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2021 in review: July – December

2021 in review: July – December

Last Updated on January 25, 2022

Here it is, part II of my look back at 2021 – including my travel stats and some thoughts on traveling during Covid.

You can read part I here.

July: New York City

I didn’t slow down in July – I continued my busy “hot vaxxed summer”. I organized a group picnic for 4th July in one of the riverfront parks in Brooklyn that have amazing views of the fireworks, I went on a “Boat Party”, ie. a dance party on a boat that cruised around Manhattan for four hours, I went bar hopping just like in pre-Covid times, and I visited a rooftop bar for the first time in two years. Life in New York felt pretty much like it did in the “before times”.

I also went to a place that had been on my bucket list for quite a few years: Duane Park, a venue that hosts burlesque dinner shows. A friend visiting New York City was a special enough occasion to finally book a fancy dinner there, and it did not disappoint.

I also continued enjoying summer – my favorite season by far! – with a Central Park picnic, a pool party, and an open air dance party (the first of many, as it turned out later.)

Work-wise, I had my strongest month since September 2019 – I led 19 tours in July! That’s only one less than Sept ’19, however, the big difference is that back then all my tours sold out, and this month saw everything from one attendant to fully booked tours. I still have a long way to go to get my 2019 income back, but it was nice to finish the month not having to worry about money – especially since I had a big trip coming up!

Best moments

I can’t single out one moment, but the fact that my business was doing so well really made happy and it was such a relief to earn enough money again to be able to enjoy the notoriously expensive cocktail bars of NYC (my guilty pleasure!).

Worst moments

Two moments come to mind: On our 4th July picnic, I had a bit too much of the delicious sangria a friend made and I was an emotional mess. There were tears.

The other moment was finally realizing that the pain in my right hip area that had been bothering me for a few months now was becoming unbearable. In fact, I could barely finish my July Half Marathon (my 16th since May 2020) and I had no choice but seeing an orthopedic doctor to figure out what was causing the pain. I was starting to worry that I wouldn’t be able to run the Berlin Marathon in September.

August: Portugal & New York City

August was definitely one of the best months of the entire year. I went on my first international trip of the year, and even though it wasn’t a new country for me, I couldn’t have been more excited about my return to Portugal! I hadn’t been there in ten years, and while I spent nearly a month in Lisbon back then, I never made it up to Porto or down to the Algarve Coast – two destinations I’ve had on my bucket list for a long time. Neither of them disappointed, and I wish I could’ve spent an entire month in Porto – I absolutely loved that city.

I was a bit bummed out that I didn’t make it to the Douro Valley, Portugal’s most famous wine region, but it would have been too rushed, and now it gives me an excuse to return to Portugal.

The time I spent in NYC this month was also pretty good: I went to a couple of open air dance parties, had rooftop drinks, went to the Bushwick Collective Block Party (the annual street art party in Bushwick that sadly didn’t happen last year), and I finally had visitors in town! I love having friends visiting me or passing through NYC because it always gives me an excuse to tick some touristy things off my list and to eat at restaurants I’ve been wanting to try or that I save for special occasions. I took Jen and Chris to Emmy Squared (one of my favorite pizza places), Dear Hudson on Irving (a great rooftop bar), Apotheke (my all-time favorite speakeasy in NYC) and they also joined me on my Brooklyn Pizza Walk.

Best moment

Exploring a new place again!

Even though I’d been to Portugal before, I hadn’t seen much of the country beyond Lisbon, and I’d never driven there. This time around, we rented a car and drove from Lisbon all the way down to the Algarve, explored Portugal’s famous southern coastal region, and then drove up north to Porto, almost the entire length of the country. Being in “explorer mode” again felt so good! Even though traveling during COVID wasn’t completely painless (COVID tests before and during the trip were necessary, proof of vaccination was required to enter most restaurants and hotels), it was so worth it. Restrictions were mostly lifted in Portugal, which meant it felt almost like traveling in the “before times”, only that we wore masks whenever it was required and tried to stay away from crowds.

Worst moment

Yet another friend leaving New York City 🙁 The problem with NYC is that it is a very transient city: people come and people go. I don’t know how many friends I’ve seen come and go since I started calling NYC home in 2014, but since it isn’t an easy place to make solid friends, I am always sad when friends move away.

