How We Turned One of Life’s Biggest Questions Into an Experiment: A Nomadic Journey to Find ‘Home’
In our journey through life, we often come face-to-face with questions that tough to answer, yet critical to understand who we are and the life we wish to lead. Questions such as:
- Who am I, really?
- What is my purpose? What meaningful contribution do I wish to make here?
- What is my idea of a fulfilling life?
- Who are the people I want surrounding me?
- And — Where do I want to live?
Last year, my boyfriend and I found ourselves dwelling on that last question. We found ourselves unsure about the ultimate place to call ‘home.’ Being product managers, we thought — why not approach this predicament the way we would any product issue — through a well-designed experiment?
The First Step: Getting clear on what we want
The first step involved honing in on our hypothesis about what we valued most in a prospective living space — both in terms of the physical property and the location at large.
For the location, we were keen on gauging:
- Proximity to nature
- The presence of Cafes / Restaurants / Bars
- Accessibility to supermarkets
- Walkability within the city
- Impact on our hobbies
- Availability and quality of coworking spaces
- The general vibe of the locale and the populace
- Language barriers
- The city’s size
When it came to the property itself, we were curious about:
- The number of rooms
- The property’s place within the city
- The quality of the view
- Our dynamic while living together in that space
- Factors we had in one property but lacked in the subsequent ones, and whether we missed them
Second Step: The Grand Experiment
With our hypotheses outlined clearly, we embarked on a unique experiment. We chose 2–3 different locations to put our theories to the test, analyzing our thoughts and feelings at each stage, and noting our responses across categories after each stay.
Third Step: Reflection and Resolution
At the end of our experiment, we took the time to reflect on our experiences and insights, discussed them and are now clear about where we want to live.
For us, it is important to live in a walkable city with more or less 500K inhabitants, with close access to nature. We love the mountains, so in Europe, definitely close to the Alps. Cafés, Restaurants and Bars are important, but one good one of each would suffice. A good social and general health system should be present. The distance to our favorite hobbies has a huge impact on how much we do them. And so much more! Really, the list of what we learned would be a long blog post in itself. For now, I mostly wanted to share the experiment 😄
Looking back on the experiment, I’m grateful for the clarity it brought. It was an enlightening journey of self-discovery — delving into what matters most to me, learning about my preferences, and understanding where I truly want to call home.
However, the frequent relocations were not without their challenges. The seemingly small stresses — figuring out the nearest supermarket is, unraveling public transport, exploring sightseeing opportunities, meeting new friends — took a toll on my energy and focus. Moreover, sustaining friendships when constantly on the move was even harder.
Answering the question of where I wanted to live not only gave me the confidence to settle down after years of only living in places no more than 2 years, but also revealed aspects of life I hadn’t quite considered before.
The prospect of building a ‘home’ now takes on a new meaning. I want to establish a safe haven, a home to return to after each adventure, because these will definitely keep coming. I want to build and nurture closer friendships, and create a life that resonates with my newfound realizations.
So, here’s to our past adventures and all the ones to come, and to settling down 🥂
Would you be interested in doing an experiment like this?