Posts By flohjoe

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

happy#097 – start with persistance

So many people want to already reach the goal the moment they start with something. At least they want to know every single step until they make it to the goal. If they don’t they won’t even start.
I can tell you that sometimes it just is so much more effective to just get it started and then show enough persistence to keep going and learn from the feedback.

happy#103 – a snake

Sometimes, something as deadly as a snake will remind me of how much it makes sense to enjoy the time that I have.

happy#104 – first impression

Although you should always give somebody the chance for a second impression, it helps to be aware of how important the first impression is and prepare to live up to your best when you meet somebody for the first time.

happy#094 – heritage & identity

Ever thought about your identity being shaped by what your your ancestors might have experienced? Well, if not, maybe you should.

happy#102 – stuck

Sometimes, something as deadly as a snake will remind me of how much it makes sense to enjoy the time that I have.Whenever you are stuck, remember that this is just a state. Sometimes it is even only a habit. You won’t solve that situation by doing more of what brought you there in the first place. Change the perspective. Step back and see it as an advice you give to others…
And then do it.

five sentences policy

The Problem
E-mail takes too long to respond to, resulting in continuous inbox overflow for those who receive a lot of it.

The Solution

Treat all email responses like SMS text messages, using a set number of letters per response. Since it’s too hard to count letters, we count sentences instead.

FIVE SENTENCES is a personal policy that all email responses regardless of recipient or subject will be five sentences or less. It’s that simple.

* See also: two.sentenc.es, three.sentenc.es, four.sentenc.es and five.sentenc.es.

** To begin using this system, optionally copy this text and paste it into your e-mail signature:

——————————————–
Q: Why is this email so short?
A: https://simplicity-of-happiness.com/five/

happy#101 – crashing dreams

After having talked about chasing dreams in the last episode I want to make clear that besides living your dream it can also make sense to fail in your dreams. Beter than chasing dream for all of your life it is better to either live it or find out that it is just not a dream anymore.

happy#099 – don’t take the rainbow serious

What makes up your personality? Is it your thoughts? If yes… what are your thoughts? Are they anyhow physical? Did you ever touch them? Are they solid?
I guess that most of the answers will be a no. So as you can watch and like or dislike a rainbow, you could also treat your thoughts. Don’t take them to serious. Don’t take yourself too serious.

Let the good and the bad thoughts come and go and you… be yourself!

happy#100 – chasing dreams

Do you have dreams or do you live your dreams?
Maybe both. In any case living your dreams might just not feel as desirable as you thought before and you might keep chasing and chasing for new dreams.

Whatever you do. Pause every once in a while and value what you already have.

happy#098 – direct your view

Our internal Spamfilter saves us from most of the information that our nervous system provides every second. Approximately the factor 1 million. When you manage to direct your view and your first attention to a topic that was filtered before you can gain a huge amount of new information over the next week.

happy#095 – pressure or motivation

How do you like to be motivated by others? Pressure of motivation? 
So how do you motivate yourself? And does it make sometimes sense to be motivated through pressure for a while?

happy#096 – weather in your head

It is not the weather that makes you feel good or bad it is always yourself. Have you ever been sad when the sun is shining? Have you ever been happy when it was raining? 
There we go! Isn’t it the same with all of your thoughts?

There is no good or bad. There are just thoughts and you alone decide wether they make you feel good or bad.mind you can feel however you want to

happy#093 – productivity

When you live your life like a vacation it might be hard to stay focused and keep your productivity up.
Even when you sit yourself down and focus on your work, you might be distracted all over the place.

Today I’ll tell you how I manage to keep my productivity up and get some things done.

happy#092 – awareness

In the last episodes I talked about the concept of time. A conclusion is, that time is always now and that past and future exist only in our mind. One problem of unhappy people might be that their mind are most of the time in the future or the past. Worrying or being regretful. An easy solution to that problem could be, to be more present. Living here and now.

