It’s an open secret by now that the services of Deutsche Bahn (DB) are not quite what they used to be in terms of punctuality and reliability. But I don’t want to join the chorus of disgruntled German train travellers who have turned the nation’s rail service into probably the most complained about organisation in Germany. No, this is a positive Deutsche Bahn story, about one Lasse Stolley from the northern federal state of Schleswig-Holstein, who, having finished school, decided at the grand old age of 16 in the summer of 2022 to pack up his bags, leave home and start living and working on trains.

How does that work? Well, according to Lasse, you need to get yourself a BahnCard 100, which is part of Deutsche Bahn’s discount subscription programme featuring a range of different card types. The ‘100’ entitles holders to unlimited travel on any train in Germany for one year, local and long-distance, without the need for an extra ticket, i.e. the card itself is the ticket. With a youth discount, Lasse paid EUR 7,714 for the 1st class version of it (after having sold all his belongings to raise the funds) and boy, has he made it work. He has travelled an estimated 500,000 kilometres up and down Germany since leaving home. During the day, he works as a freelance programmer for a start-up while Germany passes by outside the train windows. He sleeps on night train ICE (InterCity Express) services and showers in public swimming pools, also using the sanitary facilities at DB lounges at train stations.

Granted, organising this daily routine is not easy and requires a lot of adaptability and flexibility, let alone a commitment to minimalism: Lasse travels with a 30-litre backpack which holds all his belongings, consisting of a few items of clothes, a blanket, drinking bottle, laptop, sound-cancelling headphones (most importantly!), plus toothbrush and the like. According to Lasse, master of minimalism, these 6.4 kilos of items are all that’s needed for his life. I have to say, I’m full of admiration for this young man – well, 17-year-old boy! He is showing more initiative and resilience than many who are much older than him and probably still living at home, letting mummy and daddy take care of things. Speaking of which, Lasse’s parents were not keen on their son’s idea and it took some convincing but he has certainly proved to them that he can make it work and organise his life and work, earn money and travel.

Needless to say, digital rail nomad Lasse is a good person to talk to if you want to know about Germany’s best rail routes. His favourite route runs through the Middle Rhine Valley between Mainz and Bonn, where trains have to travel very slowly and passengers can take in the picturesque vineyard scenery. His tip for peace and quiet is the stretch between Garmisch-Partenkirchen and Mittenwald in Upper Bavaria where you are surrounded by mountains, with the train winding its way through the valleys and an idyllic Alpine panorama stretching out in front of the windows. Doesn’t sound too bad for a day at work, does it? If I was Deutsche Bahn, I’d get in touch with Lasse for some influencer work. A bit of positive PR might come in handy. Just saying…

Barbara Geier is a London-based freelance writer, translator and communications consultant. She is also the face behind, a German travel and tourism guide and blog that was set up together with UK travel writer Andrew Eames in 2010.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Discover Germany, Switzerland & Austria.

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