September: New York City

In September, my petsitting business started to pick up again. I did three dogsits (all new clients!) and got booked for a long (lucrative!) sit in October. It was notable that people were starting to travel again. I was also supposed to go on a trip – one of the biggest trips of the year. I’d planned a month-long trip to Europe around the Berlin Marathon on 26 September, which included celebrating my sister’s and a friend’s birthday in my hometown, catching up with family, and having friends and family cheer me on in Berlin before traveling to a new country for a couple of weeks with one of my best friends. Only that none of that happened, since I hadn’t been cleared to run the race by my doctor (see below under “Worst Moment”).

After the initial sadness over the canceled Europe trip, I decided to make the most of the last glorious summer weeks in NYC instead. I saw several outdoor movies in Bryant Park, I went to an outdoor Jazz concert, went to more outdoor dance parties (the last ones for this year), took a day trip to Governors Island (my first one since 2019), and I saw a show on Little Island, New York’s brand new “floating” park.

We also had the last rooftop barbecue of 2021, went on a bar crawl in the East Village, and I fell in love with the Peloton exercise bikes, which several of my housesitting clients have. Because I wasn’t allowed to run, but my physiotherapist said cycling was okay, I invested in a pair of cycling shoes. I signed up for the Peloton trial that got me access to all their workout classes and I was hooked immediately. It was a good way to get rid of the extra pounds I had brought back from Portugal (thanks to all the delicious pasteis de nata I ate there).

Best moment

No standout moment in September – I was just happy that life finally felt pretty normal again: I was earning good money again with my various income streams, I loved being out and about in New York City, and I was hanging out with puppies again!

Worst moment

Not running the Berlin Marathon

The worst moment of not just this month, but possibly the entire year, was when I learned that I wouldn’t be able to run the Berlin Marathon. After months of training having my marathon dreams shattered was just soul crushing. The day of the race (26th September), I spent the morning crying in bed while watching all the marathon footage on social media. I don’t want to go into detail, but dealing with the healthcare system here in the U.S. and with my health insurance provider over the past couple of months has been extremely draining and extremely frustrating.

October: New York City

October has always been one of my favorite months in NYC, mainly because of the amazing Halloween decorations everywhere, and the changing leaves, which make the city look picture-perfect. Even though it starts to get cooler, I can still tolerate the temperatures.

I was supposed to be traveling in Europe for the first couple of weeks of this month, but instead I spent those two weeks with two adorable little dogs – new petsitting clients in Brooklyn. I felt a sharp decline in bookings for my tours, a clear sign that tourist season in NYC was coming to an end. Even though I didn’t make anywhere near as much money with my tour business as in previous years, I ended up making enough money during the summer months to cover my costs and to stash some money away. Now it was time to focus more on the blog again.

Since tourist numbers are still very low, I made the decision to leave New York City for the winter – I will be gone for nearly five months. After spending most of last winter in NYC, I was ready for an adventure and I hoped that COVID wouldn’t ruin any of my travel plans (more on those later). Knowing that October would be my last full month in NYC for a while, I made a wish list of things I still wanted to do: see a Broadway show, see a symphony at Carnegie Hall, eat lots of pizza (duh), go to a rooftop bar I’ve never been to, and return to the New York Botanical Gardens to see parts of the Yayoi Kusama exhibit I wasn’t able to see when I went there back in May. I ticked all of these things off of my list, and I was even able to leave the city for a weekend for a fall getaway upstate, even though the leaves hadn’t quite started changing their colors yet. Nonetheless, we went on a refreshing fall hike, we soaked in the jacuzzi, we baked and cooked delicious food, and it helped me clear my head about a few things I was unsure about.

And of course I went on lots of walks and bike rides to take in the Halloween decorations everywhere. I finished October with a Halloween party that came with a 2-day hangover (ouch!), but even though the big dance party we were supposed to go to was canceled at the very last minute, we had a blast and I stayed out later than I had in a long time.

Best moment

Halloween! Everything related to Halloween is what I consider a highlight in October. I love seeing the sometimes over-the-top Halloween decorations on people’s houses, I love seeing kids go trick or treating in the Brownstone neighborhoods of Brooklyn (all the adults get dressed up and sit on their stoops with candy for the kids), and of course I love getting dressed up for Halloween. Admittedly, I was feeling a bit lackluster about dressing up this year (I was just getting over an infection and wasn’t feeling 100%) and just borrowed a costume, but I did end up enjoying the small house party I went to.

