowadays realize that it is not important to me to own stuff, but to actually use stuff.

So more and more often, before buying I ask myself the following question: Do I have any other possibility to use what I am aiming to buy other actually buying it. Often I come up with an idea of trying it out for a few times and then letting go again. Sometimes it works just fine to share stuff with somebody else. Sometimes I buy already used stuff because, it will be used the same the minute I unbox it.
I also buy things that I now I will hand on to somebody else and/or I am going to resell. That would even be better when I already bought it used. That’s almost like sharing.

Sharing is the new owning!

But, you know… sometimes there are these things that I just want to have. I am sure I am going to use it every day. For me those things have to be according to the BUD principle.

BUD: beautiful – useful – durable

I love beautiful things. I want my things to be beautiful. If resources are used and people put their time into producing something that I will spend my money on it shall be worth the effort and be something beautiful.

I also don’t want to carry a burden with me either. Stuff I own has to be useful. There are definitely many beautiful things that are not useful to me. They might be useful to somebody else. If I can’t find a reason why they are useful to me, they are meant for somebody else.

I want it to be durable. Why? If something is not durable and basically produced for the trashcan I don’t I want to buy it. I don’t want to own garbage.

When you buy stuff at all, always remember BUD!

a new discovered freedom

the simplicity of happiness on swiss trails
A free day to me is a day in nature, in the mountains, on meadows, on my own feet with a rucksack on my back and depending on the season with trail or snowshoes on my feet and sticks in my hands.

Already days before, I think about that day. Where I will go, which mountain peak I am going to explore and which trail am I going to show my shoes that day. The anticipation is big and that very day my feet tingle in the morning… soon I will be up and running.
The scenery especially if there is good sight is breathtaking. The pure view enlightening and every change of perspective offers something new and thrilling for my eyes to see and my heart is yelling: I want to see this mountaintop and want to walk on that meadow.
Infinite freedom. Starting at the threshold of my home trails are passing and they lead me to others trail and those to even more.The trail network spans thousands of kilometers passing lakes and going along huge mountainranges. Unlimited possibilities for small trailruns, bigger trailruns, extensive hikes, and soo much more…
A paradise to me! And so simple – not much equipment needed, no big deal… but lots of space and time for me and us.

It can be so simple to find out, what makes you happy, but way too often, it’s just so difficult.

thankful for the moment

I just spent my last week in Sahara with the members of „sahara experience III“. My intention was and is to show others how different life can be. Even I forget, that everything I do in my life, I do by free choice. In almost every case I have the choice to do something different or to not do it at all. I just have to live with the consequences.

I focus on all the little things me and others keep complaining about. Situations that we would so much like to be different. I try to remind myself that it is still my own choice to react the way I want to.
What I keep forgetting though, is how much we managed to keep our world in its boundaries in the western world. We can barely imagine a power cut, not to talk about anything severe. In my everyday life, the worst thinghappening to me is that I lose my internet connection. I rarely think about other people on this planet, who don’t live in such a technological world and how they have to deal with the powers of nature.
After we arrived in M’Hamid, a week ago, the sun was still shining and then the weather turned slowly into a heavy sandstorm that day. I still thought that this was a one day sandstorm that will disappear again after some hours and well, fortunately it did.
Unfortunately it came back every day with one big difference. From the following morning on we were in the desert and headed directly into the direction the wind (and all the sand) came from. I had a feeling that I normally don’t have. I was helpless. I hated the sand in my eyes, I hated the sand in my nose, I hated the sand in my lungs. All I wanted to do was hide from it, but I couldn’t. I had to move against it. Resting didn’t really help either. Preparing food was like playing in the sand. In the night the sandstorm slowed down, to come back every now and then leaving loads of sand in my sleeping bag. Even when I woke up, I was chewing on sand. Nothing helped but to become stoic. Just keep on moving and hope for the storm to settle down. On the evening of the third day it settled down. The sky cleared up and we had the first night with stars shining. In the end, we had a remarkable experience and could enjoy the clear nights with music around the fire even more. We knew that it wasn’t for granted.
I suppose this is the way the world goes round. It’s not always and everywhere sunshine. Sometimes problems occur and you have to go through hard times. It doesn’t help to hide from your problems. That won’t make them better. The only way to deal with them is to face them and work your way through. Once they lie behind you, it is even nicer to enjoy the smooth times. You deserve it because you made it through and that feels good.
If you manage to think about that, you will live a happier life.
I hope, that, when everything runs smooth for me, I will always remember not to take that for granted and that I’ll always be thankful for the moment.
Now I am enjoying Taghazout in Morocco for one week. No sandstorm and nowhere to walk. Just time to relax, organize, plan ahead and write.
I am thankful to be here.

feel free to use my content

Inspired by one of the most popular writers on the topic of simplicity, Leo Babauta I decided to keep it like him concerning copyright. Whatever I write, I write it because I want it to be read. All the words I am using are not my own anyway. I didn’t make them up, they are your words as well. Somewhere I’ve heart them before. I just put them into another compilation. So go ahead and use them.

