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

Hi all! The topic of today's article is downshifting: what it is, in simple terms, what kind of people can be called real downshifters and whether it is worth joining their community. I will also tell you which countries they usually migrate to and which regions of Russia are suitable for this.

So, what is downshifting? A new-fangled philosophy, a radical change in lifestyle, or an attempt to escape from problems in hot countries? This direction originated at the turn of the 20th and 21st centuries, and since then has undergone significant changes.

Downshifters - who are they?

These people, like the majority, also at one time worked from 8 to 5, waited for Friday evenings, vacation, as well as salaries and bonuses.
But at one point they stopped and asked themselves: “For what? Why live by other people’s goals, sacrifice time and energy not in your own favor?” It is this question that gives rise to a new life as a downshifter. Downshifting, as a social phenomenon, appeared relatively recently, although in fact it existed before. Translated from English, this word means “switching to a low gear” (from automotive terminology). Simply put, a downshifter is a person who has abandoned his usual lifestyle (home-work-home) in favor of a measured life “for himself”.

Downshifters of our time often contrast themselves with “white collar workers” - successful careerists who strive for material well-being and do not disdain daily work in offices.

For downshifters, such a lifestyle seems inferior. In their opinion, the financial side is not the most important thing in life.

One of the most striking examples of this trend is German Sterligov. He traded life in an elite area for a farm and livestock farming.

What is downshifting really?

If you don’t take really rich people who retired having achieved everything and having a stable income, then downshifting is:

  • A condition caused by temporary overload
    , loss of meaning in life, severe stress at work, and the burden of problems. A person wants to give up his career because... considers this to be a solution to the problem. In fact, you either need to learn how to relieve stress or balance work loads and rest. But giving up your career due to temporary overload does not make sense.
  • An attempt to justify the lack of career growth
    . For example, a person cannot advance further up the career ladder, but he cannot come to terms with this either. There is a “way out” - to declare oneself a downshifter: “I am not making a career not because I can’t do it, but because I voluntarily abandoned it.”
  • An excuse for laziness. There are people who don't want to work hard, they don't like to work. They can call themselves downshifters for the sake of image.
  • The desire to be fashionable, in trend
    . Back in the day, downshifting ideas were fashionable, and there were people who called themselves downshifters to show that they were on trend.
  • Manifestation of infantilism
    . There are people who are afraid to work, to make a career, and want to delay entering adulthood for as long as possible. Downshifting is a good excuse to explain why you don’t go to work, but prefer, for example, to live with your parents.
  • And in extremely rare cases, downshifting

    – this is simply the retirement of a successful person who no longer needs to prove anything to anyone. There is money for living, there is enough of it, so there is an opportunity to live “for yourself.”

Is a downshifter a strong or weak personality?

There is now active debate about whether downshifting is a manifestation of willpower and determination or, conversely, a downshifter is a weak-willed person.
Psychologists share two opinions: the first say that this is the right direction from a scientific point of view. Others think that downshifting represents selfishness and laziness. In their opinion, a downshifter is a person escaping from temporary material difficulties and stressful situations that happen to almost everyone. Thus, he is trying to avoid banal responsibility.

Experts also identify three main groups of people who become downshifters:

  1. Hostages of parental attitudes.
    They choose the specialty that mom and dad impose on them, they get a job they don’t like just because it pays well. Subsequently, such people usually become dependent on their spouses.
  2. Those who cannot cope with moral pressure.
    Psychological and physical stress becomes unbearable for them.
  3. Someone who is tired of a luxurious life.
    Typically this group includes businessmen and politicians. Realizing that the income will be enough for several more generations to come, they decide to “live for themselves.”

So who are they really? Of course, if you look at this issue only superficially, you can conclude that these are the most common parasites and selfish people who avoid everyday responsibilities. In fact, the main goal pursued by downshifters is independence from society. Their own peace of mind is most important to them.

How it all started (a short history)

The ideology of the movement has common features with hippie culture. The term appeared at the end of the 20th century in America. We have actively developed downshifting in Moscow and St. Petersburg.

