My inspiration

I don’t remember when I had the idea for this trip. It kind of evolved slowly. I knew for a long time I wanted do something crazy.

I had already taken three months off and spent a summer in San Francisco, one of the best things I’ve ever done in my life.

Also, after 12 years of living in Belgium, I was ready for a change of scenery.

Brussels can be a lovely city with its bars and beers… and it can be depressingly grey and rainy.

So a break was in order.

I thought I might take time off to drive from coast to coast in the US in three months… or study photography… or astronomy… whatever… You get the picture.

I started saving some money in 2010, so that within a few years I could actually do whatever I decided on.

Then, inspiration struck.

I read about this German journalist, who had won half a million Euro in Who wants to be a millionaire…? and went on a trip around the world.

I had read about Meike Winnemuth earlier, she had some funny projects like wearing the same blue dress for a year, or cleaning out her life by donating or throwing out one thing every day.

She wrote about her trip in my favorite German newspaper’s weekly magazine, the SZ Magazin and in her blog, with the lovely title ‘Vor mir die Welt‘ (‘the world before me’).

I was hooked. Seriously. If it wasn’t updated daily I went cold turkey.

Her style: living in a different city every month and getting to know the place.

That’s the way I like to travel, too.

I’ve done a lot of short city trips, but often regretted that I only scratched on the surface, when I had to leave.

So on this trip I wanted to take much more time.

Around the same time, this clip went viral.

I am still watching it years later. It just sums it up. The idea stuck in my head.

That was what I wanted to do.

I contacted other travellers, read other blogs, calculated how much I’d need, and by early 2012 I knew:

I’ll do it.

PS: Meike Winnemuth went on to write about her year on the road.

And it turned out to be a national best seller, selling more than 250.000 copies.

The funny thing is: she realized, she had never actually needed the money she won, she made enough with her job as a journalist while travelling.

Winning the lottery was just the kick in the butt to get things rolling.

Life. Isn’t it amazing.

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