ONLY YOU CAN TAKE YOURSELF WHERE YOU NEED TO GO

IMG_9561Could it be that maybe, just maybe, you can stay on track or change directions to create whatever you want? Yes, you.

Believe it or not, the witty headline is an actual facebook add for building your own webstore – duh! Still, I like it. Even more so, because I just took myself to where I want to be and moved to Berlin.

The last two weeks were filled with putting everything into place to close one cycle and start a new one. Just as trees prepare for winter while showing off all their brightest colors before letting go of their leaves, I had some amazing days with sweet friends, refusing to say ‚goodbye‘ but ‚until we meet again‘, then packed some boxes and moved myself and my belongings.

The next step towards a vision

What drives me is a vision of a more balanced, peaceful, enjoyable world filled with more support, more laughter, more magic, more respect, more mutual understanding of our differences and their meaninglessness. This includes all living beings, not only the two-legged. What actually moves me is always the next step I need to make – not more, not less.

It’s the next step I’m taking that will take me places. In the long run, it’s always an aligned series of next steps that make you travel far. For me, the next step clearly was moving to Berlin, for all the good and bad reasons: a lot of inspiring involved people, diversity, amazing vegan food, arts and culture, a lot of dreamers who dare to make a difference, to succeed, to fail, to learn, to pick themselves up and try again.

This means, dear reader, that my ART (action research trip) is now complete and a new cycle is about to begin. It was filled with many learnings and experiences, some kept in a massive journal, some openly shared on this blog. I learned a lot about how to bounce off my network, ask for what I need, set even clearer intentions, talk to people about my vision and aims.

World Café’s rules rule

Interestingly, I also discovered that the rules of an open space method called World Café apply perfectly to everyday life:

  • Whoever is there are the right people. You can learn something important from everyone you meet. Everyone! Sometimes, the lesson is mind bending, sometimes you figure out that you want to be a nicer person than the one sitting next to you in the train.
  • Whenever it starts it starts, whenever it ends the work is done. There’s a natural start and end to everything and things have the tendency to be a little off if you ignore it. Just think about the impulse to do something straight away and then you don’t, yet lost that idea and its creative spark hours later. Bummer! Or a little more dramatic, think of that lost lover and texting him/ her again, prolonging the painful process of letting go of something (love relationship) that is already gone (love) – you’ll get the picture. Once more I realized that endings create more space for new beginnings: ideas, passions, interests, jobs, things that are about to reveal themselves. The longer I hold on to something beyond it’s due date (wether an ex-lover or a guacamole), the harder to invite something new into my life (a new person or some fresh avocados).
  • Whatever happens needs to happen. Seriously. Either something is great and I can enjoy it, or it’s not and I can feel my discomfort, frustration, anger, whatever pops up. This is no drama but a chance to acknowledge my feelings and seek their cause(s), evaluate the situation, figure out what I want to do differently in the future and behave a little more clever next time. Yay to everyday design thinking!
  • The rule of the two golden feet: whenever you can’t contribute something or learn something new, move on. Ok, a little contradiction here, didn’t I just write that we can always learn something? Yes, totally. Still, every place or experience you are in will provide you with different learnings. Maybe you’re a master in lean management and are involved in a discussion about it with less experienced folks than you. It’s great, you talk for a while and you get the sense that you’re the pro here. Sometimes it’s super nice to contribute and share one’s knowledge. And if there’s a discussion about rocket science at the other table you’re dying to be part of, don’t stick around for the sake of being polite, but move and follow your interest. You can still do it in a very polite way that acknowledges the actual experience, yet marks its ending.

Therefore, time has come to acknowledge the end of a fabulous and successful action research trip.

Happy endings and new beginnings

Why successful? The three things I wanted to figure out were in which city I want to live next until the end of 2015, explore work opportunities and broaden my network. In that sense, I’m even an over-achiever and started some collaborations, found a flat, put the paperwork into place for my upcoming freelance career, found a tax adviser, threw a farewell-party and moved to Berlin, too. Boom!

Hands down, I wouldn’t have done this bold step without making the action research trip first. Or at least not that fast. Sitting at my own desk in the black forest doing online research and thinking about possible next steps for three months would have been a totally different experience, and I’m glad I went down the prototyping-route.

Prototyping allowed me to explore how my life would actually be like living at different places I could imagine myself living at: Amsterdam, Hamburg, Berlin. If that wouldn’t have worked out, I had a plan B-list to prolong the action research trip until end of this year in Copenhagen, Cologne, Vienna and Stockholm. Even though I decided to move to Berlin, I’m sure I’ll visit these cities in the near future, if only for a couple of days.

What’s next? 

By now, I’m extremely happy and grateful how things turned out. Going on an action research trip created great stories, new friendships, new work opportunities, and most importantly enough comfort and trust to make things happen and do the next steps on my journey. The aim still remains working as freelance graphic facilitator to support causes that are life-giving and fostering new solutions for our global challenges.

In case you wonder if the nomad days are over now, the answer is yes and no. Yes, because I won’t hop from one place to another while couch-surfing or staying at friend’s places. No, because I’ll still travel a lot, with the sweet difference of having a home base in Berlin, a place I can always return to.

Well then, does this mean the end of this blog? You bet not!

This is just the beginning.

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