Downshifters in Australia – Interesting Case Study

Sorry to remind you, but life is finite. Better start here and now to make the best of it!

Sorry to remind you, but life is finite. Better start here and now to make the best of it! (sculls seen at Meteora monastery, Greece)

Hi there to the beginning of the rest of your life!

Not cheerful enough for a greeting?

Well, maybe, but it’s the truth!
Sorry to remind everybody every now and then that our time is limited. But then, we all need to be aware of this fact, and draw consequences, like trying to have a good day here and now!

As Woodpecker’s family is planning to do exactly that and is going to celebrate our very good family budget results with a decent meal at a nice restaurant around and everybody is already waiting downstairs, today’s post will be short.

Short but very valuable, as I found an interesting study by the Australia Institute about Downshifting in Australia.

They interviewed a couple of downshifters with different approaches (e.g. cutting hours, retiring, changing job to something less paid but more rewarding) on their reasons, feelings, pro’s and con’s, how peers reacted and so forth.

A very valuable Sunday read that gave me some great insights. Hope it’s interesting for you as well.

See for yourself and let me know your opinion:

Interview w/ downshifters in Australia (pdf)




A frugal Trip to the Mountains

View from our hut, 7:00 am. (Mountains "Wettersteingebirge", Bavaria)

View from our mountain hut, 7:00 am. (Mountains “Wettersteingebirge“, Bavaria)

Again Woodpecker had an excellent chance to see how disconnected money and fun often are in life:

A year is gone and so Woodpecker+old friend’s annual winter mountain tour returned.

This time to a mountain hut in the Wettersteingebirge, some mountains not too far from Munich.

We stayed there for 3 days, and boy, as always it was an absolutely  great time. This year’s hut was located in the middle of a ski-area, so we took advantage of a lift card to do a day of downhill skiing plus a day of our usual ski-touring activity (uphill climbing with skis).

Hope you have a good fire in the oven! The hut - with a cold night approaching.

Hope you have a good fire in the oven! The hut – with a cold night approaching.

The hut is owned by German alpine club and costs only 11 EUR per night for members (Membership 90 EUR p.a.). For this cheap a price you obviously have to bring your own food, cook yourself, heat the stove with fire wood and make some compromises on luxury. E.g. there are typically no showers. This time we had the extreme luxury of hot water, but typically you just pick freezing cold water from an external fountain, sometimes you even have to use gas-lamps as there is no electricity.

I told this to a non-frugal colleague and guess what his answer was?

“Well, interesting. However: without a shower? I wouldn’t do that, because you know, I really work hard enough and earn enough money to deserve my shower each day!”

Oh my god, how wrong he is!

He will never find out the pleasure of the crackling wood-fired stove after a day of physical work out on a ski touring through cold, untouched mountains covered by 2 meters of snow.

He will not smell the gemütlich fume of burning wood far away from any polluting cars.


Germany’s highest peak – the Zugspitze – in the morning sun. (on the left)

He will not taste the fantastic flavour of some simple fried eggs in the clear, crisp and thin air of the Alps.

He will not enjoy the total silence under a deep black and star sprinkled sky when you step out of the hut at night to take a leak at minus 10 degrees Celsius.

He will not have the fun and good talks with random, but mostly interesting and open people who stay at the same hut.

He will not have the pleasure of waking up from dawn’s first light glancing into your window (that you hopefully shoveled free of snow the evening before), just to peer out and see the morning sun burning the mountain tops in fierce red.

And then – so much fun and stimulation for your senses for so little money!

Let’s compare:

Simple Mountain hut Decent Hotel
Cost for 2 nights p.Person 22 EUR 200 EUR
+ 4 great tasty meals 24 EUR 80 EUR
+ 2 bottles of wine 10 EUR 40 EUR
+ nice drinks 10 EUR (byo) 40 EUR (quickly adds!)
Skiing 0 EUR (touring) 70 EUR ski pass
Transport 15 EUR 15 EUR
Nature experience Incredible Fair
Health effect / Sports Great Fair
Shower Poor Great
Total Trip 3 days fun 81 EUR 445 EUR
Be careful not to sit below this!

Be careful not to sit below this!

I mean, there is nothing wrong with a nice comfortable hotel, and every now and then it’s fine to enjoy one if you wish – but five times the costs, only for a good shower with other things being equal or superior in the hut?!

I don’t know…



Poem on how to live – by Mother Teresa!

Sunset close to Cefalu, Sicily

Sunset close to Cefalu, Sicily

Today I have a lazy day. Thus I’ll benefit from the work of others, and present another poem, this time by Mother Teresa. Enjoy.

(To be honest, I never was interested too much about Mother Teresa and her life in the past, but probably it’d be a good idea to learn more about her…)


People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.

If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway.

If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway.

The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.

Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway.

For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.


This struck me as a very powerful poem that says more about living life the right way than many long theories.

Somehow it occurs to me that she hits a quite fundamental truth here, even if you do not belief in god in a way she did.

Cheers and have a happy day,


Germany: Finally some Progress in getting away from the “Growth” Dogma

Ranking of different politic areas in Germany. German only, click to enlarge. Transaltion see post.Source: FAZ

Ranking of different politic areas in Germany. German only, Translation see post. Click to enlarge.
Source: FAZ

Hurray – politics slowly, slowly seems to understand that we were worshipping the wrong golden calf for the last 25 years!

At least in Germany (and to my knowledge this is triggered by an EU initiative), there is a new committee at work to research alternatives to GNP as the sole measurement for “growth”.

And, you will not belief it: Happiness and life satisfaction are slowly getting into focus!

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