In my early thirties I traveled for almost a year overland through Africa. On the road I met countless people. Some of them had never been further away from their place of birth than the nearest market town. Others were travelers like me. Some of them were simply using their vacation days to see different parts of the world. Others were looking for a new home.
After that year I happily returned to my place of birth, Berlin. But the acquaintences I made travelling inspired me to see the – to me – best city in the world with new eyes. And with every bit of “normality” that I was trying to establish my doubt grew.
Do I really need my own appartment to spread across several rooms? Or isn’t a room with a bed, some space for my belongings in a communal living arrangement quite enough?
And what “belongings” do I need anyways? Really need? Why should I fill my wardrode with dozens of pieces when for months a pair of trousers and a few t-shirts were enough? Why buy a new phone when the 2010 one still serves me well?
Oh, and what am I actually working for? What’s a “career” good for?
The more I think about it the more I learn that people around me look at the same issues and develop solutions together:
Social entrepreneurs instead of maximizing their financial profits work to solve social problems. The shareconomy lets many people use consumables that otherwise would remain unused most of the time in the hand of just one person. Upcycling puts apparent garbage to new use and meaning. Digitalization is used to avoid garbage in the first place.
But that is Berlin, isn’t it. The world’s capital cities often lead a life of their own. What if I followed the urge inside of me and leave my home town behind me? What if I ask perfect strangers to tell me about their “home”?
I come from a country where most people prosper, where there is social security and political stability, and which supplies me with a passport that makes me a welcome guest in most other countries. I am healthy, witty and without family obligations.
So I do not only have the freedom to settle down but also to not settle. I see that as a privilege that I intend to use. That is why I travel.