The site contains the best tips, tricks and solutions to problems you may encounter. Secrets, life hacks, stories and everything related to life and relationships.

Downshifting today and before: what is it in simple words, how to become a real downshifter and which countries or regions of Russia to go to. What is downshifting and how to become downshifters


Downshifting – what is it

Probably, each of you thought at least once: “I would like to give up everything, but go somewhere, live for myself, not think about work, about money, about problems!”

Those people who have made this wish the meaning of their lives are called downshifters. And what they do in this life is downshifting.

Literally translated from English “downshifting” means “shifting the car’s gearbox to a lower gear.” The allegorical meaning of the term “downstfting” is a conscious transition to a lower level.

In the interpretation that we are considering today, this is a rejection of the usual conditions, from the generally accepted life goals (career, earning material wealth, fame, etc.) in favor of life “for oneself” and “for oneself”.

In the film industry, there are many stories where the main character becomes a downshifter.

As a rule, such a cliché is used in the film: the hero is a successful businessman, some event occurs that “turns” his self-consciousness, he leaves for the forest (jungle, on the coast of the sea, lake) and there he enjoys life, perhaps even mining on his own his own food (hunts, catches fish, is engaged in a vegetable garden, beekeeping, animal husbandry (underline the necessary)).

Downshifters are divided into two camps – “at the behest of the soul” and “for ideological reasons.”

With the first, everything is clear, they strive for life in harmony (what is it?) With themselves and the world, but the second group, by their departure into downshifting, protests against the consumer society.

Downshifting and remote work

These phenomena are not necessarily interrelated.

For example, an honored journalist of a popular publication or an eminent coach have retired and write from a corner of paradise, each about his own. This is downshifting and remoteness.

But people can earn remotely from a young age without having a career behind them – this is no longer downshifting.

And finally, getting away from the hustle and bustle of the big city, downshifters do not necessarily work remotely. And they do not always strive for this.

A downshifter is a person who has abandoned the previous benefits in the name of work for pleasure, whether it is remote or not.

Understanding the concept of downshifting

If you, like me, tried to ask your friends or acquaintances the question: “Downshifting, what is it?”, You could get different answers. For example, freelancers, representatives of creative professions who fled to the village of careerists, emigrants to Thailand or India, are very popular among downshifters.

But what is downshifting in the original sense? The English word “downshifting” originates in the automotive lexicon and is translated as “downshifting”. Initially, downshifters were middle-aged people (about 40-50 years old) who managed to achieve career or financial success.

Tired of the “rat race” and the philosophy of consumption, they voluntarily went down in the social hierarchy. Some downshifters quit prestigious jobs, travel the world with the money they earned, or move to quiet regions. Someone simply changed the field of activity to a more relaxed one and tried to work up to 4-5 hours a day.

It turns out that downshifting is such an ideology that is based on three principles:

  • slowing down the pace of life;
  • priority of intangible values ​​(relationships with friends, family, free time, hobbies) over material ones (money, brands, physical comfort);
  • rejection of other people’s and imposed goals.

At the same time, downshifting necessarily involves a voluntary rejection of the benefits already achieved. After all, it is impossible to slow down a car that is not accelerating. Those who initially do not want to work, achieve something and cover up the fear of failure with a fashionable philosophy cannot be considered real downshifters.

In simple terms, downshifting is a striving to achieve a balance between work and free time, giving up consumption for the sake of consumption. What are the pros and cons of this approach?

Low stress due to avoiding rush, rush work, greed

The ability to travel or live in an environmentally friendly region

There is a lot of time for pleasant things: hobbies, communication with loved ones, reading books, good sleep

Strengthening physical health by avoiding “junk” food, getting rid of excess weight

Low income, which is usually enough only to meet basic needs

There is a risk of getting bored, regretting missed opportunities, feeling unnecessary in society

A calm pace can make a person passive, lazy, lethargic.

