About finishing my 1st novel and about “Fernweh”

It has been a very long time since I last wrote. That’s because I didn’t want to bore you all with details on editing my novel and the many drafts that followed my initial draft I had written in Bangkok nearly a year ago. Turns out that writing the first draft was the easiest part!

Once I left my novel for a while and then re—read, it I thought: “holy crap!” I had to rewrite entire chapters, add completely new ones and basically write a novel. The first draft had just been the framework, or structure. The real magic only happened after – and is still ongoing.

After working the entire year I now, once more, look forward to a 2 month holiday in Indonesia. French Fry will be with me for 3 weeks and I’ll stay alone for the rest. The plan was to write the sequel to my novel. But now I assume I will still be editing the first novel, and if I have time, already outline the sequel.

In any case what I want to write about today is about “Fernweh”. It’s one of those German words that are not really translatable into English. The closest one can get describing it would be “itchy feet”.


But “Fernweh” means a lot more. If you translate it literally, it means “distance sickness”, the opposite of homesick basically. It’s the immense longing for adventure, travelling, the longing to leave everyone and everything you know behind you and to embark on a journey without any fears of the unknown, but rather a longing for it.

Well, I had these “itchy feet” ever since I can remember, but the first time I acted on my “Fernweh” was when I was 12 years old and decided that I wanted to spend a year in Brazil with my grandparents. I had grown up in Germany and back then I was yearning to get to know Brazil better, and to get to know my family there better. I told my parents and they eventually agreed. And so I left on a long haul flight, by myself, with one large suitcase and settled into my new home in Brazil. It wasn’t an easy year. I had been massively bullied at school, called a “Nazi” and had rarely been invited to any birthday parties, and I certainly never managed to make any friends. And that even though I was half Brazilian. All they saw in me was the German Nazi-Girl.

It had also been extremely difficult to follow the Brazilian school curriculum but I worked very hard and managed to not have to repeat the school year.

I was lucky that I had a big family: my grandparents, countless aunts, uncles and cousins with whom I could spend time with, and so I remember my year in Brazil very fondly.

During my University studies in the U.K. I always had long enough semester breaks to go travelling. During that time I had a passion for Italian (and everything Italian, including Italian men!) I moved to Rome a few times during my breaks, found work and enjoyed my life “the Italian way”: with dates on the Spanish steps, strolling along the beautiful streets with gelato, and spending my weekends at the beach.

After my studies, when I found a job, I was traumatised by the fact that as of then I only had 20 days of holidays per year. How would I ever manage? Well, I didn’t! After 1 ½ years my itchy feet were so itchy that they told me: “either you quit your job, or we leave you and go backpacking by ourselves!”

I certainly didn’t want to stay in the U.K working without my feet, so I quit my well-paid job from one day to another, bought a backpack, vacated my apartment and left on the next plane to Bangkok to travel around South East Asia for 3 months. I didn’t worry about coming back and not finding a job anymore. I didn’t worry about travelling alone. In fact, my “Fernweh”, my distance sickness, gave me “Reisefieber” – another funny German word, meaning “Travel-Fever”. You have “Reisefieber” when you are so excited about travelling that you just can’t hide it.

After my travels, which were amazing, I found a job in Geneva. But again, my “Fernweh” didn’t leave me in peace. I ended up living in Baku, Azerbaijan, when I decided it was a phenomenal idea to move after my then bf, whom I had been dating for like five minutes before he had to leave to Azerbaijan. It obviously didn’t work out, but after only six months there my “Fernweh” hadn’t been appeased. If anything, it had intensified and brought me back to Bangkok, where I lived for a year.

My itchy feet were missing Europe and so I came back to Geneva and did the only right thing I could do: become self-employed – which gives me the possibility to work whenever I want and to leave for as long as I need to. It happened last year when I was in Bangkok for 2 months again, and it’s about to happen this year, when I hop on a flight to Jakarta today.

I’m looking forward to exploring Indonesia, to hang out in Ubud where I will meet a friend and do a Yoga retreat, maybe meeting Ketut (from Eat Pray Love) and feel and look like a Balinese Goddess. Hopefully my time there will be very inspirational and productive in terms of writing my sequel.

Hopefully I’ll also get back into the habit of blogging on here again…:-)

Happy New Year everyone! May your itchy feet bring you to amazing places in 2015!


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