The new year has started as if winter was about to end, not start.
Days and weeks of sunshine and absolutely not enough snow in Switzerland was strange. Apart from the consequences for nature it were lovely first days of the new decade. Soon I left for Elba, Italy. Everything was fine, the ‚simplicity‘ is clean, dry and warm. It seems as if she managed well in the storms around Christmas. I worked on the outboard engine, the interior of the cabin and some parts of the varnish. In the constant rains at the end of the year, water soaked into the wood and stayed under the varnish and it wouldn’t dry. I fixed that and worked on a new cover to keep the boat and especially the cabin wood as dry and protected as possible.
Last spring (2018) what seems to be ages ago, I had plans for the summer and everything came different and I ended up buying a tiny wooden boat:
I am the owner of the Caveman Lodge in Zanzibar and the Lodge turns out to run much better than expected. We are booked quite well and the management keeps it well maintained. I am on my way to passive income. Of course it is not passiv but asynchronous as I had put in enormous amounts of work before and keep getting paid even when I am not present.
It was about time to check on the boat. Originally I planned to leave the boat in Marciana Marina for about three weeks before returning from Sahara and then prepare it for the winter.
Again, I was surprised.
This was not the first time for me to visit Sahara in Morocco and visiting M‘Hamid lost a bit of the excitement of the first few times. Once I see the first dunes in the distance, it feels more like coming home to friends.
Having spent some time on my boat proofed some things to be much more valuable than before.
When you are a live on board, it is not only about sailing, but way more often about not sailing. That means anchoring or in the port. Although a port can have some positive side affect, most live aboards do so because they enjoy the freedom of being autonomous. Being tied to the dock in the harbor with neighbors and visitors, walking right through your living room mostly doesn‘t comply with that. That will leave you with anchoring and the following thoughts:
Ever tried to dance tango on your own? Difficult, right?
Not only is it difficult alone, but also when you don’t harmonize with your partner and/or one is trying to lead by pressure.
It is a silent cooperation that is based on a set of agreements. You set some boundaries for your joined experience and then you dance in harmony. It makes sense to decide beforehand if the dance will be polka or tango.
Most coachings are about reaching the next possible goal. Breaking it down in small reachable steps and setting the mindset to get started.
I am not interested in that. I don’t want to get paid for helping my clients to stay ordinary. I am looking for the extraordinary in you. I want to empower you to dream big and turn your dreams into your truth.
It feels like ages ago that I had the dream of creating a life I Iove. I read fiction and travel adventures and imagined to be brave enough to live through some of these adventures myself.
In case you have been following my journey to move my boat into the water and start sailing you may be aware that it did not start as planned.
I thought that I would just buy an old boat, work on it, water it and off I sail. Unfortunately that concept of restoring and reusing old stuff does not aline with everybody. It definitely did not resonate with the owner of the marina, where the boat was on dock when I bought it.
I almost turned into a sanding machine myself over the last weeks. Fortunately the sanding came to an end, the underwater ship is painted in 9 layers of primer and copper antifouling, the deck is nice and white again, the cabin top is varnished wood and most of the yellowness turned into nice mahogany color again.
In fact, I went out for a sail. Just for the fun of it. For the very first time in my life I just went sailing… with nothing else in mind than going for a sail.
I like to see myself as a fearless adventurous guy. One, who leaves the known behind in search for the life I love.
I dream about all these different places I will visit and things I will do, but…
…sometimes I become fearful when I have a closer look at my plans. I back up because I fear it might go wrong once I am starting.
…and sometimes I become fearful once I get there. I am overwhelmed by the new situation and don’t know how to handle it. I back up to a known surrounding where I don’t feel as helpless.
Somehow this happens to me in all different situations. May the fear be about putting together a new adventure seminar, visiting a new interesting place, changing the place where I mainly live or sometimes just about publishing a new article, podcast or video.
For the longest time in my professional career I tried to be professional, not too sloppy, not too emotional, not too esoteric, not too spiritual.
I started as a Headhunter and realized I don‘t want to fill random positions for random people in random industries. I wanted to work for human beings and lead by living an extraordinary life myself.
I am finally done planning the Kilimanjaro Tour 2019.
While I already communicated the idea and the rough dates before, the planning has finished now.
The Kilimanjaro Tour 2019 will take place from June 1st to 16th 2019.