When reconsidering your views, it will be difficult to return to normal life without losses (in particular, to get a job in an office)

Downshifting types

Dunshifting is not identical to escapism, it is not a departure from reality in illusion due to the loss of faith in justice and the feeling of the meaninglessness of existence, it is not the choice of a weak, socially unadapted misanthrope rejected by society. At a certain stage in life, a completely successful person may simply lose the desire to continue to fight the headwind, to live in the rat race of a metropolis. The change in life gives the downshifter an opportunity to look back, think about why it is necessary to exist this way, and find new ways to get satisfaction from his life, to feel his significance in this reality.

Different countries have a different approach to downshifting. For example, in the UK, it has a more environmental focus – the transition to organic products, a special relationship to garbage. In Australia, however, this concept is understood as a mandatory change of residence. Moreover, in Australia and the United States, about a third of the population practice downshifting.

We have both forms – someone chooses to live closer to the ground, go to a distant village, raise animals, grow a vegetable garden, raise children in a good ecology. Someone moves to warm, friendly countries closer to the water and works there remotely, perhaps meditates for the purpose of spiritual growth, looking for people with similar interests who are united in settlements.

At the word downshifter, some represent a young man or a couple who do not yet have children and binding obligations, they can safely rent out their property, go to Asian countries to enjoy life. A person is not a tree; it doesn’t have to be where he grew up. Today, the processes of globalization make it easy to change their place of residence, choosing any place in the world in which a person can realize himself.

Another approach to downshifting rather reveals a philosophy of life for oneself, when it is not necessary to quit your usual work, home, social circle and emigrate, changing the proven way of life.

Downshifting is then an activity that you enjoy, for example, floriculture or farming. Someone is looking for a warm climate, more warm days per year, while others are looking for a new self-actualizing occupation.

How to choose a direction for downshifting? First, you should go and live in the settlement for at least a few weeks, study the way of life and try it on yourself. Having familiarized yourself with the realities of life without the benefits of civilization from the inside, you can understand what is acceptable for you personally, and what you cannot accept.

Downshifter – a slacker or a purposeful nature?

Downshifter is a person who voluntarily lowered his social and material status. But such people are perceived differently. This is because there is still no common understanding of details in society.

Some recognize as such everyone who, for whatever reason, changed the stuffy office to the seashore. These are hippies who roam the expanses of Crimea and Goa, and volunteers in various parts of the world, and remote workers in Bali. Others call a true downshifter only one who ends his career by following an idea and doing creative work. In the 19th century, these were populists who refused to serve in order to educate peasant children.

It should be clarified whether all dropouts should be considered downshifters. One situation is when a worker had a good position and a good salary, a profitable business and well-developed skills. It is quite another matter – yesterday’s student worked for a couple of years at an average enterprise and, disillusioned with a modest salary and boring job, left for Indian Sikhs or fell on his mother’s neck. The second would be more accurately called a dependent.

It would not hurt to say about the psychological reasons for “escape from the world.” Every downshifter will say that he is tired of stress and a race for false ideals and wants “freedom and peace.” But if parting with the old way of life is of a vivid protest character, it is worth considering. A protest is another challenge to the world, often of a temporary nature. A person who understands his true needs does not argue with anyone and does not prove anything to anyone – he goes to himself.

How to become a downshifter?

So, the office worker feels that he is not living his life and it is time to change something. To do this, he takes the following steps.

Step 1. Decides what he would like to devote his future life to. It’s good if the answer to the question has already been found: less likely to be mistaken.

Step 2. Thinks over how he will receive income. The first and second points do not always coincide. Options: remote work, interest on the contribution (not the most reliable way in the Russian economy), renting out housing, hobbies, work in another position (often coinciding with a hobby).

Step 3. Along the way, accumulates funds to create a “safety cushion” for the transition period.

Step 4. Selects a region for residence.

Step 5. Inquires about local specifics: climate, laws, financial situation, educational development (if we are talking about a family with children), the labor market, the ability to live on the expected income.

Step 6. Coordinates his decision with relatives in order to avoid a conflict situation. Have you seen The Road to Change (2008) starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet? He’s just about that.

Step 7. Leaves work tactfully and without unnecessary celebration. You may still have to return.