It is believed that the first to use the term was American journalist Sarah Ben Breathna

in "
Living in Low Gear: Downshifting and Redefining Success in the '90s
," which ran in
The Washington Post
on December 31, 1991. The movement found followers in Britain. Australia and USA.

Then Carl Honore

published the book “
No fuss.
“How to stop rushing and start living ” and combining downshifting with simplification, creating the concept of slow movement. Vadim Denisov, a domestic follower, wrote the book “Downshifter,” which is available in audio format. The genre is fantasy, the plot, according to the author, reflects changes in the world with the development of such a way of life.

There are 2 common points of view on downshifting and its content. Followers of the movement abandon the ideals of a consumer society, which do not allow a person to develop as an individual. Karl Marx wrote about this in his writings, that there is an “alienation of man from his human essence.”

Opponents of philosophy believe that direction has nothing to do with self-knowledge and the achievement of harmony and comfort. Since this state cannot be achieved if you are not financially independent and goals are imposed by those who do not strive to become successful.

Downshifter lifestyle (values ​​and motives)

Omar Khayyam

wrote the poem “Whoever understands life is no longer in a hurry...”, fully reflecting the ideology of the movement.

5 basic rules of a downshifter:

  1. Rational, reasonable use of time.
  2. Minimum waste of money
  3. Slowing down the pace of life.
  4. Enjoying communication with loved ones and children.
  5. The opportunity to spend a lot of time on hobbies and self-development.

Life becomes measured and a person stops living according to the principle - live (work) to spend. The downshifter stops the meaningless “rat race” for unnecessary things and breaks out of the vicious circle.

The purpose of downshifting is to understand the meaning of life.

In practice, this is a radical change in lifestyle, attitude towards things and people, and a passion for new hobbies. Various events can lead to the study and acceptance of downshifting - loss of a job, the birth of a child, a serious illness.

Self-knowledge should not be confused with idleness. If a healthy young man sits on his parents’ neck in search of himself and does not have a successful career path and a regular income behind him, he is not a downshifter, but a lazy person. Those who change themselves are people who, for the most part, have achieved success in some areas and have something to compare with and an understanding of what to strive for.

Who becomes a downshifter?

Analyzing the psychological aspects of the trend, psychologists identify 3 groups of people who most often become its followers:

  1. Hostages of parents

    Since childhood, parents have imposed on me where to study, who to be friends with, and what profession to choose. A person lives his life as his parents want, without thinking about the desires and capabilities of his child. Of course, parents want their child to not need anything and the solution to the problem is to get him a well-paid job. Growing up, such people look for authoritarian spouses who will continue to tell them what to do.

  2. Chronically tired

    Constant psychological and physical stress, social instability and material difficulties, so to speak, “no light at the end of the tunnel.”

  3. Running on the waves

    Wealthy people who have everything provide for themselves financially and have enough money for several generations to come. Having reached professional heights, they want to live “for themselves.”

Benefits of downshifting


  1. Independence. The life schedule is drawn up based only on personal interests
  2. Free time. Nobody tells you when to work and rest, travel and where to live.
  3. Great mood, healthy lifestyle, a surge of new strength and good sleep.
  4. The desire to develop in a calm environment, without pressure, contributes to personal and professional growth.


  1. Isolation from the outside world. Man is a social creature and being alone for a long time leads to the return of his former life.
  2. Lack of changes and events. A daily monotonous environment, type of activity, lack of communication leads to depression.
  3. Material difficulties. Lack of permanent income and confidence in the future. At first, it is difficult for a downshifter to limit his desires according to the new income schedule, especially if he previously had a highly paid job.
  4. Public negativity. For the most part, those around them are perplexed and condemn those who left their jobs and went to the provinces “for happiness.”
  5. Loss of social status, cessation of communication with friends and acquaintances because of this.

It is very difficult for people of a conservative bent to accept a new direction unless significant and drastic changes and upheavals have occurred in life that clearly show the expediency of change.

Having studied the issue superficially, we can agree that a downshifter is a parasite who avoids the difficulties of everyday life; in fact, his only real goal is independence from society and his own peace of mind.

