Always on the go, exploring the world, always planning your next trip right away: exciting, beautiful! Or not? The author Harriet Köhler promotes staying at home - for good reasons.
Berlin (dpa / tmn) - Harriet Köhler used to love traveling. But she recognized that there is much more to wanderlust than longing for distance. She began to question the constant traveling and bring the vacation feeling home. She wrote the book "Instructions for staying at home" about this.
In an interview with the dpa themed service, the author tells how you can rediscover the world on your own doorstep - and why you can even get homesick at home.
Ms. Köhler, you believed for a long time that vacation automatically brought relaxation and that staying at home was boring. In your book you find that it was a misconception. Why?
Harriet Köhler: At some point it became clear to me what a madness constant travel is. Eight percent of global greenhouse gas emissions come from tourism, which is because we believe that we cannot stay at home on vacation. But why not travel?
I could not have imagined that for a long time. But when I finally did, it was totally easy - much easier than not using sugar or coffee. Since then, I've enjoyed discovering the world in front of and behind my own front door. Without stress, without jet lag, without humiliation through multilingual menus, without the crowds in historic city centers.
Your book is intended to be an "instruction manual". What do we have to learn to stay at home successfully?
Köhler: Staying at home not only means giving up traveling, it's actually a way of life. If you succeed in being satisfied with what you have, you no longer have to want to be somewhere else. He doesn't need to buy new stuff all the time, he doesn't have to take part in the everyday faster, higher, further.
In your book you write that homesickness and wanderlust are quite similar feelings. Why is that?
Köhler: Both homesickness and wanderlust focus less on a place in the outside world than on an inner feeling. Both are feelings of deficit, of lack: Those who have wanderlust don't just want to go somewhere else, but longs to experience something different in a different place and to strip off their everyday self. And if you are homesick, you feel lonely, uncomfortable and miss a time in which you felt cared for - you can of course also be homesick at home.
The longing to relax and discover the world often leads to wanderlust. How can you breastfeed this at home?
Köhler: Maybe by making it clear that traveling doesn't necessarily satisfy the wanderlust either. Because we long to leave our German potatoes behind us, our correctness, boredom and functional clothing mentality. But how often do we do that? We always take ourselves with us.
Who has never had office problems in a distant holiday home? Who has never been offended after a day of arguments in the most romantic restaurant in the world? So why not do at home all the things that you normally only do on vacation and try out a different version of yourself, one that is more relaxed, interested, elegant?
Do you really have to go often to have an exciting life?
Koehler: I would say that a curious mind is never bored, not even at home. But of course, if you don't think your familiar surroundings are particularly remarkable, then of course it isn't.
How can you discover new things at home and broaden your horizons?
Köhler: By looking at where you live, as a tourist would do. There is a lot to discover on long walks. And if you book a city tour through your own district, you will also get to know a world of which you can no longer see as much today.
... although city tours are not possible.
Köhler: In these times it is also advisable to ring the neighbors and check how they are doing - and offer help if necessary. It takes you to new roots when you are connected to the local people.
Isn't it idiotic that we are so keen to get to know the country and its people in the distance, and often don't even know the people we live with next door?
What helps to escape everyday life in your own four walls?
Köhler: Do you really have to escape everyday life? Then maybe it helps to do all the things for which you cannot find peace in everyday life. So: read a thick classic. Cook with leisure. Call old friends. Mucking out. Bring the balcony into shape. And in between: live a bit like on vacation. How about pushing the mattress into the living room and sleeping there? Camping in the garden? Trying a whole new hobby?
And if the longing does not go away: Then you could plan your next trip, in peace, indulgent and detailed.