The title of my last annual review was “a year of traveling”, and this surely doesn’t apply for 2020! The pandemic and related travel restrictions affected all of us, and of course the amount of traveling I could do this year was very limited.
I won’t go on about how terrible this year was for so many, how many disruptions, losses and pain it caused, as it would be an understatement. From start to finish, it was not a good year for the world. However, despite all of this, it was, for me, a year of many lessons.
About a year ago, in January, I went to Rotterdam for a weekend to see a friend. I didn’t write a blog post about it as it was mostly made of walking around, but I still have many nice pictures of that trip!
Then, right before COVID hit Europe, my mum came to see me in Brussels and we went on a day trip to the wonderful Bruges. It was absolutely lovely but the cold weather made me want to go back in the summer!
The pandemic hit in March and was followed by many restrictions and a first lockdown. This is obviously when the weather in Belgium started getting better so I spent my days outside in the garden with my flatmates. We then spent the whole spring having lunch and dinner outside, making homemade pizza, pasta and huge meals.
In the summer, even though my plans to go to Spain and Portugal were cancelled, I was lucky enough to be able to go back to Italy and to the South of France to see my family. I had a great time and spent there some very relaxing holidays.
In Brussels, in summer and autumn, despite the travel restrictions, I did enjoy some local adventures, like going to see the Atomium and exploring Brussels: when it was possible and bars/restaurants were still opened, I discovered many cute places and I overall really liked the city in the summer!
I also moved out of my shared house in September to move in to my own flat, and even though the November lockdown was not as great as the first one, I love my flat, and wouldn’t go back to sharing it!
The month of December was particularly enjoyable. I signed up for Green December and loved walking around the festive streets. My last trip of the year was a short day in Ghent, and it was just what I needed to end the year: a quick and easy getaway in a beautiful city!
Personal life and lessons learnt:
From a more personal point of view, this year was also full of new experiences and learning in general. I had very specific goals in mind at the start of the year and a specific plan to reach them. Some of them involved language learning, being healthier, blogging regularly and passing an entrance exam for a university.
I managed to achieve all of them, except the last one, but it taught me a lot and thanks to this I started implementing new routines, like studying and working on my goals in the morning, before starting my full-time job, as I am usually too drained and tired in the evening.
I also picked up on many hobbies: I read much more than last year, started playing the piano and the guitar again, learnt how to watercolour and kept on studying Russian.
This year also taught me patience: I remember that in 2019 I sometimes got very frustrated whenever I felt like I was “missing out” or “losing” time that I could have invested in traveling, for instance. With the travel restrictions, I didn’t have all of that, and it taught me how to enjoy the moment, discover and explore the city I was in, and find adventures even in the ordinary and daily life.
Finally, when I compare the beginning of last year to the end of it, I am surprised by how much I changed: from the people I surround myself with, to what I do on a daily basis and how I approach new situations, this has truly been a year of transition and growing. And I couldn’t be happier about it.
2020 theme and intentions:
For this new year, I set myself the theme of “Presence”, with an objective on being intentional and mindful of what I do and don’t do.
Instead of having fixed resolutions, I also defined some intentions for the New Year:
- Eat better: reduce the amount of sugar I eat, eat more organic and local food, try new recipes
- Be more conscious of the environment: reduce waste, buy in ethical shops, donate
- Slow down: take the time to enjoy the moment, read more and be mindful.
I don’t have many expectations regarding traveling for this year, so I decided to focus more on things that I can control that I know will be good for me, and caring about myself, others and the environment is on top of the list.
What about you? How was 2020 for you? Do you have a theme and intentions for 2021?
Even though I couldn’t travel, I covered many countries in my posts this year:Luxembourg: A weekend in Luxembourg
– Spain: A short holiday in Catalonia, Exploring Granada, Walking around Triana in Seville
– Austria: Going to a ball in Vienna, 8 Things to do in Linz, Christmas markets in Vienna
– Canada: Sugar rush at a sugar shack, My favourite things about Montreal
– Czech Republic: Exploring Prague in 2 days
– Japan: 10 Days in Japan:Tokyo & Osaka, Exploring Shinjuku, The Rikugien Gardens in Tokyo, The Tsukiji fish market, Short Getaway in Osaka