Category Archives: Travel

Why travelling to Berlin and freelancing was a terrible idea

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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.
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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.
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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.
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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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Worst digital nomad ever: travels in Berlin

A digital nomad is a remote worker who doesn’t live at a fixed residence. They normally travel around the globe to various cool locations such as Thailand and South America to soak up local culture and meet other nomads.

I’ve come to Kreuzberg, Berlin, which is quite a popular digital nomad destination.

Indeed, I’ve already met almost all the possible stereotypes – a digital nomad, startup founder and a jewellery designer.

The scene is very cool and I definitely don’t fit in!

As a result, I’ve come up with quite a few reasons why I’m possibly the worst digital nomad ever.

  1. I don’t really like being away from home. I find it stressful rather than exciting.
  2. I don’t particularly like meeting new people. I mean, they’re ok. But I like the people I already know.
  3. Learning how to navigate is stressful. I’m not very good at crossing the road or catching the bus at the best of times. Throw in a foreign environment and language, and I’m surprised I’m still alive.
  4. I don’t like eating many types of food. I’m pretty fussy and I want to know exactly what’s in my food before I touch it.
  5. I don’t actually like cities. In fact, my next location is going to be a village at the foot of the Yorkshire Dales, and I’m really looking forward to it.
  6. I’m awful at languages, with many aborted attempts to learn a second tongue. I can say a few basic words in Cantonese, German and French, and that’s it.
  7. I think calling yourself a digital nomad is lame. It puts the focus on the wrong parts of the experience, as you’re not actually nomadic in terms of the digital technology, since it is by its very nature, global. A nomad is simply a nomad.

However, Berlin really is a great city and I’m staying in Kreuzberg, which is where all the hipsters live.

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Image: The yellow S-Bahn on in Kreuzberg

I’ve seen everything from a raver peeing in daylight to people performing in front of oncoming traffic, amazingly beautiful billboards and someone buying me a meal at a kebab shop.

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Image: here’s the billboard – no idea what it’s advertising but it looks lovely. 

I’ve met someone from Airbnb, eaten tons of mustard and drunk incredibly aromatic coffee.

 

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Image: where I get my coffee on Eisenbahnstraße, staffed by pleasant hipsters

In all honesty, I’ve spent most of my time so far at the public library working on my freelance writing. It has awesome internet, especially compared to the Manchester public library (sorry, Manchester).

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Image: the Kreuzberg public library

The truth is, I’m not that much of a party person these days. I have to work really hard to make sure my freelance writing career is successful. It’s not the easy ride I thought it would be.

On the other hand, I’ve still had the chance to compare two different brands of vodka, one from the fancy, trendy market where I live and the other from budget supermarket Morma.

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Image: these two bottles of vodka were the same price! 

This is the first instalment of the thrilling tales of my travels. More to come!

Find it how I quit my job to become a full-time freelance writer, or check out my professional women in tech blog