You can train awareness to be here even faster.

happy#091 – concept of time

The concept of time is one that I didn’t understand so far. What if there is no time but just now? Because now is always and always is now.

happy#089 – creativity

What does creativity mean to you and what will you do when you loose your creativity? I believe that most of the people who are working on and dealing with difficult tasks come to a point where they get stuck and miss a new and creative new way of finding solutions.Although meant not literal, it still can be very frightening to let your mental babies, your most loved projects and ideas go. In order to create something even better that sometimes is necessary to evolve to a better version.

happy#090 – killing your babies

Although meant not literal, it still can be very frightening to let your mental babies, your most loved projects and ideas go. In order to create something even better that sometimes is necessary to evolve to a better version.

happy#087 – daily workout

One of the most important factors for a happy life is a healthy body. Furthermore a daily workout gets your metabolism going which can create a positive flow for the whole day.
Give it a try and do it daily.

happy#088 – staying calm

I get into situations every now and then where I react on automatisms that don’t always turn the situation into the better. I worked on it though.Nowadays it doesn’t happen to me that often anymore. At least my reaction doesn’t make the situation worse anymore.

How I got there? By continuous training of the mind.

happy#085 – team management

You can manage a team, company, family country either by rule and force or by participation and positive motivation. I think the latter makes much more sense but what if you don’t meet your goals? Back to control and force?
Or what would be the difference?

happy#086 – consistency

Just having talked about team management I have a very good example for one. How do i motivate somebody who has obviously no interest in working with me/us. I let him go. I let him go and offer a straw that he can come back if he offers an own solution.

happy#083 – balance

If you try to find your balance you might want to start with finding the balance in your body. Just have a seat at the beach and watch a bunch of tourist try to get on a boat and then think about wether or not those people are in balance with themselves.

happy#084 – precision

Talk as precise as you can. Everything in your body and mind is interconnected. If you watch your speech, you’ll train your mind and your thoughts and your behavior will follow to match your thoughts as precise as possible.

happy#082 – email

Email has become one most time saving and one of the most time consuming factors in our daily business and even private life.
Here are some tips how to reduce the stress with the emails.

happy#081 – values

Do you know your hierarchy of values? Which values drive you towards something and which values drive you away from something. Which are important for a happy life and your decision finding process.

Today I tell you how to find out.

happy#080 – change

Change is nothing that sometimes happens and sometimes does not. Change is what makes life be alive. Without change things would exist but would not be alive.
The constant change is what makes a living being.
Stop fighting the change in wishing the good old days to stay as they were. You decide if you want to be part of the change for the better or the worse.
Be the change you want to be in the world!

happy#079 – essentials

What matters most in your life Do you now, or do you just have a slight feeling?

Doing the following list could help you set the direction for your future happy life.

happy#078 – on your own

Today I will tell you the opposite of what I told you yesterday. Do something on your own! Way too long I have spend procrastinating in my own life and I see so many people who spent their days killing time and never being satisfied with what they do.
So yes: Sometimes chill, sometimes play with friends and sometimes consciously do something on your own.

Spend some quality time with yourself!

happy#076 – wellness weekend

The episode: million is just a number, although it might be true, can leave you with a feeling of comparison to other. In the end you might still feel worthless or poor or just treated unfair by life.
I give some ideas how you could also view the very same situation.

happy#077 – playmate

The time of the biggest growth in our life was our childhood. Children develop best and the fastest when they have a buddy to play with, at least in the vast majority. Playing was learning from others and it was fun.

Go out and play!

happy#074 – 21 days

To create a new routine, it will take you approximately 21 days of daily training. That is the idea behind my new online coaching program ‚make life great again’ that will be launched this summer. 21 days of daily input to change your life to one that you truly deserve.

happy#075 – chill out

Chilling is meditation light. When you truly do nothing and just remain in the present, fully alert with all the different senses you are in the present. You are here and now and might become a more relaxed version of yourself.

happy#072 – basic desire: honor

Often I refer to the ReissProfile, an international Motivation Analysis tool. On of the 16 desires is called honor and today I talk why my honor motivation gives me pain and what I can do about it as well as how you can behave with the honor motivation that you might have.

happy#073 – keeping routines

Planning for a new routine might be an easy thing. Well, at least for some. Starting a new routine might also work, but keeping it up until it actually is a solid and reliable routine takes a while. Often people (and me) fail on the way there.
Today I talk about what I do myself to force my unconscious mind (2. Attention) to take my approach serious.

happy#071 – letting go

So often we get involved with things we don’t like or we stay attached with things we don’t like anymore. On others it seems easy to let go. What is the difference?
Find out and let go!

happy#070 – no hate without love

I thought about hate and that I hate hate… Then I realized that there is no hate without love and hate could make you rediscover your love again…

happy#069 – John Lee Dumas – no control

When you „try“ to plan for everything… you might be even more surprised that control is just an illusion.
Having talked about control before this episode is just a friendly reminder.

happy#068 – creating a daily routine

Did you ever make a plan for tomorrow and then you never made it?
Maybe you need a daily routine to make it happen without even thinking about it.

