This past week, my adventures included a solo trip to Berlin, Germany, where I rang in 2017 with a million other revelers at the Brandenburg Gate. It ranks as the largest New Year’s Eve celebration in Europe (third largest in the world), and was genuinely one of the most amazing experiences of my life.
Security was tight due to the recent terrorist attack in Berlin. Roads were blocked off a mile and a half from the gate in every direction. I walked for two solid hours, and went through four security checkpoints before finally making it into the celebration. But it was worth every purse check, every frisking and every blister on my tired feet.
The crowd counted down: zehn, neun, acht, sieben, sechs, funf, vier, drei, zwei, eins . . . Happy New Year!!
It seemed the entire world went crazy as the music pounded louder, and fireworks began shooting from the Spree River.
Afterwards, I walked two miles to Oscar Wilde's Irish Pub for a round of karaoke. Burning debris lay in the streets, fireworks continued going off all around, and glass bottles were piling high on the sidewalks.
I bought beer and sausage from a street vendor, and licked the last bits of grease and mustard from my fingers just before entering the pub. I danced with people of all nationalities, and then sang the one and only song I do for karaoke: Lenka's "The Show."
As I walked back to my apartment at 3 a.m., the party continued all around. 1980s music poured from another pub and I was drawn inside. Champagne flowed freely as men and women from around the world toasted the New Year.
Finally, as dawn was breaking, I arrived at my apartment feeling both exhausted and exhilarated. In my 47 years, I'd never dressed up and gone out for New Year's Eve. I walked a total of 12 miles that night, and I'd take every step again. Except maybe that one that took me a little too close to a random bottle rocket.
Happy New Year!!
Ginger Lumpkin is an author, motivational speaker, and mother of five. Follow her on Facebook, find her on the web:, or contact