Differences between downshifters in different countries

Who a downshifter is and what he does is interpreted differently in different countries. In Europe, they attach great importance to the environmental context - they begin to consume organic products, take care of the environment, actively promote recycling, and use alternative energy sources to ensure life. In Australia, they move from large cities to the suburbs, closer to nature and the ocean, start working in agriculture or develop their own direction.

According to the understanding of philosophy, the character of people differs in different countries. In Russia, it is generally accepted that downshifters are lazy egoists who are afraid of temporary and financial difficulties, do not want to limit themselves to time frames and are afraid of responsibility.

In our country, downshifting, freelancing and warmer climes have long become synonymous, since many bloggers do not write about self-discipline and the difficulties of working remotely, but only post beautiful pictures under a palm tree with a laptop on the ocean shore. Others consider any deviation from the standard lifestyle a ticket to paradise - migration and idleness in warm countries, receiving income from renting out an apartment.

Downshifting is not always a move, it is a change in thoughts, outlook on life, and a reassessment of values.

A downshifter is a hardworking person. Who creates something for the benefit of people, but not out of coercion, but out of vocation.

Ideal countries and work for downshifters

Ideal places for a downshifter are countries where there is a relaxed attitude towards work and earnings, and a high standard of living of the population. Most of the “free” live in the USA and Australia.

In Russia there are 5% of downshifters, most of whom are rich people, because not everyone can afford to reduce their income even a little.

When choosing to move abroad for permanent or temporary residence, the following criteria are considered:

  • climate;
  • the cost of living;
  • plane ticket price;
  • visa regime;
  • features of legislation (for example, officially in some countries only local residents work).

Most often, everyone wants to live in warm countries.

They go abroad to countries where the lifestyle and cost of living are no different from Russia - Bulgaria, Turkey, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia

. A ticket costs 15,000 rubles, and when purchasing at a discount you can save up to 50%.

With a visa you can stay in Thailand for 2 months, without a document - 30 days. Crossed the border of a neighboring state, returned and continued to live and work again. In Vietnam and Indonesia, the visa is issued for 6 months.

Asian countries attract people with their low cost of living, warm sea or ocean, exotic nature and vibrant culture. The Russian-speaking population living there works via the Internet or receives income from businesses located in the country.

For example, only in Goa

About 2,000 Russians live there.
You can spend the winter in Turkey
without a visa, and then cross the border of a neighboring state and return. In winter, the flight will cost 7,000 rubles.

It is better to move to European countries with a Schengen visa. Low prices in Bulgaria, Romania, Montenegro, Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic

. Almost everywhere you can live for a month without a visa, after which you submit documents to obtain it.


, Brazil the road is very expensive. Slight savings for Schengen visa holders to buy connecting tickets.

The Dominican Republic always attracts with its climate. In winter, the temperature does not drop below 25 degrees. A tourist visa costs $10 and gives you the right to stay for a month, after which you can extend it for another 30-60 days at the police station. For departure from the country you pay a fee of 20 dollars. The labor market is underdeveloped. And it is prohibited by law to work on a tourist visa, so freelancers (remote workers) are warming up.

Ecuador is happy for all 3 months without a visa. Mountains, climate, sea, warmth all year round. In Chile it is similar, but upon entry you will be required to show documents for travel in the opposite direction or to any other country.

The preferred regions for moving are the Krasnodar Territory and Rostov. Leningrad, Moscow and Voronezh regions, Sochi.

Famous representatives

The brightest and most famous downshifters in Russia - German Sterligov

Ivan Okhloystin

Mr. Sterligov gave up life in an elite area, a house with all amenities, and a profitable business and left for the village. The active development of agriculture on 37 hectares of land allows him to fully provide for himself and his children. He does what he wants and manages his own time.

Ivan Okhlobystin was a significant figure in the world of cinema in the 90s - he acted and wrote scripts. He has produced such films as “DMB”, “Garbage Man”, “Down House”, etc. In 2001, he was ordained a priest and moved to Tashkent with his family. The climate of the country did not suit the wife and after 7 months the couple returned to Moscow. Ivan served in the church for 8 years, then returned to cinema, explaining his action by the need to feed a large family (the actor has 6 children). In all interviews, he says that he will definitely return to serving in the church in the near future.