Give it a try. It takes 21 days and will become a habit.

happy#067 – repair & value stuff

Is it our right as human being to use, consume and throw away things?
Maybe… when you take into account that some people use only organic stuff?

Since we are mostly dependent on non organics, we should become more aware of the true value… Repairing broken things might be a step in the right direction.

happy#066 – why why why

Why can be one of the most limiting words in your vocabulary. If you manage to get rid of it it might help to change your whole attitude towards the positive.

happy#065 – learnings from an ultramarathon

Ultramarathon is something that most people don’t do in their life. And still it is something that everyone can learn from for their own life. Running and training for an ultra run is quite similar to reaching a far away goal.
It is the same character traits that are needed to succeed. Most of all, take failure as a feedback and be persistent.Why can be one of the most limiting words in your vocabulary. If you manage to get rid of it it might help to change your whole attitude towards the positive.

happy#064 – frustration

Frustration can be one of the most annoying feelings of all. It can steel all your energy and mostly it doesn’t really help to be a better person. Today I show you one very simple way of turning a bad feeling and mood into a good one.

happy#063 – evernote

Among other tools I use, Evernote is the Centerpiece of my Officeless Office. Almost everything I make, produce, have to remember or write makes it through Evernote at one or another time. Today I give you a short introduction in how I use Evernote in my daily routine.

happy#062 – depth

Financially there is one advice for happiness.
Have no depth!

LINKS: 
www.youneedabudget.com/
Your money or your life: amzn.to/2lrn3DX

happy#059 – say no!

It might happen, that, while trying to be and stay a nice person you say yes, when you are asked for a favor.
Doing that it can be quite hard to stay focused on what you really want. It might even be difficult to even serve those you promised to because you keep getting distracted by other who you also promise a yes.

Sometimes it might be helpful to say no in order to keep your yes.

happy#060 – 100 days

100 days in Zanzibar and 100 days of daily meditation.
It helped me through some frustrated days. I am still struggling sometimes but overall it seems so much easier…

happy#061 – keep your promise

I believe that you will not be truly happy people if you are not a trusted and reliable person, to yourself and others. If you keep letting other people down on your promises. If you don’t keep the promises you make to yourself you won’t honor yourself, you won’t like yourself. 
The bet think about being honorable is that is 100% up to you wether you are or you are not.

happy#058 – a culture of learning

What do you think? How hard is it to personally grow without learning.
I see how different, kids, teenager and later even grown ups behave when they never learnt how to learn.

So do yourself and you kids the favor and create a culture of learning.

Stay young, stay curious, stay foolish!

happy#056 – powercut

I have the chance o experience quiet often how dependent we ar on regular power supply. Last weekend we had no power for three days which makes us have some troubles even here.

That is when I realized that it is not having or not having something that give you freedom but options that do.

To learn to go without (fill in yourself 😉 increases your options. Increased options can increase your freedom. Increased freedom can increase your happiness.

happy#057 – upsite down

When I was a kid I dreamt about sailing without having it tried ever.
2012 I decided that I will start to sail around the world before I turn 40.
Now I am about to buy my first boat which will be a traditional arab dhow.
That brings some problems with it, but hear yourself:

happy#055 – mikumi

Driving on a normal road in Mikumi, I saw Zebra, Buffalo and Elephants next to road and started to wonder. What can we do to preserve the last beauties of the earth. Is it even up to us what happens on the other end of the world?
You decide with your consumption and maybe its about time to fund some rescue the world projects.

happy#054 – when you lose a wheel

The other week when we visited Ruaha Nationapark everything went wrong one day. Our car was about to fall apart. Wouldn’t start, battery down, break broken… then we fixed it and lost a wheel in the middle of the park.
Also had to fix it and drove home knowing that we could lose again at any time…
In the end we had a remarkable trip to be remembered for the rest of our lifes.