Step 8. Realizes the dream.

How do downshifters live?

This category of people decided to completely abandon “monetary slavery.” Downshifters do not want to “sell” their lives to employers, so they give up good and high-paying jobs, leave their houses and cars, becoming quite happy without all this. Such people try to live in harmony with the surrounding nature and themselves. Therefore, most often, downshifters move to countries with mild climates or rural areas and begin to live the life of a village person, devoting themselves to nature, animals and growing organic vegetables and fruits.

Omar Khayyam has an excellent poem that perfectly describes the lifestyle of a downshifter “Who understands life, he is no longer in a hurry …”. People of this philosophical direction have 5 basic rules that they try to follow:

  1. Time must be used wisely and rationally.
  2. In life, there should be a minimum of cash spending and money in general.
  3. The pace of life is slowing down.
  4. You need to have fun with your family and your children.
  5. Time should be spent on self-development and your favorite hobby.

The most important thing here is not to confuse the concept of simple idleness and downshifting. When a healthy person refuses to work and lives at the expense of his parents in search of his personality, while, having no work experience and a stable income, such a person cannot be called a downshifter.

Downshifting phenomenon

Downshifter is a person who wants to live in a measured way. An important part of philosophy is recreation: organized tourism, travel “wild”, life in the countryside. Downshifter is focused on communicating with family and like-minded people. Engaged in hobbies, self-education and charity work. All this is for the sake of knowing yourself.

Representatives of the current are against working for the market economy. They change their way of life, move on to other models of behavior. They spend money on intangible goods, begin to consciously consume, and reduce their working hours for the sake of freedom. The downshifter gives up career heights, moves to another position (less profitable, but calm), works from home or is limited to part-time jobs.

To get rid of stress, downshifters do not live in noisy cities, but on the outskirts, dachas and villages. But moving does not mean abandoning civilization. They keep up with the times and use technology for work, communication and education. Some people joke that the downshifter is a man with an iPhone who left for the village.

Downshifters are usually apolitical, but different countries have their own specifics:

  • British downshifting is closely related to environmental issues.
  • In Australia, such people advocate frequent changes in housing and work.
  • Russian downshifters move to warmer countries in order to travel more or raise children, while at the same time renting out real estate in their homeland.

Downshifting. How to work less and enjoy life more “

A book from John Drake, Ph.D., with advice for all urban workaholics. There are alternative life scenarios with varying degrees of risk, psychological tests and stories from people who abandoned their careers for the sake of peace, harmony and happiness.

Five reasons to “live for yourself”

  1. Striving for harmony;
  2. Desire for maximum self-expression;
  3. Inappropriateness to personal goals;
  4. Desire to improve health, get rid of stress;
  5. Awareness of one’s own incompetence.

Is it so easy to be a downshifter?

The man chose a carefree “life for himself”, found harmony and happiness. But is everything so rosy? Let’s figure out what problems downshifters face, especially at the beginning of a new life.

Downshifting advantages and disadvantages

Downshifting today and before: what is it in simple words, how to become a real downshifter and which countries or regions of Russia to go to. What is downshifting and how to become downshifters

Consider the advantages and disadvantages of downshifting.

Main advantages:

  1. Lack of control by the authorities, the ability to independently regulate your work process.
  2. Developing Self-Discipline: To have a livelihood, you need to force yourself to work. This applies not only to downshifters, but to all remote employees.
  3. There is more free time that you can spend on things that you do not allow yourself, working for hire. For example, spending a lot of time with loved ones, traveling, focusing on hobbies.
  4. A change of scenery is sometimes necessary for a complete “reboot” of the brain.


  1. Deterioration in financial position (not necessary, but possible with many downshifters).
  2. Loss of skills – labor and social and communication skills. A person working alone quickly gets used to it. If you have to return to normal life, adaptation in the opposite direction can be quite difficult.