Worst moments

Anxiety about my living situation

I made the decision to give up my apartment so that I wouldn’t have to worry about subletting while I was gone, because it’s always a bit stressful, and I want to move to a different neighborhood anyway. In fact, I tried finding a new place for the past three months, but sadly wasn’t able to find an apartment I loved (or was approved for). This meant that I was going to be (essentially) homeless again in a few short weeks. I’ve done this before when leaving New York for a long period of time, but this time it made me feel extremely anxious, one day to the point that I thought I’d hyperventilate. Fingers crossed I’ll be able to find a new home when I get back from my travels in the spring.

My ongoing hip injury

I also got a steroid injection in my butt after months of physical therapy and trying to figure out what exactly was wrong with my pelvis / hip / hamstring… ? I finally got an MRI and was diagnosed with a rare condition: ischiofemoral impingement, and my quadratis muscle was on the verge of tearing. A steroid injection was a treatment that could potentially help – but it didn’t. I went on two short test runs after the injection, but the pain came back straight away. I was referred to a hip specialist to get an arthroscopy to see if I have a hip acetabular labral tear and need surgery. This whole injury thing had been going on for the better part of the year and was just so frustrating. I could also write a whole post on how difficult it has been for me to navigate the healthcare system in this country.

November: NYC, the Bahamas & California

I had simultaneously waited for and dreaded for November to arrive. On the one hand, I knew that I’d be going on two amazing trips, but on the other hand I knew that I’d officially be giving up what has been my home for the last three years, and I truly(d) love my (not-anymore) home. After ten days of frantic packing and countless trips to my new storage unit, I was freed of the burden that having a permanent base means (mainly financially) and left on my first trip, which also happened to be the first blog campaign I went on in 2021: a trip to the Bahamas!

I was over the moon excited when I got the invite to spend a week on a small island in the Bahamas, and not just that: it included a tour to the Swimming Pigs, which for me were the main draw to visit the Bahamas! I ended up visiting Pig Beach three times during my week on Staniel Cay, and I also swam with sharks, with turtles, saw stingrays and plenty of colorful fish. I also saw some of the most pristine beaches I’ve ever seen (and after all these years of traveling and beach bumming around the world, it’s not that easy anymore to impress me with a beach! #beachsnob). It was a great week – despite power outages, some bad weather, tons of mosquito bites and mediocre food.

I returned to New York only for a few days – basically a long layover between two trips. A long enough layover, however, to fit in an epic birthday party, a boozy brunch with friends who were visiting New York, and not one but two birthday dinners.

And then it was time for another big trip: I was going back to California for three weeks! I had agreed to housesit for my friends in Long Beach (who I visited in January 2020 on my way to Australia) and decided to fly in a few days earlier to spend Thanksgiving with them. It just so happened that a friend from NYC was in SoCal over Thanksgiving too, and we decided on a whim to visit Joshua Tree together for a few days – a National Park I’ve been wanting to go to for a while now (I mentioned how bummed out I was about not making it to Joshua Tree in 2016, my last longer stint in California). After Utah, the Algarve Coast in Portugal and the Bahamas, this was another bucket list item I ticked off in 2021.

Best moment

Swimming with pigs and sharks in the Bahamas 

Visiting Pig Beach in the Bahamas had been on my travel wish list for years, and getting to do it in my birth month was another amazing animal-themed birthday gift – after gifting myself swimming with manatees in Florida last year (should animal-themed birthday experiences become my new thing?! Coming to think of it, I had another animal-related birthday trip when I went on safari in Sri Lanka in 2014).

Not only did I get to meet the piggies, but the tour I took also included stops at a hidden ocean cave, a picture-perfect sandbar, and a marina where nurse sharks love to hang out, which meant I got to swim with sharks again! I’ve swum with sharks before, back in 2010 in Belize, and in 2017 in the Galápagos Islands, but I still love the thrill of getting in the water with what many people consider beastly creatures (they’re not.) Happy birthday to me!

Worst moments

Travel mishaps

Well, while traveling is back, I’m not going to sugarcoat the experience. Traveling right now isn’t easy. The trip preparation for the Bahamas included a couple of Covid tests, waiting to get my application for travel approved (plus the purchase of obligatory travel insurance through the government of the Bahamas), filling out several forms, and hoping everything would be flawless. 

