Escapism: Brandenburg

© Collage Julia Zierer

It disguised itself as the perfect plan. Plagued with a fever and with hot-cold trembling fingers (also known as “in desperate need of a vacation”) I booked my flight to Paris. The city – and here I would like to avail myself to a naive-clichéd quote from the wonderful Ms. Audrey Hepburn – is simply always a good idea. From there I would have gone in the direction of the coast – the French Riviera, Biarritz, Brittany – whatever. I didn’t have a solid plan, only an image in my head: cut off from the Berlin bubble (and our number one love-to-hate-it medium: the internet) with a pistachio soft ice cream unpretentiously in hand (l’irony!) walking on the beach as in Jacquemus’ short campaign film “La grande motte.”

Fast-forward four weeks. Reality check. It turns out I had planned my vacation during the worst possible week. Eight days without a computer would have been utterly impossible. Simply sitting in front of the screen waiting for more relaxed times (l’illusion) was just as unfeasible. Without further ado, and because I was conveniently sitting in front of the screen anyways, I decided to find a solution. The search engine allowed for a change in research to the topic of Escapism (keywords: modern city escape).

Barely an hour later (Merci, l’google), I found a house in Brandenburg that seemed too perfect to be real. Private lake access, an endless and lush garden, a name that I had to read at least ten times (before I arrived), everything organic (of course!) and: no internet. I, no master of decision making, cancelled my trip to Paris (and Jacquemus) without blinking, grabbed a bikini, over-sized dad shirts, three books and a person very dear to me, bought a ticket for 8,40 Euros and within two hours we were there.

This should have been an article about the village and the location I booked – a concrete weekend escape recommendation, a nicely formulated list of pros and cons. But that wouldn’t do justice to my experience. In the end green grass, cows, clean lakes and fresh air exists in more places than just Brandenburg. But that’s not the issue at all. And that’s a pretty good thing too.

This admittedly very short summer vacation was the best idea I’ve had for a long while. In a time like ours, vacation planning, where control is of the utmost priority, can mean just as much stress as taking a holiday during the worst possible week. And this is where the problem and the solution begins: switch your location service off, forget the Yelp reviews for the it’s-so-bad-it’s-good-again village café and leave the Headspace app there where it belongs: in your everyday life.

I boarded the train, ate a monstrously big sundae with whipped cream, grilled a sausage of pork made in the neighboring village, sat on the dewy grass in the morning, didn’t read any of my three books to the end at all and most importantly didn’t try to not think about anything. Cold, heat, sweat, thoughts, feelings, nettles, wasps. Everything that a life in front of the screen seldom offers.

In reference to the launch of this magazine the first episode of our “Escapism” series is aptly dedicated to the thing itself. The idea and necessity of knowing that not having a plan can be the best idea. And three days in the village right next door has the possibility of being the best (summer) vacation. Even if you’re not exactly passing through as the lead actress in a fashion film

Zsuzsanna Toth

Born in Budapest and raised in Vienna writer and producer Zsuzsanna Toth settled down in Berlin in 2009. Since her teenage years she has been a collector of magazines and is constantly busy inhaling new publications - both print and digital. After her fashion studies she worked as the editorial and managing director of I Love You Magazine and Freunde von Freunden. Today she focuses her freelance work on the intersection of editorial consulting and content production.