I am a 26 year old from New York and I love not knowing where I’m going to be tomorrow. I am a motorcycle rider, a food lover, an acrophobic rock climber, a mountain biker, a wannabe (wind)surfer, a hiker, a martial artist, a photo enthusiast and a secret video game nerd. I have an unhealthy obsession with soft pretzels and cannoli. I play the flute.
I live about 25% of the time in a small garden house in Berlin and the other 75% in a big green Mercedes 407 bus all over Europe and its surrounding countries.
Scroll down to read my story 🙂
Current location: Berlin
I was a restless kid. Every day on the way home from school I would harass my poor mother to take me somewhere other than back to boring old home. The most I would ever win was a trip to the grocery store, but that was fine. As long as it was a break from routine, I didn’t care where we went. On weekends, I left my mother in peace and instead put all my energy into nagging my father to take me to the nearby nature preserve. I remember getting such a rush whenever we went. Something about how I couldn’t see around the next bend always urged me further and onwards, no idea where I was going, deeper and deeper into what was, for me, the deep, dark, mysterious forest. I felt like nothing short of an intrepid adventurer braving the perils of the wilderness and discovering new worlds. It was the absolute pinnacle of my sheltered New York suburb existence.
When I started college, my university was an hour away from where I lived with my parents. I was going to school full time and working as a barista 40 hours a week, largely in order to cover my horrendous gas bill. I eventually got so burned out that my schoolwork started going down the drain, and I knew something had to change. It didn’t take long for me to realize what I had to do. It occurred to me that the only thing I did at home was sleep, since I was otherwise always at school or work. I asked myself whether I really needed to be at home in order to sleep, and the answer was no. No, I did not.
So I decided to move into my Hyundai Tucson. I put together a makeshift bed in the backseat, packed my clothes into a suitcase, and lined up my schoolbooks in the trunk. I knew I could shower at the gym, where I frequently found myself anyway, so I was all set. The transition wasn’t too difficult; it took a little bit of getting used to, and in the winter it was harder, but every day I was more and more convinced that I had made the right decision. I was so relieved to be able to spend time concentrating on my schoolwork instead of having to waste all day serving coffee. It may sound counterintuitive to some people, but after moving into my car, my quality of life improved dramatically.
I quickly learned to love my new lifestyle. Living in my car meant much more than a reduced cost of living. It meant freedom. It meant that I could drive anywhere that I wanted to and still be at home. I could sleep at the beach with a view of the ocean. I could drive upstate to the mountains and hike all day and I wouldn’t have to pay for a hotel room or spend time setting up a campsite. It hit me that if I could find a way to make money on the go, I could travel indefinitely across the country, and once that dream entered my head I was never really able to let go of it. It was always there lurking in the back of my mind.
I lived this way for almost three years, until I graduated college. My degree was in philosophy and religion, and I thought that my next step in life would be to apply to graduate programs to work towards a doctorate.
But first, I set my sights on Europe. My mother has a ton of family in Germany, and I could speak some German, so the choice of country seemed clear. After some research, I decided that Berlin was my city. My plan was to stay for three months on a Schengen visa. My official excuse was that I wanted to scout out universities where I could possibly attend graduate school. I set out in March 2013.
But when I got to Berlin I met Philipp. I was bursting to explore outside the city, and so we started taking small trips around Germany together so that I could discover the rest of the country. Slowly, our small trips became bigger and bigger and soon we were irrevocably addicted to life on the road. Living the nomad life has always been a dream for both of us, and all of a sudden we realized that there was nothing stopping us from doing it. There was no reason to wait. The world is so big and we each only have one life to experience as much of it as we can. He quit his job, I put my plans on hold, and now three years, four vehicles, several motorcycles and more than 15 countries later, we are still having the adventure of our lives.