Hanaffan

Growing up

Already as a child I moved around quite a bit and had to change school more frequently than normal. So I learned really early to adapt me to unknown circumstances and to make friends. The easiest way I found to get to know people and to be accepted is to be the loudest on every party, staying till the end and drinking the last beer. In this way one can make many friends really fast, but often it ends up in a superficial friendship which you can not count much on. Still I did this a lot and was really known in the area I was moving around in. So much that at the age of 21 I decided to stop drinking, as I felt that it made me more and more aggressive and influenced my life in a negative way.
An other more promising way to find friends when coming to a new place is to stick with other people who do not seem to really fit in any group. This way I always met somebody really interesting. Both tactics made me get to know and be known by a lot of people. But once you leave your place of fame, you realize on how many people you can really count. Especially when you do not use a mobile phone or any kind of social media which I detested at that time after some changes in my life.
At the age of 20 I sold my car because after two accidents I realized that all the work i did in my free-time during high-school was for nothing but this car. I stopped using my mobile phone after the company I had a contract with prolonged my contract without even asking me for doing so. I unplugged my TV after I realized how much time I lost just watching the Simpsons. Luckily I did all this at the right moment to still be able to pass my a-levels.
In general I started to reject a lot of things that are so normal in our society. The reason was that this whole moving around made me aware of how similar human relations worked in different locations. And somehow I did not like the way things were working in Germany. All this consumption and competition about consumption. It made me sick.
I felt a little better during my social work year when I had to work with a team of incredibly nice people, taking care of elders suffering of dementia in its late stages. It was tuff work, cleaning, feeding, clothing these old people who were acting like little children. But even though it was not easy, I am more than happy now that I made this experience as it surely increased my social awareness. Actually in a society where we live so close together it should be mandatory. Instead of forcing people to learn how to use a gun they should first be able to take care of each other without feeling disgusted.
Even though this was a very good experience it still did not change the opinion I had formed about society until then.
So I decided to experience life in a way that should be completely different to what I was used to. Young and naive as I was I joined the next best thing that gave me the possibility to actually do this even though I did not have an Euro in my pocket. Before I went to University I joined an in total 15 month program offered by a college in England which is part of the Humana empire, an organisation nobody heard of but which still is omnipresent. Anybody thinking to join this college be aware that you can not trust the organisation and they will make you suffer a lot. But the good thing is that you can make friends from all over the world and suffer together with them, what will deepen your friendship even more. Of the few people I can confidently call my best friends I got to know one within this organisation and every time we meet we still end up at some point talking about the crazy experiences that we got through in the parallel world of this organisation.

Bilibiza

From all the possible options I chose the most remote one and that is how Bilibiza became part of my life. I was working there instructing local farmers on how to farm their land. A project doomed to fail just like so many other developing projects that I saw on my travels through Africa. As long as you do not speak their language (their tribal language not the official language from colonial times of course) and have been living in their country for some time, they will never really listen to you but only wait for you to give them something for free.
Anyway I came to experience a different way of life and this is what I did. I made some really good friends in the village and was able together with my friend to live with them instead of living with the organization. The big difference was that for the first time in my life I felt close to 100% aware of the influences the world had on me and of the influences I had on the world. All the food came from the local fields, the houses were build from local materials, no electricity, no running water. You need something you get it from its origin. You produce waste, you got to see how to get rid of it. I felt responsible for my life cause I finally understood it. This was an absolutely mind opening experience and I feel in debt with my friends from Bilibiza who made it possible for me to make this experience.
Going to live in this village was no shock at all for me, but coming back to Germany was a big shock. I lost control over my life again. Just buying a bottle of water seemed to be an absolute irresponsible act as I have no idea under which conditions the bottle was produced, where the water came from, which influence the emissions of the truck bringing the water to the shop will have on our environment… Even seeing all this advertisement everywhere made me sick. How can I still say that I want something when I am told everywhere what I am supposed to want. Even by resisting the publicity you still get influenced by it. In Bilibiza I felt much more sure about who or what I am but being in Germany I could not tell for sure why I do something nor could I tell all the consequences of my actions. It is like being a puppet, which is ok as long as you are not aware of it.

