2020 was not what I or everyone else expected. But when I look back at the past 12 months it wasn’t such a bad year after all.
Sure, the big part of my everyday life was put on hold and I miss simple things like going out for a coffee or lunch with friends but I also started to appreciate other simple things, like slowing down and having more time for myself.
When it comes to traveling it was different than I planned but I can’t complain about it either.
But most of all, I and my favorite people are all fine.
Here is a small recap of 2020 – the craziest year we’ve all experienced.
Table of contents
I welcomed the New Year in one of my favorite places – Armenia. I arrived early in the morning and was about to spend a few days in Yerevan before heading to another of my favorite cities – Tbilisi, Georgia.
These are two of the cities I always love returning to as they don’t really feel like tourist destinations for me anymore. I don’t have to do anything there, I don’t need to chase all the tourist attractions. Instead, I can just wander around, sit down for a coffee, and visit some random areas. And that’s exactly what I did in both Yerevan and Tbilisi.
After the Caucasus, still in January, I went for a long weekend to catch some sun. I always go for such trips to warmer places and this past January was no different. My sunny destination for 2020 was Tel Aviv, Israel. I’ve been there before a few years ago (also in January) but didn’t explore Tel Aviv as much as I wanted to so it was so good to be back and to see this great city properly.
February was the time for city breaks – I went on weekend trips to Lviv (Ukraine), Vilnius (Lithuania), and Kosice (Slovakia). Again, these are all cities I’ve been to before many times and know fairly so I mostly focused on checking new cafes in all of them. But even if these were not new places I enjoyed being back in all of them so much.
At the beginning of March, I went for my last international trip – to North Macedonia and Kosovo. Again it was nothing new for me but the return to places I know and like. And yet again Skopje and Pristina didn’t disappoint!
I returned from Skopje on Monday, March 9th, on Thursday I was still wondering if I should go to Serbia in the following week, and on Friday the Polish borders were closed and all international flights were canceled. I rebooked my flights to Belgrade for October and now I just laugh at myself for being too optimistic.
I managed to rebook many of the flights for 2021 but I had to cancel some amazing trips, like Russia (Kaliningrad), Lebanon, or Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan). While I still would love to go to these places I honestly have no idea when this might happen.
Traveling around Poland
After weeks of lockdown and playing it safe I’ve decided it’s time to travel a bit around Poland. As it quickly turned out this was the highlight of my year.
I traveled around Poland a lot when I was a kid but over a years I forgot many details from the visited places and those changed so much too. I’ve been hoping to see more of Poland in the past few years but I was always postponing it for later in favor of places abroad. This year I finally had no excuses.
In three months I’ve visited so many amazing places in different corners of Poland, some of them I saw for the first time while others were well-deserved returns. I was away almost every week and wanted to continue traveling also in autumn but rapidly raising covid numbers in Poland interfered with my plans.
Each of the places I visited amazed and impressed me and I’ve enjoyed them all so much more than I expected.
I’ve been to Lublin, Świdnica, Jawor, Jaworzyna Śląska, Wałbrzych, Szczawno-Zdrój, Zamość, Malbork, Elbląg, Frombork, Orneta, Lidzbark Warmiński, Olsztyn, Tykocin, Białystok, Sandomierz, Jarosław, Przemyśl, Krasiczyn, Łańcut, Rzeszów, Kazimierz Dolny, Gdańsk, Hel, Gdynia, Sopot, Bydgoszcz, Chełmno, Grudziądz, Toruń, Jelenia Góra, Karkonosze Mountains, Szklarska Poręba, Chełmsko Śląskie, Krzeszów, Kamienna Góra, Świeradów Zdrój, Gryfów Śląski, Kudowa Zdrój and Cieszyn.
I even technically been twice to the Czech Republic as I crossed the border in Karkonosze Mountains and in Cieszyn but this was too brief to even count.
For the first time ever I spent my mandatory two weeks off from work in Poland and I didn’t regret it for a single moment.
Besides traveling life has been really slow this year but it’s actually not a bad thing. I worked (sometimes from the office, sometimes from home), I spent time with friends when it was possible, I protested against the changes in the abortion law in Poland (I can’t believe we have to fight for our rights in the 21st century…) – just your typical everyday life.
This year I also read a lot. I really wish I kept the list of all the books read as now I can only guess it was between 30 and 50 but I really would love to know the exact number. I won’t make this mistake again and with the first finished book in 2021 I will keep the list of all the books I read!
It was one of the best years when it comes to reading. And some of the books really inspired me to travel to certain places in Poland, like Lower Silesia or Warmia (which also happened to be among my favorite places I visited in Poland this year).
Now we are stuck at home again. At least I’m going to the office every second week so I can talk to people in real life. But even if I appreciate those calm days at home I realized how much of a people person I am and I really miss those regular interactions with friends.
The last time I saw friends outside of work was 2 months ago and it doesn’t look like it’s going to change anytime soon. But that’s my only complaint at the moment, I try to deal with the whole lockdown pandemic situation with dignity as the only way we can change the situation for the better is to actually stay at home and avoid all the unnecessary activities and meetings.
Even if the pandemic basically killed the traffic on the blog I still love this little website of mine and sharing all the great places with you. Instead of being upset with the loss of visitors and income, I’m glad I finally have more time to catch up on writing.
And so this year I published 66 new articles on the blog – I don’t think I wrote so many new articles any other year. These were mostly guides to some amazing places all over the world as I believe we will be able to travel again eventually. And in the meantime, we can plan and daydream about all the amazing places that wait for us out there.
Plans for 2021
One of the most important lessons we all have from this past year is that making plans is pretty much worthless these days. But I do have some hopes for the upcoming months.
I hope to continue discovering Poland since I enjoyed it so much this year. At the moment returning to Lower Silesia seems more exciting than going abroad (but I do admit I would love to go somewhere far as well, or even as close as Brest or Kaunas). I have the whole list of places I want to see in Poland – this itself should take me a while.
I also have many flights rebooked for 2021. I’m not thinking about those trips yet since all the restrictions change so quickly and often at the very last moment. But if things go according to the plan I will be traveling to Georgia (twice), the Balkans (three times), Ukraine, and Baltic countries. But since nothing is certain I’m not making any plans for international travels yet.
I also hope to continue with the slow life when I have time for books, Netflix, and cooking. These things brought me real peace of mind in these crazy times and I can’t lose them now. At the same time, I hope to have more chances to see my friends, eat out or sit in a cafe. I miss those things terribly.
I will try to continue working hard on the blog since I really enjoy that. And I still have so many articles I want to write and places to tell you about!
But most of all I hope that I, my family, friends, and everyone I know will stay safe and healthy until we get the vaccine. And that’s what I wish to all of you too!
Thank you for being here with me this difficult and challenging year. Here is to a better 2021!
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