My trip to the Bahamas didn’t go as smoothly as I’d hoped though: the night before my trip I discovered that I was booked on a morning flight from Nassau to Staniel Cay, my final destination, but I wouldn’t arrive in Nassau until the early afternoon. Luckily I was able to reach someone in the Bahamas who was able to book me on another flight. But I almost missed my flight from New York to Nassau because I didn’t realize until I was already on the way to the airport that I didn’t have my boarding pass! I’d gotten so used to easy online check-ins this year and to walking straight to my gate (which is my favorite thing about traveling with carry-on only) that it didn’t even occur to me that I’d have to go to the check-in counter first. But this time things were different: I wasn’t able to check in online because the agents needed to check that all my documents were in order. I arrived at the United desk with one minute to spare before they closed check-in 60 minutes before departure. Phew!

A lost key

I was already freaking out about not having enough time to put all my belongings in storage before leaving New York, so the last thing I needed was not being able to access said storage unit because somehow I managed to lose not one but TWO keys for the padlock on my unit. I still don’t know how I lost two separate keys, but not even hours of unpacking full moving boxes and all my luggage brought the keys back. Thankfully, the company I used to store my stuff was able to help me access my stuff by cutting the lock. This whole ordeal cost me a lot of time on my last couple of days in NYC – time that I had allocated for other things… getting my booster shot for example.

December: California, NYC & Germany

Oh, December. I had such great plans for the last month of what had turned out a much-better-than-expected year, but Covid had other plans for me. Yes, I tested positive for Covid on 1st December, and thus, my travel plans went down the drain. Not just my travel plans, but also the travel plans of my friends, who I was supposed to housesit for. What we thought was “just a cold” was in fact Covid, which I didn’t find out until my friend tested positive while taking their required pre-trip Covid tests. Needless to say that it all was a big mess and something I could’ve definitely done without.

I was doing well the first few days – I even ran a 5k and climbed a mountain in Joshua Tree with Covid (unbeknownst to me at the time), but when I lost my sense of smell a few days into my “cold”, I knew right away that I had Covid and my symptoms took a turn for the worse: I spent a few days in bed with flu-like symptoms (body aches, headache, fever, a bad cough, shortness of breath and fatigue), but at least I wasn’t in the hospital. My sense of taste returned after a few days, my sense of smell is still not back 100% though. It took me about two weeks to get over the worst, but by the time I arrived in Germany I was feeling much better.

Yes, I went to Germany! After being bed-bound at my friends’ house in Long Beach, I left for L.A., which wasn’t part of the original plan, but I felt restless and needed a change of scenery after the whole Covid drama. I wanted to spend the weekend in Hollywood (where I hadn’t been in several years) before meeting my friend Anna in Venice Beach for some sunny beach time before flying to cold, grey and dark Germany for the Holidays. I was extremely relieved to test negative and be able to go ahead with this plan – but Covid once again ruined them.

My weekend in Hollywood was off to a good start with a hike up Runyon Canyon (to see how my lungs were doing after the illness), great food and some much needed “me time”, but I was also looking forward to quality time with Anna. She checked in for her flight as soon as she was able to 24 hours prior to departure time, but started feeling a bit under the weather a few hours later which is why she decided to take a Covid test – just to be sure. Well, guess what. The test came back positive, she had to cancel the trip, and I ended up spending a week in L.A. by myself. I made the best of it though: I took myself out on solo dinner dates, went to a cocktail bar, visited the Hollywood Forever Cemetery and the Hollywood Farmer’s Market, went to Downtown L.A. to finally visit Grand Central Market (for food), the Broken Shaker rooftop bar (both were on my “to check out next time I’m in L.A.” list) and to see new what new street art had popped up in the Arts District. When I arrived in Venice, I went on long beach walks, visited Santa Monica again, saw a Christmas Boat Parade in the Venice Beach Historic Canal District, explored the hidden Venice Walk Streets, strolled up and down Abbot Kinney Boulevard, but overall, I took things slow since I was still recovering.

And then it was time to head to Germany to enjoy the early Christmas gift Santa had made me: My sister had welcomed baby #3 in November! That’s why I decided to go to Europe for the Holidays – I didn’t want to wait a whole year until I’d meet the little guy (I usually visit my family for Christmas every other year, but I’d gone home last year). 

Before Germany, I had a long layover in New York to lead some Christmas tours – now that Europeans were finally allowed to travel to the U.S., I’d seen more interest in my tours again. I really hope that this trend continues in 2022 – but the weekend I spent in NYC happened to be the weekend when the new Omicron strain surged and Covid cases doubled every day or so. Several of my friends tested positive during that time, other friends canceled dinner plans because they’d been exposed – I was torn between being relieved about having already had Covid earlier this month and panicking about contracting a different strain than the one I had (which wasn’t Omicron).