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Steve Jobs

in terms of lifestyle, even without changing his place of residence, he fully corresponded to the ideology and expressed his point of view in the aphorism “We are not given so much time to spend it trying to live someone else’s life. Don't trust dogma: you can't live based only on what others have come up with. Under no circumstances should other people's opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most importantly, have the courage to follow your own heart and your intuition.”

How to become a downshifter

If you realize that your lifestyle is contrary to your desires, start changing it.

7 steps to become a downshifter


  1. Think about what you would like to devote your future life to, what you would like to do. If you have an idea, the probability of error will be minimal. Read the forums of followers, watch the downshifter films “The Island”, “A Good Year”, “Captain Fantastic”, “Duhless 2”, “Hector’s Journey in Search of Happiness”.
  2. Determine your future source of income. For example, renting out property, interest on a deposit. Work for downshifters - freelancing or remote work on GPC, selling handicrafts, a new type of activity that you plan to master (massage, agriculture, tailoring, etc.).
  3. Create a “safety cushion” in an amount equal to 2-3 months of expenses. During the transition period, bills still need to be paid.
  4. Select your region of residence. Find out the climatic features of the region, analyze the social infrastructure of the area where you will rent or buy housing (presence of kindergartens and schools, if there are children, clinics).
  5. Discuss the decision with loved ones to avoid misunderstandings.
  6. Leave work “gracefully”, suddenly you want to come back. Don't burn bridges. Even if you are confident in your decision.
  7. Buy a ticket and realize your dream.

The results of the changes are very different. Some will be disappointed and return to their previous way of life, others will discover new horizons for themselves and begin to grow professionally in other areas, others will earn as much as they need to live on and do what they love.

Downshifting: PROS

Downshifters are independent individuals who do not limit themselves to strict time limits and requirements.
They set their schedule only at their own discretion. After drastic changes, a lot of free time appears. Here, downshifters themselves decide how to use it: work at night and sleep until lunch, travel and live in exotic countries, and much more.

If a person does everything right for himself, then he will soon feel a surge of new strength, the absence of a terrible mood and constant lack of sleep.

Personal and professional growth appears. After such life changes, a desire to self-develop arises.


  • Before you burn your bridges, take a vacation. To take a closer look, listen and decide whether this is really the place and lifestyle that will bring harmony, satisfaction and peace. Even if you are 100 percent sure that this is exactly what you need, think of an escape plan just in case. It's good if you don't need it, but if you do, it will come in handy.
  • There is no need to commit a total abandonment of previous benefits. Many downshifters live on the income they receive from renting out their previous apartments. In this case, they still have a support, a place to which they can return if necessary. Some people manage to coordinate work issues by taking a vacation for a whole year or performing part of their responsibilities remotely.
  • Before going to the desired place, especially if it is another country, carefully study its political and social situation. Norms, rules, laws and religious beliefs. This is a matter of your safety. Take care of this.
  • Study the recommendations of those individuals who have long followed to a new place in search of themselves and peace. There are even Internet resources where you can ask questions of concern to experienced downshifters. For example, about life in the village, such sites as “” and “I want to live in the village” will be useful.

Downshifting: CONS

Man is a social being.
We communicate, work, continue our family line. Psychologists confirm that human society is capable of preserving itself only at the species level. This fact is not immediately realized if the individual fails to enter into the uniform rhythm of society. Against this background, a false impression is created that avoiding everyday problems will help personal growth and lead to peace of mind.

If a person decides to move away alone, then over time there will be a feeling of isolation from the world around him. This is why many downshifters return to their old life. An excellent example will again be German Sterligov, who lived with his family on a farm for about 4 years. After that, he returned to life in the metropolis.

Alternative ways to improve your life

Downshifting is not the only way to make your life better. The most reliable prevention against becoming a downshifter is self-realization and a full, comprehensive life. You shouldn’t dwell on just one area, because money and career will not bring harmony to life. Creativity, respect from society, sufficient rest and interesting leisure time – this is what can replace downshifting and leave a person “included” in society.