I hereby release my copyright on my content.
You won’t need to contact me, if you want to use my words. Use it however you want! Email it, share it, reprint it with or without credit. Change it around if you like and publish it. That’s OK.
Credit and payment
While you are under no obligation to do so, I would appreciate it, if you give me credit for any work of mine that you use, and ideally, link back to the original. If you feel like spreading a copy of content you needed to pay for, I’d appreciate payment. I’d prefer to get paid for my work but if you want to share it with friends, you have every right to do so.
Why I’m releasing copyright
I’m not a big fan of copyright laws anyway, especially as they’re being applied these days by corporations, used to crack down on the little guys so they can continue their large profits.
Copyrights are often touted as protecting the artist, but in most cases the artist gets very little while the corporations make most of the money.
I think, in most cases, the protectionism that is touted by “anti-piracy” campaigns and lawsuits and lobbying actually hurts the artist. Limiting distribution to protect profits isn’t a good thing.
The lack of copyright never hurt Leonardo da Vinci when it comes to images such as the Mona Lisa, the Last Supper, or the Vitruvian Man. It’s never hurt Shakespeare. It might have never really hurt any artist, although I don’t know for sure.
And while I’m no da Vinci or Shakespeare, I don’t know if that is going to work for me. If someone feels like sharing my content on their blog, or in any other form for that matter, that seems like a good thing for me. If someone wanted to share my work with 100 friends, I feel like that is a good thing to me.
And if someone wants to take my work and improve upon it, as artists have been doing for centuries, I think that’s a wonderful thing. If they can take my favorite posts and make something funny or inspiring or thought-provoking or even sad … I say more power to them.
The creative community only benefits from derivations and inspirations.
This isn’t a new concept though. Of course, and I’m freely ripping ideas off here. Well, that’s what this post is about, right?

And yes, I have heard the following argument before:
But … but … they’re stealing from you! **
And I can only tell you:
**You can’t steal what is given freely. I call this sharing, not piracy.

Inspirations: Zen Habits by Leo Babauta, Free Culture by Lawrence Lessig; and GNU by Richard Stallman

over

without words:

my new podcast

I am so excited. Soon I will launch my own podcast.

After recording and broadcasting several podcast at guerrillaFM I received so much positive feedback. Since I had so much fun recording those podcasts and like talking so much I thought about an own podcast series.
Talking, especially in a dialogue is more flexibel than just writing. So I team up with Mr. Guerrilla Marketing in Germany: Anthony Owen and record most podcast as a dialogue between the two of us.
All the podcast will be accessible on iTunes and I will also post them here. At the moment the first 4 recorded shows are being cut… I’ll let you now, when we start.
One challenge for you English speakers remains: You will need to learn some German for the podcast.

maintain routines

During the last few weeks I caught a few bad colds (caused by… well, let’s call them modified baby germs). I saw routines and habits I hoped to have learned vanish. For example the the habit of daily writing of blogposts disappeared.

Normally I try to discover my habits to challenge and change them. I think that routines, habits and beliefs limit my freedom and my decision making. On the other hand routines help to simplify life. It helps when you don’t have to think about every single step that you take. In my case it helps me a lot when I don’t have to think about where and when to write. If I follow a daily routine it becomes just natural. At least I thought so.

Unfortunately I found out that I forget such „positive“ routines again and again. At least that shows me that I can work on my „negative“ routines and change or unlearn them as well.

Lets work on it!

Do you sometimes do things you don’t like? Try to focus on what triggers that behavior. Think about a specific situation where the behavior occurs? What is the trigger?
How would you like to behave instead?
Did you behave like that before?
Can you copy the behavior from a different situation?
If not, try to practice the desired behavior. Next time you experience the trigger think about the new behavior.
In both cases you have an orientation and you can picture the desired behavior to copy it into the current situation.
Important! If you managed to behave in a new way, treat yourself. Drink your favorite coffee, go for a walk… whatever feels good to you.

If you manage to behave the desired way daily for two weeks straight, the chance rise that you established a new behavior.

