The journey never ends

Photo by Manu Agah.

Photo by Manu Agah.

People always told me, I have to follow my dreams and do what I love in order to be happy… And to be honest, it has always been hard for me to pin point that one thing that I love to do. As John Lennon once said: ‘Life is what happens while you're busy making other plans‘. I mean, the world is full of interesting things to explore. You know those moments when you discover something new and it grabs your attention so much to a point, where you can barely focus on anything else. Well like many of us I was always driven by my curiosity… and sooner or later that curiosity turned into a passion.

When I was in junior high school I was fortunate enough to discover my first real passion. It was not clear to me then, but looking back now, I was absolutely crazy about skateboarding, snowboarding and surfing. Starting something new in the beginning it never easy and it took a lot of sweat and tears to even a slow progress. I always thought it was the patience and the practice that made me better but, actually I believe it was the amount of fun I had that truly let me stick with these hobbies to this day.

Private archives.

Private archives.

This driving force appeared the second time when I discovered was when I was going abroad as a foreign exchange student. Being fifteen years old and I having never traveled outside of Europe, I was terrified of the idea that i would leave my family and friends back in Germany for a whole year. I could barely speak any English when I landed in Anaheim California. This was a place every European kid that loves skateboarding and surfing could only dream of. All of a sudden, my previous fears were gone allowing me to have the best year in my life. I came to realise that leaving my comfort zone, experiencing different cultures and meeting new friends is just as exciting as skating or fresh powder. It was this trip that ignited my passion for traveling and being part of a great community.

Coming back to Germany was harder than expected and I took every chance I could to travel around Europe. After I finished high school I decided to move to Florida for half a year where my older brother was living at the time. Being back in the states was great, but I knew I had to go back to start my studies in Hamburg. Luckily, once my second semester in university was over, I had the chance to go live in New York for a year. Without hesitation I made all the arrangements to study from there and fly back to for exams. Living in New York was exhilarating and it kept me on my toes.  I was motivated to do well in my studies just like when I was a kid learning how to skateboard.

Private archives.

Private archives.

About five years ago, my third passion crossed paths with me. Building my first PC when I was nine years old, I was always very curious about computers and the internet. It was not until I discovered a new network called Bitcoin that this field grabbed my attention again.  Only this time, it was like nothing else before. Dubbed as the cash of the internet I had the feeling that I discovered something I want to spend my professional career on. It was the summer of 2013 and I spent my days in the library reading about every white paper I could get my hands on regarding this topic and trust me there were not many. I convinced my professor at the time to let me write my bachelor thesis about blockchain, the technology that powers Bitcoin.

It became clear to be, in order to understand this technology and its possible implications in the world, I needed to know as much as possible about finance and investing. I received an offer to work for a bank consultancy that focused on asset allocation and risk management. Just before I started working I decided to take some money and buy Bitcoins. Looking for answers about trading and investing I quickly came to realise that no one in the company had shared my interest. People called me crazy and told me that I will never see a return on my investment. Around this time Bitcoin wasn’t making exponential gains yet and that led to its infamous reputation.

Somewhere around this time, my boss shared an idea with me he had been working on for years. Together with his son, I was offered the chance to help him turn this idea into a product. While co-creating the business plan and building the MVP, I was able to gain experience programming, in business and networking, which, is basically the same as making new friends and joining a new community. After working intensively long hours on the project I had little time to focus on the blockchain, but ‘Life is what happens while you're busy making other plans’, right?! So after about a year we got an offer to sell the majority stake to a company in Berlin. We took the offer and joined the company to help them integrate the product.

Mozambique, 2016. Private archives.

Mozambique, 2016. Private archives.

Following my passions has led me to many unforeseen destinations in life. Like this adventure has led me to meet Endrik and Kaarel. I am very eager to continue to learn as much as I can about the blockchain and share my knowledge especially with people who shared my enthusiasm of Bitcoin. In the early days my friends would get annoyed with my ‘nerd stuff’ as they used to call it, until that developed into a small community to share our ideas and interests together. This was a turning point for me as I realised how much more fun it is to share with people from all different backgrounds and professions.

That is why I am proud to be a part of the Relocateme.co team. As I have repeatedly come to realise in my life, the most productive I have ever been was when I felt content with my surroundings. Combining learning with a fun environment keeps you motivated to engage and focus longer. Helping people connect and share knowledge in this emerging community inflicts an excitement in others and this is important to me. Relocateme.co has embraced many harmonious factors to foster passion in all of us and that is my reason to join.

 For me, the path is what drives us and not the final goal.
— Vincent Schalk
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