Michel Olsen

Berlin, Germany

Interview: Tulelake, California

October 18, 2016

So I just finished raising my children, they're all done and launched, it's a curious time. I'm finally able to ask myself the question, "What would YOU like to do?" Before it's been what does my family want me to do, what do my kids need, so it's an exciting time. So I guess what's important to me right now is the ability to do something selfish for a bit. 
I think what's gonna happen, I know it's a bit cliche, but I'm gonna get myself a chopper, throw an oversized sissy bar on it and sorta do the whole 1970's thing. That's my age group, that's my kinda style, and I've found a bike that I'm excited about and will be picking up soon. I've spent a lot of time working hard for others, we've organized and paid for summer camps for kids, fought for towns, done all sorts of crusades. It's crazy and exciting thinking about doing stuff for myself now. 

Consider keeping your life light and maybe a bit simpler

My advice to the world right now is to take a hard look at debt and dependence. Consider keeping your life light and maybe a bit simpler. And the other thing I feel strongly about is consider doing a walkabout. That's something the Europeans do quite a bit, they feel you should take a pause periodically. We do it with teachers, they'll take a sabbatical, but Americans don't really think about taking like 60 or 90 days to just peel down. It's very enlightening, you'll find yourself in there. Find something where you're doing somethin, but it's not too complicated. Like the Pacific Crest Trail, just walk like 20 miles a day. I was up there for a while towards the end talking to people that had been on there for a while, and it was a trip. People that had lost a dad or a spouse or something like that, and not trying to defeat that, but just live with it for a while. That's one of the best things you can do, spend some good long time with yourself, feel all the things, and unpeel that onion of life.