It's January 1, 2018. I'm sitting at the kitchen table drawing a melancholic picture of a cat next to a dripping candle. I don't have a job. I quit my 9 to 5 routine in an office because it simply did not longer fit my current lifestyle and made me nuts. Then I underestimated the difficulties of self-employment. I ran aground.
I can't plan trips, I think a lot about money. About the employment office. I haven't felt so shitty and lost since a long time. I'd like to throw the table through the window and jump out as well.
2017 - the year of my great four-month solo trip across the USA. The year of the fulfillment of my life's
dream. It's over. It's gone. I am lying in the vomit of the last party night with my head in the clouds.
2018 is definitely going to be terrible. I erase parts of my drawing so violently that I tear a hole in the paper.
That was a year ago. Today is December 31, 2018. I have my own company, I have traveled for 11 weeks, broke up with my long-standing relationship, I have moved, I have found my soulmate. And only a few days before Christmas I bought a tiny home, into which I will move in early 2019. My euphoria-level is close to LSD. Who could have know that!? A chronology of madness:
January: After my trip to the USA I couldn't cope with a permanent position in an office anymore. I immediately resigned and naively relied on half-baked plans for self-employment as a freelance copywriter. But nothing worked out. The costs for health insurance and pension insurance lie on my visions like the shadow of Mount Everest and bury them under avalanches of fear and self-doubt. I've been writing new applications. For exactly the same jobs in offices I ran away from. But I don't want to go to the employment office either. I cross out the plan "USA 2018" with a felt pen. That's it. I feel empty like a rinsed milk carton. I feel like crap.
February: The phone rings. It's a PR agency. "We heard that you used to work for XY but you are now self-employed." I stare at the phone as if it's suddenly turned into a dead fish. "Your former colleague recommended you and we urgently need someone for a major job for the entire year."
It occurs to me that I told all my old colleagues that I am not going to be self-employed after all. Except one. She was just on vacation. And it seems that this very colleague recommended me. I almost fall into the matrix and almost throw the phone in the toilet. I give myself five minutes to think. Then I call back and accept.
I rip all the tax office forms from the archive, fill them out hectically and conscientiously at the same time. I race to the offices of the pension and health insurance, build up my own homepage, order business cards and business documents. All within two weeks. Then my own little company is founded. Zeilenaufbruch - Freelance Copywriting and Photography. Suddenly independent! I need a drink.
March: More jobs are coming in. The shit is working! I now work 20 hours in bed instead of 42 hours in an office. Or in the garden. Or with a white coffee at the next hipster cafe. After only one month, I know: This is it! That's what I've always wanted to do. It's a good thing someone pushed me over the cliff. And because I'm my own boss, I can give myself as much time off as I like. I decide to do things not by halves. Two weeks Normandy in July, three weeks Andalusia in August, two weeks Italy in September. Awesome! I just can't make it to the US this year.
April: A good friend, whom I met last year in the US, is planning a trip to Europe which will end up in Berlin. We decide to meet there for a few days so that I can finally show him Germany. I book a train ride and look forward to meet him.
But just some days before his trip he has to cancel it due to health reasons. At first I'm just disappointed. Then I suddenly have to think about my grandma. That I hadn't seen her for three entire months before her sudden death. Only because I thought that learning for exams and working in jobs was more important than meeting the people you love. I'm getting angry. I tear my calendar off the wall and look at October. I can do it. I jump into my car and drive to my favorite travel agency. One hour later my flight to the US is booked. Two weeks in October. If life thinks it's gonna have to lay out rocks, I'll just shoot them off. That's how it works now!
May and June: I work like a madman. Not because I have to, but because I enjoy my new life so much. And because I'm preparing for the coming months. Of course, my notebook will be with me on all my trips and I will certainly be working a bit on the road. But not more than necessary.
July: Im off for two weeks with a car and my boyfriend through Normandy. From Paris
to Rouen, up to the coast to the chalk cliffs of Étretat and Mont St Michel. It is the beginning of a hot summer and we sweat between poppy fields, idyllic half-timbered villages
and historic landing beaches.
Everything is colourful, friendly and picturesque. I notice once again how much I love to be on the road, how much I missed that and how much I simply like to do road trips. Driving. Moving. Being curious, not standing still, experiencing adventures. On the last day I finally make it to the Eiffel Tower.
October: I can hardly sleep because of excitement. The United States. 2018. I did not believe in it and now it comes true. Only 14 days after my trip to Italy I am sitting on an airplane again. I spend 30 hours in aircrafts and at airports to shoot across the Atlantic to Billings, into the wilderness of the North. Where I finally see my good friend again.
We are on the road almost every day for two weeks, make road trips through Wyoming, laugh, talk for hours and tell us the little story of almost everything. For the first time in my life, I feel like I'm at home somewhere.
After having been alone for four and a half months in 2017 and not having spent many weeks at home again this year, I realize that after eight long, beautiful and difficult years my boyfriend and I simply don't have a common vision of the future anymore. Shortly after I'm back from the USA, I take the courage and leave. I hastily look for a small apartment to sublet, in order to sort myself out and find out what to do next. My health is heavily affected by stress and I lose almost 15 pounds. It's not funny if you're already a wisp of a girl. I roam between Ikea, Radio Shack and various doctors.
November: My non-permanent flat is set up and I start to feel really comfortable. Some decisions suck but they're right. And if there is one thing I have learned, it's that one's own fear is always the greatest enemy. The fear of change, a new beginning and the unfamiliar.
I am once again throwing with tax office papers because I will continue with a business partner from January 1, 2019. I love my small company and am happy about the expansion. We rename ourselves to frei getextet. Over the year it has become quite normal for me to live and work as a digital nomad. And finally I'm enjoying my job again!
By the way, I'm thinking about tiny houses again. A subject that has moved me for a long time, but never seemed real. Since now. I am only me anymore. Just me.
I can feel how my dreams take me by the hand and say: "Now or never. All or nothing at all". Shortly afterwards I inspect the first houses.
Furthermore, my friend from the USA and I decide to meet again this year in Europe. Just because. Because we're nuts. Spontaneously, we plan to meet in Paris.
December: I have a completely nuts and wonderful time in Paris and afterwards I head straight to
Hamburg to meet my best friend (with whom I went to Italy). We run over Christmas markets giggling by eating sweet stuff like horses.
In between I decide to buy one of the houses, which is situated on a beautiful and quiet piece of land far away from city noise. After all my trips through wonderful nature, I completely lost my desire for city life. After all my experiences in life in don't want to spend a bunch of money on life expenses and rents. I have adapted my job to my new lifestyle and now also adapt my housing situation to it. I've never felt so pure in my life. So me. Two days before Christmas, I buy the house and sign. From the beginning of January 2019 I will be a tiny house owner.
It's December 31, 2018. I put my phone down and smile. I just made another completely crazy decision for 2019 and booked a flight. I raise my glass of Californian red wine, look into the fog in front of my window - and all I can see is a firework of life.