Running away from home: a chat with Nico Homolla

Nico Homolla (26) quit his job to travel around Indonesia and discover what it’s like to be alone. Now, he works as a host at Sturmfreie Bude, and sometimes helps his friends organize techno raves. We had a chat during GLM’s Creative Playground event and discussed the lessons you learn by travelling alone, running away from home and … where to find the best techno raves in Hamburg.

By Irene Broer

Hi Nico, I heard you’re organizing a rave later on tonight. Tell me more!

“I’m just helping some friends of mine organize a techno rave on a field on Veddel later today. My friend Daniel is the organizer. He’s a very good DJ as well!”

Sounds cool! Are we invited?

*laughs awkwardly*


You’re a raver by night and host at Sturmfreie Bude by day — I like it!

“Haha, me too! It’s the perfect job for me, it’s very social. I’m happiest when I’m surrounded by other people. That’s how I grew up: I shared a bed with my sister until we were well into our teens. So being close with others and sharing stuff is what I’ve been used to since I was little.”

How cozy! Have you always lived in Hamburg?

“No, you could say I’m from Stuttgart originally. But we moved around a lot, like really a lot, when I was a kid. We lived in Spain, France and later a tiny village in Southern Germany. We moved to Hamburg when I was about 13 or 14 years old. Actually I hated it. I even ran away from home for two days!”

What! That’s crazy. Why did you hate it so much here?

“At that time, we’d been living in the South German countryside, and I hated the idea of moving to this big, new city. Away from my friends, no mountains nearby, not really too much nature — I missed all of that. I was so disappointed that I just decided to take off.

Where did you go?

After running away from home I hiked around in the mountains in South Germany, just walking through the wine fields. I also visited my best friend, because I knew I would never see him again. I spent the night at a football field near my old school. Finally, I got a bad conscience because I knew my mother must be worried, so I turned on my cell phone, and told her why I was.

Good decision! And how do you like it in Hamburg now, 13 years later?

“I do really love the city, but I still miss the mountains – the landscape is just quite boring. You see only fields with grass, that’s it!”

I guess that’s true. So how did you end up here, at the Sturmfreie Bude?

“Actually, it took a trip around the world for that to happen, haha.”

Tell me everything!

“I did an apprenticeship in event management, and I worked at the Hamburg Messe for more than a year doing that. It was the kind of job where you show up in a suit, your hair is combed and your face is always shaved perfectly.


“Yeah, I know. It got pretty boring, and that type of job and attitude just don’t fit me. So, one day, I was 24, I thought fuck it. I dropped everything and left. I travelled to Indonesia for 6 months and later to Ghana for 3 months.”

Wow, that’s impressive!

“I guess it was. It was a bit impulsive, but that’s how I do things. It was also the first time I had really been all by myself. It’s something I always wanted to do. I thought it would be the best way to learn more about the world, and see how other people live.

How was it for you, a social animal, to be alone?

“It was good, but new. My first reaction when I landed in Indonesia was fuck, I don’t know anything here! But I took it as an opportunity to learn more about myself and what I find important in life. I need to be in contact with other people, so I really made an effort to get to know the locals, learning the language, playing with the kids … That’s all easier when you’re alone. I also loved being so independent and self-sufficient. My decisions only affected me, and only I could take responsibility for them.”

What’s your best memory of your time in Indonesia?

“Oh man, that’s too hard, haha! I guess one of the most beautiful memories I have was arriving at the Gili Islands. It’s just perfect. It’s paradise! The blue sea, the white sand, the forest. And of course all the colourful fish and the tortoises — those guys are really cool.

What did you learn from your travels?

“I realized I need to be happy with the little things in life. It sounds a bit cliche, but that’s how it is. There are so many different ways of living, and each of them can be fulfilling. I used to be a techie, always running around with the newest gadgets, but after I got back from my travels I stopped being so materialistic. I even sold my Playstation!

So brave, haha!

“Well … I just realised that all I need in life is friends and a little bit of money to survive. After I got back, it only took two days before I was hired here. And it couldn’t have been a better place for me. My worst nightmare is working at a large, anonymous enterprise!”

One last question! Besides your friend’s open air, where should we go for really good techno?

“If you’re into techno and electronic music, check out Moloch and Südpol. They both have a good atmosphere and nice, sometimes experimental music.”

Awesome. Thanks for your time, Nico! Have fun at your rave!

Looking for a special event space? Check out Sturmfreie Bude: their two locations in Karoviertel and at the Alster are equipped with a kitchen, cozy living room, plenty of space and excellent hosts, like Nico!

Nico’s City Tips

“ My favorite place to experience Hamburg is on the roof. Any roof. Just get up there and admire the view”

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