The Sofa

22 January 2013. Filed under category Life.
Chained to the Sofa

You lie on your sofa, and you know that you should go to bed. You know that you are not where you are supposed to be and that if you stay in the sofa and sleep there, you’ll wake up later with a stiff neck and a taste in your mouth as if you’ve licked asphalt (outside an Amsterdam nightclub [on a weekend]).

But before you can snuggle into the white linens of your bed, you have to shuffle to the bathroom, brush your teeth, floss, go potty, get undressed and the rest of your bedtime routine. Your mind shies away from the hassle of it all. You tell yourself ‘just five more minutes’ and remain in the comfort of the sofa. Five minutes become a quarter, becomes an hour, becomes six and ‘suddenly’ you are where you said you would not be: in Amsterdam.

Life can be like this.

Are you a snail on the sofa?

You find yourself with a life that does not fit. You know that if you keep doing the same old thing, you’ll wake up in ten years with a bitter taste of regret, wearing the unfulfilled dreams of yesteryear.

You know what you should be doing to avoid this. You know you need to get up from that sofa and break free of your stagnant routine. There is work ahead, and you know what it is, but your mind shies away from it. You tell yourself that you’ll start working towards your goals tomorrow, but you don’t. Tomorrow becomes a week, becomes a month, becomes a decade and ‘suddenly’ you find yourself where you said you would not be: in regret.

You know what to do. Yes, it is hard to get started, but you have to, for your own sake. Get up from that lazy sofa and get doing. It is up to you, no one else. You know that tomorrow really means never, so start today. Just start. One little step to break the routine of inactivity. The rest will follow.

Travel Updates

I’ve come to the end of my stay in New Zealand. In a few days, I will fly to Sydney.

New Zealand has been great. I’ve lived in Auckland, Wainuiomata and Autumn Farm. My time in Auckland and Wainuiomata was work focused (which I’m grateful for!), and Autumn Farm was an awesome and different experience.

I’d like to thank Mike and Bex for hosting me during my first visit to Auckland, and Nigel and Fernando for hosting me during my second. Sassa was excellent company on my trip to Wainuiomata, where my London-bound friend Jono put me up in his empty childhood home. Jono’s wonderful parents made sure I always had a warm meal and even lent me their car! And of course, a big warm ‘thank you’ to Peter and Pete at Autumn Farm for inviting me there.

In summary, New Zealand has been an amazing, hospitable (and cheap!) country to visit, and my time has been both productive and restful. My backpack is overflowing with gratitude and pleasant memories.


Are you sleeping on the sofa?

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  1. crys klier-hoffman says:

    not any god damn more. for me it’s slow progress but at least it is PROGRESS no matter how hard I am pushed back, and I am. Once more an insightful post which hit home.
    And, I AM sharing your blog as often as I can. 🙂

  2. J. says:

    “You find yourself with a life that does not fit. You know that if you keep doing the same old thing, you’ll wake up in ten years with a bitter taste of regret, wearing the unfulfilled dreams of yesteryear.” Wow, what an amazingly powerful statement.

  3. Craig Bown says:

    Upon graduation from college, my best friend and I sat around a pool and discussed what we hoped we would have accomplished in thirty years. I was pretty far off the mark. But I never stayed on the sofa either. The “crisis” between stagnation and vitality is a battle enacted in each passing now. How quickly can you recognize when some dream actually carries no inner flame, or some unexpected opportunity is a truer authentic expression of who you are? I had hoped I would write the great American novel. I even bought one of the first Macs. But when I sat down to write I didn’t have much to say. Along came American Airlines (unexpected opportunity) and I have traveled the world and have done things I couldn’t have dreamed around that pool. Now I have more than enough to say and the right forum to do it. Thanks Gustav.

    1. And if anyone has missed it, the forum Craig is talking about is Craig’s Sense of Wonder, a seriously well-written and awesome blog about science, mad stories from his life and little bits of everything in between. Well worth a look!

  4. Love this.

    Thank you so much for posting these words. It completely captures the feeling I had when I realized I didn’t want to wake up in Amsterdam.

  5. Five years ago, after a 7-year depression following the dissolution or my miserable 23-year marriage, I woke up on the dilapidated sofa of my life and vowed to move to Amsterdam. My love affair with the city that captured my heart in 2007 continues at I hope you’ll comment + follow my journey as an American expat in Holland. BTW, I learned about The Modern Nomad from your airline sponsor + ardent supporter, Craig Brown. Kudos on your inspiring blog!

  6. Brother Henrik says:

    No i am sleaping in the beed type of person.

  7. Phil Stevens says:

    A wonderfully creative little piece of storytelling and use of metaphor, which has a universal relevance and meaning to just about any given life cicumstance or situation. Precise in it’s message to resonate with others who feel stuck, disempowered or simply lost and stimulating, in that it provides impetus for growth, optimism, hope and independance.

  8. Jon says:

    Were you drunk when you wrote this?

    It reminded me of the guitarist in my band who regularly falls asleep on the sofa drunk. Which is more often than he makes it to bed.

