Since we went on our first ever caravan trip, we've been on the search for what I call the “absolute, zen happiness”. Honestly, while we've been travelling, there have been many moments that we're not proud of. Still, there were many more experiences that we cherish in our hearts. After six years of traveling, we can say we're in zen. Let's dive into the journey of a middle class couple, turned into a hippie family.
We've just come back from another round-trip around Spain and Portugal, back to the Czech Republic. The trip took us some three and a half months and gave us another spring full of adventures and happy memories. You can read more about the trip in this article.
The Middle Class Beginnings
When I was 23 years old, I moved from an outlying area of the Czech Republic to Prague, the capital. That was 2003. Then, together with a few friends, I launched our first limited liabilities company Stickfish. Since then, I've experienced all the fun involved in entrepreneurship. Having a significant income, having significant debt with IRS, hiring and firing employees and travelling to places of the world like theUSA or the UAE. The goal was simple — let's make big money.
I've been in love with BMWs since I was 18, so I've spent almost all my income on either rent, food and drinks, or fixing my BMW issues. It was fun, but later I realised that I was working hard to make other people (mechanics and car makers) happy. So after five Beemers, I've abandoned BMW for a Toyota Hilux.
The Switch in 2012
Our values, meaning mine and my wife Renata's, changed when our girls were born. A lot. And with our first Caravan ownership began the most rewarding phase of our lives. Our friends changed too. From calling us “the crazy ones” they started to admire that we can travel freely, that we offer our kids great fun. Various online and printed media started writing about our story. We found the balance between family, work and a happy life.
Since then we try to change the lives of our friends and the people around us as a thank you. We love to see you changing your own lives for the better. We only share such a short time on this planet together, that it would be wrong to not cherish our life in the few moments we have.
You might be wondering, how did that happen? And was that easy? No, not really. As any big change, it required a little bit of stubbornness and perseverance. Here's what happened.
The House Debt and Caravan on Credit
Financially, we've been in a not-so-good situation with the caravan being purchased on credit while we were still paying off our house, which went over budget. We literally had debt everywhere — in a few banks, with our friends, in our family. It was crazy pressure on me.
During those years, I've decided to escape the rat race as fast as I could. I asked Renata to help me. And now I can say that it paid off big time. Now we only have a small mortgage on the house, we have bought our second caravan, and we transformed our Toyota Hilux into a self-sufficient Overlanding expedition Car. All that, while making money through investments and improving my financial skills every day. And it's only been only 6 years since the time when I felt desperate about having that huge debt. So it's possible.
Becoming a Hippie
We care less about expensive, luxurious things. We care less about dirty clothes or scratches on the dining table. We call those scratches “stories” that remind us of life's passing. We enjoy our time together, we visit friends and family as much as we can. We don't hide our inabilities or priorities behind the “sorry, I'm busy now” mask, as many people do.
And we're drifting slowly towards the hippie lifestyle. We're becoming happier every year. We have friends that still fight every day, they focus on buying things and on house repairs and improvements. They hide their inability to change themselves under the everyday workload. They have their fears, just like we did, but they're still trapped in a cage, too worried to step out and make a change for a better, freer life.
Other friends, who I highly admire for their business success, focus on their career more than life balance. They trick themselves into thinking that doing a great job at work, or pleasing their boss is what makes them happy. It won't, long term. They live their Facebook Lives, pretending that they're busy, happy and funny, while some of them, in reality, might be having pretty negative thoughts in their hearts and minds. I feel sorry for some them. I hope they'll understand their situation sooner than later.
Alternative School and Homeschooling
Our girls attend an alternative school. That means, they get out of the classroom more often, they don't get grades and their teachers act more like mentors in their studies, rather than commanders, who tell them what must be done. The main purpose of alternative schooling is not to kill the kids' willingness to learn, not to kill their playful spirit right after they leave kindergarten and begin the formal education process.
We must say we love the results and the sparks we see in the girls' eyes. Even if later in life they won't be socialized according society's standards or have many titles before their names, they're on the path of living a worthwhile life.
Our experience with homeschooling was not that bad either. We've had our fears, but after a few months of practise, we know we can achieve a lot of learning in a short period of time, because the process is one-to-one. We also spend more time with kids, doing not just fun activities, but also doing some work together.
Renata's Paleo Diet
This year, Renata, my wife, tried the Paleo diet, which is based on the book It Starts With Food. So the whole family joined in the fun. Since February we haven't had much white flour, no sugar or sweet products, and almost no milk. That in itself made us feel happier and healthier. Sure, we haven't been following the book to the letter, but we've improved a lot of our dining habits. The book is an easy to read bestseller, so we recommend to give it a read.
Ximilar Project & Investing Ideas
Every day matters. We're constantly improving, constantly reinventing ourselves. We change whenever an old idea loses its power. Just before we left the Czech Republic, our company Ximilar acquired the assets of Vize.ai, a platform that analyses images and helps businesses to structure large collections of images or videos. Since we left the Czech Republic in February 2018, things got wild and as I'm writing this, we have a crazy workload, so we're hiring engineers and trying to merge two great projects together.
We've also considered buying a property in Spain, as prices are at their lowest levels in 2018 and that is a huge opportunity. But we also love our current freedom, so we decided to focus and grow our digital assets. As of 2018, investing my money with Mintos P2P lending solution, makes sense for me. Return with buyback guarantee is around 10% a year which easily competes with renting a property.
Our vision for the Future
Looking back, our transformation is insane. We've realised that the hippie lifestyle isn't just about wearing flowers and smoking weed, as it's seen by the middle class. We now understand it more as a philosophy that frees you from the chains of consumerism. We now have a direction to follow, rather than just wandering aimlessly through our lives and watching advertisements.
Join us. Or do it your way. Do better for the people around you. Don't forget that you can't take anything with you when you die. There's only one “here and now” and there isn't much more than that.