Sunday, February 3rd 2019
It has been half a year since we returned from our journey. We can say: We are back. As it was half a year between the decision and the start, if feels like completion.
Enough time to look back and to give a short report. How was it? Let’s start with myself.
The biggest step for me will always remain the simple fact that we just did it. Is it such a difference between talking about and literally making the trip. The difference lies in the experience that it is possible. It is always different from the imagination.
Where lies the biggest challenge? I would say, there is always a challenge. Life is just like that. Before, there where all this feelings of insecurity about how it all will work out and all the questions that arise planning such a project. Doing it then, daily life is full of tasks that arise as everywhere, no matter where you are. And afterwards: Of course, with all the joy and fulfillment there is the challenge to fully come back and become a part of the life we choose to life back in Berlin.
Leaving everything behind is definitely an expression of the “joy of missing out” regarding the mundane tasks of work and school. By many aspects, I would consider myself a “JOMO” – deciding to work as a freelancer definitely is an expression of individualism.
But – as I realized on other occasions as well – after indulging deeply into the joy of independence and freedom another aspect becomes more and more important. I never considered leaving Berlin really behind. I would suffer the “fear of missing out”. So in many ways I am as well a FOMO, somebody with a “fear of missing out”.
The kids did a great job with this challenge. They finished their first half year back in their new classes and showed that it is possible to miss one year at home and learn outside their homebase. We are very proud of them. They know now both perspectives.
I choose to look at the whole process as an opportunity to learn. Considering the seven areas I have defined myself, I realized that in every area I could learn something coming back.
There was time for writing – writing this blog. There was time to run – what I was missing on the journey. I became a member of the Sport Club Charlottenburg (SCC), the organizer of the Berlin Marathon. With the membership comes a free registration for all of their events. So I have two half-marathons and the Berlin Marathon in September this year on my schedule. It will be my sixt time in Berlin and one step further to my longterm goal to get into the Jubilee Club of finishing ten Berlin marathons. Having the appointment in the calender helps a lot to get into the running shoes in the morning, when it is dark and cold outside.
I was able to meet all my friends again and open myself for new connections. I had time at home – when the kids came back from school and when they had to learn for their tests. I was able to bring Tara and Morpheus to the kindergarden – teaching Tara to drive a bicycle or having both in the bike trailer. And I realized that this investment in having family time was precious. The kids love to have time with their father – and I was more there than the years before we travelled. Nadine had time to meditate in the morning, as we were both at home in the morning supporting the kids getting ready.
What I really enjoyed was having time during the week to meet friends – this rarely happened the last 15 years working as a consultant often at the clients site. And the joy of having time at home to do what I like most: Sitting at our fireplace, listening to music, writing when the house is quiet. This is a gr
I took care of our business, trying to invest. This was a difficult task, as I realized. No matter how convincing my presentation was, at the end every bank refused to give money to someone with a track record of a year deliberately abroad. It always ended with: Please come back some years later…
Therefore I decided to put my energy into deepening my knowledge and broadening my network. I learned a lot from startup founders, venture capitalists, entrepreneurs and the vibrant Berlin scene. But with a family to support, and money invested wisely in the travelling experience it became clear that I should stick to my field of healthcare consulting.
Being away for one year changed as well a lot. Some clients and partners changed their businesses, and I had to focus on acquiring new clients. It is always about reinventing yourself, if you want to stay competitive. So I realized that there were new players in the field, supporting exactly my segment, the “independent professional”. They serve as connectors, doing the “cold calls” and all the negotiations in between, as competitors to the big consulting companies. With my first contract signed today using this new platform, I feel that this is an important step forward.
I had to cancel my skiing holiday therefore and will stay at home working while family and friends will join together in Czech republic for skiing. Sometimes you need to invest, and I feel completely fine with that.
And I found time to read. About the history of free techno, a movement that has had one of the biggest impacts in my life. (Christiana Breinl: Free tekno: Geschichte einer Gegenkultur). It is true – I danced the first time on a free techno party in a park in Berlin with Nadine. And we got engaged on a free techno party inside the “Desert of Lieberose”, a former Soviet Union Army training area, that out of decades of tanks crossing the soil became the biggest “desert” in Germany. We were sitting on the hill of the “Generals Hill”, the only elevation and building from where Breschnev, Ulbricht and Honecker where watching their troops.
It was, of course, forbidden to enter that area, it was an adventure to not getting stuck in the sand with the car. And it was dangerous – the warning signs indicating that this was the “red zone” and there could be unexploded grenades everywhere. We didn’t care.
As did our friends that carried their sound system inside and played techno until the police arrived. We had to leave and drove 200 miles further north to another abandoned military area, a former soviet airport. And continued to party.
Free music – free space – free mind: That was the slogan of this movement that began in the UK in the 80s with influences from Jamaika (transportable sound system), the traveler and squad scene (living in trucks), the London Soho-Elite and Ibiza working class tourists listening to Acid House and Detroit Techno. The Spiral Tribe from UK became a dominant figure in a movement that was based on loud, repetitive rhythmic electronic music playing nonstop days and nights, creating outside and inside a new space where thinking and feeling was free – a kind of shamanic ritual using industrial technology. My Berlin experience of the 90 was heavily influenced by this music and the spaces the vibrant scene created.
I still believe that dancing can be one of the strongest forces and experiences. Just watching our kids reminds us how much they as well love this free movement from the earliest years on.
The 50th birthday of a very good friend last week was a beautiful experience: To see that dancing until dawn is not a privilege of the youth, but rather a way of life made me very happy.
I looked back to my own writings during my coaching years 2006 and 2007. I found a lot of interesting material. I will use in one day or another. And I realized how much energy it gave my own development to work as a coach. Much of what I experience now is based on these years, where I gave my life a new direction.
As Viktor Frankl said: “There is a „will to pleasure“, a „will to power“, a „will to meaning“.
I as well finished another book: Tribe of mentors from Timothy Ferriss. I found a lot of encouraging quotes inside:
And Since I read Joseph Campbell’s line „follow your bliss“, it has become my true north.
„in order to „have“ you must „do“, and in order to „do“ you must „be“.
Ignore any advice that tells you you are going to miss something.
The truth is that competition is the opposite of creativity.
You work hard because you’re inspired to, not because you have to.
It is an „inspired persons game“. The keys belong to whoever is inspired
I just came back from an exhibition about Berlin in the 90. I have to write about that time later on.
The biggest inspiration remain the people around me – Nadine, our kids, our friends and new encounters we made in the last months. It is beautiful to see how they are growing and evolving, taking steps and opening. I am very thankful for that.