Desley Jane from Musings of a Frequent Flying Scientist asked us where we would go to if money was not a concern. The question immediately reminded me of a book I read a few months ago in which German journalist and winner of 500.000 € in the German edition of ‘Who wants to be a millionaire?’ Meike Winnemuth reports from her trip around the world.
Rather than embarking on a classic, sightseeing-packed backpacking adventure, she chose twelve different cities and spent a month in each of them (nearly) as if she was living there. Her destinations were Sydney, Buenos Aires, Mumbai, Shanghai, Honolulu, San Francisco, London, Copenhagen, Barcelona, Tel Aviv, Addis Abeba and Havanna. The book (unfortunately only available in German) gives unique and very personal insights into these cities and they way she interacted with them, enjoying some more (Sydney, Buenos Aires) and some less (Mumbai, Barcelona). And reading it, I could not resist to make my own list of twelve places I would like to spend a month at if I could.
January: Sydney, Australia
I have never been to Australia, and Meike Winnemuth’s description of the city tempts me to visit just as much as Desley Jane’s pictures do.
February: Gaborone, Botswana
The only country in Africa I have seen so far is Malawi, so I would surely want to add a bit more of that continent to my dream itinerary. And ever since we saw a documentary about Botswana on the French-German culture channel Arte, that country has become one of my dream-destinations-if-we-could-afford-it. (The documentary said it was a very expensive travel destination.)
March: Tel Aviv, Israel
Tel Aviv is a place I would like to visit just because I have no idea what it would feel like to be there. It is in the book too but I think that actually being there would be an entire different story than reading a report.
April: Istanbul, Turkey
For my first European destination, I would choose Istanbul. I imagine that it is a city with a lot to discover, European yet different from the rest.
May: St. Petersburg, Russia
I do not understand Russia, and that is precisely why I want to visit.
June: Hanoi, Vietnam
This is the first place on my list that we have been to before. The vividness and drive of this city, the contrast between old and new and the emerging market economy make me wish to spend more time there. I might be convinced to choose another growing and changing South-East Asian city (Mr. Colors always prefers to see a new place over revisiting somewhere we have been to before!). But Hanoi is far up on top of the list and following the Hanoi-based photography blog Without an H re-enforces that position again and again. Vietnamese food might play a role too.
July: Seoul, South Korea
Before changing her plans and going to Shanghai instead, Meike Winnemuth had dreamed of spending a month in Tokyo. I share that curiosity for spending time in a modern Asian society that adopts technology faster than we do in Europe. But since we have been to Tokyo before, I would choose Seoul as my destination.
August: on a boat or train
If I could, I would dedicate one month to slow travel somewhere where the landscape is great and the weather in August bearable.
September: New York, USA
Having already visited New York in blistering summer heat and ice cold winter, I would like to return to this city at a more pleasant time of the year.
October: some island in the Caribbean
Sunshine, white sand, turquoise water. Do I need to say more?
November: Valparaiso, Chile
Since rules are made for breaking, I would only pretend to live in the city for a few days, and head off to explore the South of Chile for the rest of the time.
December: Reykjavik, Iceland
A month in the dark with candle lights and Christmas decorations and a chance to see the Northern lights would make a quiet ending for this imaginary year.
What about you? Which places would you choose if you were able to go on a trip like this?