Enjoy!

more than honey

Honey and bees are such a nice metaphor. Bees dedicate their whole life to the best for the community. Bees in the summer collect nectar for honey, so their successors in the wintertime won’t starve. Only if every part of the bee community fulfills its own mission the hive can survive and thrive.

As it is such a fragile system the bees live in and it is similar in the world where they find their food. In their direct surrounding they need to find flowers that produce nectar and pollen. If it is too cold, the bees can’t fly, if it is too rainy flowers might not open and the bees can’t fly. If it becomes to hot the flowers may wither. Even in an all natural world it seems as a wonder that bees survive throughout the years.

As it happened to be I started to keep bees on myself in 2003. It fascinated me from the first moment I opened a beehive. What I had to learn while keeping bees is that nowadays life became even harder for bees. When you have the possibility to look into such a fragile structure as a bee hive, you have a direct mirror for what is going on around you.

Farmers are growing only one crop so bees starve once this crop has no more flowers. Since every part of the countryside was turned into farmland. Crops are heavily treated with pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides. No other plant than the desired crops are growing anymore.

Furthermore the applied chemicals can be found in wax and honey. If you are truly concerned about collecting a clean and precious bee products you have to worry about nature as well. On top of these problems, scientists imported a bee mite from Asia in the last century. This mite is decimating bees around the globe and industrial beekeepers started to implement chemical pharma products until the mites became resistant 10 years ago.

This shows me that it might not be healthy to engineer and to try to improve nature. Concerning the bees it might be the best, to reduce stress for them as much as possible and give them time to adapt to the mites, which means less honey for us. Bees in Asia are coping with it as well. The more we give our bees the right to reproduce as they like the more we might give them the chance to survive. I try to leave as much honey as possible to my bees and let them on their own for most of the year. That reduces the amount of honey I can collect per year but I believe this adds up to its superior quality.

These principles might apply to nature in general as much as for dealing with people especially our kids as well.

  • Don’t optimize all the time.
  • Give them space.
  • Give them the right to be imperfect.
  • Give them the freedom to learn.

Control is just an illusion!

it is such a boring place… and that is the point

Next Sahara Experience starts on April 16th and there are only three places left. Here is some inspiration from the school of life:

right or wrong?

After my last post I received an email from one of my (now former) subscribers of the newsletter. He wrote, that he feels very sorry, but that I was fundamentally wrong with my approach of simplicity. What matters is „the one true essential“ in life. The question that I should ask is “what matters most in life? But I ask myself: Is there only „one way“ of living life the right way to be happy?

Just in case you are wondering because it might seem as if I am preaching the ‚one way to happiness‘… I am not. I am only suggesting potential ways. I tried many ways for myself and want to share what I experienced. I heard through others about their approach to happiness and found much truth in what they said. I saw that the struggles they had, applied to my life as well. So I tried different ideas from different people and I am creating my own mixture for happiness now. And you can witness it while happening.
At the moment I can say: I have never been as much in peace with myself as I am now.
And still I know it’s still a long way to go.
It is remarkable that I heard about these concepts long ago in my teens when I tried to find what life is all about. But I did not want to listen. I thought there is so much more in the world. I didn’t want to be in peace with just myself. I thought, whenever I reach the point that I can do everything in the world I could ever dream of, I am free and then I will be in peace with myself.
And while I grew up more and more (material things) showed up in my life. I wanted to have them all.
Today I understand that it is not enough to read about these ideas. They have to grow from the inside. From your own understanding. That is why my ideas are just offerings.

One day frustration hit me. To put it simple: More stuff didn’t mean more happiness to me.
So I tried to focus on the basics of life, but I couldn’t focus on what I really wanted. There were just too many options. My life was pure procrastination.

To find the basic meaning in my life does not stand in contrast to living ‚simplicity‘ and to declutter my stuff.
The more I gave up, the more:

  • positive emotion
  • passion
  • responsibility
  • curiosity
  • understanding
  • love

I discovered in my life.

We are human beings not machines. We are able to perform, create and manage but above all we have a soul and feelings. The more we focus on doing, producing and functioning the more we lose our inner nature, the interaction with others and we end up suffering.
For example, after I have given away a lot of my possessions and started traveling intensively I deeply understood how connected everything on earth is. It made me realize that I don’t want to live on more resources than can be reproduced during my lifetime. I understood that all I am consuming is just borrowed from the next generation and shared with present generations. I have the desire to focus on more spirit and less stuff.