Types of downshifting. Why do people do it

Studying the topic, you understand that the downshifter is not the same. Someone is a successful businessman tired of stress and strains, someone is a loser looking for a better life, and someone sees in leaving more an opportunity for self-development or implementation of the plan. One way or another, downshifting is to curtail the current crazy life-running and replace it with a new one, devoid of traffic lights, deadlines and actions that manipulate deadlines.

Downshifting today and before: what is it in simple words, how to become a real downshifter and which countries or regions of Russia to go to. What is downshifting and how to become downshifters

So where do the opponents of urbanization and dancing to the tune of the system go? Everyone chooses a place based on material opportunities, interests and motivation. Breaking away from the umbilical cord of the metropolis, downshifters choose the following directions:

  1. Anti-urban. Moving to the village or into the wilderness, to a farm forgotten by God and people.

  2. Overseas. Go to warm lands, hippies, inexpensive regions of Asia, Africa (Dahab, Goa, Thailand, Vietnam, etc.).

  3. Internal. To physically live in a city or suburb, but change the ring-to-ring rhythm and consumer habits, the pursuit of earnings and brands, log out and, possibly, move out of the apartment to the private sector. Without leaving the city, a person begins to live at his own pace, observing the principles of downshifting (people of art, freelancers).

Well, let’s say we drop everything and leave. And then what? First, you don’t have to “drop everything”. Rent out an apartment, mothball a car or give it to relatives, things – partially sell, distribute. And work … you probably have to quit if you can’t work remotely. But, it doesn’t matter, because there is plenty of time and, most importantly, there is freedom to dispose of it at your own discretion.

Common “professions” of downshifters:

  • Freelance (Internet availability is important);
  • Agriculture (mainly for myself);
  • Handicrafts and crafts (for yourself and for sale);
  • Creativity, art (they also earn money);
  • Scientific activity, research (especially important for botanists and farmers)
  • Develop green, eco, agritourism.

Think for yourself, decide for yourself

The main problem is in the head. Choosing downshifting, many understand what they want to run away from, but do not understand what they are running to. They are mistaken, downshifting is not mainstream, but on the contrary – a conscious movement against the grain, giving up career and money for the sake of independence, health, self-development. You can escape from the reinforced concrete jungle to heaven on earth (be it a house in a village or a commune on the ocean shore), but feel more miserable without the attributes of a “civilized” life, howl with boredom. Having experienced a negative experience, the failed downshifters begin to throw mud at the adherents of the current.

Downshifting today and before: what is it in simple words, how to become a real downshifter and which countries or regions of Russia to go to. What is downshifting and how to become downshifters

It is a pity, since the cause of their misfortunes is themselves. Indeed, as written above, you can not leave the city, but only change the work schedule to a freer one, in order to pay more attention to self-knowledge, to live in harmony with yourself and nature. Moderate appetites, do not chase brands and novelties, do not buy too much, do not harm the environment and health, do not succumb to manipulation by advertisers and public opinion. Yes, perhaps, following these principles in a metropolis is aerobatics, partly because people decide to flee to the village, although there are other personal motives.

Before deciding to trade a city for a village, weigh the pros and cons, prioritize what is more important to you personally.

Pros and cons of downshifting and city life

  • Ecology. Plus on the side of the village.
  • Food. Plus the village is in the availability of organic products (if you don’t keep the garden and animals yourself, you can buy food from your neighbors or at the bazaar), and the minus is the inaccessibility of sweets and exotics.
  • Workload for life support. Individually – it depends on the job, salary in the city and on what kind of life they intend to lead in the village.
  • Free time. Also individually. But if we talk about downshifting, as a transition to a slower pace and less workload, then downshifters have more free time for themselves, communication with loved ones.
  • Costs. Plus – in the village, because in the city, a communal apartment, food, travel is more expensive and the need for updating the wardrobe is higher.
  • Comfort. Equally: rural houses can be provided with a toilet and hot water, gas and electricity, household appliances and the Internet …
  • Medicine. Plus on the side of the city, since there is more choice of family doctors, narrow specialists are closer, modern equipment. Although, if we take this factor into account in advance, when choosing a place, then you can find such a secluded corner where ambulances quickly reach, and on their own the city is no more than half an hour.
  • Health and healthy lifestyle. Plus on the side of the village – many downshifters are happy that they have practically ceased to be ill.
  • Education. School education depends on the personality of the teacher, and home education is available to both townspeople and rural children. Universities are only in the city.
  • Extracurricular development of children, sections, circles. Plus – the city.
  • Courses, trainings, classes for adult development. Plus – the city.
  • Family values. Plus – the village. Psychologists state: the city alienates family members. The “exiles” themselves say: it is easier to raise children in a village, the family becomes stronger.
  • Closeness to nature. Plus – the village.
  • Spiritual development and self-education. Plus on the village side – more time, less distractions.
  • Safety. According to statistics, banditry is more common in large cities.