Except for summiting Kilimanjaro this tour has something special to offer: It will be a double summit. Meru & Kili. We will hike for 10 days in total with a 2 days break in between because the first 4 days will be a summit of the neighboring Mt Meru followed by 6 days on Mt Kilimanjaro.
As I am switching locations on a regular basis, I keep coming back to the Swiss Alps.
This doesn’t happen by accident, but because of the beauty of the region. So many people I talk to know the mountains only from the winter and the skiing resorts.
It is worth a visit in the summer when it is possible to explore the mountains by foot.
When I took these picture I wasn’t sailing yet but I made all the agreements to bring my boat to the Mediterranean and splash it in Bandol.
Just wanted to make sure that you have a first impression why I am so excited to start my journey here.
Have you ever traveled with high expectations and where amazed to find everything much more beautiful than you expected?
Nooo. Of course not. Django our “African Coconut Retriever” 😉 who was with us for our year in Zanzibar will stay in our memory and will/can never be replaced. But as life goes, you move on.
I am a maximalist, that’s why I became a minimalist.
What? How does that make sense?
I think it does, although it took me more than 30 years to realize. As long as I can remember I could not get enough. It did not matter whether it was playing a game, a vacation I was on, a mountain I was hiking, stuff that I owned.
I just couldn’t get enough. I wanted more and got frustrated easily when I couldn’t get it.
I believe that a major reason for me to get frustrated was, that I never focused 100% on one thing. I could do everything in life, right? The older I grew the more I realized that I could also own everything that I was longing for.
I knew I want to travel the world. I knew I want to go sailing. I knew I want to go South.
I recently found out that I want to travel as light as possible… even on the water. I was looking for a boat that is as small as possible and still be safe enough to do some serious sailing. After my experience with Emma, our 45 year old Mercedes Camper Van, I knew I want to travel with a boat that is easy to maintain, wherever I am on this planet.
Time changes! All the time!
As one second and one moment always connects to the next one, life feels like a constant flow.
On the one hand it actually is and on the other hand all we have is NOW. Decisions are always taken now. Although you can take the experiences from the past into account it remains the moment of now that you take your decision.
I was thinking about this project for quite a while. In fact it has been a dream of mine since I saw sailing boats for the first time and could feel a glimpse of the freedom that it would mean to travel the ocean.
Now that I kept talking about Patreon in the last blogposts, podcasts and elsewhere, I think that I should at least give you an overview about what Patreon is all about. The short version and official description on their platform is this:
As I am writing this I am traveling in Morocco, recording some video Material in Marrakesh and the High Atlas for you. (Soon to be published for my Patreon supporters)
Having told you in previous posts that:
I realized once again that I love most to inspire people.
I also want to help improve peoples life.
I love to travel, be outside and be physical active.
I love to create lasting memories.
I want to be on an adventure most of the time.
I love motivating people to join me on a journey.
I love to share my stories.
It is now about one year that I am not actively working for ESCP Europe anymore. Although that I am already living my life and worklife relatively self-determined for some years now, I can tell you that it is a huge difference when nobody expects anything from you anymore.
Furthermore and quite important to me, did my son and his mother move so far away that I have absolutely no chance on seeing him on a regular basis anymore. In fact I have seen him only ones in the last 30 month.
This is why we founded a children education project: KIDZ.
Although I believe one should not put too much meaning in the end of the year I am still using the date for a little review of the old and an outlook into the new year. Especially with Christmas season, plenty of time, new year and my birthday all within two weeks there are quiet a few reasons for a review.
Should I upload own videos on Youtube? What would be the difference to my Podcast channel and what happens if no one watches them?
I am on my way back to Zanzibar as I write this.
I left the island May 5th to travel to Toronto, Canada where I met Chris Thompson and Mike Mandel of MikeMandelHypsnosis.
On the one hand I was tired of the island, tired of the slow processes, tired of the officials who are just not willing to help for any process.
Often it seemed to me, as if people I worked with are only interested in their own corruption money and once you gave it to them forget about it immediately so you will have to start all over again.
As soon as you plan to make any fast progress it will be more than likely that you reach a point of frustration sooner or later.
I discovered my own kind of time distortion over the last 6 month. In the rearview they took for ever and I have no idea where they went and how all of that could have happened so fast.
One time a moment takes for ever. Another time it seems as if time is not passing at all. You experience the same amount of time completely different then another time?
