2020: Not a Travel Year in Review

Each year for the past nine years, I’ve published a “Travel Year in Review” post with month-by-month recaps of that year’s top adventures. While some years were considerably more eventful than others, I’ve always found great joy in reminiscing about the past twelve months’ travel highlights. 2020, though? Not exactly a year most of us are eager to reflect on.

New Year's Eve 2020

Kicking off 2020 so optimistically. So naively. Notice the sign I’m holding says, “Best year ever” 😬

If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that 2020 was a weird, difficult year. And it clearly has not been a banner year for travel blogs like this one. Continuing my annual travel recap tradition feels a bit ridiculous when just crossing the street can seem like an adventure, but I’m also a completionist to a fault and couldn’t bring myself to skip this year altogether. We’re already a month into 2021, and I knew my conventional recap format wouldn’t cut it this year, but I still wanted to make a point of reflecting on the year gone by.

New Orleans

I did manage to squeeze one real trip in last year, last January, about six weeks before we went into lockdown. And oh what a trip to go out on!

The original draft of this post had hit 1500 words, and I wasn’t anywhere close to done soliloquizing about the positive things I did in a mostly disappointing 2020. From my New Orleans trip before the pandemic hit to starting a new job to finding sanity in lockdown via long walks, Arabic classes, and house plants, I did manage to find a lot of good this past year. My intention was to focus on the positive and promote the idea that we can all find some silver linings even in the worst of times. But the more I wrote, the more I wondered if it was coming across boastful and tone-deaf in a year when so many people have experienced unimaginable pain, grief, instability, and monotony.

Black Lives Matter protest

A local Black Lives Matter protest in June

So instead of rambling on about my year, I’ll just say: whoever you are, whether you’re a close friend, a family member, an online acquaintance, or a stranger I’ve never interacted with, I’m so impressed by you just for getting through 2020. I hope you’re able to reflect on the past year, as I did in my original long-winded version of this post, and remember the highlights that made you feel happy, productive, curious, or fortunate. And I hope you have plenty to look forward to in 2021 and whenever we’ve put the pandemic behind us.

Kind days ahead

Spotted on a neighborhood walk in March. Let’s hope so.

I’ve clearly slowed down my activity on Venga, Vale, Vamos this year, but I do plan to continue to write at my own pace. Though it’s difficult to know when we’ll be back to normalcy, writing about travel can be a fun escape, so I’m hoping to keep sharing some of my best tips and favorite memories in the months ahead. And hopefully, we’ll all be making new travel memories before we know it.

Lake Arrowhead, California

Getting (a little bit) out of town for a few days by staying at an Airbnb near Lake Arrowhead in November

In the meanwhile, I guess I’ll live vicariously through my past self! Feel free to join me and travel back in time through my previous annual recaps: 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015 | 2016 | 2017 | 2018 | 2019. Fingers crossed I’ll be back next year with a much more exciting “2021: The Travel Year in Review” post and you all will have lots to share with me in return.

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