Is it so easy to be a downshifter?

The man chose a carefree “life for himself” and 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.

Material side

This is the first and most basic problem that will stand in the way.
Stable income has an important advantage - confidence in the future. Many downshifters cannot boast of this. Initially, it is very difficult to switch to a new status, especially if you had stable high earnings in the past.

Public opinion

As a rule, the attitude towards such people in society is not the most positive. Most people are unable to understand how a person could leave a stable income and choose a carefree life in the provinces.

Loss of status in society

Many downshifters lose all contact with relatives and stop communicating with friends against this background.

Old habits

It will be very difficult for conservatives to switch to a new stage of life.

History of the phenomenon

How did downshifting come about? This is an interesting question, since the term first appeared at the end of the 20th century. The “founders” of downshifting can be considered the generation of the 80s and 90s. The first followers of the movement were well educated, many of them were rich and respected by society. However, over the years of hard work and concentration on material wealth, they lost the meaning of life. In an attempt to re-experience the taste of life, they left their luxurious apartments, gave up prestigious jobs and deliberately decided to “lower” their standard of living. Inexpensive hostels became their new homes, and the work required much less effort, although it brought in less money. People around them often look at downshifters as mentally ill - how can you give up wealth and everything you have? But the downshifters themselves have an answer to this question - they simply do not want to spend their lives in a meaningless “rat race”.

Down-shifting is a completely natural reaction to the previously appeared “yuppie” style. Office work, clear chain of command, the main goals in life are career and money. With such an unbalanced approach to life, it is not surprising that many people veer off this path. The denial of the consumer style of society manifested itself not only in individual cases of abandonment of the usual way of life. The book “No fuss. How to stop rushing and start living” by Carla Honore, who conquered the whole world and gained many supporters after her publication. Modern scientists consider downshifting as a unique form of self-destruction and behavioral deviation, but this phenomenon still inspires people around the world. What are the fundamental features of downshifting?

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 towards a career and earnings directly depends on the standard of living in the country. This phenomenon initially developed in the West. Statistics show that the majority of downshifters today live in the United States and Australia.

A Western downshifter is predominantly a member of the middle class with a stable, high income. He can afford to lose part 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 even a little. Our inhabitants prefer to go with their families to the Russian hinterlands and take up farming in Tula, Voronezh and other regions.

Other countries are also popular among Russian downshifters: Thailand, Turkey, Bulgaria, etc.

Suitable regions of Russia and countries for downshifting

It is quite difficult to follow the principles of downshifting in large cities. Intrusive advertising, shopping centers, poor ecology, bustle on the streets and high prices put pressure on the psyche. Below I will list the TOP 7 best regions of Russia and countries for downshifters:

  1. Krasnodar region

Real estate prices are encouraging: you can rent a one-room apartment for $100-200. Warm climate, sun, sea. It is advisable to choose resort villages - life is cheaper, and in the summer there is not such a huge influx of tourists as in Sochi, Gelendzhik and Anapa.

  1. Voronezh region

Still low prices for housing and food. Fertile soils make it possible to seriously engage in agriculture.

  1. Moscow region

An option for those who are still at a crossroads. Renting an apartment will be cheaper than in the capital, and the environmental situation is better. From time to time you can have a cultural holiday in Moscow if you suddenly become completely bored.

  1. Thailand

A mega-popular place among Russian downshifters. Amazing nature, warm sea, cheap prices for housing (renting a one-room apartment will cost $100-150) and food.

  1. India (Goa)

There are also many Russians living here, so knowing a foreign language is not necessary. The cost of renting an apartment is the same as in Thailand. There are a lot of sights to see. The main disadvantage of India is unsanitary conditions.

  1. USA

In America there are entire settlements for houses on wheels. Vast territories and a variety of natural landscapes allow the downshifter to spend a lot of time traveling. Unfortunately, staying in the USA for a long time is not so easy from a visa and financial point of view.

  1. Philippines (Boracay)

The reasons why downshifters move here are the desire to live near the sea and a passion for surfing. Snow-white beaches will capture the spirit of freedom lovers. True, Boracay is not the cheapest place.

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