As I am writing this I am sitting on the top of a mountain in northern Ethiopia (3300m). The town nearby is Lalibela and worldwide known for its wonderful churches that were carved out of the mountain. Some carved more than a thousand years ago.
By now, it is a while ago that the story I am about to tell came to an end, a story about trust, thankfulness and the ability to let go.
As you may have seen on the blog and heard on the podcast, I spent my last 6 month in Zanzibar. I was living a childhood dream and realizing a little business opportunity at the same time.
Having my own little spot on the Indian Ocean and being able to share it with others. Together with my business partner Omi, we built up the Caveman Lodge and opened for the first season in December 2016.
It is indeed much more work than expected. We had a great time though and it looks as if our guests are enjoying it as well. Have a look yourself and if you like, be our guest.
In 2012 I started blogging when I was in preparation for my solo Sahara tour and I wanted to talk about it. So man people asked me why I was going to Sahara, other wanted to now how I was about to do it and all of them wanted to know how I was doing. Therefor I included a blog in my domain gluecklichtrainer.com and wrote about my journey. Later in 2014 I decided to give my blog and own space: simplicity-of-happiness.com. Simultaneously I gave different guest appearances at different podcasts and discovered how much I love talking about my topics and I started an own podcast in 2015.
By today I am writing simultaneously in German and English on the blog and am recording a German and an English podcast (which I started in 2016).
While the German podcast is quite popular I missed out a little on the English show and took the decision for the new year to broadcast daily for 100 days. I think that is a good way of getting to know me and presenting my philosophy to the English speakers and am welcoming all of your input.
If you have an idea what to talk about, drop me a line.
If you like the show, please tell your friends.
If you don’t now it yet tune in at simplicity-of-happiness.com/podcast
I am in Africa now for more than two month and it is still amazing. The Lodge is ready for the season, we have guests, food is great and people are enjoying their time with us. I set up my work routine, am productive most of the time and go swimming with the dolphins or coral snorkeling every once in while.
Sun is shining every day and life is good.
Nevertheless sometimes it is hard to get up and focus. When every day is about as beautiful as the other it sometimes is very hard to get up and go the extra mile today. What it teaches me, is that it is not about how hard or easy or awesome your circumstances are, but only about what you make of it in your mind.
As I am writing this on Christmas Eve, I am sending you all my best wishes, sunshine and my most positive thoughts. Wherever you are, whatever you do… it is your own decision how you perceive the world.
You decide about your happiness. Keep that in mind and enjoy the season!
I am sitting a my Computer, checking mails, process bookings for the Lodge, record Podcasts and am planning my milestones for 2017. Then one question hits me:
Do I really want to keep writing stories on my blog? Yes!
Good, but what exactly? I wasn’t sure.
Since I shifted my focus on recording and broadcasting my German and my English podcast on a regular basis I missed out to write any articles. The main reason for that is that I am so much more spontaneous when talking. I am able to think about a topic, sit down to list some notes, start recording and the episodes evolves while I am talking. When a thought slightly shifts because I mention another dimension of the same problem it feels and it sounds natural to the listener.
When writing an article though, I always thought that I was expected to write „the perfect“ article. According to my own standards I often didn’t meet those and therefor created frustration in my mind.
While resonating about that, I thought about the time when it became so hard for me to write. I didn’t figure out yet what exactly it caused. I only know that there was a time when my expectation shifted and I tried to write not only an interesting story but a really good article, simultaneously in English and in German.
That was not the reason for me to start a blog though. I never meant to write news articles. I wanted to write stories from life and for life. I wanted to take you on the journey to the happiness through simplicity. A journey of life, where mistake are to happen, were experiences are to be made. I don’t aim to tell you what to do, I want to collect examples where it did work and where it did not, for me or for others.
What conclusion you are drawing from that will be up to you.
I will take my blog back to the roots of blogging. Writing a web-log about life and dreams and inspiration. Since I started to write, I created a life I would have only dreamed about 5 years ago. I am taking you on that journey and very much appreciate your thought and opinions.
Back to blogging! About the simplicity of happiness!
I so much like these guys and am really looking forward for my hypnosis training with them in November. They sum up a lot of my believes:
Imagine somebody could tell you where you´re actually from. A journey around the world and it all sums up to be you.
This is a commercial, but well, what would happen, if you´d find out all, the people you hate most are actually your ancestors?
End the end, we are one family. Amazing:
Hi there, I am back in Berlin for some days. I spent the last month in my Zanzibar home after having spent all winter in a skiing resort in the Swiss mountains.