It always depends on you how you will view things in life.

happy#053 – the lion in us

On our way back from an adventurous game drive in Ruaha national park, we first met a whole family of African elephants. Later, outside the park shortly before the village that we are camping in, a lion crossed our street. About 100m meter in front he appeared from the woods on the right, stepped on the road, stopped, looked at us and disappeared in the woods on the left.
This picture made think a lot about danger, nature and balance in life.
This is also a very good picture of what we are doing to our own life and our own body. 
What is it that we can do to be better in balance with life and nature?

happy#052 – democracy

Nowadays I often hear say that we don’t really live in a democracy because there is no real choice. I very clearly want to disagree. 
Just the other day we had to American guests at the lodge and they were pointing out thing that are not going right in America. With a lot of their concern if not most they were right.
But I absolutely did not agree with the consequence they drew from their frustration.
They believe that the USA are not a democracy and that your vote doesn’t count because there are multinationals and media who influence you in their own interest.
I can understand that tendency but in the end, it is always up to yourself. You decide what you believe. You decide what you buy and you decide who you vote for.

happy#051 – craftmanship

Technology can make your life easier but often it doesn’t make it happier. Happy comes from doing the right thing. So learn to do something right.
Get a hobby or a job or a mission were you produce something with your own hand and it will be one step towards your happy life.

happy#050 – technology

Do you think it is a blessing or a curse that our life is dominated by electronics.
How do you use it, or does it use you?
Think about the episode of yesterday. Today you can chose so much. You can also choose to which degree you will use technology.
I think what helps most is when you arrange your life without technological gadget and make yourself clear that you don’t need them, maybe once a week or once a month. Or one week per month or every second weekend. It is your decision. But make sure that you maintain a mindset that lets you be independent from your phone, your computer, facebook, google and the internet.
Once you created and maintain that mindset you will always be able to decide yourself to which degree you are dependent.

happy#048 – control

Have you ever looked for the save solution?
Often safe means to be and to stay in control ut there is only one thing certain about control. Control is never safe. It’s never certain.
Control is just an illusion.

Giving up control can give you freedom!

happy#049 – master or slave

150 years ago it was on you to decide to decide on which side of history you were standing. You were born a slave or a master and there was almost no way to change that. Fortunately that changed and most people in modern society are able to chose were and how they work.
Today often I hear people that they are treated or feel like slaves…

They think, they don’t have a choice in jobs, in private or life altogether.

WRONG! Wake up and use your freedom.

happy#047 – start at the end

Often we learn to be realistic. We analyze status quo and try to figure out what we can do with what we already have. Sometimes and I think most of the times companies and entrepreneurs act the same. The invent a product or have an idea, produce and then find somebody to sell it, instead of thinking about the consumers needs first. I learned in marketing to start with the needs of the customer instead of the product that I want to sell. The results will be so much better.
Actually the same applies to reaching your greatest goals. Think big and start at the outcome. Imagine it as realistic as you can and then start thinking backwards
To make a plan how to reach your biggest dreams.

happy#046 – expectation management

Clear language can make a huge difference. In your communication with others as well as in the communication with yourself. The way you talk, you direct your mind and the way you think. Your behavior will follow your thinking and you will talk accordingly.
If you talk clearly other people will know what they can expect. You might risk a direct no but you can react immediately and prevent misunderstanding which would lead to frustration at a later point any way.

happy#045 – natures beauty needs no plastic

Driving through the most incredible landscape I realized once again that we need to be careful to preserve the world that was given to us. It is not ours, we just borrowed it from our kids and grandkids. We should take care about it.

happy#044 – don’t try, do

Thinking is a way of directing your unconscious mind. Be careful what and how you think. There are words that direct you mind in one or in another direction. The word try is one of them. Be careful when and if at at all you use it. Better you do it, than to try it.

happy#042 – principles, not rules

So many rules are hard to follow. Sometimes it’s almost impossible. For example the rule to not cross a red light. Even at 3am and completely alone. Wouldn’t it be so nice to change those rules into principles. More like a: You have no priority when cars are coming… We could also apply more principles instead of rules to our own life. Principles offer a variety of possibilities instead a simple yes or no.

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