Student with no landlord

GERMAN student Leonie Muller has found a strange way to dodge the property market.

After a row with her landlord in Stuttgart earlier this year, Ms Muller handed in her keys and decided to live on a train instead.

“It all started with a dispute I had with my landlord,” she told the Washington Post.

“I instantly decided I didn’t want to live there anymore, and then I realised, actually I didn’t want to live anywhere anymore.”

Ms Muller, 23, studies at Tubingen University 30km south of Stuttgart, where her old apartment was. She’s romantically involved with a man from Cologne, which is 370km away.

Having paid for a BahnCard 100, which allows her to board any train in Germany for a year, Ms Muller now commutes between the homes of her mother in Berlin, her grandmother in Bielefeld, her friends in Tubingen and her boyfriend, often sleeping at one of their places. She travels up to 2000km every week.

“Normally, we would have to have a long-distance relationship, but living on a train enables me to see him all the time,” Ms Muller told German TV station SWR.

That isn’t the only benefit. At 379 euros ($F923) per month, Ms Muller’s train pass is cheaper than the 400 euros ($F975) of rent she used to pay in Stuttgart.

“Most of my friends really like the idea, although some consider it to be quite adventurous,” she said.

“Many friends have written to say I can come at any time. But it is important not to be a burden to others.

“Others have reacted more negatively. They feel offended by the fact that I question the ordinary way of life and living.”

Ms Muller certainly doesn’t live an “ordinary” life.

According to Der Spiegel, she carried no more than a small backpack containing clothes, a tablet, university work and toiletries, leaving the rest of her posessions at her mother’s home.

“I have a lot of freedom, but that also brings decisions with it,” she said. “I have to constantly ask what do I want, what do I need?”

She intends to remain homeless until her studies finish in April of next year, and has begun a blog to record her experiences for her thesis in media studies.

“I really feel at home on trains, and can visit so many more friends and cities. It’s like being on vacation all the time,” Ms Müller told the Post.

“I read, I write, I look out of the window and I meet nice people all the time. There’s always something to do on trains,” she told SWR.

Ms Muller admits that sleeping on the train has its problems. The best she can manage is the odd nap as she is concerned about the safety of her backpack. Noise-cancelling headphones are a must as well.

A Deutsche Bahn spokesman said 40,000 people took advantage of the BahnCard 100 every year, and backed Ms Muller’s decision.

“There are many people who are in a train a lot of time. That’s not so unusual.”


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