Moving to another country was the first culture shock. Suddenly I was in Germany, surrounded by another culture and another language. Then the career change: instead of sitting behind a desk, whether as a student or as a proofreader, I had become a nanny, then an English teacher, then a full-time freelance writer. Then I blew all the other changes right out of the water and moved into a little wooden gypsy caravan on a piece of squatted land on the outskirts of one of Europe’s most metropolitan cities.
In town, bankers sipped 8-euro drinks and talked about their stock portfolios, while I lived with a bunch of adventurous nomadic types with brightly colored hair and wild dreadlocks, without electricity, carrying water 100-meters from the faucet to my little house or the community kitchen, chopping firewood to fire up the woodstove, reading by candlelight.