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location-independent living and working

how i became a digital nomad


When I first heard about the digital-nomad movement, I – presumably like everyone else – couldn’t help but smile. Nomads? In Germany? It conjures up images of pastoral tribes roaming the countryside. In reality, digital nomads are nothing more than individual entrepreneurs with an online business. And they perhaps require somewhat more personal freedom than many of their colleagues. Generally this means they have no fixed home and no office of their own and, because of their lifestyle, live an extremely flexible and even location-independent life. Why? Because they love this way of life and can’t imagine spending their days in just one place for a long period of time. They are discoverers and love their job, which does pose a daily challenge for them, but which also offers them the freedom they crave. Because working online is possible (almost) anywhere.

 

‘Exciting!’ I thought to myself. But ‘digital nomad’ isn’t a job description. I couldn’t have applied to be one. I first had to change my approach and ask myself: ‘What do you want out of life? What are your goals? Where do you want to live and how do you want to work?’ It quickly became clear to me that, after three years of self-employment with an online business, I had long since laid the foundations for life as a digital nomad. I was also constantly on the move. The blood of freedom had already lain dormant inside me for a long time. I just had one drastic measure to take: getting rid of my things so I could become truly location-independent! Since I had been looking after my best friend’s flat, all my things were already temporarily stored in a storage facility. She had just been on a world tour for a year and was thus an additional motivator for my ambitions. In August, the time had finally come. I sold all my worldly possessions and reduced my thirty cardboard boxes to five. Today I live in furnished flats, with friends or in hotels. How does it feel? The best, because I never cared for objects. The places I live have to be nice – as well as original and inspiring, if possible, and there has to be Wi-Fi access. I’m often asked how I define home; after all, I obviously have several ‘homes’. Home for me is the place I come from, which is the Ruhr region, and my adopted home of Hamburg, where I’ve lived for 12 years. For me, words like ‘home’ are not the criteria for a pleasant, balanced life. What counts is that I feel at ease. My social environment of course also comes into play here, and I can access this at any time either via Facebook, email, Skype, etc., or I can be there in person within the space of a few hours.

 

It wasn’t very long ago that the digital-nomad movement spilled over to Germany from the USA. In the meantime, a digital-nomad conference has even been established in Berlin. The whole subject area was and remains so exciting and inspiring for me that I have even made a documentary film about it with my friend Tim Jonischkat. Digitale Nomaden – Deutschland zieht aus (Digital nomads – Germany is moving out) is the title of the film and it celebrates its premiere on 2 October 2014 in Berlin. I travelled through Germany for half a year with Tim and sought out some established digital nomads. What drives them? What do they fear? How do they make their money? All questions that I was keen to discuss. Critical opinions are of course also presented; even my parents couldn’t escape the camera. I have compiled further exciting info and trailers for the film on my website www.offlime.de.

article details

date 17.09.2014
author Thorsten Kolsch - Offlime.de
tags digital nomads, mobile lifestyle, Hamburg, Thorsten Kolsch, Offlime

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