Around the world,  Digital nomad,  TDM

2020, The Year in Review – after 4 years 1/2 around the world

On the eve of the year 2021 that everyone is looking forward to, it is time for me to take stock of this special year.

It’s been 4 and a half years that we’ve been around the world. Wow.
3 and a half years that we have been working as digital nomads.

It is in 2020 that we start our 3rd round-the-world trip (as soon as we make a complete tour of the planet, we count a new one).

Highlights of 2020

Here in chronological order are the important events of the year 2020:

  • January 2020/February: we leave Yucatan (Mexico) to go to Oaxaca (Mexico) and then Mexico City, before traveling for a weekend with C., a great cousin of JB, to see the monarch butterflies.
  • February 2020: Our Mexico – Vietnam flight is canceled because of a new virus discovered in China. Fortunately, the other flights with stopovers in South Korea & Japan (the first Covid clusters, but we didn’t know it yet) are too expensive. We decide to go back to France, thinking to stay there for 1 month maximum. Our flight with a stopover in Las Vegas(USA) allows us to enjoy the city for 7 hours.
  • March 2020: I do my solo road trip in Belgium and in Germany while JB visits his family in France. After having booked (and then had to cancel) reservations in Italy and then Austria, we decide to settle down in France while things calm down. Everything speeds up. Germany closes its borders. We manage to return to Paris and find an apartment in Les Lilas the day before the confinement. With the stop of tourism, the blog loses 70% of traffic. March should have been the period of a road-trip in China, great timing!
  • April / May 2020: Several of our contracts are suspended but in exchange, the blog grows and compensates by generating passive revenues despite the low traffic. Not enough to compensate for the loss but enough to cheer us up. I start making flowers out of crepe paper. JB writes his journal during the lockdown and after the lockdown.
  • May / June / July 2020: We move to Rouen, to an apartment with a crazy view, which we could never have afforded under normal circumstances. A few contracts resume following the deconfinement.
  • August 2020: Memorable road trip to the 4 corners of France for a month, with sunshine almost every day.
  • September / October / November / December 2020: flight to Italy before the Covid test was imposed on the French. We manage to visit Rome, Venice, and Florence just before the museums close, without tourists. We spend 15 minutes alone in the Sistine Chapel. A magical moment. During our stay in Rome, I spend my life at the dentist. A routine check-up brings to light quite important problems, which fortunately were treated in time.
  • December 2020: PCR test performed in Rome while running around. Carefree arrival in Croatia before restrictions (and earthquakes). Crossing Bosnia no problem. Arrival at Montenegro (before restrictions). The blog is back to the 2019 traffic level.

The + of 2020 :

  • Good timing: each time, we pass between the meshes of the net. Just before restrictions or new lockdown. It feels like running away from the Covid. Sometimes we get there by planning, but most of the time, it’s the result of pure chance.
  • Traveling in incredible conditions: Visiting Rome and Venice, two of the most beautiful cities in the world under such circumstances (empty houses) is an incredible opportunity. As surprising as it may be, we had never set foot there before. We appreciate much more these two cities that have found their quietness in the absence of tourists. Moreover, “thanks” to Covid, we could afford accommodations that we could never have afforded. Between Rouen and the view of the Abbey, and two Airbnb in the heart of Rome and Venice, we are more than spoiled.
  • Personal development ++: Having less work than before, we have more time to work on ourselves. This year, I was able to learn new techniques to create lots of beautiful things on paper. I read a lot more than usual and I’m happy to have more time to devote to myself and my girlfriends. I think I created more impact in 2020 than in other years, the planets were aligned so I could help everyone to the max. I’m also glad that some things that would have kept me awake or hurt me don’t affect me as much anymore. I have gained wisdom and spirituality.
  • Some very beautiful encounters in 2020, which wouldn’t have been possible without Covid
  • After more than 4 years of work, the blog is starting to generate significant cash flow. Even if it’s not enough for us to be full-time bloggers, it’s still a huge incentive gift and allowed us to put things into perspective when times were hard on the work part in April/May. For the first time, we are sponsored by a brand for a promotional campaign ahahah
  • More opportunities: With teleworking becoming widespread, companies are less afraid to use nomadic freelancers like us. This is good news because it was until now an obstacle for some prospects.

Top 5

  1. Being surrounded by thousands of monarch butterflies in Mexico
  2. Spend a moment alone in the Sistine Chapel as if it had been privatized
  3. Our 4-week memorable road trip in France
  4. The PCR test results show that we are negative. What a relief lol
  5. Very very beautiful meetings, thank you thank you thank you thank you <3

The – of 2020 :

  • Not being able to be next to your loved ones in 2020. I wish I could have been in Vietnam to say goodbye to my grandmother and support my aunt who has cancer. I hope with all my heart to be able to return to Vietnam in 2021.
  • Spending so much time in one place has not happened to us since 2016. It feels like we are going in circles and the uncertainty is affecting JB who has been dragging her back pain since March. As luck would have it, when the situation became more stable in December, it improved.
  • Spending (again) weeks at the dentist, as in 2019, is as frustrating as Covid. It has affected my morale tremendously.

Flop 3

  1. Not being able to say goodbye to my grandmother. With 2 weeks to go, we could have returned to Vietnam without any problems (sniff)
  2. Health problems
  3. How we almost had a car accident

Countries crossed

We visited much fewer countries than usual, Covid obliges, but we set foot in quite a few new countries, even in gale force.
It was not planned. In 2020, we planned to visit countries that we liked a lot (including a big stop in Vietnam to see my family).
The Balkans, it is a big surprise even for us. We wouldn’t have been in the Balkans if Turkey had not imposed new restrictions.

  1. Mexico
  2. United States
  3. France
  4. Belgium
  5. Germany
  6. Italy
  7. Vatican (new!)
  8. Croatia (new!)
  9. Bosnia (15 minutes the time of the crossing lol, new!)
  10. Montenegro (new!)
my most beautiful creation
Rome

Thank you 2020, despite everything. And welcome to 2021! <3

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