Knowing that this would be the last weekend in NYC for 3.5 months, I tried to make the most of it – despite the Omicron surge and ensuing panic (at-home tests were sold everywhere, and lines outside the Covid testing centers were loooong). There was a Christmas cookie baking session with my friend, I indulged in New York pizza, bagels, cocktails and said farewell to friends. I also went on a shopping spree to do get some last-minute Christmas presents, which included my first visit to New York’s new Harry Potter store, and I swung by the Rockefeller Christmas Tree and the Bryant Park Winter Village – quintessential stops in New York at Christmas time… at least for me 🙂

By the time I arrived in Germany a couple of days before Christmas, this month already felt like the longest month ever: Long Beach and Orange County, Hollywood and Venice Beach, NYC, and now two different cities in Germany: a quick stop at my sister’s to greet the new baby, and then my brother’s for the Holidays. In the end, I was just immensely grateful for being able to spend Christmas with my family, feeling good again after contracting Covid, and traveling for several months.

Best moment

Surviving Covid

I know, I know – “surviving Covid” sounds a bit drastic, considering that my case wouldn’t even be considered “severe”, but getting sick while traveling was probably the worst thing that happened to me this year. I was lucky that I wasn’t alone at the time and had someone to look after me, and a place to stay, but I still worried that my symptoms would worsen, I wouldn’t be able to fly to Europe, I would have to deal with long-haul Covid symptoms, wouldn’t get my sense of taste back for months like several people I know, etc. etc… So when I finally tested negative, gained my sense of taste back and started feeling stronger again, I was beyond happy and grateful and relieved.

Worst moment

Getting Covid

As mentioned above, contracting Covid was the one thing I tried to avoid the entire year, and I succeeded.. for eleven months. I think I’d definitely gotten a bit more lax about certain things over the course of the year, like hand-sanitizing non-stop, or double-masking on airplanes. I am 99% sure that I contracted Covid on my way from New York to California at the end of November, and remember even feeling a bit uneasy when my seat neighbor and her husband took off their masks to eat the in-flight snacks we were given. As I wrote above, it messed up not just my own travel plans, but also those of my friends, and in addition to feeling sick, I felt guilty for messing up other people’s plans.

My 2021 Travel Stats

My 2021 Travel Map according to Google

On to the stats! I managed to rack up quite a few beds I slept in this year, and more flights than I thought at the beginning of 2021, when the pandemic was still in full force and vaccines weren’t really on the horizon yet. Thanks to the rapid vaccine rollout in NYC, I was also able to do some housesits again, including several new repeat clients.

Where did I sleep?

I slept in 31 different beds this year – other than my own. They included: friends & lovers, housesitting clients, hotels & hostels.

  • 10 hotels (in Portugal, Utah, California, the Bahamas and one night in NYC)
  • 11 housesits (in Utah, California, and NYC)
  • 1 overnight flight (NYC to Frankfurt)

How did I get around?

I took roughly the same amount of flights as I did in 2020, when I was flying all over Australia pre-Covid, which added up my total flight number. This year, I took 3 domestic trips and 2 international trips.

Flights

1. January: Frankfurt – NYC

2. April: NYC – Salt Lake City

3. May: Salt Lake City – NYC

4. June: NYC – Fort Lauderdale

5. June: Fort Lauderdale – NYC

6. August: NYC – Lisbon 

7. August: Lisbon – Porto 

8. August: Porto – Lisbon

9. August: Lisbon – NYC 

10. November: NYC – Nassau 

11. November: Nassau – Staniel Cay

12. November: Staniel Cay – Nassau

13. November: Nassau – NYC 

14. November: NYC – Denver 

15. November: Denver – Long Beach

16. December: LAX – NYC

17. December: NYC – Frankfurt

 

In addition to my plane rides, there were:

  • 3 trains (all in Germany)
  • 2 rental cars (in Utah and in Portugal)
  • 2 e-scooters (in Lisbon and in L.A.)
  • 1 sailboat (in Portugal)
  • 1 speedboat (in the Bahamas)
  • 2 ferries (both in NYC: one from Brooklyn to Manhattan, and one from Manhattan to Governors Island)
  • 1 aerial tram (from Manhattan to Roosevelt Island)
  • several Ubers, taxis and Lyfts – but this year, I tried to be as frugal as possible and took public transportation to and from the airport on most of my trips

Road Trips

I took two road trips this year and both were fantastic: in Portugal we drove almost the entire length of the country north to south and east to west, and in Utah I drove from Salt Lake City to Moab. Coming to think of it, I road tripped a bit in California as well – from L.A. to Joshua Tree, and from Long Beach down the Pacific Coast Highway to Balboa Island.

