Big Dreams

Zur deutschen Fassung dieser Geschichte.

I went on a date, which was of course a mistake.

As we were cruising in her Volkswagen Golf, stopping at green lights and crossing red ones, she asked a straightforward question: “So, what do you want to do next in life?”

“Survive this evening without an accident,” I thought, but decided to answer in earnest.

“Oh, there are many things that I still want to do: go on the longest possible train journey, live in Bolivia for a few years, study history, walk around Lake Titicaca, write books, learn Russian, cross the Alps on foot, do a PhD, find out what life is like without internet for half a year, visit Kyrgyzstan, join the Foreign Legion, …”

Her eyes were getting tired, I noticed, and she was driving, so I stopped mid-sentence. “And you?”, I asked with an encouraging smile.

“I am looking for a job where I can earn more money, so I can rent a bigger apartment. And I would like to buy a Volkswagen Polo. The new one.” And, as if that would explain her choice: “In white!”

People sometimes ask me what would happen to society if everyone lived like me, not working a regular job and indeed working as little as possible.

They really needn’t worry. Because in my experience, the large majority of people are happy to sell their time and energy, in other words most of their life, to earn, spend and buy more, making corporations, employers and landlords richer and richer and richer.

For a perfect life, you also need one of those really ugly houses.


About Andreas Moser

Travelling the world and writing about it. I have degrees in law and philosophy, but I'd much rather be a writer, a spy or a hobo.
This entry was posted in Economics, Life, Love, Philosophy and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

46 Responses to Big Dreams

  1. “I am looking for a job where I can earn more money, so I can rent a bigger apartment. ” That must be the moment you knew for sure it was a big NO 😂.

    • Exactly! I never get it why people would sell even more of their time to make someone else rich. And they probably don’t get it that they won’t have much time to enjoy their apartment if they are working more.

      “But you need a home, don’t you?”, these girls then always ask, not realizing that the world is my home and that I don’t need to pay to walk through forests, castles and parks.

    • Most people don’t realize time is the only real asset.

    • I realized this late in life, but it has changed my perspective on many things. – Actually, I still spend too much time on Facebook, considering that understanding. ;-)

    • Anonymous says:

      That is the point. She wants a box in which to hide from the world, or?

  2. From your personal experience?😱🙃

  3. Hahahaha I laughed and cried with it . What a sad life this date of yours.

  4. Louna Sbou says:

    Well, that’s a short story. I was hoping for something more romantic than a car ride. Come to Berlin, I’ll hook you up. ♡

  5. Caren Leong says:

    That’s why my boyfriend and I quit our jobs and sold the house to go see the world. This is only our 13th month though. I hope to be as energized as you are even after years of traveling.

    • I think that’s the right priority! (For someone who dreams of seeing the world, of course, not for someone who wants to own more and more stuff.) – People think that a trip is only an expenditure for two weeks or so, but if done right, we make memories from which we will benefit for a lifetime. After all, friends around the campfire or grandchildren don’t want to hear stories about signing mortgages, but stories about being on a boat in some river delta, afraid of being pulled out into the open sea.

  6. Great ”romantic” story ;)

  7. She sounds lovely.

  8. Anke Stirner says:

    Hilarious! You are lucky she didn’t say husband and kids and spending my holidays in a 5 star resort ;) that’s why I dont go to parties anymore, I can’t listen to the bla bla house bla my kids needs this bla my husband got a salary raise…blaaaaaa…and when I tell them I got recently lost in the jungle in Asia there is this awkward silence “when does she get serious”. Never been more serious than travelling and making memories, totally get you. Hope your next date is a huge surprise :)

    • Oh, she did also speak about getting a husband, but I would need to return to my job as a lawyer, of course. (She really didn’t understand me at all, and I only didn’t walk away because I was in her car.)

      I completely understand and share your frustration about these kind of conversations with people who don’t understand us, although we keep explaining it. They always think it’s a phase. “But how long do you want to do that?”, we get asked, but nobody who goes to the office from 9 to 5 gets asked that. “And what will you do when you get old?”, as if all of life should be a long sacrifice in case one needs some savings for the last year before death.

      I have the same experience each time I visit my family. They talk about their jobs, their digs and their garden (I don’t know why, because it’s the same every year), and when I interject stories from Abkhazia or Azerbaijan, from long walks or interesting people, there is a brief silence, and then they continue talking about cars and lawnmowers. I guess we are not that interesting to everyone, but then, I guess we don’t care much about that.

