The beginning of a life as digital nomads

by Michael Gimm Holdensen

The day is finally upon us, and we can announce our plans, for a “life” as digital nomads, to the outside world, including all the people we love incredibly much. It has been hard to keep this a secret, especially for our employers, who we have both been pleased with. But it has been necessary as we had to be 100% sure before announcing anything.

We do so now, and it’s crazy! We sell our house and everything we own (almost). We quit our jobs and took the kids out of school. Around September, we then set off on an unknown journey that starts in Europe. We do not know where or when it will end, but only that we will be on adventures as a family for as long as we can and feel like it.

When we bought our house in November 2015

In November 2015, we bought our house at Kildebakken 24 in a great town called Ry (Denmark). The city is located in the heart of “Søhøjlandet” and is surrounded by unrivalled nature. There are good schools and institutions and lots of leisure activities. In short, a gem that is hard to find anywhere else in Denmark. 

The house we bought was from 1967 and contained some damage for repair and was a bit worn. But we fell for the house’s opportunities, including the most beautiful views of the lakes and the surrounding area. There was plenty of space both inside and out. With 224 m2 on two levels and a 1300 m2 large plot with plenty of room for the children and outdoor projects. From the beginning, we were sure that we would live here until we would not live in a house anymore – many years into the future. Life as a digital nomad was not something we had imagined back then.

Renovation work on several occasions

Until the summer of 2017, I renovated most of the house. Only except for our utility room, workshop and staircase. I have made a lot myself, but we used authorized people as well.

After this, there was a much-needed break from the renovation, with more time for the family and other projects. Around Easter 2020, when the Corona was upon us, we decided to embark on the renovation of the latter. Before that, we had some discussions about subletting our house for a while and moving to Australia if it was possible to find a job. Specifically Brisbane or Sydney. However, it did not succeed, mainly due to the strict visa rules. When forest fires followed, and then Covid-19, we agreed that this was a sign that we should not leave at that time.

The last part of the house renovation consisted of building a new building of 31m2 in our garden, a utility room and a spare room for the kids. The new building in our garden was to function as a workshop, storage and garden tool room. We then moved the old workshop into the outbuilding, which was part of the house. We then turned the old workshop into a big and bright utility room, and the old utility room became a multi-room for the children and overnight guests. Now we were done.

Stuff can be replaced but we only have one life

We live in a world where everything moves so fast, at least before Covid-19. Most of it is based on material needs. We all want a nice house, a nice car and a good job and preferably also be the perfect parents. I have to say we did quite ok. Yet it is as if days pass by quickly, and the next day is a little too similar to the day before. 

This cycle or rat race, as many like to call it, continues in one form or another until we leave the labour market. Only then we are free to live out our dreams. 
With the current danish pension rules, which are constantly changing, I can retire at the age of 72. At that time, our children are 33, 39 and 41 years old. In other words, the time has run out in terms of going on adventures with mom and dad as digital nomads. So why not retire now? If nothing else, then just temporarily. We only have one life together, and everything we bought and owned is just stuff – replaceable stuff.

A run on a cold, sunny day in February that started it all

I struggled with the idea that something was missing in our lives for some time. Time goes by so fast with jobs and daily routines, from Monday to Friday. The weekends were crammed with practical chores and appointments with friends and family. It’s all nice and good, but we needed a change.

My thoughts had mainly revolved around my urge always to create something new. Since all my project was in my spare time, it always meant less time with my kids and Rie. I wanted to change that before the children got too old and preferably before they started to think mom and dad are “so embarrassing”…

On a cold and sunny day in February, I told Rie about my thoughts. Even though she had to consider it for a moment, she quickly agreed that it could be exciting. In the days that followed, we talked a lot about how to arrange this adventure. We talked about whether we should rent out the house and seek leave or go All-in and cut all ties, to be 100% free. We settled for the last option, but not entirely without reservations.

Our reservations were that we would only do it if we could sell our house at the right price. This way, our economy was secured well into the future. Likewise, we also had to make sure that the children were involved in the idea, which they fortunately were. It thus became the start of a life as a digital nomad.

The house is put on the market and then things starts to move quickly…

When the decision was final, and we had agreed upon how we would approach it, we contacted two real estate agents in Ry – Home and Danbolig. They both confirmed that the price we had in mind, as a basis for selling it, was right. This was the first milestone.

We decided to wait until the week after Easter to in order to make the house look at its best for the photoshoot.

We chose Home real estate broker, and even before the house was put online, we had two buyers visiting and an offer from another couple in our mailbox. Two of the couples visited twice. 
On April 28th, it was put online, and on April 29th, we got an offer from a buyer. We signed the contract a couple of days later.

Our last summer at Kildebakken 24

Now that a preliminary date had been set for taking over the house, we knew that the summer of 2021 would be the last one in our beautiful home. Suddenly it felt overwhelming as reality caches up with all our dreams. But we still felt it was the right decision.

A big “thank you” goes out to Millespeak and her podcast, the Digital Nomad, as well as Maja and Stefan with their podcast The good life. We listened a lot to both of them, and even though we are not going to travel the precise same way, we share many of the same principles for what we want with this journey.

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See you 🙂

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Carsten Sørensen 9 May 2021 - 00:40

Hej med jer
Carsten fra Kildebakken 33 her

Super idé at stå af hamsterhjulet og opleve hinanden og verden på en anden måde.
Susie jeg bor sammen med, har en søn i GL Rye, Han har sammen med sin kone og 3 børn, de sidste par år inden Coronaen, rejst i Thailand, Indonesien, Malaysia. Den ene gang i 3 mdr, og året efter Sri Lanka og Syd Indien i 4 mdr. Det har været kanon for familielivet.
Så “go for it” og husk på en gammel Kaberet med Arne Wűrgler, Benny Holst, Hugo Rasmussen og Trille som hed: LIVET ER KORT OG MAN ER SÅ LÆNGE DØD.

Jeg har selv rejst en del og gør det stadigvæk. Til efteråret rejser jeg til Nepal – om Coronaen vil det – for at arbejde på et bibliotek og skole i det sydlige lavland. Det er igennem JYSK LANDSBYUDVIKLING I NEPAL.
Vores autocamper bringer os til Færøerne og Island i sommer og Corfu venter mig i Juni til et retreat i moving meditation.
Så livet er en rejse på mange planer.
Held og lykke med projektet.
Kh Carsten

Michael Gimm Holdensen 9 May 2021 - 20:13

Det lyder rigtigt spændende Carsten. Jeg vidste slet ikke du/I rejste så meget. Tak for din besked 🙂

Lars Aaskov 3 August 2021 - 08:57

Kære Rie og Michael,
Har lige læst om jeres vilde vilde beslutning, og er fuld af beundring over det kæmpe store mod, I har
I ønskes et fantastisk liv derude, og jeg glæder mig til at følge jeres tur
Pas nu godt på hinanden.
Kæmpe respekt
Mange hilsner fra Lars

Michael Gimm Holdensen 3 August 2021 - 09:00

Mange tak Lars ☺️
Nogle gange skal man “bare” springe ud i det. Hvad er det værste der kan ske?
Vi lover at passe godt på hinanden


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