Bilibiza

From all the possible options I chose the most remote one and that is how Bilibiza became part of my life. I was working there instructing local farmers on how to farm their land. A project doomed to fail just like so many other developing projects that I saw on my travels through Africa. As long as you do not speak their language (their tribal language not the official language from colonial times of course) and have been living in their country for some time, they will never really listen to you but only wait for you to give them something for free.
Anyway I came to experience a different way of life and this is what I did. I made some really good friends in the village and was able together with my friend to live with them instead of living with the organization. The big difference was that for the first time in my life I felt close to 100% aware of the influences the world had on me and of the influences I had on the world. All the food came from the local fields, the houses were build from local materials, no electricity, no running water. You need something you get it from its origin. You produce waste, you got to see how to get rid of it. I felt responsible for my life cause I finally understood it. This was an absolutely mind opening experience and I feel in debt with my friends from Bilibiza who made it possible for me to make this experience.
Going to live in this village was no shock at all for me, but coming back to Germany was a big shock. I lost control over my life again. Just buying a bottle of water seemed to be an absolute irresponsible act as I have no idea under which conditions the bottle was produced, where the water came from, which influence the emissions of the truck bringing the water to the shop will have on our environment… Even seeing all this advertisement everywhere made me sick. How can I still say that I want something when I am told everywhere what I am supposed to want. Even by resisting the publicity you still get influenced by it. In Bilibiza I felt much more sure about who or what I am but being in Germany I could not tell for sure why I do something nor could I tell all the consequences of my actions. It is like being a puppet, which is ok as long as you are not aware of it.

University

With this kind of mindset I ended up in University studying philosophy and cultural anthropology. Of course this made me even more radical. I now not only rejected to own unnecessary technology and the use of social media. No, I also tried to only consume products form the country in which I am, meat I would only eat if I saw the living animal before, flights I would only take if they were intercontinental and then only if I stayed in the other continent for at least a month and I rejected people taking photos of me as I considered them an unworthy attempted to capture reality. That is also why there are no photos of that time of my life.
In my study time I mainly studied and worked, without any great leisure so I had the means and the time in my semester breaks to go out, traveling the world, trying to make some sense of it. I visited my friends in Africa again, made an exchange year in Spain, hitch-hiked all over Europe, from Germany to Spain several times and in Brazil for two months. Always traveling with hardly anything on me, as material possessions only meant unnecessary worries while traveling.
You can say that I was lost, looking for answers, looking for a way to “change the world”. Philosophy, in the beginning, seemed to be able to show me a way of how to change the world. But in the end all it taught me was that every answer can be questioned and real truth is not much more than an agreement between us people, meaning an objective truth is not existing. Mainly Philosophers became famous because they were able to defend and express the Zeitgeist of their era in a well elaborated way. Not the book changes the world but the world expresses its change in a book. So no world changing by writing a well respected work in Philosophy.
No objective truth? No undoubtable right nor wrong? This would be the point where many people become religious, but when you are so used to asking questions and looking for answers it is impossible to become religious, because religion demands you to stop asking questions. I had to live with it and keep on searching. The next hope for an answer was to see if a different social order would be providing some positive input so I went to Venezuela.

Venezuela

I went there to see how Chavez was doing, who at that time was still alive. I was hoping that whatever was called socialism would be a worth to consider alternative to the capitalism I was growing up in. But even though there were a lot of social achievements that helped to improve equality within the society, like raising the educational level of the society as a whole, it was at that time already unstable. How could I be so naive to believe that a socialistic society could seriously exist in a world-order that is ruled by economic growth?
Though Venezuela did not give me the answers I was looking for, this visit still should seriously change my life. Just the fact that here I kind of agreed the first time to be in a photo shows that there was some change going on in me.I met Hudie. At that moment I just felt so relieved and good being with her, that I forgot about my intention to deeper investigate for my self about socialism. I just let her guide me to learn to love her country. At that moment I surely felt in love with her as well, but I did not believe it to be a long lasting thing but just a feeling to enjoy as long as it existed. At that time I was still to deep in my thoughts about the world that I did not consider at all to stop my search for sense in order to settle down. But from then on I could not get her out of my head even though I still went my own way which at that time was planned already.

Venezuela

I went there to see how Chavez was doing, who at that time was still alive. I was hoping that whatever was called socialism would be a worth to consider alternative to the capitalism I was growing up in. But even though there were a lot of social achievements that helped to improve equality within the society, which raised the educational level of the society as a whole, it was at that time already unstable. How could I be so naive to believe that a socialistic society could seriously exist in a world-order that is ruled by economic growth?
Though Venezuela did not give me the answers I was looking for, this visit still should seriously change my life. Just the fact that here I kind of agreed the first time to be in a photo shows that there was some change going on in me.I met Hudie. At that moment I just felt so relieved and good being with her, that I forgot about my intention to deeper investigate for my self about socialism. I just let her guide me to learn to love her country. At that moment I surely felt in love with her as well, but I did not believe it to be a long lasting thing but just a feeling to enjoy as long as it existed. At that time I was still to deep in my thoughts about the world that I did not consider at all to stop my search for sense in order to settle down. But from then on I could not get her out of my head even though I still went my own way which at that time was planned already.