      If I wasn’t writing stories about them, I wouldn’t go on dates anyway. ;-)

    • I am glad you made it out of the jungle!
      But getting lost is a real fun experience (at least retrospectively).

  9. restrictedarea says:

    “but I would need to return to my job as a lawyer, of course.” Ofc. It’s much cooler to say ‘he is a lawyer’ than ‘oh he is travelling and enjoying his life’ :facepalm:

    “I have the same experience each time I visit my family. They talk about their jobs, their digs and their garden (I don’t know why, because it’s the same every year)” Can totally rely to that. Think I am the black hseep of the family where all hope is lost, but then it really sets you free like nothing else when all hope is gone.

    “If I wasn’t writing stories about them, I wouldn’t go on dates anyway. ;-)” There was a time when dating was fun but now they make me feel like a total misfit. I dont have anything to contribute to brands, labels, things people do and it makes me nervous and uncomfortable.

    “I am glad you made it out of the jungle!
    But getting lost is a real fun experience (at least retrospectively).” yeah, and nothing puts you more into place than being lost in nature. At the end we all are so so small beings who take ourselves way to seriously. Maybe that’s why some people cant let other people be the way they are, I dont know. Looking forward to your next post!

    • Yes, the “black sheep” role can be liberating after a while, but one needs a thick skin.
      I am almost never uncomfortable in this self-selected role, but I am disappointed when people who should be close (e.g. family) still don’t understand it after years. Every few years, when I stop by in Germany again, my parents still talk about job openings at the Raiffeisenbank or the Landratsamt or so, as if that could entice me at all. And I just wonder: “Aren’t you listening to anything I say, nor reading anything I write?”
      And among friends or acquaintances, there is the downside of not being taken seriously, like you described.

  10. Anne Haefele says:

    This woman is the average person and not the exception around the world. It takes courage and grit to break away from societal norms and do what serves you. Don’t be elitist intellectuals and judge her too harshly. She is not the outlier; intellectuals are.

    • Sadly so, yes. But I am not sure how many people really want to break away from these norms. I know more people want to do it than actually do it. But it seems to me that many really don’t expect more from life than being consumers.

    • Anne Haefele says:

      The noble and courageous duty of a truly intelligent person IMHO is to enlighten. Many don’t know what they don’t know.

    • Anne Haefele says:

      I feel like most people are sleep walking through life. The most fortunate ones never wake up to reality. So it takes courage to disrupt the fantasy others create for themselves; many times unconsciously.

    • That was the motivation behind my TEDx speech.

    • Anne Haefele says:

      It was my motivation to be a therapist. I realized in my studies that most people are not interested in reality or the truth. The truth is too painful and most are cowards.

    • Anonymous says:

      I live in a really dirty and ugly German town. I have spken with many a young person here who wants nothing more than to own a house and nice car. Here. In this dump.

  11. Esa no fue una historia romántica… Ahi el punto de partida…sólo fue un encuentro de dos desconocidos intentando conocerce… Ahí el segundo punto para no conocer al otro definitivamente…

  12. Andreas. Yo quiero vivir como tú. Dame la receta.

  13. Bill Baugh says:

    Really enjoyed your Tedx talk from Târgu Mureş which was included in this blog – it is never too late for big dreams Andreas 👍

  14. The picture you chose is self explanatory😁 i am actually thinking about going to Bolivia too in the very near future…just worried about altitude..

    • If you want to be on the safe side, you better go with me. I am altitude-experienced up to 5300m. ;-)

      Or start with Cochabamba, which is only at 2500m and then slowly make your way to La Paz and to Lake Titicaca. The pharmacies also sell “sorojchi” pills, which helped me a lot when I got altitude problems.

    • I like the first idea better 😁

    • Planning to spend some time traveling through south america mostly bolivia, ecuador and chile. I quit my office job…was tired of selling my precious time for some money…was definitely not worth it. I will just be teaching at the university, less money but almost half of the year free…

    • Wow, what a fantastic decision! You are a hero!
      Those countries are all great choices, although Chile is quite expensive. Bolivia was the happiest place I have ever lived. I would also skip Peru, that’s where all the gringos are, and it’s a rather weird country, anyway.

  15. Maybe someone should invent a dating service for travel bloggers only. If there’s one for farmers only, then why not?

  16. Pingback: Große Träume | Der reisende Reporter

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