SO MANY WAYS – LIMO
29 years – from Saarland, Germany
“Can do everything. Don’t have to do anything. Freedom. Self-determined life. Simple. Super simple.
But without the feeling of having done without anything.”
“I like to make people happy. I like to see people really happy and when gratitude is shown.
I never felt that at work. They were unhappy when you came. But they were also unhappy because you stayed at home. So there was no gratitude, it was just about money.”
Limo – Sages, Portugal
29 years, from Saarland, Germany
Limo’s life plan a few years ago: to have bought his own house by the age of 30 at the latest. Freestanding, with a double garage and two cars… Now he is glad that it didn’t turn out that way. His attitude to life has changed fundamentally.
Limo has worked for the same company in Saarland since he started his apprenticeship twelve years ago. He learned to be an electrician, received his master craftsman’s certificate, then worked in quality management and process optimization. He earned many times what he needed to live, hardly consumed anything. Furthermore, he put most of his money aside. For Limo, work is a means to an end, his heart is not in it. His goal, earn a lot of money with as little effort as possible. In 2017, he went on his first tour to Portugal in a van. Not really a van, a three-door Ford Fiesta in which he put a mattress. When the Fiesta broke down, he bought his Ford Transit, just converted it simply for the first trip, the van has remained that way until now.
Limo soon notices how little he actually used his flat. He worked during the day, only slept there for a couple of hours at night. He gave up his flat and moved into his van without further ado, preferring to save the €500 rent, simply used the sanitary facilities in his company.
At that time, he already spent every holiday at the seaside, surfing. The thought of being on the road for a longer period of time, not just limited to a two-week holiday, had been with him for a while. However, Limo didn’t want to give up his well-paid job for the time being. He requested a longer period of unpaid leave. The company initially refused. Limo gambled and threatened to quit his job. At that point, they didn’t want to lose him as a highly qualified employee and made a deal that he could be on the road for up to four years without losing his job. Limo embarked on his first one-year tour.
A knee injury a few years back opened his eyes. Why wait to retire until you can afford to live? Maybe he won’t be able to surf in a few years. Better to live now than miss out on life. Better to have money problems in old age, enjoy the money when you are young. After a year, Limo returned to the company, the first year of the corona pandemic. The tide had turned, his company had to cut jobs in the wake of the crisis, would now like to dismiss him. Again, Limo goes all out, pretending not to want to be sacked. Ultimately, the company paid him a large severance package so that he would leave. At the end of 2021, he set off in his van, heading for Portugal again. First, he thought it was his dream to work while on the road. Until he realized that he wasn’t free that way either because his thoughts would always be on the job, he would still be a puppet, just in a different place. For him, it’s a game, lifetime for money. The question was, when would he stop playing this game?
With his decision to leave the company, he feels free, he is out of the system, away from the madness of consumerism. He no longer has the pressure of having only limited time for his trip, of having to return to his job at some point. This has completely slowed him down. Whereas he used to drive up and down the coast in fear of missing a good surf day somewhere, he now often spends his time in the very south of Portugal and just waits until it’s a good day for surfing again in the area around Sagres. Otherwise, he just passes the time in his hammock on the beach.
Limo has calculated that with the pile of money he has saved up, he can live on with his minimalistic lifestyle and low expenses until he is 70-80 years old. He doesn’t say he’ll never work again, maybe he’ll find his passion someday, but not a full-time job any more. Perhaps two to three months at a time to earn money. In Austria or Switzerland, he likes the landscape, the mountains. He could imagine working for surf wave pools that are being built all over Europe right now, so he could bring in his passion and surf knowledge.
At the moment, he still has a back door open. Limo is actually not completely out of the system. Because of his many years of employment, he is still entitled to unemployment benefits in Germany. Hartz IV would be out of the question for him, he doesn’t want to be on the taxpayer’s pocket, but the unemployment benefit is an insurance he has paid into for many years. He will take advantage of this, for example, when he goes back to Germany to visit his family. Paid home leave, so to speak. Limo says he has the system figured out. You just have to know how to use it.
If his car breaks down at some point, he doesn’t want to fix it. One car less on the planet. Limo is thinking about a small sailing boat with which he can sail along the coast, independent of fuel, simply using the wind. Like Christopher Columbus in the past.
SO MANY WAYS