Success lies in deliberate preparation

To strengthen the pros and weaken (or even completely remove) the cons, you need to prepare carefully. It’s no joke, but if you study the interviews of downshifters from Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, you understand the reason for successful downshifting. Those who abruptly “dropped everything and left” are often disappointed, although there are rare exceptions. And those who came up with a cool head – safely arranged a new life.

A striking example of this is Viktor Sergienko, a former programmer from Kiev. Having come to the conclusion that a global resource and economic crisis was coming, he decided to leave the life of the capital – to switch to self-sufficiency. It was this idea that naturally pushed the man to downshifting, because in the village you can live without grieving thanks to gardening and animal husbandry. However, the man did not chop off the shoulder, but for a year carefully and systematically prepared for the move to the village, living and working in the city. He found a suitable site with a house, purchased building materials, tools and household items, studied the basics of agriculture. Over time, I got used to myself and provided comfortable conditions for the family, home schooling for daughters …

Needless to say that thanks to a competent approach, Victor managed to neutralize the above disadvantages ?! Therefore, for 15 years now, he and his family have been managing their land and sees only a positive effect in downshifting. The man described in detail almost all the steps of the transition from a capital apartment to a house in the village and made it freely available under the title “Koshasty’s Method”.

I would like to devote many more pages to the topic of downshifting, but it’s better to see it once … If it is close to you, but you are not yet ready to “give up everything”, test the waters. Take advice from other downshifters, try temporarily living at a reduced speed without burning bridges to life in the urban wheel.

Top countries for downshifting

Now let’s discuss where the downshifter should go.

Downshifting today and before: what is it in simple words, how to become a real downshifter and which countries or regions of Russia to go to. What is downshifting and how to become downshifters

There are several criteria for choosing a region for living (or wintering):

  • climate,
  • cheapness of life,
  • the cost of the flight,
  • visa regime of the state,
  • the legislation of the country (for example, only a local citizen can officially work as a guide in Thailand, but many know workarounds).

The bulk of Russians gravitate towards warm countries.

The most popular are Southeast Asia: Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia. The flight there costs about 15,000 rubles. If you get to the action or take care of the search in advance, you can significantly save on air tickets.

You can stay in Thailand with a visa for 60 days, without – 30 days, then cross the border with the nearest country and again live a month without a visa. A visa to Vietnam (for staying in the country for more than 15 days) is issued in advance for six months. In Indonesia, Russians arriving for the purpose of tourism can stay for a month only with a stamp in their passport, a longer stay will require a visa (for 2 or 6 months).

Tropical Asia attracts with cheap accommodation (prices depend on the country and region), exotic nature, interesting culture and gentle sea. Basically, the Slavs living there work as guides (combine work and love of travel), own a business or make money through the Internet.

India is no less beloved by our fellow citizens. Goa alone is home to 1.5-2 thousand Russians. This means both the native language environment and the usual type of leisure. Plus all the joys of Buddhism and yoga fans. A tourist visa is issued for up to six months and cannot be extended.

Also, a three-month wintering (up to 60 days without a visa plus a month extension of stay by crossing the border) pleases Turkey. Heat is not expected there at this time – a great option for those who want to see the sights in a comfortable temperature and at reduced prices. A flight from Moscow will cost 5,000 – 7,000 rubles (winter prices).