To sum this up, it is not about the right way to live a happy life. It is about showing ways to declutter your life so much than you can discover the essential in your life.

a good year

THIS IS A GOOD YEAR TO HAVE A GOOD YEAR!

The future is ours and an empty page. Imagination that leads to action creates happiness. Welcome 2015! Let’s shape it together. Imagine and act.

what is simplicity about

I stumbled upon this concept about 1 1/2 years ago. I was questioning myself and life in general and thought about what I would really like to do. I came up with my adventure idea: Sahara by foot. Special about walking is that you have to carry all of your stuff yourself. Since there are certain limits, I had to focus on what was really necessary.

During that research I found out about other people living the concept of minimalism/simplicity. I liked it, because they were so much happier than ever before. It seemed so simple. Just get rid of all the stuff you don’t need and minimize your stress. Only later I had to find out that most of the things are connected to beliefs and it became really hard to let go of things I actually didn’t need.
After I came back from a three weeks trip in the desert I was overwhelmed with all the stuff I had a home. At that time I decided to take this approach seriously. Since I just moved to my girlfriend I decided to bring only the stuff I really needed. All the things I touched were questioned: When did I use them the last time? Did I miss them at any time?
In most cases the answer was quite simple: NO.

I had two or three eBay auctions running at all times and I gave away the rest for free.

One of the websites that I discovered at that time and which posts I am always reading are the minimalists and they describe their 21 days journey towards minimalism:
Here is a quote out of their journey. Have a look as well:

It is amazing to realize that we often don’t need the things we think we need. And it’s equally amazing to think about what the true cost of these things are. The dishwasher from yesterday is one example. But everything we buy has extra costs associated with them, not just the price on the price tag. They cost you money, which cost you time to earn. They cost you more time to take care of (e.g., wash your car, clean your furniture, etc.). They take up extra space in your house or apartment, which costs you more money because you need to procure extra square footage just to hold all of your shit.

The things we think we need…

That electronic gadget you wanted so bad six months ago? You know, the one you don’t ever use. What’s that? It’s in a junk drawer or a closet? Really?

Or how about that shirt you just “had to have” last season? How’s that working out for you? Couldn’t live without it, right?

That new car? Great, huh? How many more payments left? Oh, really? Just 42 more? At least it has leather seats that warm your ass on your long drive home from your eleven hour workday, the workday you’re forced to return to tomorrow so you can continue to make those car payments.

The bottom line? It’s all just stuff. And you don’t need it.

But because you have it doesn’t make you a bad person; it just means that your priorities are out of whack. Believe me, we know; our priorities have been out of whack for quite some time. But our journey into minimalism has helped us re-prioritize; it has helped us focus on what’s important. That pair of shoes you put on layaway just isn’t important.

happiness is your choice

Are you happy? Congratulations! I am truly glad for you. I hope you know why, so you can keep that feeling for your lifetime.
You are not happy? I truly feel sorry for you and hope you will be able to change that in the future.

I believe that it is our own choice whether we are happy or we`re not. It is only a question of our mindset. Different people may experience the same situation differently. Some focus on the good and other on the bad. I experienced that people only pay attention to a certain situation when they give it any relevance to their own life. You can influence what is relevant to you and what not. That is easily said and I know for myself how difficult it is to take the personal choice to be happy.

Being happy in general doesn’t mean you never suffer or can’t be sad. But it is a mindset to focus on the good in your life. And there is good in the worst situation. If you focus on that you can pull yourself out of any situation. I needed to figure that out in my own life, trust me, there is always something good.

In any case I wish you find the right mindset to master your life at your best and have a wonderful and happy 2015. Thank you for reading my writings in the rollercoaster year of 2014 and I hope you stay tuned.

HAPPY NEW YEAR

enjoy the holidays

I have been traveling for the whole December and tried to defocus as much as possible. Although I was preparing some new posts and stories because of all the collected impressions I tried to stay offline. My last three weeks took me mainly by bus to Agadir, Ouarzazate, Zagora, Marrakech, Casablanca, Kairo and Dar Es Salaam (by plane) Zanzibar, Tanga, Lushoto, Moshi, Arusha, Ngorongoro, Serengeti and back to Dar Es Salaam. Here I met my little friend on the photo who reminded me to enjoy the here and now. I will go to Zanzibar on the 25th and stay for one month to let the impression have an affect. I am happy that I am here and that I do what I do.

I will write new post and stories at the end of the year.
I hope you will find the time during the holiday to have some time for yourself. Treat yourself good and take it easy. It is your life.

