Sebastian Rumberg with two of his three children.
Sebastian Rumberg is a management consultant who used to live in central Berlin.
He and his family moved to a farm in the countryside that they bought for 210,000 euros.
This is what his life is like now, as told to Insider’s Leo Ginsburg.
This as-told-to essay is based on a transcribed conversation with Sebastian Rumberg, a 36-year-old mamagenemt consultant from Berlin. It is an edited, translated version of an article that originally appeared on August 4, 2022.
A few years ago, I was living in a 484-square-foot apartment in Berlin, Germany. Now, I live on a farm with my family and our horses, chickens, dogs, and cats — and I couldn’t be happier.
I live with my wife, Franziska, and our three children in the village of Mosigkau, near Dessau-Roßlau in eastern Germany.
In 2017, we decided to move from the capital to the countryside. Since we started living on the farm, my life has drastically changed.
Sebastian with one of his dogs in the garden.
I’ve been working as a management consultant for a long time, focusing on public relations and marketing for startups and founders. I used to work 90 hours a week; work was my hobby as well as my job.
Then I met Franziska, and in 2015 we had our first daughter, Josefine. Our son, Theodor, followed the year after. Our priorities began to change — we wanted to spend more time as a family and less time as employees.
So we began to look for a house together.
But in Berlin and the surrounding areas, prices are far too expensive. We saw building plots on the market for half a million euros. That’s when we decided to leave the capital.
We found our farm by chance as we were trawling through real-estate platforms, and we eventually purchased it for 210,000 euros.
When I told my colleagues we were moving to the countryside in Mosigkau, they had two questions: “Why?” and “Where’s that?” because Berlin has always been the place to be in my industry in Germany.
At first, I still commuted two or three days a week, but now I hardly ever do. We have a good internet connection, which is all I need to work effectively.
I don’t miss Berlin, either. I don’t need to choose from 100 cafés; one is enough for me. Maybe in the next few years we’ll open one ourselves in Mosigkau Castle or a small one on our farm.
I often see photos of meetings, conferences, and events that I’ve missed and I always ask myself: Would I have liked being there? When I think about the time I’ve had with the kids instead, the answer is always, “no.”
Of course things may change in a few years, but right now the kids are young and growing up quickly; I don’t want to miss that just to be at work.
We’ve tried to involve ourselves in the local community as much as possible since moving here. We founded a Waldorf school in Mosigkau, which now has over 120 students and 25 staff members, in 2018. I also set up Project EVA, which stands for “Entrepreneurs across villages in Anhalt.” The project aims to help entrepreneurs, investors, and other people from the tech and startup scene move to the region to help develop it.
Josefine and Theodor in the garden.
Growing up in the countryside is also great for our children. The local town is a bit like Bullerby, the idyllic village from “The Six Bullerby Children,” a book series by Astrid Lindgren.
The kids walk across the courtyard and through the castle park directly into their school, where the storks nest on the big chimney.
You can’t offer your children anything like that in a big city.
The Waldorf school.
Shortly after we moved in, we started offering our two guest rooms on Airbnb
Initially, we just wanted to see if the guests were comfortable sharing with us. If they weren’t, then we’d stop.
But so far it’s worked out well, with the summer months being especially popular.
Since we started in 2018, we’ve earned just under 30,000 euros with it, which is an average of over 600 euros per month. We use the money to renovate the 18th-century farm buildings.
Renovation work taking place.
You can still find cheap farms today, especially in this part of Germany
Only recently some friends told us that they’d seen a farm on sale for 170,000 euros that had more than 32,200 square feet of land.
But it’s worth noting that many of the farms on sale are over 200 years old and a lot of them haven’t been renovated in a long time, so you’ll need to invest some money on top of the purchase price. We’re expecting to put another 300,000 euros into our property.
We’re currently investing around 40,000 euros a year from our combined income. In order to keep this up, we rarely go on vacation and we don’t have any other major expenses.
Sebastian on his farm.
You also have to put in a lot of effort at the start — we would get to work on the house early in the morning and often finish up deep into the night.
I’ve been doing a lot of the work on the farm myself — knocking down walls, stripping roofs, and gutting rooms — though we want to preserve as many of the old walls and as much of the history as we can.
Working on the house has been another key reason I’ve loved living here; I’ve been able to learn so much. Being out in nature provides a fantastic opportunity to become self-sufficient.
Before we moved here, in the back of my mind, I was prepared to leave if things didn’t look like they were working out. But it’s been so much fun.
My family is happy and the kids have a place where they can grow up. I can’t imagine living anywhere else.