The Millionaire Mindset

by Josh

Stefan

Today guest post is from my friend Stefan from Romania.
The man really inspires me.
A couple of weeks back, he came round to do his washing and we had lunch.
“You know”, he said as we dug into our omelette, “I really feel like a millionaire!
I get to hang out with cool people at cool places, I have all the time in the world. I hardly need to work and I do what I like.”
This attitude blows my mind. Especially if you consider that he lives on 120€ a month and has no permanent place to stay. But there he was, calm and relaxed, happy. What a guy.

Enter Stefan.

What’s one thing I notice when I travel? My backpack can provide everything necessary for a successful journey. That is so convenient! Pack the stuff you really need and take off to foreign places. It’s easy, practical and all of us have done it.
What do we leave behind?
Our homes with all the furniture and clogged closets, but most importantly our worries and responsibilities.
You can take some days off and stay home, but the feeling of liberation is not the same as it is when you go away to a different country. You have to go away for feeling truly free.

It was December 2012 and my internship in Romania had ended. I was born in and have spent almost all my life in Romania. I was faced with choosing where to spend the remaining  8 months of my master degree programme at Wageningen University in the Netherlands, of which the internship in Romania was part of. I had given up my room in Wageningen before I went for my internship. If stayed in Romania I could write my thesis there, which would be the last thing to do before graduating. I already had a place to sleep, where I also moved all my things. If I went back to the Netherlands I would have to look for a place to live and carry all my stuff there again. The decision took a while. Some of the considerations were: a girl I loved, family, friends, future job location. I decided to go back to the Netherlands. But here’s the interesting part.
I also decided to not move there, but travel there. Remember what I described in the above paragraph? That travelling leaves worries and responsibilities at home? I decided to go to the Netherlands, free of stress, free of stuff, free of having to pay rent and taking care of a room or apartment. I would backpack for 8 months in one small city: Wageningen. I would couchsurf. I would write the thesis in my own rhythm, which was my main task, but I would live a travelling lifestyle: full of experiences, people, learning new things and developing new perspectives.

December 31st I was back in Wageningen. From the airport I made my way straight to a friends New Years party. After three weeks I was still spending my nights in his house, with his 2 housemates, an Australian girl and a Croatian guy which formed a couple. I met two amazing people and I got to connect with my friend much more than I did before. The Australian girl lived on a permaculture farm her whole life, she thought aquaponics and she knows everything about carbon and how to deal with these new, high carbon dioxide emission problems (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AhSggAFw7TU). Her fiancée came from Croatia to work in a foundation focused on soil information, and he’s the guy to thank for an open-source map of all the soils in the world, a tool he invented and for which he got the most prestigious awards in the field of soil science.

Would I have met and learned from these amazing people if I had my own room in a student building? I spent the next months living on 3 other couches, 2 rooms of friends while they were away, in some girls’ beds, in my new girlfriend’s bed, in a basketball gym and in a house I crashed in without invitation. This last place is actually a funny story. Turns out that if you go to a student house, ring a bell, say you’re there for one of the guys whose name you got off the mailbox, you will be welcomed in. Then all you have to do is find a common room with a nice couch, lay down and nobody will disturb you. In the morning get up and grab something to eat from the fridge. Leave.

The club I play basketball for hooked me up with a small job to clean the floors. From this I get my living expenses, 125 euro per month but most importantly a key to the gym. Now, when I feel that my new or old friends, the people I couchsurf at, need to go on with their regular activities and they don’t have time for sleepless nights of conversations and sharing of ideas, I have my own place.
In fact I love basketball and I always wanted a place of my own to train as much as I want. As a kid playing ball in Romania, that’s the dream: in the cold winter months to be able to play non-stop in a gym. There are also these huge mattresses used for landings in different gymnastic disciplines, which are so big and comfortable! When I put some of them next to each other for going to sleep, I think it’s the biggest bed anyone has ever slept in. I also coach a team at this club and two parents of the kids I train have a house for sale which is empty. They offered to let me just live there until it’s sold.
The bad economy has some advantages right?

Another friend works in a lab with a woman whose family owns two cats. Long story short, she asked him, he introduced me to her and I ended up living in the biggest house in Rhenen for two weeks, taking care of their cats while she went on holiday with her family. The whole month of August they go away again. I hope they bring me back more French pate and salami like they did the last time and maybe something to put on the barbeque when I prepare a feast for my friends in their huge backyard. They allow this; they said: “Don’t waste the nice sunny days. Feel like home!” August is also the month of the main harvest so the farm I volunteer at will offer me lots of fresh fruits and veggies. I’m really looking forward to this month!

So yeah, do you need money and stuff to live a happy, fulfilled life? From my experience: no!
Take a chance and pack what you need when you go travelling for a week or two. Know your only requirement, in my case it was writing the thesis, in your case it might be a job or the passing of some exams. Make the rest of the time count. Go and meet people, live, use your workspace in any way imaginable. Through this minimalist lifestyle you will actually find that there’s much more to life.
You will find abundance. You will find yourself. You will finally feel free.

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