    The I realized it was a metaphor. Maybe not the best.

    A bed is more comfortable than a sofa, which is where you want to be….but I thought you were all aboot breaking out of the comfort zone.

    I am so confused.

    I hate the sofa myself. Although it’s better than the floor.

    1. Ryan says:

      Come on Jon, Gustav wouldn’t blog drunk. He was clearly high. Kafka high.

  9. Ionut (Romania) says:

    This is my favorite of all your posts. I’ve been living in quite a routine, but your blog has pulled me out of it. You made me see things in different way and maybe aspire more toward my own goals. The words that best describe your writing would be honest, balanced, wise and very authentic.

    I strongly encourage you to continue writing. It would be a pity to live the nomad life you chose to, without sharing your experience. It’s like you chose to be an astronaut, go to outer space and keep those experiences to yourself.

    I don’t think the number of readers is that relevant, unless you want to make a living out of it. The important thing is to keep in mind that the few people you inspire will make a difference.

    “Our lives are not our own, we are bound to others, past and present. And by each crime and every kindness, we birth our future.” (Cloud atlas)

    1. I am humbled and moved every time I hear that I’ve had a real-world impact on the life of one of my readers. Whatever goal you set for yourself, I wish the the very best of determination (luck is overrated) to get it!

      I like the astronaut analogy. May I hijack it for my own purpose? I assume it would be a pity if the astronaut didn’t share his experiences because we assume that there are other people who would like to read about space walks and 0-gravity stuff. Now, does it matter if the astronaut reaches 0.1% of those interested, 1%, 10% or even 50% of those who would be interested, if they knew about it?

      It is the same amount of work for the astronaut to write the articles, but the good it does increases by every new reader. And assuming our astronaut is like me, he’d like to do more good than just a bit of good.

      This is why I beg people to share the blog with their friends and on social media (and at the moment, vote for me in the bloggies for best Travel and Design).

  10. Karl says:

    Well Gustav,

    After running across your profile on Scruff, chatting to you briefly about my own soon to be nomadic adventures I have been reading your blog. This post rings loud and true to me. In my previous comment I mentioned my home town, dominated by our federal bureaucracy and the associated rather boring culture. My city is one big lounge. It is full of people who sit there for 15 more minutes, not getting up because that would require effort.

    My own lounge story:

    A very good friend of mine once owned a terrible lounge; it was uncomfortable, faded and tatty. It did not make you feel relaxed while watching a movie or just sitting and enjoying a drink. He always meant to buy a new one, one that was comfortable. He went shopping a few times with his wife and didn’t find any he liked so he just put up with his uncomfortable one.

    One day he came home after a rather long shift at work and his uncomfortable but faithful lounge was gone. His wife had thrown it out. No new lounge, she just got so sick of the old, uncomfortable one that she threw it away. He was devastated, it wasn’t much, but after working for 14 hours all he wanted to do was sit and have a beer. He was furious with her. The next day at work he told us how his wife had thrown out his lounge and we all listened in disbelief. How could she do that? All he wanted was a place to sit after a long day at work!

    That day on the way home from work he walked past a garage sale where the people were moving overseas. There was a lounge. Free to good home. It was almost new, it was comfortable. It was perfect. He had to have nowhere to sit to find the perfect lounge. He wouldn’t have found the new lounge unless his old one was gone.

    Sometimes in life you have to throw out the lounge.

    1. Beautiful story. Thanks for sharing it. I feel, lately, like I may have thrown out my old sofa and now sit with a bare room, where the sofa would be my job at the investment bank and the empty room my current unemployment. I sure hope that my story will end as happily as yours.

      Btw, my very first name is Karl. But, in Sweden, you are often called by the name before your surname.

      Karl Gustav Andersson.

  11. Anne says:

    Is it not funny that the only inanimate object that I am most attached to happens to be my bed!! I have slept on the couch & generally stayed in set ups that many others would find un civilised(maybe un inhabitable..though personally I could imagine worse).. & after having no real attachment to my sofa(in fact I released that many moons ago now), I have a commitment to those I feel responsible for & a bed I deplore the idea of releasing to the cosmos for re-integration.. Your right it is not so hard to release the items(bed included) but somehow I am struggling to know how to snap the umbilical cord that is of no use to anyone at this point.. I cannot seem to align the stars & take the leap of faith.. I know there will never be a perfect moment..that is not right now!! I have in the past had both the car & horse float to begin my journey, but each time the universe has conspired to remove these items or make them unusable for the persueing of my dreams.. My animals will happily go where ever I choose to take them.. & I have always figured if I loose items(not pets) in transit then no worry, I didn’t need them anyway.. Why then am I still within the state I was born, with only many moves around it to ease my need to shift.. Yes I have been captured on occassions by those other dreams we all hope to fulfill(the life time partner? but our paths were never really in alignment). So tell me what direction must one move in order to escape the Sofa that has me!?! No fear, I have a plan but often they do not pan out as you expect.. On my grave stone they will not be able to write that I never tried…maybe just that life often takes us in directions that we never even thought to expect..

Are you sleeping on the sofa?

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