It is worth considering, however, that the country has high prices for intercity buses. My husband and I explored the option of hitchhiking in the summer: movement is possible, but rather slow.

European countries. As a rule, they are chosen by those wishing to build a career, but downshifters can also find acceptable options for themselves. The climate in the region is milder than Russia, and holders of Schengen visas will appreciate the opportunity to travel with the help of a developed network of low-cost airlines.

It is worth paying attention to countries with low prices: Bulgaria, Romania, Montenegro, Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic. The first three are especially good during the swimming season, and in Montenegro you can live up to 30 days without a visa. Those who wish to extend their stay cross the border with Croatia or receive a visa for 90 days in advance (no extension is provided, if you wish to stay, you will have to apply again). The advantages of Europe also include the low cost of the flight.

New World. The road will cost a pretty penny, but holders of a Schengen, British or American visa can save money by buying tickets with a stopover. There are many visa-free states, moving between which you do not need to return to Russia for several years.

The Dominican Republic attracts residents of the middle zone with a comfortable temperature (from September to April + 25-30 degrees). Up to 30 days stay in the country is allowed with a tourist card (it costs $ 10), at the police station it can be extended for another month or two. An important point: the country provides for a departure fee of $ 20. Working on a tourist visa is punishable by law, and the labor market is not so developed. Therefore, the state is more suitable for remote workers.

In Ecuador, where you can combine mountains, plains and the sea, and the temperature is comfortable all year round, Russians can stay for three months without a visa.

For the same period, you do not need a visa in Chile, just get ready to show return tickets home or to any other state at the border. The standard of living in the country is also low, which attracts downshifters who love to open up new horizons.

Western and Russian downshifters

Downshifting is, first of all, a social phenomenon. Therefore, it will depend on the mentality of the country. What is the difference between our and western downshifters? Let’s try to figure it out.
According to the observations of psychologists and sociologists, a calm attitude to career and earnings directly depends on the standard of living in the country. Initially, this phenomenon developed in the West. Statistics show that the majority of downshifters today live in the United States and Australia.
The western downshifter is predominantly a middle-class representative with a stable high income. He can afford to lose some of his earnings and rebuild his life.

There are very few downshifters in Russia – about 5%. Basically, they are represented by very rich people. After all, not everyone can afford to cut their income at least a little. Our inhabitants prefer to go with their families to the Russian hinterlands, to start farming in the Tula, Voronezh and other regions.
Other countries are also popular among Russian downshifters: Thailand, Turkey, Bulgaria, etc.

Who most often becomes a downshifter

After conducting various analyzes, psychologists have identified three main groups of people who most often decide to become downshifters:

  1. Parental hostages. From childhood, this category of people listens only to parents, that is, the parents decided for them where the child will study, where he will go to work, etc.

    In other words, a person does not live his own life, but lives the way his parents want. In the future, having already become adults, such individuals are looking for the same powerful and authoritarian spouses who will continue to dictate to them how to live.

  2. Chronically tired people. This includes those people who often suffer from psychological and moral stress. People who cannot cope with the pace of life that they have chosen, people who do not see the “light at the end of the tunnel.”

  3. The Golden Child. This includes the category of people who are used to living in a big way, who are used to swimming in luxury and not deny themselves anything. Having reached unprecedented financial heights, they want to live “for themselves,” therefore they change their usual way of life. Very often you can find former politicians and businessmen among the downshifters.


Downshifting is an interesting and multifaceted social phenomenon.
Some choose such a life forever, but for someone a short period of time is enough to gain invaluable experience and move on. Of course, this does not solve absolutely all problems, however, it can help in discovering its unexplored sides.
Do not forget about the difficulties that are encountered along the way. Not all downshifters are ready for a significant reduction in material wealth and, in some cases, life without the usual comfort.

Sources used and useful links on the topic: -takoe.html i-uehat-v-derevnyu-kto-takie-daunshiftery-i-dlya-chego-oni-menyayut-svoyu-zhizn /2356-daunshifter-kto-eto.html

Post source:

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More