Looking back on 2020

A different kind of 2020 recap

Oh, hello there! Fancy seeing you here! Yes, this is a new post, I’m just as surprised as you. I’m more surprised that I remembered my password, but never mind that, how have you been? Hopefully staying healthy and safe, dreaming about when we’ll be able to travel normally. Well, as normal as possible in a post coronavirus world. Since I’m using this blog to remember travel moments, I decided I should look back on 2020, with its highs and (many, many) lows.

The first day of the year found me on the pebble beach of Nice, France, enjoying the sun and wondering what the year will bring, excited by all the plans I had made for the year. Unsurprisingly, January was the month with the most trips. It’s also a month I usually forget about when thinking of 2020, it feels like such a long time ago, when things used to be normal (and to be completely honest, this is the last paragraph I wrote in this post). Before coming home from France we stopped for a day in Bergamo, which is one of my favorite Italian cities.

Pompeii, Italy, January 2020
Rome, Italy, January 2020

Also in January I returned to Italy to revisit Pompeii and spend some time in Rome on a lovely weekend of eating pasta and wandering on historic alleys. The weekend after was spent in London, showing my family some of my favorite places in the city. At that time I had tickets to four different plays in London, so I knew I would come back soon.

And then it all went to shit. 💩

When we were planning our trip to Thailand in early January, we found out about a strange new virus in China and we kept following the news daily for any updates or any new cases that appeared in Thailand or Malaysia. Some of us were more worried than others, but nevertheless we kept an eye on any developments, in case they announced borders would be closing or anything like that. Looking back, it’s quite comical because there were less than 100 cases in both Malaysia and Thailand combined while we were there. 😆

Once there, we were surprised to see how relaxed everyone was and also how places once full of tourists were now quite empty. So we felt safe and thought we would come home and that would be the last time we heard about the new coronavirus. The news about rising cases in Italy broke and soon after we came home we faced the first two month lockdown.

From March onwards it was more or less non stop worrying, obsessively disinfecting and washing hands, following news, panic attacks, getting more and more depressed with every canceled plan that I was looking forward to, saying “surely by <month> things will be better”. I wrote cancelled so many times that now it’s the first word my phone predicts when I write a parenthesis. So you can see why at times I forgot I even have a travel blog.

I don’t know when my mindset started to change and I got out of the lockdown funk. I started baking more and more, which always cheers me up (realized I love making pies and tarts), watched more tv shows and movies than usual, scrolled endlessly on Tik Tok, started home workouts, and most importantly stopped thinking “today I was supposed to be in <city>”.

Nessebar, Bulgaria, July 2020
Pretty Nessebar, Bulgaria
Nessebar, Bulgaria, July 2020
Enisala Fortress, Romania, August 2020
Enisala Fortress in Romania
Danube Delta, August 2020
Danube Delta sunset

Most travel plans I tried making in this current coronavirus world fell short, for instance I had a long weekend in Prague planned and they announced mandatory testing a few days before we were supposed to leave. The plans that did materialize, a few days on the coast of Bulgaria and a long weekend in the Danube Delta, were met with anxiety because of people not following basic rules of social distancing and wearing masks. Far from the relaxing feeling a holiday should have.

Santorini, Greece, September 2020
Paros, Greece, September 2020
Mykonos, Greece, September 2020

2020 did bring something I’ve never done before though: PCR covid tests. Two of them. The last one was for a recent surgery, but the first one was in order to travel to Greece. It took six months to finally board a plane again, with half my luggage consisting of masks and disinfectant (and I’m not even exaggerating 😂). However, it worked, because I was able to relax and enjoy a few days without constantly thinking about the pandemic. The Cyclades weren’t as lively as they usually are, which was good for us, because it allowed us to breathe a sigh of relief, but bad for all the people earning a living from tourism.

So what’s next? For the first time in many years…I have no travel plans. Better yet, I have no idea when I’ll make travel plans for the future. Just recently I’ve realized I’ve gone a few months without looking up a single plane ticket – something I used to do almost daily. I think the days when I had at any given time at least two or three upcoming planned trips are gone. For now, I’m waiting for winter to pass, hopefully with a diminishing number of cases in the second wave. Most likely a vaccine will be mandatory in order to be allowed to enter certain countries and I’m actually looking forward getting that shot, but my pessimism is telling me that I’ll be lucky if it happens in the first half of 2021.

But what’s next on the blog, you may be asking. Just because I’m not traveling, it doesn’t mean that I don’t have hundreds of post ideas waiting in my drafts from previous trips. And it seems like I’m finally in the right state of mind to write about them. So stay tuned. 😉 What should I write about first?

Thailand, February 2020

And if you read up to here, wondering “why the hell did I read this post that doesn’t say anything?”, I’d like to say thank you for listening to me ramble, I promise my future posts will be more interesting. 😅