The word "downshifting" ("life for oneself", the rejection of the values imposed by society) gradually began to gain popularity in the 21st century, eventually reaching Russia. In 2016, the head of Sberbank, German Gref, called Russia a “downshifting country” - albeit completely distorting the meaning of this term.
As for the people, more and more residents of large cities began to abandon their careers and leave for exotic lands. The most popular option has become “to live on renting an apartment” (why, in fact, residents of Moscow and St. Petersburg can afford this in Russia).
However, is this “free” lifestyle so attractive? “Smart Magazine” invites you to familiarize yourself with the real stories of “downshifters” and answer this question yourself.
A project with this name (Goodbye normals, which can be translated as “Goodbye, norms”) originated in Russia at the beginning of 2013 and consisted of two people. As usual, it was a boy and a girl, and they decided to go on a trip around the world. The participants, Olga Timanova and Nikita Dyomin, were about 25, and they decided to finance their trip in the same classic way - renting out a Moscow apartment for 30 thousand rubles.
As expected, travelers covered their journey on the Internet in every possible way, and soon their story made it to the press. One day, the couple decided to take advantage of their growing popularity and raise money online. To move around Africa, they needed a car that cost 150 thousand rubles. People responded, and the required amount was raised. True, this case was a one-time exception - Olga and Nikita bought everything else on their own.
More than a year and a half passed, and suddenly the idyllic story ended. At the end of October 2014, Timanova published a story on social networks about what actually happened during all this time. Perhaps this story can serve as an excellent example of how rainbow plans do not withstand a collision with harsh reality.
The first snag, as usual, was money. As Timanova said, she and Nikita from the very beginning of the trip could not live on 30 thousand rubles. The solution turned out to be obvious: take it from the parents. According to Olga, she received $ 500-600 monthly from her own people. Apparently, for them it was a serious amount. Plus, they were worried about their daughter. As a result, Olga's mother suffered a heart attack (as her daughter wrote: “From all our problems”).
Nikita's father - apparently a much more well-to-do man - also did not leave his son without help. For example, he paid for all the flights of a happy couple of travelers (all over the world). He also added 50 thousand rubles to the successful fundraiser that they arranged to buy a car.
In addition to financial, the couple had difficulties in personal communication. Namely, in her text Olga told about multiple cases of assault by her young man. According to her, she even lost count of how many times it was repeated. It often came to bruises, and once Nikita allegedly dragged Olga into the shower and forced her to lie under cold water.
It is curious that, despite all this suffering, Timanova returned to her lover again. The last time she returned to him in Brazil, after three months of rehabilitation with a psychologist in Moscow. But there another “disappointment” awaited her, after which she nevertheless decided to end their “romantic journey” completely.
In his response, Demin admitted that they took money from their parents, “as much as their conscience, common sense and opportunities allowed.”He denied accusations of systematic beatings, confessing only that he “grabbed and pushed” his girlfriend, after which she once fell, bumped and received a bruise. Olga's statement, in his opinion, was dictated by a “psychological disorder”.
The scandal that ended the journey of the two romantics even reached the central media: a story about it was shown on the Russia-24 TV channel.
The presentation of the story by TV people drew criticism from Nikita and 16 other travel bloggers. In particular, they argued that TV specifically instills in the audience a “fear of independent travel”.
Marry a musician
The Russian internet is full of stories of how many people have gained by abandoning the mundane urban lifestyle and moving to exotic locations like Goa or Thailand. However, there are also opposite cases. It is more interesting to look at them, as it allows you to better understand the possible risks in such a radical life revolution.
For example, Olga, a formerly successful Moscow economist, was never able to find herself in a tropical Indian paradise, where she moved at the insistence of her musician husband:
“The money we get from renting an apartment is enough for us not to deny ourselves anything. We are renting a beautiful two-story house on the ocean shore, surrounded by luxurious nature, but I can’t sit around all day, I’m literally crazy about it. I miss my relatives, my friends, I dream of Moscow traffic jams and frost."
At the same time, Olga's husband feels great: he composes music with like-minded people whom he found in a new place, is engaged in yoga and other self-development. Perhaps from this we can conclude that people of creative professions are more likely to benefit from such a change than those who are engaged in more highly specialized activities, by default tied to a specific country.
Another successful Moscow careerist, a manager named Vladimir, became literally obsessed with the idea of giving up everything and leaving for Thailand. As a result, he even came to a nervous breakdown:
"This has never happened to me: I drank for a week, turned off the phone, and on Friday, in the middle of the working day, intoxicated, showed up for work and told colleagues and management what I thought about office slavery and corporate ethics."
In the end, the man still realized his obsession. However, in a new place, he gradually realized that it was “not his”. The reason was the same - the lack of habitual activity:
“A month has passed, and I suddenly realized that I was“full”of all this. I wanted to go home so much, I wanted to work, to do something. I realized that downshifting is not my thing.”
As a result, he returned to Moscow and got another good job, and all his previous blues and obsessions vanished as if by hand.
And here is another downshifter from Russia, Evgeny Nesterov, who quit his office and left to learn surfing in Bali, is happy with his choice.
Hotel in Bali
True, he believes that when making such a decision, several rules must be observed:
“Living and relaxing are two different things. On my second visit, the island no longer seemed so enchanting and mysterious, I began to notice more often what I didn’t like, but I was able to adapt with the help of several life rules … The first is to draw up a daily routine It is imperative to have a job, albeit a remote one. There is nothing destructive for the mind than not understanding what to do today and where to get money to rent a house tomorrow. Well, the main thing is to set a goal for yourself. Why are you ready to roast in the sun 365 days a year, leave your friends and family, face a lot of garbage on the roads, theft and Groundhog Day?”.
Sweetheart - heaven in a stinking van
The story of a positive but very challenging three-month immersion in road romance was told to the British press by a young Australian couple.23-year-old Cassandra Clarke and her 25-year-old fiancé Michael Kopp decided to celebrate their engagement by taking a trip to the east coast of their continent in a van. Fortunately, the occasion turned up for this - the musician groom was offered to play in a number of bars, which made it possible to earn extra money.
Within seven days, Cassandra contracted a very spicy ailment - vaginal candidiasis. Having hardly obtained the necessary cream in a provincial pharmacy, she had to resort to Michael's help for treatment:
"There is little that can be compared to the awkwardness of lying with your legs up, while he helps you apply this cream."
Soon, the lovers' refrigerator in the van broke down, so they had to buy food for no more than a day. Although even that was not easy - it was 45-degree heat outside.
“Traveling in this van is the most stressful experience for our relationship that could be imagined,” says Cassandra. It was especially difficult for her to share the living space with, as she put it, a “smelling man”.
The girl's health problems did not end with candidiasis. During the trip, she also contracted gastroenteritis, which she describes as "the worst thing I've ever experienced." This time, for treatment, she even had to lie down in a hospital that turned up.
The van itself let us down. Not only did the car gobble up a bunch of gasoline, which turned out to be an unpleasant surprise for a poor couple, it also required constant repairs. Once, in order to fix the car again, they had to buy a plane ticket, fly home and work in a factory for two weeks.
True, the most difficult for Cassandra was not financial and medical difficulties, but a psychological problem. She was very depressed that Michael earns money for them with concerts, and she "sits and does nothing." This gave her a sense of her own worthlessness and mediocrity. In the end, the girl was able to convince herself that, by providing support to the groom, she was also involved in a common cause.
Despite all the difficulties experienced, the lovers evaluate their three-month trip as an incredible and extremely valuable experience. Among other things, according to them, "they have grown a lot, and now their relationship has become simply impossible to destroy."