Why travelling to Berlin and freelancing was a terrible idea

digital-nomad-alexanderplatz-travel-berlin-resized
The view of Alexanderplatz from a bridge
  • I wanted to learn German but I was so overwhelmed with setting up my freelance business that I couldn’t really take in anymore information.
  • Travelling to and living in a new place increases your cognitive load. Along with quitting my job and starting a new business, I really felt the strain.
  • When you travel, you probably need to be in a mindset of freedom and abandonment. Even though I quit my job to be more ‘free’, I’ve actually found my lack of rigorous self-discipline when I don’t have any external demands to be a hindrance.
  • I’ve learnt the hard way that freedom is simply a state of mind. We need to recognise that everything in our lives is the result of our own choices, and even being a freelancer doesn’t necessarily mean you will feel free.
billboard-berlin-kreuzberg-travel-digital-nomad
A captivating billboard in Kreuzberg
  • Dreams are always better as dreams – actual reality can never live up to the fantasy. Even though you can post endless exciting photos on Instagram, there is still the drudgery and mild panic of everyday life.
  • Despite this knowledge, it’s always worth pursuing your dreams because you only get one life. I wouldn’t want to live my whole life not knowing what it was like to pursue my dream.
  • I’m not saying that I regret becoming a freelancer, but it is truly difficult. The difficulty is mainly internal, struggling with a constant fear and lack of self belief. It’s so hard to keep that fire stoked.
  • I’ve realised that I’m 27 and I have no excuse to keep putting things off. I’ve learned that many things I’m supposed to enjoy are actually unpleasant, such as travelling the world.
lake-berlin-westkreuz-travels-nature
We went to Westkreuz and there were many beautiful lakes
  • And yet, I still keep going abroad. What I get out of this experience is widening my perspective of history and different cultures, but I prefer being a passive observer rather than an active participant.
  • Sometimes doing something crazy is rewarding because it inspires other people to tell you their crazy dreams – which aren’t really so crazy. I feel a lot closer to my friends and family, and I actually know what their aspirations are now.
berlin-potsdamerplatz-travel
I got a visit! Here we are in Potsdamerplatz
  • Freelancing is something you need to do with a stable base so you can develop the routines and processes necessary to make your business a success. You can find stability in chaos, from a mixture of going to the library, buying your favourite coffee from the hipster café and continually staring at your bank account in panic.
  • I wouldn’t say I have any proper regrets but in the middle of my trip, I got this vomiting virus and couldn’t eat for three days. You feel pretty lonely being ill in a foreign country and it puts things in perspective.
  • Even after all these complaints and dissatisfactions, I’m still going to do it again in a few months. I’m hoping Budapest in February will be a more suitable destination for me.

I hope you enjoyed this second post about my travels in Berlin. You can also read the first one if you missed it. As always, don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions about freelancing. 

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8 Comments

    1. Umm it was actually really hard! I don’t have access to all the normal events and networks. I think travelling is maybe something better to do when you’re more established as a freelancer…

      1. Everyone is different but for me, I think I need to feel stable before I can let go and have fun! 🙂 I’d love to hear about how your freelancing is going so far, if you want to email me (catherine.j.heath@gmail.com).

  1. Dear Catherine, I had gone through you mail and it depicts a true picture of the world’s reality. True, dreams are dreams but day dreaming is the true source of fulfilment of goals. A strong desire propelled by the fire to achieve goal. No doubt the journey to that destination will be very picturesque and full of experiences of vivid colors. Sometimes alluring, sometimes abhorring and noxious and sometime blissfully heart fulfilling. Truly speaking, you have to be a spectator to yourself for all the happening during this journey and then only you will fully enjoy it. Also to achieve this one has to burn bridges so that there is no going back and by quiting the job, you haves set the ball rolling. All the best. 🙏 Namaskar

    1. Hi Nikhil, thanks for your kind words! It’s definitely important to just try and achieve something but it’s not always easy. In fact, it’s often difficult and stressful! But you have to hang in there. I hope all is going well for you.

  2. Thank you for sharing your story! I must admit, it feels refreshing to read this piece, all after things like “go for it” and “I did it and why it is just fantastic”. And very authentic. Though a bit sad. But I hope, the things will work out for you, and will make gold of all those experiences that seem just terrible now.

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