2020 is finally coming to an end, where did all that year go? It’s been a really weird year mostly because of COVID-19 which put travel in a literal standstill. As I write this, it’s been about 10 months since my last overseas trip and it has been the absolute longest time I’ve been in Singapore without taking a single overseas trip, possibly in my whole life. My dad was a pilot so growing up, annual trips were pretty commonplace even if it was just a drive up to Malaysia, so not actually being able to travel at all in 2020 has been weird to say the least.
Missing travel? Check out my old travel round ups posts to see where I’ve been in previous years.
Trips in 2020
I was lucky to manage some travel in early 2020 before the international borders started closing off – even added a brand new country to my list bringing it to 55 countries that I’ve visited in total. But some trips that were on the cards never even got the chance to happen like a jaunt to Taiwan in May, ah well.
I talked a little bit about my trips and what travel was like in Feb 2020 as COVID started spreading in this post, but since I’ve been so starved of travel, I thought I’d share more pix and thoughts about this trip. Gosh I miss travel a whole lot. But I’m somewhat glad that I didn’t plan too much in advance so I didn’t have to worry about getting back refunds and stuff.
London in winter has been a recurring trip for me in the past few years because of the regular judging gig that I do. Who knows when that will happen again though? 2020 has not been a great year for the travel industry at all… Regardless, I only had about one afternoon and night to spend in London. It was pretty wet and cold that day so I didn’t really do much, though I did finally manage to:
- Visit the Harry Potter store House of Minalima
- go to Tate Britain (I’d mostly been to the Tate Modern previously) museum
- Watched the excellent Come From Away musical in the evening
Most of my week was spent in Rome visiting my sibling who was studying there. She lived in a suburb outside the main downtown of Rome, so I got to see a little more of everyday life beyond the tourist sights.
Oddly enough though I’ve spent a fair amount of time in Europe (especially during my Career Break), I hadn’t actually spent a lot of time in Italy before this, other than a trip to Milan and Venice many years back with my family, so I was quite keen to explore a little bit more.
Since it was my first time in Rome, I spent most of it on its main tourist sights like the Colosseum, Palatine Hill and the Roman Forum, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps and more. Also had gelato practically every day… so good~
I also did a little bit of street art hunting in smaller neighbourhoods like Ostiense and Tor Marancia.
And I took a day trip out to nearby Tivoli to check out more ancient ruins. Seriously, these old bits of city are just all over the place in Italy.
I always forget that technically the Vatican City is considered its own country, making it the 55th country that I’ve visited. Of course I visited the tourist sights like the Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel and queued 1.5 hours to climb up St Peter’s Basilica for a panoramic view of the Square and surrounding Rome.
It might seem weird to have Singapore listed here, but I probably have explored Singapore more intensely than I have in all other years combined, partly because there is nowhere else to go, but also because I had a project on hand that required me to unearth unusual spots in Singapore.
Some of my favourite discoveries in Singapore include the neighbourhoods of Sembawang and Ang Mo Kio as well as finally seeing the quarries in Bukit Batok.
What I hope for in 2021
Vaccines are coming out, and so far Singapore seems to be doing ok in managing the spread, but both the economy and travel industry look like they are slow to recover as new waves emerge in other countries again. I’m not actually hopeful that there will be travel in 2021 for at least the first half of the year.
I’m hoping for a Taiwan travel bubble since they are one of the countries that have managed to contain the virus quite effectively, and also because I’ve been aching to go back again. I kinda really want to go scuba diving in crystal clear waters again – Indonesia’s Komodo is one of the places I want to go back to but it’s hard to say whether it’ll be safe to by then.
Looking to see what my past travels were like? Check out some previous round ups here: