How it all began
My fascination with the investment market and travelling began in my early teenage years, when I started to feel the urge that I don’t want to live that conventional life of getting a 9-to-5 job I am not really happy with, getting married, having kids, building a house, planting a tree and living a routine life in the same environment until I die.
What made me different from most people I talked to at my age at that time (or even now) is that I knew exactly what I want to achieve in life. I set my life goal to find a career I love, become financially independent, live, work and travel in different places.
I left Berlin after finishing secondary school to do my military service and to study Real Estate Management in the south of Germany. During that time I truly developed my passion for real estate and the international lifestyle. I continued to do my master degree in International Real Estate Management, with cross-border studies in Germany, London and Switzerland.
Money is a basic need. Like water, food, air and housing, everyone needs it and it affects everything. Yet the common believe is that it is something bad. I realised that academic qualifications are important and so is financial education. But schools are forgetting one of them. So instead of reading novels and fiction books, I developed my financial literacy and tried to understand how money works in the world and how to achieve goals by making painful but useful experiences at the stock market during the dot-com bubble and by reading specialised books like:
So I ended up taking another offer from the largest privately held real estate service company in Ireland instead for considerably less money. I took the chances, I took the risk. It was the best decision ever!
I found my own little niche market by helping Irish high-net-worth private and institutional real estate investors to diversify their portfolio into the European continent. It was the perfect situation, combining my passion with helping clients. Hence, I worked long hours, sometimes only sleeping three or four hours, because I enjoyed what I was doing.
We became the market leader in Ireland for German commercial investments and the most profitable business within the company.
I figured out that you can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Pursue things you enjoy doing and then do them so well that people will pay you for doing them.
But it all came to an end in 2008 with the near collapse of the financial markets worldwide. No matter how good you were the real estate investment market had just come to an almost standstill, especially cross-border investments. Ireland went from top to flop within a couple of months.
This gave me time to reflect:
It’s good to have money and the things that money can buy, but it’s good, too, to check up once in a while and make sure that you haven’t lost the things that money can’t buy.
Luckily and financially smart enough, I didn’t buy a fancy penthouse apartment, Porsche or Rolex during the Celtic Tiger boom years. I was still living in a small basic studio apartment in one of the not so fashionable city centre districts of Dublin and drove a second-hand VW Golf at that time.
This doesn’t mean I went around like a beggar but I just didn’t spend the money earned on excessive big ticket luxury items. Always keeping in mind the Robert Kiyosaki principle of
After it became clear that the cross-border investment market was going to be at a standstill for at least the medium-term, I was at a cross-road where I had the choice of doing something else I am not passionate about or to follow my second passion, travelling. Realising that we only have one life to live on this world, I decided to do the later.
Most people want to travel but end up working until the end of their working life. Even when they are retired most of them will have families and will not be able to just go on long trips. Even if they are single and still physically fit at that time, the type of travel will be totally different from the things you want to see and do when you are younger.
Hence I decided to take the work-life-balance approach. Work hard, play hard. I quit my job, stored my few belongings in a storage facility at Dublin airport and went travelling. I also set-up my own consultancy as I had the initial idea of working a little bit in the mornings and then travelling and enjoying life the rest of the day. However, that didn’t work out too well.
Unfortunately I found out quickly enough, either my mind is in working or holiday mode. So it ended up being in holiday mode…
not for 1 year… not for 2 years… not for 3 years…
What do I think now, after 5 years of continuous travelling?