China

In all my looking-for-answers-quest around the world, China had been on my list for a long time already. Actually I wanted to study Chinese culture before studying Philosophy but because of time schedule issues I ended up studying Philosophy. So even Hudie made me feel these butterflies in my stomach I still went to China. Anyway I just wanted to go for half a year, after I finished all my courses at Uni and before I started the examination period. But then after half a year I felt, that I hardly learned anything even though I spent big part of the day in the library hammering these characters into my head. The only other thing I did was teaching English in the evenings to be able to live. I had to be able to reach a level in which I would be able to read books, so I could keep on practicing by myself when I left China. If not I would forget everything really fast due to lack of practice. So I made it a year. But then realizing that even that was not enough I made it two years in total.

In all this time I stayed in contact with Hudie and she even got me to accept to use E-mail to communicate with her. This might sound ridiculous to many of you, but for me that was a big step to opening up to the modern world.
At this point I interrupted my studies for two years already and I was thinking that I do not need this stupid paper. But then, if I wanted to go back to China for working I had to realize, that this would not work without a degree. So after working in construction to make enough money to somehow exist while finishing my degree, I went back to university and managed to graduate even though I was out of the whole thing for two years.
In this time Hudie also made clear that we had to stop fooling ourselves and either start to be serious about each other or not see each other again. And as I could not think of living without her anymore, this is also where our story begun to be serious.

China

In all my looking-for-answers-quest around the world China had been on my list for a long time already. Actually I wanted to study Chinese culture before studying Philosophy but because of time schedule issues I ended up studying Philosophy. So even Hudie made me feel these butterflies in my stomach I still went to China. Anyway I just wanted to go for half a year, after I finished all my courses in Uni and before I start the examination period. But then after half a year I felt, that I hardly learned anything even though I spent big part of the day in the library hammering these characters into my head. The only other thing I did was teaching English in the evenings to be able to live. I had to be able to reach a level in which I would be able to read books, so I could keep on practicing by myself when I left China. If not I would forget everything really fast due to lack of practice. So I made it a year. But then realizing that even that was not enough I made it two years in total.
In all this time I stayed in contact with Hudie and she even got me to accept to use E-mail to communicate with her. This might sound ridiculous to many of you, but for me that was a big step to opening up to the modern world.
At this point I interrupted my studies for two years already and I was thinking that I do not need this stupid paper. But then, if I wanted to go back to China for working I had to realize, that this would not work without a degree. So after working in construction to make enough money to somehow exist while finishing my degree, I went back to university and managed to graduate even though I was out of the whole thing for two years.
In this time Hudie also made clear that we had to stop fooling ourselves and either start to be serious about each other or not see each other again. And as I could not think of living without her anymore, this is also where our storry begun to be serious.

Conclusion

After spending so many efforts trying to understand this world, I had to accept, that I can not force the world to change, but that I have to accept the world how it is first. If I detest the whole world for how it is, then the world will never listen to me. And even then, as there is no real objective truth, it is impossible to convince people of fundamental believes just by talking and discussing. Mainly people turn out to become aggressive when bringing up what would count as a reasonable argument against their fundamental believes.
I still stick to many of the principles I formed when younger, though I became more flexible and less radical. I opened up a little bit, accepting some of the means offered by modern society. I can live in society without complaining about it all the time, as I learned to accept reality. And In general there is hope, because in all our travels we always met more people we considered good than people we considered bad. The problem mainly is that the “good people” are not as much attracted by power.
As this site obviously shows, I agreed to the use of quite some technology in order to make this site possible. It was not an easy decision. After I had been traveling by myself for so long time, I made a lot of incredible experiences, which broadened my horizon. But till then it was all just for me alone. For others it was just some story interesting to listen to, like fairy tales. Though I am sure that a lot of the things I did and saw would have been helpful for other people as well. I felt a big urge to share my life, to motivate others to also leave their comfort zone and explore the world instead of just receiving its images from TV. And as it is difficult to reach people by a book nowadays, the Internet was where to go.