2020 – My year in review

My 2020 year in review

To borrow the words of Queen Elizabeth II, 2020 was an annus horribilis for the world. The kind of year we don't ever want to see again.

The year began innocently enough. After a busy year in 2019, we spent the first few days of January 2020 “recovering” from the high of our December trip to Spain, Portugal and the United Arab Emirates, before school began. (It's scary to think that not long thereafter, Spain became one of the worse affected countries in the world.)

We managed to break out of an escape room one weekend. For the rest of January and February, we were caught up with work and schooling.

In March, we started hearing increasingly about Covid-19, but we didn't believe that it was a serious threat in South Africa yet, so we flew to Cape Town. We spent a few days with family there, and were about to embark on a road trip where we would be staying at some amazing hotels and lodges in the Western Cape that had been on my local bucket list for a long time. Then the President dropped a bombshell on us by announcing the national lockdown and our plans went up in smoke. We had to rush back to Johannesburg instead.

Airbnb

The garden of our Airbnb on the way back from Cape Town

We went through a stage where we experienced Covid-19 symptoms. I suspect that we got it from the airport when we flew to Cape Town. We didn’t go for tests but quarantined ourselves and self-medicated with herbal remedies instead - and we recovered. Everyone was not so fortunate.  We lost an uncle to the disease, as well as several other people we knew. My heart goes out to those who lost loved ones, jobs, and businesses too.

Confined to our homes, we went out only for groceries.

I found that the best strategy was to take it one day at a time, and remind myself that this too would pass.

With everyone at home, all day, we cooked and ate a lot – especially when the restaurants were closed. Like everyone else, we made a lot of banana bread and Dalgona coffee – and experimented with other foods too.

I found myself so busy with household chores that I didn't get to binge-watch as much Netflix shows as others seem to have had.

Travel was restricted to the armchair type and I interviewed other travellers around the world about their lockdown experiences.

Once we were finally allowed to travel within our province again, we started exploring more of Gauteng, especially Johannesburg and Pretoria, visiting places we’d overlooked before in favour of other provinces. We began hiking more frequently and discovered that we rather enjoyed it.

best hikes in Johannesburg

Klipriviersberg Nature Reserve

In August, interprovincial travel finally opened up and I grasped the opportunity to do some travel before the year ended.

The bush was what I had missed the most and we headed off to Limpopo to enjoy two days of bush bliss at Safari Plains and another two days at Zebras Crossing Very Private Game Lodge, a hidden gem.

When we returned home, we found that our house had been burgled and robbed. But I refused to let this get to me and keep me confined.

A few weeks later, we spent a weekend exploring Hartbeespoort, where we stayed at Three Oaks and an Aloe Boutique Hotel.

Then we spent two nights relaxing at Zebra Country Lodge, before exams began. I was just glad that the kids wouldn’t have to repeat the school year.

Once exams were over, we visited two of Johannesburg’s newest hotels, the uber-luxurious Houghton Hotel and Black Brick, a vertical village cum apart-hotel in Sandton.

And then, just like that, we were placed in Level 3 lockdown again, with the second wave of Covid-19 hitting the country hard.

But 2020 wasn’t all bad…

  • Nature recovered somewhat from man.
  • We realised the importance of good health and loved ones around us. Without my immediate family, this year would have been much harder.
  • Even though this was the first year since 2008 that we we didn’t get to travel internationally, we got to explore our own backyard more thoroughly.
  • I did a Cape Town Specialist course to complement my South Africa Specialist course.
  • Thanks to the generous sponsor, I gave away a luxury safari getaway at Tau Game Lodge to one lucky subscriber.
  • My food account grew to 75 000 social media followers and this led to new business opportunities.
  • The following on my travel account grew substantially too. Follow me on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter - if you're not already.
  • Even though I missed travel, lockdown gave me an excuse to go slow for a change and I was secretly happy about the lack of pressure to do anything.

What does 2021 hold for us? I wish I knew. Like everyone else, I can’t wait to see the end of this pandemic. In the meantime, please protect yourself and others by taking precautions.

Avoid crowded places, practice social distancing and wear your mask. Stay safe.

Happy New Year!

What was your 2020 year like?

See my 2019, 2018, and 2017 review posts, to see how different they were from 2020.

2020 year in review - annus horribilis

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