by Dr. Stefanie Claudia Müller
The situation right now in Germany with the pandemic lockdown is getting to its limits. The launch of an satire art project by a dozen of actors has raised a lot of polemic. We talk to the author of a book that claims to show how to be successful, at ease and active even in Covid-19 times. Roland Winterstein lives parttime in Mallorca and has published “Vollgas, Leben!”. A good slogan in a hard time.
Is running away from Germany trendy at the moment?
The dream of being able to lead an apparently more economically or privately more fulfilling life in the country of one’s choice is in fact more en vogue than ever. I think in the last few years a change in “getting things off” has spread far into the middle of our society. A “life abroad”, no matter how long it may ultimately go well, is almost a “must have”. However, in my opinion, the routes are shifting to new places of longing. In the past, the majority went to Spain, Greece, Italy, the USA, etc. Nowadays Bali, Dubai or the Caribbean are “hot spots” to turn your back on Germany.
Why we do need to leave?
We all know the clichés “of the good weather in the south” or “of the larger country with more possibilities and different mentalities” as reasons for “pissing off”. In 2021 the motivations are deeper rooted. Or should I say “uprooted”? We all constantly expect more from life, prefer the optimum and trust ourselves to be much more wavering and wavering in everyday life. The backdrops of individual guaranteed happiness have just become very fragile in Germany. And the foreign then suddenly leans against you promisingly and whispers how great it could be thousands of kilometers away. Whether the “could” becomes a “can” is on a completely different map.
How did you do it?
I wouldn’t call myself a dropout or an emigrant. Because the center of my life is still in Germany. In terms of family and work, it just happened with me and the south. Some were drawn to Rimini or Greece in the seventies – for us it was the rigorously regular vacation in Spain. This then resulted in a private shelter and suddenly it is somehow your second home, which you find exciting at the beginning, then it bores you and much later you are reconciled again.
What do you recommend others that plan to leave?
Unless you were born with the golden spoon and can roam around this beautiful planet without any major worries, I recommend my “big five” when switching countries: understanding, courage, enthusiasm, energy and, most importantly, planning security! If you stumble headlessly somewhere, you will not enjoy the sunset or other things in the distance very much.
Why did you choose Spain?
My partner lived in Valencia for a very long time. As explained earlier, I was treated as a Toddler, then regularly dragged to the Balearic Islands as a teenager by a family who loved to travel – at some point a circle came full circle. However, I think Spain chose us and not we Spain.
After our offspring arrived, we faced the same decision as our parents once did. Which country do we want to bring closer to our children? We don’t like going everywhere – we wanted to focus on a foreign region. So we had a lot of conversations and made few decisions. Then I was shooting with a television crew for several weeks on the island due to work and suddenly my old love flared up to the full. I wanted to bring my pupils closer to the places and experiences of my childhood. My partner liked the island, didn’t think it was a crazy idea and so we chose the northeast of Mallorca as our “place”, which has been with us to this day.
How did you experience the pandemic on the island?
Not much different from anyone on the island. From an insane atmosphere of optimism to total dejection, everything was there. I would like to clarify it with a personal example. As a long-time weekly columnist for the “Mallorca Zeitung”, I always enjoyed reading a very thick newspaper on Thursdays. When the pandemic broke out, I was shocked to hold a very, really, very thin paper in my hands. Over 80% of the ads were broken. And as a blueprint for other areas, this symbolizes the really dramatic situation here. Which, by the way, continues to this day. And many have a grumble about whether it can ever be the same as it was before the pandemic.