I send you WARMTH & SUNSHINE, Florian

m’hamid under water

Three weeks ago, I thought I would simply fly to Agadir, take a night bus to Zagora and a Taxi to M’Hamid to visit my friend Yahya and walk for one week through Sahara’s heat. I ended up in the rain at the Atlantik coast, in a surfers hot spot, in an overfull minibus in Sahara, at a river where no river is, freezing in the desert, out of five nights in a row three in a bus or a plane.

How did that happen? As I wrote on one of my previous posts, southern Morocco was pretty much under water and all the streets going further south were closed. So I ended up working some days in a small surfers hot spot called Taghazout. Since I had enough work to be finished, I enjoyed the Wifi I found at any café and my hostel.
When the weather settled down and the sun was shining the second day in row some roads toward Ouarzazate and Zagora were cleared and I took the nightbus there. Although traveling in the night I could tell that bridges were damaged and the street at some places went over dirttracks. I was really surprised that obviously the buses in Morocco not only drive without Airconditioning in the summer but also without heating in the winter. I pretty much froze my butt off. In Zagora I tried to pick the „Grand Taxi“ to Zagora which are special enough. But since the two bridges between Zagora and Taghonite were destroyed it looked at first if I couldn’t find a way to get there… Two Moroccan tried to sell me a 4×4 trip right away, but I thought, that if a 4×4 can find a route there will be others who drive there with their normal cars. I was right and found a minibus. These are the normal Mercedes transporter with seats, plastic chairs and wooden benches in it. That way 22 people fit in one car and tons of stuff on the roof. Off we went for 2,80€ three hours mostly off road to M’Hamid.
There I was and as unbelievable as it seemed to me M’Hamid was now divided by a large and three meter deep river. Unfortunately local officials decided to rebuilt the bridge over that river. It was without water for years now. A day after the old one was torn down, it started raining and the river came back. Since the normal desert inhabitant can’t swim and boats are normally not built in the desert there was no way to go from the one side to the other. To help the other side with food army trucks were going a 150KM detour route to find the next bridge.
Outside the little town the desert was covered with greens and rocks seemed to be covered by velvet greens. Even the highest dunes were completely wet as soon as you dig more than three cm. As soon as I was in the shade, clouds covered the sun or it was becoming night I started freezing a lot. I wore everything I had with me and was so happy I had my 0°C down sleeping bag with me.
My friends’ desert camp was flooded, destroyed and swam away just days earlier. He showed me the video of the helicopter coming to rescue the Swiss guest who called the Swiss Ambassador to rescue them, sitting in a tent on top of the dunes… leaving the Moroccan back. They just waited another day and walked back to M’Hamid. Obviously the Swiss had an appointment they needed to make.
We discussed until late in the night, what needs to be done before new year. They have bookings but no camp and Dec/Jan is the most important season for the desert camp.
I once again learnt to put things into perspective. What is an appointment you have to make compared to your whole existence? Especially if you consider the costs of the evacuation (Switzerland has to pay) being more expensive than the rebuilding of the whole camp will be.
And still… all my friends had to say about it: I’m neither happy nor sad, it is the way it is and we just figure out how to proceed. For sure, you never know what’s going to happen tomorrow…

due to the current situation

 

other than expected

Sometimes I make plans and everything turns out to different.

I left Germany yesterday and expected to be in Sahara today. Well, what I did not expect was so much rain. All routes going south are closed. No busses are driving at the moment. I met some Germans that were lost. Helped them to find their Hotel. Over closed roads and broken bridges, went to a small surfers village north of Agadir, met somebody whom I will help with his website for his hostel and therefor can stay free of charge. I will proceed to the desert when the road are open again. My lesson once again: take it easy and it will turn out good.

how you put giraffe in fridge – 3 steps

I am on my way into the desert again. After the heaviest rainfall in southern Morocco that people can remember it seems as if the desert is not only green, but as if I will be able to go for swim. The situation will be something absolutely new and I am excited what I will learn out of this trip.

