what to do with the jackpot?

What Hamburg based journalist Meike Winnemuth did when she won 500,000 Euro at the German edition of “Who wants to be a Millionaire?” is just amazing.

Hanging out on a Hawaiian beach – certainly one of the best options to spend a jackpot on.

The question is probably as old as mankind itself – or at least as old as the first episode of “Who wants to be a Millionaire?”, which was broadcasted in September 1998 in England. And since then the population of over 100 countries cries “me, me, pick me!” when this question arises.

Meike Winnemuth probably did not cry loud enough, since on October 11, 2010 she became only a semi-millionaire. However, I’d trade her in a blink of an eye. Not only for winning a lot of money, nor simply for going on a trip for a year. What impresses me and makes me all dreamy is how she did it.

portrait of meike winnemuth; byemyselftravels
Meike Winnemuth – travelling light

Maybe it’s because Meike Winnemuth wasn’t a teenager anymore, or maybe it were her German genes that made her not just leaving with a half empty backpack to walk mother earth in a pair of Birkenstocks. She had a very clear concept, very organized luggage, a perfect plan. This way, in my eyes, she took her opportunity and made the best of it – she made her trip a lasting and sustained experience.

Winnemuth’s plan was to actually live in twelve cities in twelve different countries over twelve months. Living meant not staying at a hotel and hanging out on the beach. Living meant renting a flat from the 1st of each month till ultimo. Living meant filling the fridge with groceries bought at the local market. Living meant having an everyday’s life. Since Meike Winnemuth has been a journalist forever, and writing and publishing nowadays is possible from basically everywhere, she kept on writing and she kept her readers up to date on her travel blog (exclusively in German).

Where did she go and why did she pick precisely the places she picked? Well, she picked the places a bit willy-nilly – places she has been before, places she always wanted to see, one place because she couldn’t make it to the one she initially picked et cetera. So she went to Sydney, Buenos Aires, Mumbai, Shanghai (that’s the one she had to switch because she didn’t want to go to Tokyo after the nuclear accident in Fukushima), Honolulu (hence the first picture of this post), San Francisco, London, Copenhagen, Barcelona, Tel Aviv, Addis Abeba, and Havana. What by the way inspired me the most, is that, getting home to Hamburg from Latin America at the end of her adventure, instead of buying a plane ticket, she took a freight ship back to the old world like customary back in the old days. Being the only passenger during the passage that took 12 days, she celebrated Christmas and New Year only with the Polish crew. Awesome! I wanna do that, too!

So all the places listed and visited are fine and dandy – but what are you doing an entire month there? Well, besides a lot of pondering and reflecting about life in general and hers in particular, she did some writing and she learned many things like dancing and stitching and stand up paddling, to mention just a few.

How I know all this? Because besides blogging, at the end she wrote a wonderful book called something like “Hitting the Jackpot”. Every chapter – dedicated to one city – is written as a letter to families, friends, an ex-lover and – and that’s particularly sweet and charming – to a younger version of herself. At the end of every chapter, i. e. letter, she adds a list of ten things that she has learned at that respective place. Usually – and especially after every blogger out there feels the urge to put one together – I can’t stand these stupid, useless lists “the best 10 this” or “the hundred coolest that” – please, spare me! But hers make actually sense insofar as they cut each stay and all her entertaining stories down to an extract of clear facts.

At the end of her wonderfully written book, Meike Winnemuth explains how she prepared and organized her trip and gives some advices. Basically the way I do it in this very blog.

My favorite part is where she describes the stylish yet sensible collection of clean cut, matching, tailor made co-ords she packed. For her, reducing her luggage to only few pieces of garment wasn’t too hard: You should know that two years before her twelve-twelve-twelve-adventure, she did an self-experiment by wearing the same blue dress for a year – and blogged about it.

But that Great Project of this Great People should be the topic of another post.

This is the wonderful book where Meike Winnemuth describes in her entertaining way how she lived during twelve months at twelve cities in twelve different countries. Unfortunately it’s only available in German*; big mistake!

*This is an affiliate link. By purchasing items through my affiliate links at no extra cost to you, I will receive a small commission that helps to run this site.

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