The biggest decision (yet) of my life

That’s quite a view right? That’s how I feel too. This was taken in Norway after hiking 11km to the “Troll Tunga”. How I got there, and where I was in my life tells a story of a lot of unexpected situations, dedication, and careful planning. That’s a lot how life is though, isn’t it? You do some planning, and there are a lot of unexpected things that come along.

Up there on top of the Hardangerfjord in Norway, looking off the ledge of that rock, I was thinking two things, 1) “this is one of the most spectacular moments of my life”, and 2) “I better go soon, there are a lot of people waiting to stand here after me!”. But something changed inside me that day from that moment. I just wanted to stay. I wanted to spend as much of my time as possible in places as beautiful as Norway, looking out over endless beautiful landscapes. I felt rewarded, and I felt lost. I had touched bliss for a moment, and soon I had to walk down the mountain, to get back to the car, so I could drive to the airport the next day, and eventually head home to Berlin where I live and had a job to return to.

The juxtaposition of responsibility and desire to enjoy the moment were playing a tug of war in my head. I knew it was possible to stay, the consequences were not so big that I couldn’t recover from them. Everything that went into getting there emphasized the importance of time, to make the most of the time I had in Norway: looking at tons of maps, finding driving directions, comparing car rental fees with paying for tour busses, camping vs cottages, this city or another, phone calls and emails to tourism offices. So many decisions had been made before even getting to the airport in Oslo – so more time could be spent enjoying my time in this beautiful country. And yet here I was with less than an hour at the summit only to have to prepare to leave.

It’s a huge metaphor for life.

You spent so much time fighting, waiting, working, planning, just so you can get somewhere that you expect to be grand. And then the hike back down begins as quickly as the final approach had ended. How can we extend that time at the summit? How can we have more of it? How can the inevitable return to “real life” be less urgent? What if being at these places was “real life”, and the time back at base camp getting ready to ascend the mountain was the brief moment? That’s what I wanted!

Life is beautiful. It’s short. If you don’t think so, you’re probably in your early twenties and haven’t looked back at your last year of college like it was eons ago. But age is no matter, if you can open your eyes to behold a breath taking sunset, the world is still your oyster. The most important thing is the world is changing, constantly. It’s easier than ever to climb to the top of that mountain and have a lifestyle that allows you to stay at the top of that mountain, or go on to climb many more.

I’ve found many ways to live like this, and I think anyone else can do it. It’s not as easy as asking to work from home until your manager trusts you so much you can get away with flying around the country without anyone noticing.  You can’t just find someone in another country to cover your ass while you go surfing. But it is as easy as giving yourself some runway, removing unnecessary lifestyle habits that prevent you from getting out into the world, making a plan, and booking a one way ticket.

This blog is dedicated to teaching people how to obtain those spectacular moments. No matter what your dreams are, chances are, some of the steps for getting there scare the living daylights out of you. On a deep chemical molecular level that is just your hippocampus warning you there is some risk. But just like riding a rollercoaster, or jumping off a diving board. As soon as you take the plunge, that same gland will reward you with dopamine, and nothing will feel as good as waking up every day challenging yourself to once again take a proverbial dive into the world that awaits you. Challenging yourself, and taking the sometimes unimaginable steps to get the things you want in life, not only helps you enjoy how you live completely. It’s an amazing ride and I plan to show you how to take it.

Stick around, read on. And if you didn’t already please sign my mailing list. I promise not to spam you, or sell your email address to anyone. This is a very personal thing and I would never betray that trust between us. I would love for you to sign the newsletter because I want to keep sharing inspiration, life hacks, beautiful photography, travel inspiration, career building insights, and tools to make you rich and happier than ever. And the moment you get an email from me that you don’t like, you can unsubscribe faster than it takes to think of the most amazing un-ending vacation possible. That’s my promise!

 

– Thomas

Sound of a rainy day

I love a rainy day. Perhaps the appreciation is normal to others. Maybe for me it stands out and so I feel like I have to say something about that.

I grew up in Palo Alto, CA. But I was born in Seattle. Seattle is known for being a very wet city. I don’t feel like looking up statistics right now, but something like 300+ days per year have a rain shower in Seattle. I was only 1 year old when my family moved from Seattle, but I think rainy days are one of the things that I remember feeling, hearing, smelling as a new born there. And it gives me comfort to this day for that reason.

In Palo Alto it was different. The seasons were very uniform, never too cold, never too hot, rain started in October, usually the day of Halloween, and carried on periodically until February or March. After the last rain in those early spring days it wouldn’t rain again until the first rain of the fall in October. Sometimes there would be a freak storm, but it was rare. California days were reliable.

That’s probably a thing of the past now, with the climate changes, things will just get weirder and weirder. Moving to Boston for College brought an ironically nice change of weather into my life. Most people complain about the humidity in the summer and extreme cold and wind in the winter. Not me. I loved the humidity, it was so funky, being warm and wet all at once. And then during the spring and summer we’d get thunderstorms to pass through and break things up with big dramatic booms and lighting flashes, that will break up the monotony of any day!

A rainy afternoon is special, just like a beautiful warm summer day, is special. On a nice warm sunny day, everyone is in a great mood, relaxed, smiling, catching rays. Rainy days might not have everyone smiling but we’re still all sharing an experience, the experience of  water falling out of the sky on our heads. Some of us are prepared, some of us not. In crowds walking down the sidewalk our umbrellas bob up and down in a dance. As the ferocity of the rain comes and goes, we find sudden opportunities to creep out from the awnings and make a dash for the shop across the street, daring the skies to get us wet on our mission impossible.

It rains fairly regularly in Berlin. This year in early March, for nearly 3 weeks it was irregularly warm and sunny, people were in t-shirts and sun glasses, it was like summer had come, 4 months early. We were all joking that normal Berlin weather would have required at least 6 days of grey skies, 4 days of rain, and nearly constant unbearable temperatures. In reality Berlin isn’t that bad in the March, but it was an oddly warm spring. I worry climate change is really going to permanently take the special memories of the seasons, and swap in a world of randomness and dangerously unpredictable weather extremes.

With the regular rain in Berlin, for a short time I feel like all the people out at the clubs die out, all the Kneipen empty, and we all stay home, have something comforting, and enjoy each others company. We “kipp” our windows and let in the fresh rain scented air, and listen to the sounds of the city outside our homes blanketed in water.