Custom officers keep asking me about my crappy passport but I always tell them, that although it might not look new on the outside, it has so many stories to tell in the inside.
Just like I want my life to be.
Not shiny on the the outside but full of memories in the inside.
For those who want to learn more about how I managed to live the life I dreamt about, I created a webinar. It doesn’t tell you what to do, but helps to ask the tough questions and create the surrounding you need to truly thrive.
If you send me an email with the topic “Your Happy Life” you can participate for free.
June 8th 2016 6:30pm CET. (this time in English)
This TED talk really is worth being watched. It’s about a 75 year long happiness study which comes to one conclusion: The quality of relationships is what matters most in life.
Those who were the most satisfied with their relationships in their 50s were the healthiest in their 80s. Just watch yourself:
This winter I fulfilled a dream of mine.
Since I was skiing for the first time as a kid, I never want the vacation to end. I love the summer, the heat and the sun but I also love the mountains, the cold and the snow. It just has to be either one.
I never wanted to understand why you have to be either on vacation or at work/school/university/home. I wanted to do the fun stuff every day.
Why can’t I work on a project while sitting at the beach?
Why can’t I be on my board, before or after work?
Why can’t I have a conference call while sailing?
I was told, when I was younger, that this was not possible. Life is not fun, it’s serious.
Guess what, I had to find out in the last 10 years, that it is 100% up to you whether life is fun or not.
Last winter I spent 44 days on my snowboard riding almost 1000km. I loved it and I still got a ton of work done. I had to switch around some of my priorities wich worked out fine. Now the winter is over and I am sitting in Zanzibar, recording podcasts, writing articles, doing online coachings, training for an Ultra race and in between I go for a swim the dolphins.
Having a happy life is quite simple.
It’s not always easy, because you will have to ask the tough question and you will have to go through training and exercise. But in the end it will pay off.
And you can do it, too.
I put my learnings in an 90 minute webinar that I will offer on June 8th 6:30pm CET for the first time.
Hurry up and send me a request with the text “your happy life”! if you want to participate for free.
These guys are a great inspiration to me concerning minimalism and focus. Now they made a documentary about what matters most and what doesn’t. Here’s a preview:
Almost, I almost made it. After several rearrangements, changing the format, the name of the future show and hunting ideas for the first episodes the new podcast is nearly ready. Feb. 25th 2016 the first episode will go online:
Once you grew old, do you want to look back on the stuff you owned or the stories you can tell? When more is too much, it may become time to focus on the essential in life. The simplicity of happiness helps to focus, get rid of distraction and find out what matters in your life.
This show will help you to find out and live up to a better and happier version of yourself, complemented by interviews with people who already did.
It is the simplicity of happiness that matters most.
The weekly English podcast version to the blog: simplicity-of-happiness.com
Until then, if you speak German, you might want to listen to the German podcast. Just click on the German flag in the header or here!
Don’t we all have our issues that let us believe there is something we can’t do?
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:
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!
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
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!
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.
Everybody is a bit weird!
Is it backward or forward thinking when you go back to construction techniques that are thousands of years old?
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!
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 😉
The first show will be broadcasted end of September 2015.
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!
“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!
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.
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?
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:
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Control is just an illusion!
Next Sahara Experience starts on April 16th and there are only three places left. Here is some inspiration from the school of life:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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…
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.
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:
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
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 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.
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.
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.
It did not only matter anymore if everything was running when we started. Now it mattered:
We wanted to have water in our RV to be more independent, but on the road it was important:
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.
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 while ago I wrote an article for dirtbagrunners a pretty cool American site of easy going sandal wearing ultra runners. Have a look yourself:
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
…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
E-mail takes too long to respond to, resulting in continuous inbox overflow for those who receive a lot of it.
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?
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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…
Willkommen zum neuen zweiwöchentlichen Podcast über die Einfachheit des Glücklichseins. Beispiele aus und Tipps für das Leben. Der Glücklichtrainer Florian Hornig und Autor des Blogs simplicity-of-happiness.com spricht mit Anthony-James Owen von der Guerrilla Marketing Group und Autor des Blogs konsumfreiheit.de über die Idee zu Blog und Podcast. Wie ist er auf das Thema simplicity gekommen und was das mit happiness zu tun hat. Wie kann weniger mehr sein und was können wir auf unser Leben übertragen.
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