In developing my 2020 vision for world travel, I decided that I would scale down the ambition to take an entire trip around the world this year. Instead, I will be taking a series of smaller trips. Some of them have not even been determined yet! This allows me to under take more spontaneous trips towards the latter half of the year.
For now, I am planning a short trip to the UK and New York City in March to attend a few opera competitions. Supporting young emerging performers is a good investment in time and for diversity. The stars will inevitably be performing in the near and distant future. If you are curious, check out the pitch for opera at: https://www.wnycstudios.org/podcasts/aria-code
I still like to experience World Heritage sites whenever possible. The sites are evaluated on criteria for culture, natural beauty, or human achievement. If you need some inspiration for your next trip, here is the list: https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/
(Note: the above text describing travels plans was published prior to the pandemic. Travel to New York and the UK was completed on March 10, one week prior to the pandemic lockdown on March 17, 2020.)
International Travel Restrictions: A Reality in 2020
With the sudden and devastating arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, there was no time or place for travel abroad. Even local restrictions were a deterrent. Instead, much of 2020 turned us inward, both physically and figuratively.
Being homebound led to appreciation for what you have and what there is in this vast, complicated world. We mediated, medicated, and meditated, as well as cooked, cleaned and confined ourselves to social media and on-line entertainment. It’s not hard to remember what we did in 2020 as we continue the same journey down the pandemic river.
Initial posts in April and May shifted to opera livestreams and zoom sketching events. Without knowing how long the pandemic would continue, we hoped, and even expected, that it would last only a few months.
Silk Road Countries Revisited (June-October 2020)
During the travel lull between March and November 2020, I reposted travels along the Silk Road from previous years. The posts are strung in a chain of countries beginning in Beijing, China, through Mongolia to Uzbekistan, Iran to the Caucasus, and Turkey through Western Europe.
While portions of these trips along the Silk Road were taken over a period of five years, I re-ordered the countries in the path of travel for this series. It will give you a better sense of the journey through and between these countries.
It should be noted, however, that Silk Road travelers plied relatively short segments of the route. They usually maintained local bases and kept to known trails. Transcontinental routes were too varied, dangerous and impractical even to this day. The route shown is a string of connected dots. The entire course was never attempted
New Zealand (November-December 2020)
The spark of life arrived in July when our first grandchild was born in New Zealand. That motivated us to plan a trip to New Zealand. At the end of the year our entire family was together, with few or no COVID restrictions, for Thanksgiving and the Christmas holidays. This was an unexpected upshot to the year, and one story to contribute to the six billion others to be told.