My story in brief…

Dear visitor,

First – I’d like to thank you for visiting my site. Viele Danke!
Second – I’d like to share 3 stories (and only 3) about how I got to this point.

Story 1
Story 1

Story 1

It started in Berlin in 2006 – I was studying computer science but I really had no idea how I could use anything I learned in university to make a living. So one day, I got a call from a friend who’s hobby it was to use an old press ID card to sneak into expensive conferences to network and eat free food. He said: “Fabian, you need to come to the Hyatt Hotel, there is a Ruby on Rails conference and the food is amazing”. “Ruby on what??” I replied. It was a fairly new programming language back in 2006. Free food sounded good though, so an hour later I was standing at the buffet and filling my plate with heaps of tasty salmon. A recruiter standing next to me, who had paid $1000 be there, asked if I wanted a job – working with Ruby on Rails! I pretended to have some experience and accepted his offer. From that moment on, while studying, I worked 2 days a week programming in various startups as a freelancer, all thanks to my desire to eat fish.

Story 2
Story 2

Story 2

Fast forward to 2010. At 5PM one afternoon, I walked out of the office, from one of those jobs I got because of the fish, when I saw a long haired traveler, Javier, sitting on the street playing a backpacker guitar – exactly the type of guitar I was looking to buy at that time. I walked up to him and asked if I could play around with the guitar, and while I did this he started telling me his amazing story. Javier at one point had a successful painting business in Barcelona but decided to give everything up, buy an old Mercedes and drive over 8,000km from Spain to Mali. When he ran out of money, he was able to sell the Mercedes in Gambia for more than double the price he had bought it for! Realizing the potential, he went back to Barcelona, bought another old Mercedes, drove back to Gambia and sold it again. He did this whole thing 4 times while spending 4 years travelling all over Africa. “Isn’t travelling around Africa dangerous?”, I asked him. “Not at all”, he replied and in half an hour had told me everything I needed to know to do the same. Guess what I did? I bought an old Mercedes and a backpacker guitar and drove through 15 countries in Africa. After being stopped by the police exactly 163 times (I think) I eventually ended up in the Democratic Republic of Congo. This was the most adventurous thing I have ever done in my life. Yes! that’s right! Malaria! These are my blood test results and they basically say that I have Malaria! And it’s probably the best thing ever happened to me, and something that ultimately led me to funding my own company.

StartUpDiaries
StartUpDiaries

StartUpDiaries

While in Africa, I was lucky enough to get…Malaria. Yes! that’s right! Malaria! And it’s probably the best thing ever happened to me, in my life! That’s because it ultimately led me to funding my own company. Being alone in central Africa with a burning fever and hallucinating, I tried to keep my mind busy. I was fortunate, I had WIFI, and so I kept myself busy by googling random queries. Just out of boredom, I searched for “The coolest job of the world on the internet”. A job offer from a company in San Francisco appeared, I left half the application form blank, only putting in my name and phone number. I was quite surprised when the next day I got the call. “Why did you apply for this job?” the voice on the other end asked. Without any preparation whatsoever, I quickly went to the company’s website and completely free-styled the interview. 3 Weeks later I was sitting in their London office for a personal interview and 2 more weeks later I was an employee. I was working for a booming tech startup and loving every minute of it. I was voluntarily working 80 hours a week, based in London, but travelling all over Europe to visit clients. It was all work, all the time. Yet, after spending 10 months traveling around in Africa, I now felt happy and productive crossing things off a to do list. At this time, a dear friend of mine was losing his mind due to tinnitus. He was working so much and under so much stress that his body was giving him a sign to stop – a sickness. Having tried everything to get rid of the ringing in his ears, he was getting desperate. I suggested he tried something different. I suggested that he escape to the Amazon “Will you bring me there?” he asked. “Sure, if you pay for my flight”, I replied. I was surprised he said yes, and a few days later we were off While there in the Amazon, I realized I didn’t want to end up stressed out, working 80 hour weeks and with my head ready to explode. I wanted my freedom And I wanted to travel again. I opted for more freedom and started my own company in Berlin. From this moment on I knew that all the work hours I was putting in were being invested in something that I had created. I worked and grew my company for about a year, it was going great, but something was missing. 6 months later, I was in Argentina buying my new office – a Land Rover Defender. The plan was to travel through South America, see if we could manage a company from the road and meet other people who also find their own unique ways of working.

It has been an incredible adventure.

And I would love to share what I’ve learnt in the process.

Please get in touch with me to find out more.
LG (as they say in Germany “Liebe Grusse”),

Fab

"The best way to live your life is to choose the experience that will have the greatest anecdotal value."

Fabian Dittrich is the founder of Helpando. Fabian is documenting his Nomad Company experience and is collecting stories from others who also use technology to work independently. You can follow his journey on Startup Diaries here.

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