no words for 2020… right?

I cannot lie about the fact that 2020 wasn’t my year. Actually, it was the worst year ever.

Although 2020 started with great ambitions and a calendar filled up with travels, weekend trips, and lots of visits from family and friends in our new home base, Singapore. To kick off the year, we flew to Da Nang (Vietnam) right before New Years’ to spend the turn of the year in a new country. And that even though we had just arrived from our Christmas holidays in Germany a couple of days before. But after all, we were very ambitioned to fill up our travel map and to gain as many impressions and cultural experiences as possible. I remember how I wrote my 2019 recap and the bucket list for 2020 on a plane. Oh, good old days.

Little did we know that the trip to Da Nang would remain our only vacation for the year (if you don’t count the weekend trips to Desaru in Malaysia and Phuket in Thailand, which still involved flights but were certainly less recreational.) In between all that, we even flew to Berlin one more time, because Daniel was sent on a business trip.

Looking back, this kind of lifestyle looks impossible now and almost naive. Mobility has come to hold, flexibility is basically non-existent, and the freedom that I loved most about traveling, is gone ever since borders are shut globally. Traveling in and out of the country that used to be the Global Travel Hub couldn’t be more burdensome right now.

Fantastic views from our balcony in Da Nang, Vietnam.

Our last flight happened to be on March 1, when we returned from Phuket. I remember being in awe of all the lights at Singapore’s coast, grateful to live in a global world. Today, I know that we were quite lucky to actually be able to enter Singapore, as entering and quarantine regulations for people coming from Thailand just changed a few days after our return. And from Mid-March onwards, Singapore started to implement restrictions for almost all incoming travelers (including those coming from Germany), just to close its borders at the beginning of April completely. Most of them have yet been stayed closed.

Travel Log 2020:


x Da Nang, Vietnam, 28 Dec 2019 – 05 Jan 2020, including Hoi An on 03 Jan 2020

x Desaru, Malaysia, 24 Jan – 27 Jan 2020


x Berlin, Germany, 07 Feb – 14 Feb 2020

x Phuket, Thailand, 27 Feb – 01 Mar 2020

On a positive note, shut borders meant lots of time to spend in Singapore which led us to explore Singapore and its various and colorful neighborhoods and even some islands around the main island. Even though those were mostly half-day trips, they helped to overcome the travel bug and particularly the cabin fever that one inevitably develops after so many months in the same city.

Our visit to Pulau Ubin revealed an exciting glimpse into a primeval Singapore.

Meanwhile, we made plans for further trips, in and outside of Singapore, since it was only midyear and everyone expected the waters to calm down at least somewhen in 2020. Ironically, I seemed far more optimistic during Singapore’s lockdown. At least that’s what a few posts in my archive suggest. Back at the time, it was a matter of making it through the lockdown and looking ahead to better times, which includes plans for travels in South East Asia, or at least trips to beaches nearby. At the time, I couldn’t or (or did not want to?) foresee that the situation would only get worse as the year progressed, not only travel-wise but on many levels in various industries and last but not least in regard to human health. Singapore – always on the safe side of things – responded with stricter and further quarantine rules and testing regimes. Up to a point where today, people coming from the UK, New South Wales, and South Africa cannot enter Singapore at all due to the new strain.

For the longest time, we were also hoping to be able to go home to Germany at some time in 2020, and latest for the holiday season, but ever since the UK discovered a new, more infectious strain of the coronavirus, we realized we were better off staying in Singapore, watching this space (literally). While reading some horror stories about families being stranded in the UK and desperately trying to find a way to return to a country that they call their home, I am quite relieved that at least one decision we made in 2020 turns out to be the right one. Still, the prospect of not being able to leave this city-state (with a guaranteed return ticket) is becoming more and more straining.

However, I don’t want to come off complaining about the lack of traveling only (even though this is a travel blog and although ironic, this is what keeps me going). 2020 was a terrible year for all of us. Many have lost their loved ones, their jobs, or even their livelihood. Most of us were lonely or at least on our own for a long time, we could not visit people close to us, or only with strict precautionary measures. Taking this into consideration, we are quite lucky to be in Singapore. Since the end of June, life here has been at least somewhat normal again. Although the group sizes are small and strict measures have been in place for a long time now, we are at least not afraid of catching the virus or becoming sick since there are nearly any cases in Singapore anymore. All the more contrasting, however, is the news we get from Germany that we monitored in awe in Summer (when all of Europe seemed to be traveling to Greece and Italy), and later in incomprehension.

Where to go next?

2020 was overshadowed by uncertainty and hope for a better year ahead. But unfortunately, despite the vaccine finding, there is currently no real outlook or reason to hope for possible travel in 2021. Worse than the lack of traveling and mobility is the lack of perspective, which laid like a shadow over most of 2020 and hasn’t disappeared with the year change, even though I had dearly hoped for it. There is always a vague sense of optimism at the end of each calendar year, but with 2021 it just isn’t. I am aware of the fact that lost travel opportunities should not be my main concern in a global pandemic, but as said, traveling to me not only means part of my livelihood but also the main reason to move to Singapore. Without traveling, this blog loses relevance. However, writing this blog, even though there was literally no content in 2020, has helped me through many dark times, and especially getting to know so many people all over the world who could familiarize with my feelings has helped a lot. This is why I decided to keep this blog alive. At least, it will be a great medium to reminisce in memories and all the great possibilities we had pre-COVID (you have no idea how many travel diaries I re-wrote in 2020.

And who knows – maybe Singapore surprises us one day (soon, please) and the missed mobility will be back earlier than I am thinking now. After all, the year is very young and there is so much time ahead of us. Yet I will not create a travel bucket list for this year. I try to not have any expectations, let alone anticipation. Whatever we will be able to do, I will be grateful for. And if I have a wish for a travel destination, it would be home anyway.

I wish you all a great year in 2021. They say it can only get better, and I hope so too. I wish you all to stay healthy, considerate, and most of all hopeful. Cheers!


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