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A Recap of 2020: The Year When Everything Changed

Ella McKendrick in Maldives water villa

I’ve drafted a couple of recap posts now but none of them felt quite right to post. There’s a lot I could say about the year that has just passed.

But I want to keep this blog travel-focused and don’t quite feel ready to show a more personal side to it.

So let’s delve into 2020.

Tenerife (January – February)

In 2020 I jumped on a plane at the soonest opportunity, determined to make 2020 my best year of travel yet (how ironic). Each year I tend to only get a couple of trips abroad per year due to the fact that I have a young and demanding business to nurture. However, I wanted to focus more on happiness now than always looking to the future. After all the future doesn’t really exist – all we have is right now.

Tenerife was the destination of choice, as this trip would be about winding down and relaxing, terms that I don’t really know the meaning of. Tenerife is close. It’s easy. I know Tenerife so there could be no surprises.

2020 quickly showed me what it was all about; there was no hesitation to give me a taster of what would be a very difficult year.

I got sick, spent days resting up, tried to fly home but ultimately was refused entry to the plane due to my illness. I then became stranded with no idea of when I would return home.

I vlogged the whole ordeal. You can watch my vlogs from this trip to Tenerife here.

Anaga Rural Park, Tenerife
Tenerife’s beautiful northern coastline

Getting the Blog Back on Track! (March – June)

A lull in my activities prompted me to catch up on all the blog posts I had been putting off writing. In no time at all I had written all about my adventures in The Gambia, my island hop to Barbados and Dominica, and some real throw-back adventures such as the time I trod on a drug syringe in Mallorca and the time a woman died on my flight.

I was halfway through writing about my Tenerife trip which I took earlier in the year when my motivation suddenly fell flat on its face. The blog was once again left to collect dust.

Drone view of Hodges Beach, Calibishie, Dominica
Dominica’s tropical coastline

Scotland (July)

During the last week in July I had a welcome break from being stuck in my house all day every day. Lockdown may have ended but I still didn’t want to mingle with the rest of the world and so continued to avoid restaurants, bars and other public areas. I therefore craved some form of normality.

I hired a Tesla Model S and drove nearly 300 miles to a small village called Kenmore which is situated at the edge of Loch Tay in the Scottish Highlands.

Despite some initial anxieties about taking an electric car so far away from civilisation, the trip ended up being exactly what I needed. I went on countless hikes around waterfalls, up hills, alongside rivers and around castles.

You can watch my two vlogs from this trip here.

A view of Kenmore village in Scotland from the Blackrock Viewpoint

I launched a Patreon (October)

Deciding whether or not to create a Patreon was a big decision for me which I had been toying with for the good part of the year. Posting my travel stories on my blog just didn’t feel quite right.

Having a barrier to view posts on my Patreon has enabled me to write more in-depth, personal stories with a more raw element to them. There’s no way I’d be able to share my feelings and thoughts to the big, wide internet where anybody can read them.

But then where does that leave my blog? I don’t want it to die a death and would love to keep posting regular content. But does that mean I need to turn to guides? I hate writing guides.

I’m still not 100% sure what the best direction is for me with sharing my travel stories. This is something I’m going to be thinking a lot about for the start of 2021.

The Birks of Aberfeldy, Scotland
The waterfall on the Birks of Aberfeldy trail in Scotland

Maldives (December)

As summer started to end, the UK had a bout of normality. It felt like everyone I knew left the country for some break or another. I was still cautious, overthinking any trip that began to come to my mind. But staying put in the UK whilst everyone else got a welcome break, my mental health took a terrible toll.

I knew there was only one remedy for it and that was a trip abroad. I researched extensively which countries were still accessible from UK. Maldives seemed to tick all the boxes. It was part of the travel corridor with UK, meaning I didn’t need to quarantine upon arrival back in the UK. It also meant I could get travel insurance for the journey. To enter Maldives all I needed was a negative PCR test and just wouldn’t be able to leave my resort island.

With 60% off being offered at my favourite resort, I decided this was the world’s way of telling me to go and so I did.

Thank goodness I did.

It was everything I needed and more.

I have started uploading my vlogs from the Maldives to my Youtube channel here. I am so pleased with how well they are being received. One of the vlogs has gained 10k views in just 1 month which is unheard of for me!

Beautiful beach on Baros island, Maldives

And that’s a wrap!

That was my 2020 in a nutshell. I was pleased that despite COVID-19’s best efforts, I still managed to visit 1 new country this year – Maldives. I’ll write a few interesting statistics from the year below:

Countries Visited: 4 (England, Tenerife, Scotland, Maldives)

New Countries Visited: 1 (Maldives)

Blog Posts Written: 27

Youtube Videos Uploaded: 12

Youtube Subscribers Gained: 1.7k

Plans for 2021?

Due to the current state of the world, it is impossible to plan the future. I am really hoping to travel more this year and have a few dream destinations in mind. But we will just have to see.

In terms of the blog, I am working on giving it a new lease of life! I’ve done some tweaks to the theme and revamped the home page and destinations page. I have a few more ideas in mind for adjustments to the website so keep an eye out!

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