Reflection

Reflecting on the past few years and looking forward to changing location again. 🇩🇰 København, here I come!

Posted by Eddo on March 15, 2018

To be truly challenging, a voyage, like a life, must rest on a firm foundation of financial unrest. Otherwise, you are doomed to a routine traverse, the kind known to yachtsmen who play with their boats at sea… “cruising” it is called. Voyaging belongs to seamen, and to the wanderers of the world who cannot, or will not, fit in. If you are contemplating a voyage and you have the means, abandon the venture until your fortunes change. Only then will you know what the sea is all about.

“I’ve always wanted to sail to the south seas, but I can’t afford it.” What these men can’t afford is not to go. They are enmeshed in the cancerous discipline of “security.” And in the worship of security we fling our lives beneath the wheels of routine - and before we know it our lives are gone.

What does a man need - really need? A few pounds of food each day, heat and shelter, six feet to lie down in - and some form of working activity that will yield a sense of accomplishment. That’s all - in the material sense, and we know it. But we are brainwashed by our economic system until we end up in a tomb beneath a pyramid of time payments, mortgages, preposterous gadgetry, playthings that divert our attention for the sheer idiocy of the charade.

The years thunder by, The dreams of youth grow dim where they lie caked in dust on the shelves of patience. Before we know it, the tomb is sealed.

Where, then, lies the answer? In choice. Which shall it be: bankruptcy of purse or bankruptcy of life?

Sterling Hayden (1916-1986), from the book “Wanderer” (1963)

Originally I heard this mentioned by world-famous South-African white water kayaker Steven Fisher in a trailer to his movie “Black book”. And I also do see this quite fitting, not purely focused on the financial motives; do you live your life waiting for security or do you take your life into your own hands?

Two years ago I got the opportunity to relocate for my job from the Netherlands to Madrid, Spain, and today I’m announcing that I’m not only changing location again, but also changing jobs. As of mid-April I’ll be working as senior software developer for Ageras in Copenhagen, Denmark 🇩🇰. The decision wasn’t an easy decision, leaving a country that I’ve called home for almost two years, and leaving colleagues and a good product that I’ve worked on for almost five years. The energy I put into my job wasn’t anymore in balance with the energy I got out of it. I’ve learned a lot in the last five years at Raet and now it is time to change.

Relocating to another country isn’t an easy step, and has cost my girlfriend and me a few sleepless nights. What can you do to make it easier? Spend money wisely with a good relocation agent that helps you on your new location with local administration. You can do it all yourself usually, though they can do it more easily and know the local procedures, thus are more effective. Our relocation agent provided in our first email conversation an example of how things could go wrong (in Danish). We didn’t want that to happen, so we opted for requesting their help. How much money you want to spend is of course up to you, as relocation agents usually can deliver a full program or just specific parts. Their services are not cheap, we spent a couple thousand euros for a full program. And that is without the cost for a moving company to transport our furniture 🚛.

The time in Spain has taught me that it is also important to start learning the language as of day one, or even before you arrive. It goes a long way to be able to say “hello” and “thank you” in the local language. Or be able to order a coffee, or know the standard phrases that are mentioned in a supermarket or restaurant. I have to admit that so far I’ve only followed one lesson Danish in Duo Lingo, so there’s still something to do for me.

Looking back at the last few years, I’ve learned a lot with regard to being in and creating a software development team and keeping it together. I’ve also had the experience that it not always works out the way you expect, or hope. I do find that having a clear vision for a product or project does help in keeping a team together, and coming together at least once a year to have coffee together in one room, and share a dinner together, instead of virtual cooperation over video calls. Sure, this depends on how independent you can work with each other, and I am a big supporter of remote working. Yet my experience is that when you work together, it does help to see each in real life a once or twice a year.

I am looking forward to the change, as I’m convinced that it is a step into the right direction to learn more in a new environment.

P.S. If you’ve enjoyed this article or found it helpful, please share it, or check out my other articles. I’m on Instagram and Twitter too if you’d like to follow along on my adventures and other writings.