Updated: Mar 9, 2021
Giving up our everyday life for the adventure of a lifetime.
Why do you decide to (temporarily) quit your job, sell your car and rent out your apartment when you’re living a comfortable and happy life? It’s not like we’re trying to escape terrible jobs, cities we hate or people we can’t stand being around any longer – in fact we’re finding ourselves in quite the opposite reality: we both have jobs we love (mostly), we enjoy getting the best out of living in Cologne and Munich and we are lucky to have great families and friends. But while everybody our age is aiming for kids, careers and real estate we feel a strong need to escape those pre-installed standards. At the beginning of our relationship we set up a shared calendar and named it ‘rat race escape’, in part because a lot of our early conversations about what we want in life revolved around learning, questioning the given, seeing things a little different – and traveling. We agreed that we want to live a fulfilled life in which we are exposed to new experiences and challenges. We also agreed that we didn’t want that life to start once we’re retired and the kids are out of the house (which we still have to pay off) - we wanted it to start now and we wanted it together.
“We feel a strong need to escape the rat race.”
Traveling to us means adventure, getting to know people, exploring a foreign culture and even though we do love the recreational aspect of it we can’t say no to new challenges. Taking that into aspect, together with the craving for a warmer climate, the idea of overlanding Africa was born – because to us, Africa feels like the most foreign and untouched of the continents. Assuming we will manage to find a car (Bjoern), cut down our packing list (Katharina) and get all the paperwork done (we’re still doing rock-scissors-paper about that one) we will be over-landing Africa with our Landrover Defender 110 TDI, living mostly on 4sqm.
We have gotten different reactions to our plans, for the most part they all range somewhere between concern and excitement – definitely familiar feelings to us in the planning process! We know we have the support of everybody who is close to us and so we’re looking ahead and wonder: how will this journey change us if it changes us at all? Will we have a different view on our lives back home? Will the experience make us more relaxed about everyday life? Will we be more grateful for what we have and more confident about what will be? What will living together on 4sqm for 6 months do to us? (Please be suspicious if only one of us returns and tells a heartbreaking story about the other one having fallen off a cliff!) And most of all: Will we be happy to come home, go back to work and rely on a routine again? Or will we feel closed in, questioning this life we’re returning to?