Fabian Sixtus Körner

Overall Rating: 1.3
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Author: Fabian Sixtus Körner
Title: Journeyman
Time: 2010-2012
Destination: Germany, China, Malaysia, India, Egypt, Ethiopia, Australia, USA, Cuba, Dominican Republic,
Length: ca. 2 years
Type: Work & Travel

The travelsplainer

The story: It is the turn of the first decade of the 21st century, and FSK is a young designer from Germany who wants to see the world. He hears of the German tradition of the “journeyman years”, where young men, after completing their apprenticeship in the crafts, set out to roam about the country and learn from other masters. A sort of medieval “work & travel” if you will, a tradition that is still alive in Germany today. FSK comes up with a plan to become a sort of self-styled “journeyman” himself. He sets out to travel the world and work as a designer wherever the journey takes him. He does this for two years, hence the title of his book “Journeyman”.

Fabian Sixtus Körner’s internships

The book is okay. Let me mention something that I particularly liked about it first: its design. The whole book looks very slick, and it comes with some nice (if partly overly processed) photographs shot by the author as well. Much appreciated.

Now about the story: it’s a quick and easy read, but you’re quickly going to recognize a pattern: most of the time when FSK moves to a new place, he already has some sort of contact person to talk to beforehand. He then arranges for a work opportunity (like an internship) and some form of accommodation. He stays there for a few months, then he is off to the next place. He does all this on a tight budget, which he bumps up with some online jobs he does on the side.

Of course FSK not only works and travels, but he also tells us his story. There are some cultural observations here and there. There is some romance and some heartbreak. We also get to hear quite a bit of what he has to say about the theoretical implications of travel and self-discovery. But there is a certain paleness to it all. Instead of diving deeper into his story, instead of allowing us to see more and know more and ultimately come to our own conclusions, FSK often takes a step back and starts explaining his motivations: why did choose to do what he did, why did he choose to not do what he didn’t do, etc. etc.

a starting point?

This book reminded me of Michael Wigge‘s account of his own world tour, which was short and bland. FSK’s writing was better than that of Wigge though, mainly because I think he put more effort into it. There was just a bit more substance in this book. Maybe there will be less explaining and more storytelling in the next one?

Overall, a 5/10.

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