German Teenager Left Parents’ Home to Live Exclusively on Trains for the Last Year and a Half

A 17-year-old German teen has been living life as a modern nomad, leaving his parents’ house to live on trains and travel all over his country.

While most 17-year-olds are only just beginning to consider the idea of leaving the nest, Lasse Stolley has already been on his own for over a year and a half. Convinced that his school studies were already behind him, he convinced his parents to allow him to leave their home in Fockbek, Schleswig-Holstein to embark on a unique train-hopping adventure. It took a lot of convincing, but they eventually agreed, and for the last year and a half, the German teen has essentially been living on trains, traveling all over his home country, working as a self-employed coder during the day, and sleeping on night trains at night.

Photo: Daniel Abadia/Unsplash

“I’ve been living on the train as a digital nomad for a year and a half now,” Lasse told Business Insider. “At night I sleep on the moving Intercity Express (ICE) train and during the day I sit in a seat, at a table and work as a programmer, surrounded by many other commuters and passengers. I travel from one end of the country to the other. I’m exploring the whole of Germany.”

He gave into his wanderlust in 2022, selling most of his possessions and packing what was left in a 36-liter backpack that he has been carrying with him ever since. Minimalism and resisting the urge to acquire new stuff are an essential part of his lifestyle, as he needs to take everything with him wherever he goes. It’s not always easy, but he has found a way to make it work.

“The challenge of not accumulating more and more things is a central component of minimalist living. Especially with a backpack, you quickly reach a space limit,” Stolley said. “The most important thing is my laptop and my noise-canceling headphones, which at least give me a little privacy on the train.”


After deciding that he wanted to move out of his childhood home to adopt a nomad lifestyle, Lasse Stolley signed up for Germany’s rail discount scheme and bought himself a Bahncard 100, which allowed him to hop on and off any Deutsche Bahn indefinitely. He estimates that this unusual living arrangement has cost him around 10,000 euros per year, which doesn’t sound like much, but is also not the most convenient way to live.

“The early months were tough and I had to learn a lot about how it all worked. Everything was different than how I’d imagined,” the teen said. “Every night I have to make sure that I catch the night train and sometimes I have to reschedule very quickly because it suddenly doesn’t arrive.”

But living on trains also has its perks, as it allows the young nomad to visit virtually every part of Germany, from the sea in the north to the Alps for a nice hike, as well as bustling cities like Berlin and Munich. Everything is just a train ride away, and he has gotten used to traveling approximately 600 miles per day. He estimated he has traveled more than 300,000 miles on trains since leaving his parents’ house.


Lasse gets to hang out in first-class carriages when he’s not working on his laptop and mostly eats at Deutsche Bahn lounges at train stations around the country. Personal hygiene is a bit trickier, as he has to shower in public swimming pools and leisure centers.

Living on trains is not ideal, and 17-year-old Lasse Stolley doesn’t see himself doing it for the rest of his life, but it works for now, as he still has much of Germany to see. Plus, his Bahncard 100 card is still valid for six months.

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