Traveling by foot in Sahara is an act of meditation and focus on the easiness of life. When waking up, you can neither go to the kitchen nor to the next bakery. If you want a coffee you have to make fire first.
When you walk, there is no distraction. Landscape changes only as fast as you walk. That will be about the fastest movement you will see during the whole trip, unless you try to catch a wild donkey, which I tried last time. I tell you. They are way faster than you expect.
All you do in the evenings is stare in the fire or to the stars. And you can tell or listen to stories. Last time we heard the following question one night: How do you put a giraffe into fridge in three steps? Do you have an idea? Write the answer in the comments.
As this trip is relying so much on simplicity I tried to to realize the most simple packing list I ever travelled with. I am carrying the following with me:

  • trekking backpack
  • runners backpack
  • thin mattress
  • sleeping bag
  • soap, toothpaste, toothbrush, deodorant, towel, scissors, razor blades
  • sewing kit
  • Ducktape
  • one pair Chala-Sandals
  • one pair of socks
  • two undershorts
  • two T-shirts
  • one short pair of pants
  • one long pair of pants
  • one longsleeve
  • one hoodie
  • one hardshelljacked
  • one blue tuaregturban
  • two buffs
  • one short runners tights
  • stove
  • gasbottle
  • multitool
  • headlamp
  • onepan
  • one pot
  • one mug
  • salt
  • spoon
  • fork
  • water bottle
  • drinking bag 10l
  • paper tissue
  • MacBook Air
  • USB Internet Stick
  • cellphone
  • Gopro Hero
  • one writing blog
  • one pen

My plan is to fly directly to Tansania after the Saharatour and travel through east Africa for two week. After that I will stay on the Islands of Sansibar for Christmas, New Years and my birthday. I want to live simple, run a lot and find my time for writing. All of that under the African sky and in front of the Indian Ocean. It is a test I will write about…

Keep in mind: next edition will be April 16th to 23rd 2015

no digital nomads

Do you want to know what the sahara experience is like? I read a blog post the other day.

It is about the „analog nomads“. Katharina & Henryk used to be both Berlin based and are now traveling the world to collect memories. Having digital jobs they try to keep working while on the road and therefor write about the digital nomads. In this article nevertheless they put down their memories being unplugged, living by the rise and the dawn of the sun in the Moroccon Sahara. I  immediately thought about me (and maybe soon our) time in the desert.

why EMMA?

Why oh why did we choose Emma? We had two good paying jobs in Berlin. A really nice apartment in Kreuzberg that was not only good situated but also calm, with a southside balcony, a view over Schlesischer Busch and Treptower Park. We were able to combine all good sides of city live. Everything in walking distance with an idyllic view. Organic and regional supermarkets with international restaurants. Friends with lots of activity possibilities. Why would somebody give that up?

Well, I can tell you at least why we gave that up almost a year ago. Both of us love traveling and we have already seen a bit of the world. We like Berlin and we enjoyed our life there. But we had one feeling in common. The more we saw of the world, the more we had the feeling that most of it remained unseen. It became obvious to us that we wanted more. Life is so extraordinary and has so many variations around the world that sticking to one place for rest of our lifes felt like a limitation.
Life is a journey. It’s about travelling, it’s about moving forward. Time doesn’t stand still. Time is always now, but a twink of an eye later it is past and the future lies ahead and everything is changing. The thought to preserve a status quo is an illusion. Time moves on. The moment that you truly don’t move on anymore as a person you are dead. We are not yet and want to decide about our life, not fitting into a system because others may think that it should be like that.
This massive wish for personal freedom made us want to break free and enjoy as much freedom as possible. Freedom means to be as less dependent on others as possible. Most people I know (including me) are dependent on certain financial situations. Made commitments in the past and have to deliver nowadays. Having ongoing contracts, be it with your landlord, your telephone company, your employer is also limiting your personal free choice.

Therefore we took four decisions:
1. Quit ongoing contracts (apartment, telephone, internet) and switched to an RV and prepaid contracts
2. Quit our jobs respectively changed to a halftime
3. bought a historic (analog) car without IT systems, so we could repair everything independently
4. We started travelling and worked on the road

It was incredible to experience how much time I had after leaving my comfort zone. So much of the stuff we do during a day was dominated by routines. Although I thought that I was even quite flexible before it but found it amazing how much you win when you have less stuff to care about.
With a lack of distraction it becomes obvious to me what I dislike. Much of that I left behind. With little left to disagree with my mind focused more and more on what I really love, really value.

  • Running
  • Nature
  • Writing
  • Teaching
  • Silence
  • Peace
  • Tranquility
  • Smoothness

Having this in mind I keep thinking about to achieve more of this for myself in the future.

The more I see, the more I know how little I know.

Life is a journey. I am traveling.

the little things in life

If you believe that the big things matter most go on a long journey with an old car. I believe that the little things define the quality of our life. When we bought our car to go live on the road and travel a lot, we thought a lot about what car to buy, but once on the road, other things became important to us.

Looking back I have to admit that I had absolutely no clue about cars when we bought Emma. I could test whether it is running or not. Once we were on the road much more mattered.

