I first found Christian Skoda’s site, Nomad4ever, when researching some future travel plans. The name intrigued me. A nomad forever? I had to find out more. There, I discovered a man after my own heart; someone who believes there is more to life than the mythical 9 to 5 (more like 9am to 9pm, if you’re lucky) and then proves his convictions by throwing in the towel on a glowing rat race career in favour of a stress-free and contented lifestyle outside of Europe. Go, boy! is all I can say to that.
At the moment, Chris is living in Bali, but will probably pack up his ‘yurt’ to move elsewhere at some point. After all, he is a self-professed nomad, so staying in one place for the rest of his life would defeat the purpose of what he’s decided is the prozac-free way forward. Here are Chris’s responses to my Epic Blog questionnaire:
When/ why did you decide to take up blogging?
Previously internet applications and computers were part of my daily work life. So when I quit working in 02/2006 I spent more time on the internet discovering and trying out some fun things. I suddenly even had time to excessively play World of Warcraft. Running my own Guild in that Online Game with some 150 members, I was asked plenty of times to set up a website to coordinate guild events and to post guild news. So I began to create a very basic website with a standard html editor, but it was quite a pain to update it in a timely manner, without touching and messing up the whole thing over and over again. That was the time when I discovered blogs, which do that with ease via website templates. It was really like a positive challenge and I learned a lot in a very short time. So when the WoW addiction finally faded, I naturally looked for some substitute to get my newfound knowledge to a positive use. I first started a Blogger blog, but soon reached its limits and then finally switched to WordPress, which I use ever since.
How did you decide on the name for your blog?
My initial idea of living my life after my worklife was to move from country to country. Living a certain period of time in each to soak in different cultures, sceneries and lifestyles. I felt the world has too much to offer than staying in the same place for years and years until you die. So why not roam our planet and try out the ups and downs of various places myself? Like the old Nomadic tribes did and still do in some countries. Forever on the move instead of standing still – that was the basic idea and I simply wanted to write about my experiences on that path. I guess a few beer helped back then to get that idea into a unique shortcut.
Are there any aspects of your former working life that you miss?
Honestly – none! Today I’m completely free, I can do whatever I want, wake up whenever I want, go wherever I want. I can chose my friends and the people I hang out with simply based on compatibility and interest, whereas in my working life I had to deal with plenty of people I would have avoided, if I had a choice. My day now is only defined with what is good for me and I became much calmer, relaxter and less worried in the process. The discovery of the simple life, without luxury possessions made me more independent and learn to live a life without sorrows or serious worries. I can appreciate the little and beautiful things again, like an elephant-shaped cloud in the sky, a colorful insect landing on a flower nearby or the morning sounds of mooing cows on the meadow next to my place.
What makes you laugh?
Oh my – there are so many things. I have more than a dozen good laughs every day, maybe because I’m just a happy person? Seriously I enjoy good conversation, pulling each others legs, hearty or nasty jokes, a Karaoke song gone wrong, losing my way when driving and coming out somewhere completely different, getting wet from a sudden rain shower or simply laughing about my own clumsiness..
Which is the best blog you’ve read recently and why?
Hard to tell, there are so many out there! One blog I always come back to is maybe hobotraveler.com, which is by a guy who is on the road for the last 10 or so years and has visitied all but a few countries of our planet.
Would you consider publishing a book of your life?
I don’t think my life is that interesting to justify a book about it and then there is this old media dust which comes with it. So, definitely no.
If you found yourself stranded on a desert island with three people of your choice (alive or dead) who would they be?
Oha, you got questions! Let me see, one of my idols is for sure Lee Kuan Yew, the first PM of Singapore. He would be an endless source for interesting conversation and brain jogging. I’m quite sure though, that I would bore him to death, but what can you do on a lonely island, right? Oh yeah, we would need some women to have a chance for survival, no? Give me someone like Beyonce or Naomi Campbell and wow – that would be an interesting mix and a bubbly receipe for disaster! Okay, maybe exchange Naomi to someone like Hatshepsut, the queen of ancient Egypt, beauty and intelligence – what more can you want?
If you were visiting Bali for the first time, what would you recommend doing or avoiding?
Get out of Kuta as soon as possible and take your time to explore the natural beauty of this island. Mountains or lonely beaches, volcanoes, endless rice fields, waterfalls and hot springs – there is so much to see to feel the power of nature. Soak up the sun, inhale the serenity, trek the jungles and leave the tourist crowds behind!
After Bali, where would you like to live next?
Nothing is settled yet. But Vietnam and the Philippines are currently strong contenders for the next long-term destination.
Where is your favourite place on the planet?
I haven’t found *that* favorite place yet. There are many nice places out there and no place is perfect. There is a book “1001 places to see before you die” and it gives a great overview of beautiful spots on our planet. I hope I can make it around to more than a few of them and I will be more than happy. But as I just come to think about it: a crystal-blue ocean close by would be great. A white, powdery beach even better. I learned to love the sea over the last couple of years (being born a land rat), so yeah, some place like that with some basic infrastructure like electricity and internet would ensure it being a top spot in my heart.
What has been your proudest moment?
Probably sending out that farewell e-mail to my ex-colleagues and walking out the door – a free man!
If there are three pieces of life advice you could give to a banker caught in the current credit crunch, what would they be?
The banker probably doesn’t have to worry too much, compared to his customers. He anyway plays only with monopoly money and is less affected himself by economic downturns. In general I would recommend not to worry too much, money isn’t everything, a job is just that – a job and you can survive anywhere on this planet. People do that every day, with less and being happier. So why not overthink your current life and decide what can you change now for a better you?
What’s on your bedside table?
Bedside table? What is a bedside table? 😉
Epic note to reader:
We all know how heated the comments exchange can be on contentious blogs. If you really want to see how ridiculous they can get, read Chris’s blog about his New Year’s Eve 2007.