  • Utah
  • Portugal

joshua tree road trip

Final Thoughts on 2021 & what’s next for me

Before I sat down to write down sort of a “conclusion” to the past twelve months, I read through my “Final Thoughts” on 2020, which I wrote a year ago. “I just hope that the world will be largely COVID-free twelve months from now.”, I wrote last January, and that “I hope I’ll be able to put my stash of face masks in the far back of my drawer and never look at them again”. Well, we all know that neither of my hopes came true. On the contrary – Covid is still well and alive, new strains keep popping up, and as of now, only 60% of the world’s population has been vaccinated. Hospitals are still full, lockdowns and restriction are still in place, and people are still dying from Covid-19. Instead of throwing out my face masks, I’ve had to upgrade them from surgical masks to the more protective KN95 masks, which are mandatory in many places here in Germany, where I am writing this.

While travel came back to some extent, we’re still far from living our lives the way we did pre-pandemic. I know a lot of people who are still holding off on booking bigger trips again, put off by rapidly changing local restrictions, quarantine mandates and strict entry requirements to a number of countries. My business bounced back a little bit, but I didn’t make anywhere near what I made in 2019, neither with tours nor with travel writing nor the blog. Again, I am trying to remain hopeful for the year ahead, but seeing the current situation in many countries, it’s hard not to be pessimistic.

Looking back at the entire year, it is interesting to see though how much my life changed after getting vaccinated. The first three months, I felt isolated and anxious, was desperately trying to find work, while watching my savings dwindle. And then, as soon as I was vaccinated, I felt safe enough to travel again. I got more work again. I saw friends who I hadn’t seen in months, because they felt safe to be around people again, now that we were all vaccinated. As soon as summer arrived, we started going out again. The first big crowd events in nearly a year and a half. In the beginning, I was still nervous when I found myself in big crowds, but soon, I felt comfortable enough to really embrace being able to do these things again. I also noticed that I wasn’t as afraid of contracting Covid anymore. In New York, life had almost gotten back to what it had been pre-Covid. Dance parties and barbeques and movies in the park and rooftop drinks and beach days and food markets and bike rides and concerts. Sure, we all have to show proof of vaccination everywhere and wear masks at certain events, but overall, it felt like New York City had recovered pretty well.

After several months packed with group gatherings and trips and social activities, getting Covid in November was a great reminder that we are still very much in a pandemic, and Omicron showed that we’re nowhere near the end of it. I used to sit down every January to do an “annual review”, examining how the past twelve months went in different aspects of my life, like financial, personal, fitness, business, etc, and to set goals for the year ahead. The last time I sat down to do an annual review was January 2020, not knowing that a couple of months later, the world would come to halt, and with it, my plans and goals for the year. Last January, I thought about doing an annual review, but there was still so much uncertainty about Covid and when life would go back to “normal” that the thought of looking at all my 2020 goals seemed too painful. I had so many aspirations and goals for 2020, especially with regards to expanding my tour business. This year, I didn’t even consider doing an annual review. The current situation seems too fragile for me to set any goals with regards to business and finances – I’ll be happy if I make enough money to get by and if I stay healthy. Even though 2021 had many great moments and fun times, I am still mourning my careless pre-pandemic life, and it frustrates me not being able to do what makes me the happiest: travel. Travel without any restrictions and fears and complicated processes.

My biggest wish for 2022 was to travel again, which is why even though it’s complicated and in some ways cumbersome, I am starting the year with a 3-month trip. I know that I’ll be visiting four different countries in January alone, and I’ll set foot on a continent I’ve never been to –  a long overdue visit. Beyond the first new country of the year, I haven’t planned anything yet, because with restrictions changing so quickly at the moment, I am still a bit weary of planning too far ahead. Instead, I’ll see where that trip takes me, I’ll “go with the flow”, so to speak. When I get back to New York in the spring, it’ll be time to find a new place to live, and that’s as far I’ve mapped out my year. I am remaining hopeful that things will get better in 2022 – not just for me, but for all of us.Dani traveling

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