  • How fast does it go?.
  • How much gas does it use at which speed?
  • How loud is it inside at which speed?

It did not only matter anymore if everything was running when we started. Now it mattered:

  • How often do they have to be replaced?
  • How easy is it to buy spare parts?
  • How easy are they to change on the road?

We wanted to have water in our RV to be more independent, but on the road it was important:

  • How much water do we use per day?
  • How much water fits in the car?
  • How do we get new water when traveling?
  • How easy is it to fill up the water?

You see, that list can go on for ever. More important than these question concerning our car and our travel became the details. The big decisions in our life mark the direction we move, but as written before the details define the quality. I use these questions over and over in my coachings. Often it is not so important what you do but how you do it. What are the things you love doing. If you like conversation, does it mean in person, in meetings, in presentations, on the phone, written? Do you prefer that people come towards you or do you want to start the conversation? Do you prefer to listen more or talk?
Similar to these questions you can try to find out the details about every aspect in your life, private and professional. It might help you to examine why exactly you like some situations and others not.

When you try to remember a situation that you want to examine, try to rebuild it in your memory and then focus on the details. You rebuild it with remembering and paying attention all your 6 senses.

  • What do you see? Anything else? Black/white or color? Which color? Bright or soft? Anything else…?
  • What do you hear? Anything else? Loud or soft? Continuing or repeating? Anything else?
  • What do you smell? Anything else? Sweet? Fruity? Anything else?
  • What do you taste? Bitter? Sour? Anything else?
  • What do you feel? Where do you feel it? Warm or cold? Pulsating or steady? Anything else?

Now you, have everything at hand to change the details for future situation. Pay attention to it. It is not only important what job you have or what vacation you do. It is always about HOW you do it

a european dirtbag’s eight-month road-trip

A while ago I wrote an article for dirtbagrunners a pretty cool American site of easy going sandal wearing ultra runners. Have a look yourself:

It took me a while to get where I am now.

Living in an RV, running ultra distances, working remote while sitting at the beach in board shorts, organizing adventure seminars, writing my blogs. Most of all: not putting too much focus into the expectations of others. When I started my long journey (and I am not even halfway there), I remembered what I used to love about being a kid: Running in the woods, playing in the mud, and not caring much about anything else.

One of the first things I did to change my life from being a suit wearing, business doing arrogant piece of… myself… was doing sports again. Little by little, first in the gym, then outside, then with minimal shoes (I read about vibrams fivefingers before), then travel & sports, then longer distances, then sandals, then solo in Sahara, then barefoot, …then ultra.
The more time I spent running outside the more free I felt. I did not want to go back home.

Home… what is that supposed to mean anyway? When all you strive for is to see more of the things you haven’t seen so far?

After having rearranged almost all aspects of my old life, I knew, I didn’t want to stay at one place anymore. I am the best version of myself when I am free and traveling. Judy, who loves that idea, has lived in different southern African countries for three year during her studies and was bored by her life as a surgeon in a Berlin based hospital. She quit her job for half a year, we gave our apartment in Berlin to friends, bought a small 1971 Mercedes truck that was converted into an RV in 1981, our EMMA and off we went. Quite old-school and slow but that became the way of our travel.

We couldn’t go fast anywhere, but time didn’t matter anyway. All we owned was with us. I worked internet based because gas still wanted to be paid for. It was still winter in Europe and our first destination was Africa and the Sahara. On our way there, we travelled through Switzerland, went snowboarding, left for France and then Spain. If spring didn’t come towards us, we would search and find it somewhere else. The Almond trees were flowering and were coloring the valleys pink. While snow was covering the peaks of Sierra Nevada we slowly moved through a colored scenery.
It’s funny how your perspective changes when you change the circumstances of your life.

With most of Europe being populated quite densely it is not easy to find a place to stay for the night. “Camping” is only allowed in “camping places”, and if you rest anywhere else somebody will notice and might want to argue with you about that not being allowed. Living in anything else than a house is officially illegal in most of Europe. In Berlin, being a tolerant city, you will find places with several other historic campers while in the rest of Germany and even more so in Switzerland this is causing quite some excitement.

Southern France along the mediteranean sea is used to thousands of RVs and mobile homes in the summer (all being tourists for a week or two). As a result even entering the cities or villages with an RV is often prohibited.

