This month – April of 2022 – I set a new record: our current flat is now the accommodation that I have been living in the longest since moving out of my parent’s house. We’ve been living here for three years now.
I moved out twenty years ago when I was twenty-one. And due to chance and deliberation, I never could nor wanted to live anywhere for longer. My – or really our (Nicole and I have been together since 2005) – circumstances were always changing. And the desire (and ability) to travel played a major role in that, too.
Here are the places I’ve been living at for the last twenty years:
- March 2002 - May 2004: Ratingen, during apprenticeship.
- June-August 2004: Travelling USA west coast and Mexico.
- September 2004 - October 2005: Bochum, for university.
- November 2005 - July 2008: Düsseldorf Lierenfeld, moving in with Nicole (new apartment for both of us). Still studying, but commuting to Bochum.
- August 2008 - October 2008: Travelling Australia (Darwin -> Alice Springs -> Townsville -> Sydney).
- November 2008 - May 2009: Travelling New Zealand.
- June 2009 - July 2010: Auckland, NZ, for a job.
- August 2010 - June 2011: Sumner, Christchurch, NZ. Same job, but now remote.
- July 2011 - October 2012: Devonport, Auckland, NZ. (The earthquake drove us away from Christchurch. Plus I didn’t want to work at that job any longer. I think we only started anew in Auckland, because a new job opportunity fell in my laps and we weren’t really ready to leave NZ altogether.)
- November 2012 - March 2013: Travelling South-East Asia (Singapore -> Borneo -> Malaysia -> Thailand -> Laos -> Cambodia -> Thailand).
- March - April 2013: Visiting my brother and his girlfriend in London and travelling the UK with them. And visiting friends we made in NZ.
- May 2013 - June 2013: Ratingen, Mum’s place.
- July 2013 - December 2015: Düsseldorf Derendorf.
- January 2016 - August 2017: Travelling (while also working), mostly in our then newly acquired motorhome: New Zealand (not in the camper, obviously), Germany, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Sweden, Germany, London, Mallorca, Germany, Slovenia, Croatia.
- September 2017: AirBnB, Düsseldorf Gerresheim. Zoe was born during that time.
- October 2017 - March 2019: Ratingen.
- April 2019 - ?: Düsseldorf Flehe.
It’s been more of a journey, really. And we enjoyed it and it was certainly the right thing for us. But that was then, and now it’s different.
It feels right to be in this one place for longer, and also planning to be here for much longer. I’m not saying this will be our last flat, but we’re planning to stay in Düsseldorf long term.
With a child, it’s the right thing for us and for her to have some regularity and not be constantly on the move. We also wouldn’t know how to manage education while travelling (also the pandemic would not really be a welcoming setting to travel in).
Plus, I again enjoy the benefits of being present in one location for longer: I get to regularly meet up with friends I’ve known for years, and family, I have all my instruments accessible, I play in a band again, I got a second bike, I have a darkroom setup for printing analogue photos, and so on. Previously my lifestyle required me to be a minimalist. And while I still follow this mindset, it’s currently nice not having to abide to it out of sheer necessity, and simply have additional stuff around for fun, too (and be able to store it).
I’m very content with our situation right now.