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Petra Fritz mit ihrem Buch, Bild: Petra Fritz

In the middle of it all instead of just being there

Reports about spectacular journeys and foreign countries can be found in a wide variety of forms and all media, and the list of travel literature and illustrated travel guides is long.

The recently published book by Jantra Friedrich with the title “Mittendrin statt nur dabei” scores as a successful combination of entertaining experience reading and travel guide and is a very personal statement by the author.

In an interview with the likeable best-ager, she reveals her real name right at the beginning and that she has so far researched and written exclusively for the lifestyle blog “Topagemodel” and DNews24 (focus on socio-political topics).

Ms. Fritz, why the decision to write such a book with this title right now? (she smiles as if she was expecting exactly this question)

No, it wasn’t the boredom of the Corona crisis. It was rather a spontaneous decision when I chatted with our neighbors again about God and the world or some curious travel adventures. Both have also traveled a lot and are in the field or have been working in publishing for years. At first I doubted whether my travel anecdotes and tips around the globe could be interesting for everyone, but in the end I was encouraged by the two professionals to start writing the entertaining read.

The concept was quickly conceived. It was to be a hybrid of biography and travel experiences, in short a new genre, a “travel biography”. For the paperback, I have specifically selected only curious travel moments and activities, not the most beautiful. There are already enough of the usual descriptions of cities, beaches and cultures. In many cases, I was on the road for work and a longer period of time in the said places and therefore “right in the middle of it”.

You have circled the earth several times on your travels and have woken up more than once without knowing where you are. Would you describe yourself as restless?

Not as restless, but rather as “hungry for life for a change of location”. Since I didn’t grow up in an international metropolis, I always had the feeling that I was missing out. Travelling and discovering foreign cultures have been my decisive driving force since childhood.

And especially in increasingly restrictive times of “supervised thinking” of apps, mainstream monotony and increasing state regulation, I consciously live by the motto: “Discover the possibilities and never trade freedom for convenience”. It’s better to be in the middle of it than just to be there. In the search for a fulfilled life, you meet remarkable people and many an adventure in the seemingly random way. Of course, it is helpful if you speak several languages.

You studied business administration, not journalism or tourism. Are you a classic globetrotter?

With all the sense of duty, thirst for knowledge and zest for action, fun in life and trying things out should never be neglected. Traveling can be hard work and provide points of friction, which is also reflected in the book. Nevertheless, I always give a lot of space to travel or the intensive experience of foreign cultures, landscapes and climate zones. In my opinion, it is not enough to know that it is 40 degrees at the equator with high humidity and Eisblizzards take the air out of your breath. I would like to feel this phenomenon, because only then can you (should) have a say. People who live in extremely hot countries or regions and take a midday siesta are not chronically lazy.

At these temperatures – not only since climate change – it is simply not physically possible to work through them permanently and is harmful to health. The same applies to the experience of tastes and smells, by the way. There are, for example, in Mumbay neighborhoods where one has to control oneself (at least as a European) in order not to vomit. (she pauses and looks for a comparison)… there it smells like you have fermented shark, an Icelandic specialty, on your plate. However, the “little fish” tastes delicious – with the nose closed. And so on.

Ms. Fritz, the amusingly told stories not only describe very individual events and give unusual leisure tips, they also allow insights into the rapidly changing travel culture and consumer society of our time over time.

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That’s exactly how it is. By the time you arrive at a place today, you are often already exhausted by regimentation or leave it altogether. I remember, for example, cruises well, where you could spontaneously go from one ship to another as a guest in the harbor upon presentation of an ID, look around there and have a drink until you cast off. I was even able to visit the cockpit in the plane. But since “NineEleven” all this is history and the demand alone creates mistrust and seems suspicious. I praise the Scandinavian free spirits for that.

Are the Finns crazy? By no means. Not only on the occasion of the winter festival, Lohja in southern Finland is going on in the truest sense of the word, but also on many other occasions. All it takes is four to six helpers, persistent electric saws and milling machines and a kind of giant compass and a circular sawn disc floating on the ice is created. The highlight: If powerful electric motors are attached to one or two places on the edge of the ice disc, the sawn-out ice disc begins to rotate cheerfully. Depending on the diameter, the Finn loves not only to turn in circles on the ice carousel, but also to place all kinds of leisure equipment on it. Whether it’s a fire bowl, barbecue, swing or a whole sauna house, everything is welcome. Clear the ring!

But I don’t want to reveal more about the stories and activity tips in the book.

The reading can be ordered in bookstores, or via the usual online platforms such as AMAZON, HUGENDUBEL , Lovelybooks, Weltbild etc. Either under the said title or the ISBN number: 978-3-347-28040-3 (paperback). Of course, an e-book version (978-3-347-28042-7) is also available.

Author: Petra Fritz
Petra Fritz

For the very curious, here is a look at the table of contents:

  • Foreword
  • Honeymoon around the world, but please before the wedding
  • A day more or less?
  • Flying in a different way
  • Behind the Iron Curtain
  • Three phones
  • Soviet Union in November
  • Lambada on skis
  • On the Indian Subcontinent
  • Inshallah
  • Nepal from below
  • All waltzes, live from the Vienna Opera Ball
  • Clothes make the man, Carnival in Venice
  • Viva Mexico
  • Field service in Polanco
  • Expensive visit to the hairdresser
  • Dumber than the police allow
  • Balloon Ride with Jesus
  • Day of German Unity
  • Double earthquake
  • Cultural assets gone astray
  • The journey is the destination, by cargo ship to Antwerp
  • On the rooftops that mean the world, Munich/ Stockholm/ Paris
  • Discover the possibilities
  • Tank, snow groomer or ground squirrel?
  • Boßeln for all it’s worth, I’ll give myself the bullet
  • The ancient Romans did a great job
  • Radiantly beautiful despite apocalyptic mood
  • Winter in Scandinavia
  • Snow magic in Sweden and Finland
  • Outdoor fun in the winter wilderness
  • Ice Hotel & Co
  • On the road with an icebreaker
  • Northern Lights Dreams
  • Alpine summer, among cows and sheep
  • Small border intermezzo
  • Who sleeps over the wolf – Dormir avec les loupes
  • African Moments
  • Three Hundred Camels
  • On blue rails
  • Conclusion
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So writing a book is very easy?

Well, if you hire a ghostwriter, that may be the case. But if you carry out each step yourself, working out the texts is only half of the exercise. I.e., writing down the scenes and compiling tips is one thing, then with the help of a publisher to bring the “work” into the right design form, creating the cover, choosing the image material and typifying the genre, etc., is another extensive “construction site” that requires a lot of time and consideration. Not to forget the advance costs, if you are not already known as a renowned author.

From the author’s point of view, it feels like a book is never finished, because again and again you doubt whether all passages are maturely formulated or whether you have forgotten crucial impressions and details for the reader to relive. But at some point the test print is ordered and everything takes its course after final optical adjustments in the typesetting.

Over the months, you become so blind to writing and proofreading that you start to go round in circles without a top view from third parties. I am therefore grateful to my experienced neighbors and my contact person at the publishing house for any advice and prompt support. Once is always the first time, but that’s exactly what makes it so appealing.

Will there be a volume II or another book in the foreseeable future?

yes, a new concept is already in the drawer. Then, however, it is supposed to be a kind of sports thriller; more is still written in the stars.

Thank you very much, Ms. Fritz, for these brief insights.

 

Some readings are planned, but cannot yet be specifically dated due to corona. Or just let yourself be surprised while reading the 140 pages and simply follow the author directly on her virtual journey around the world.