Completely different in Spain. With these huge landscapes and very few inhabitants, it seems as if nobody cares if you stay somewhere in the mountains or even in abandoned places right next to the rough sea. What is new to us though, is being absolutely alone. When you think that every noise you hear outside shouldn’t  be there. But nobody cares about us, not the dogs we hear in the distance nor the very few cars passing us seldomly. Soon, we leave Spain for Morocco where two friends of ours accompany us for three weeks. That is so perfect about traveling, well… living in an RV. If somebody wants to join us we always find a place for them to stay. No worries about booking or organizing a vacation. Just pick them up and drive somewhere nice.

The North African country of Morocco is just on the other side of the Mediterranean sea at the street of Gibraltar. I seems as if you could swim there. Although being near to Europe, Morocco is a different story. When it is getting dark there, it is getting dark. Mostly no streetlights and if you are not in a bigger city almost no lights at all. Nevertheless people will appear from somewhere. You think you are alone. No city, no village near and night appearing, but people show up from somewhere. They try to talk to you, sell you something or trade something for weed. If we don’t want anything it happens that the frustrated seller, tries to unscrew something from the car.

Or… police show up at three in the night threatening to arrest us and then guiding us to the next camping place, which I am sure belongs to a cousin. So we just drive of to another place. Talking almost no Arabic and no Berber language doesn’t make communication easier unless the Moroccon speaks french what many do. This combination makes us uneasy, so most of the time we pay someone a Euro per night or day to “watch” us. As long as you “belong” to a Moroccon, all the others don’t even dare to talk to you.

As I find out soon, running is not that easy in Morocco. Because… I’m white. White people are thought to be rich. White people are also thought to be lazy and to loose their orientation without any car navigation. In Morocco you run only if you are poor. Nobody runs for the fun of it.
Now those Moroccons see this white guy running alone. That can only mean:
A) he is lost,
B) in danger or
C) stupid,
…or maybe all together.

In any case, these are reasons enough to stop the person from running and offer to help them (for money) or try to sell them something. Or, send them in the wrong direction so they can later ask for help to find the way back (for money).

Remarkably, the further we leave the touristic regions and the poorer the inhabitants become, the friendlier, nicer and more helpful the people are. It seems to me as if money consumption and the full shelves of the supermarkets corrupt the people.

Meet someone in the middle in the desert and I guarantee you they will be friendly. The nicest people we therefore met lived in very remote areas. The scarier it might appear to a western city person, the more safe you are and the deeper and better the experience becomes. The most peaceful nights we have, are deep n the Sahara dunes. More than a day trip away from the next place of civilization.

We stop and run in the Riff mountains, in the windy city of Essaouira, chaotic colorful Marrakesch, the high Atlas mountains, the perfect surf spots near Agadir (staying directly at the breaking waves of the Atlantic Ocean), the Sahara desert near the Algerian border, the middle Atlas, the 1500 year old historic town of Fes, Chefchoun all the way up in the mountains in the worlds largest weed-growing region and all the way through Spain and France and Belgium and Germany back to Berlin.

Berlin is easy again. It is summer and it seems as if Berlin becomes the nicest place to be as long as the sun is shining. Pretty much in the center of Berlin you  find a former airport (Tempelhof) which is now a huge park, about 3 by 3 kilometers. And you can stay near it with your RV. Perfect for running, chilling, landkiting, sitting in a coffee bar with free wifi and some time for writing.

Judy already starts her new position as a surgeon in a Swiss hospital in Thun in August. Unfortunately the legal circumstances in Switzerland make it quite necessary to have an apartment for her. End of September Judy rents an apartment just outside the city, five kilometers up the mountain with a view on Thuner lake and several snow-covered mountains. The scenery seems to be a gigantic adventure park for grown up kids.

Eight month lie behind us. We lost most of our conventions somewhere on the road. Life seems to be everthing that happens outside your office. The most beautiful moments are outside by foot and preferably on single trails. We are focusing a new challenge at the moment. Two full-time jobs in Western Europe and two hearts striving for freedom. As long as there are alpine trails to be discovered this might work.

Floh is a do it yourself, whatever it is you wanna do guy. While earning his money as the ‘Glücklichtrainer’ which means happiness coach in German he finds true bliss when running ultra trails. Having put this desire away for most of his twenties he is up and running since his 30st birthday increasing quantity and quality ever since and decreasing equipment needed to do so. Since January 2014 he lives in his 1971 Mercedes-Benz RV and is traveling Europe and North Africa with his girlfriend Judy in search for running adventures & the meaning of life.
Living the motto: Minimize the stuff you need and maximize the happiness you experience!
He writes (mostly in German) about running at nativerunners.com and about mnimalist life at simplicity-of-happiness.com

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