„If you know you had six months to live, what would you be doing?“
The question surely hit ground with me. I read it in a self-development book, one Saturday morning in November 2016. I’d always lived my life very aware to the fact that it is not a never-ending story and that I only have this one shot at it – which I want to make the greatest experience for me I can. I explained the other factor – freedom – in me wanting to live life to the fullest in this blogpost.
I considered myself pretty much as having lived the life I wanted so far. Still, this question hit hard. There had been change in the air for quite a while, I had been feeling it for well over a year, still, I couldn’t put my finger to it. Something wasn’t right, and there was this dream of mine luring around since my first visits to Italy over 15 years ago, not willing to go away. The dream to spend a good portion of my life in Italy, in a stone house surrounded by olive trees, baking pizza in a wood-fired stone oven and pouring my own olive oil over my home-grown tomato salad. One day, way down into the future (when we’d have saved enough money and would be older and would have somehow gained permission to live an extravagant life like that, at least this is what I told myself), we would do it. In my mind, I was playing with the idea that ‚fifty’, the age of 50, would be a good point on my lifeline to do it. Yeah, that was the plan, for this big huge dream of mine.
Then one of my very close peeps got very ill. It was a schock. And it changed my perception of life yet again, and how much time I might or might not have left on this planet. It pushed me again to think harder about my dreams. That I better get going rather than making plans far in the future.
„Where would you be living?“ the questions in the book continued…
„Who would you be with?“
„What would you change? What would you add? What would you eliminate?“
„Why don’t you start right now, living as if you only had six months left? The truth is, all of us have only a limited time on this planet.“
I read these questions out to my husband in the kitchen. They had triggered something in me. I could answer concretly that – had I only six months left – I’d spend all that time in Italy, and in England, too.
A breakthrough moment. Suddenly, this whole feeling of ‚something isn’t right anymore but I don’t know what’s missing’ was gone. There it was. I could see it clearly. The plan evolved, one Saturday morning, in Berlin. I told him what was on my mind. ‚What do you think? Could you imagine us doing it?’ As so often, when I come up with my crazy ideas, he’s game. That’s one of the things I love so much about him. How much of a partner in crime he truly is.
So there was the plan. Not just an idea but a concise plan: Matthias would leave his job to work with me in the business, we’d put (almost) everything we own into storage, take the car and go on a roadtrip to places that have always lured us. We’ve been dreaming of being able to spend more time in Italy – and so Italy would be the first place on the map.
A new journey ahead for us two adventurers. Living a laptop-lifestyle – with a camera in hand.
While being on the road, we’d be shooting portraits and following the weddings that we’ve been booked for this year.
We’d be in and out of Italy, Germany, England, hopefully Greece, then Italy and Berlin again, then France, then who knows where. Wild and free, roamers, wanderers.
The business we have created for ourselves over the past three years, on- and offline, would help us to make this dream become a reality.
But we knew, that it wouldn’t be all easy-peasy:
It wouldn’t be easy for my husband to leave his job. Big leap, for sure!
It wouldn’t be easy to pack everything up, to let go of the many things we didn’t want to put into storage (two sofas, outdoor bbq, a bed, several cupboards, a complete kitchen, and stacks of books and magazines I had collected over the years, plus, bags of clothes that didn’t feel like us anymore). Hello, comfort zone!
It wouldn’t be all easy to leave Berlin, which we still loved and where we’ve made friends over the past 3,5 years.
We accepted and made changes on many levels. Of course it stirred up emotions and required a deep reflection with ourselves.
We’ve always believed in the power of taking life in our own hands, lead by our deepest belief: that in order to VALUE this incredible, wonderful, free life we’ve been given, we need to make the most of it. Exploring and unlayering the different colours this world has to offer.
All this, because one Saturday morning in November, I opened a book and read a few lines. Amazing what a book can do to two lives when it hits open minds.