15 May 2020
In 2019, after becoming disillusioned with our corporate lifestyles, we sold our house in Germany and moved to the Outer Hebrides. This post contains a short bio of ourselves, and the reasons we relocated to a remote island in search of a new life.
I was working for a large car manufacturer in the south of Germany. I joined the company at the age of 15 and worked there for 40 years. Then, at 55, after becoming increasingly frustrated with the attitudes of automotive industry leaders in terms of sustainability and the reliance on fossil fuels, I decided to leave the company and try to lead a more eco-friendly lifestyle.
Not everyone understood my decision to leave full-time paid employment and make such a life change, but my health, happiness and quality of life are more important to me than money. At the end of 2018, I suffered a stress-related collapse at work and ended up in hospital for three days. For me, that sent a clear message that I needed to make some changes in my life.
Now I spend much of my time doing creative and innovative jobs in the house and garden, and going for long walks with our dogs. We live next to a sea loch and have fantastic views of mountains and islands. Wildlife is on our doorstep – I love watching otters and seals near the shore and eagles and hawks flying overhead. There are so many things I want to do, but all in good time. There’s no rush. The main thing is that I’m approaching life with new energy and zest.
This is not the first time I’ve moved country. In 1999 I moved from England to Germany to teach English at said car manufacturer, which was where I met Rudi. I love teaching – I get great satisfaction in learning how to do something and then helping other people learn it too. However, I was growing progressively uneasy with the fact that I was working in an industry that was contributing to the destruction of the environment and the climate crisis.
Over the last decade, the summers in southern Germany have been getting hotter and drier, and I found myself fleeing to Scotland for 3-4 months at a time to escape the heat. I also noticed within myself an increasing intolerance towards large crowds of people, and I vowed to search for somewhere cool, wet and remote to live. The Outer Hebrides seemed the perfect place.
The house we ended up buying was much larger than we’d envisaged, so we made the decision to open our home to guests on a bed and breakfast basis. We both enjoy meeting people and finding out about their fascinating life stories, so this seemed to fit perfectly. My goal now is to live a rich and fulfilling life while attempting to have minimal negative impact on the planet.