BY: KASSANDRA DZIKEWICZ
Rent can be expensive, landlords can be jerks and roommates are rarely a perfect match, so why put yourself through this misery when you can spend less money by living freely on a train? Instead of staying in one place, you could travel each day to a new location and have a new adventure. You could remain in school and pay less for the transportation than you would for the entire cost of rent.
After unresolved issues with her landlord this is exactly what Leonie Müller did. The 23-year-old packed a bag with all of her clothes, books and toiletries, bought a $380 monthly train pass and moved in. She has lived on trains for half a year now, washing in the train bathrooms and studying aboard.
The 23-year-old packed a bag with all of her clothes, books and toiletries, bought a $380 monthly train pass and moved in.
The decision was economical as she was paying $450 for rent, plus the costs to travel to visit her boyfriend in Cologne. Whereas now she is paying less for her living quarters as well as taking away the transportation cost.
The Tübingen student travels 1,200 – 2,000 kilometres on a weekly basis travelling between her mother’s house, her boyfriend’s house and her University, making stops and staying overnight when needed. She often travels at night and admits that sleeping on a train can be rather difficult at times. Between the noise on the train and concern for the safety of her belongings she often only manages to fit in quick naps.
The Tübingen student travels 1,200 – 2,000 kilometres on a weekly basis.
Despite this minor flaw in her nomadic lifestyle, Müller explains to the Washington post: “I really feel at home on trains and can visit so many more friends and cities. It’s like being on vacation all the time.” In an interview with German TV station SWR she adds: “I read, I write, I look out of the window and I meet nice people all the time. There’s always something to do on trains.”
“I read, I write, I look out of the window and I meet nice people all the time. There’s always something to do on trains.”
Müller’s unusual lifestyle choice is an experiment to see how her temporary homelessness will affect her life. She writes a blog she calls “wherever you are there you are” in which she documents the ups and downs of her train voyage. Based on the findings of her journey Müller hopes to write her undergraduate paper on her train adventure.
It can be so difficult to step outside of the norms that society has set in stone, but Müller is trying to help people break away from that. Most of her friends and family are supportive of her decision to challenge the typical student life and live nomadically. However, there are those who express negative attitudes towards the situation and they see her nomadic lifestyle as an insult as it questions the ordinary way of life.
Müller hopes to write her undergraduate paper on her train adventure.
People think Müller is ridiculous for taking on this lifestyle as it is not seen as an ideal way to live, but she begs to differ. This is a big part of the reason why she documents her journey, because she wants people to see that she is not trying to be offensive, but rather broaden people’s views of alternative lifestyles. Living in an apartment is not ideal for everyone and she is trying to show people that it’s not the only option out there.
Müller told the Washington post: “I want to inspire people to question their habits and the things they consider to be normal. There are always more opportunities than one thinks there are. The next adventure is waiting just around the corner – provided that you want to find it.”
“I want to inspire people to question their habits and the things they consider to be normal.”