Finally, we have left this challenging and crazy 2020 full of twists and turns behind us. A year that was anything but we could have imagined when it stated.

I am sure we were all hopeful that by the end of the year, we would have left the pandemic behind us. In fact, when I had to cancel trips originally planned for spring and summer, I moved a lot of them into autumn of last year. Thinking I would be back on the road at that time.

How wrong I was. As we are moving through the first days of 2021, we are in yet another lockdown, and still facing a lot of uncertainty ahead.

There are silver linings off course. Many countries around the world have begun vaccinations and others will follow as more vaccines will hopefully be available shortly. There is growing optimism that we can finally return to live as we knew it. 

Despite this, we are far from being done with the global pandemic. Wearing masks, social distancing and travel restrictions will remain the norm well into this year.

Hermanus, South Africa

2021 is the first time I am staring a new year with no travels planed and nothing yet booked. That’s a first for at least the last 20 years. Which makes me even more nostalgic and eager to explore the world again.

On the other hand, following the first shock when everything came to a standstill last year, many of us (myself included) started to rethink many aspects of our life. Forced to slow down, taking life one day at a time let to the understanding it is OK to be a bit less ambitions, not to achieve everything immediately, or not to be perfect all the time.

Winelands, South Africa

As for 2021, whilst I am looking forward to the moment socializing and travelling will look more normal again, I am well aware we are still far from that moment. Therefore, right now I am not making lots of plans for the year. I imagine a large part of it will be spend at home again. At the same time, I will keep open for changes and new challenges as they come along.

Instead of my usual travel plans, below I have listed what I envision 2021 to look like for me and how I intend to make the best out of the year nevetheless.

Travel the world from my kitchen: Flavours from around the world

I love to travel for culinary experiences, which can mean anything from experiencing authentic local food to wine, spirits and other local specialities.

Like many others around the world last year, when travel was not on the cards, I’ve started to re-create some of these culinary travel moments in my own kitchen; cooking and baking more than usual, mixing up lots of cocktails and engaging in virtual wine tastings and other online events.

Whilst this started on a rather random and private level, in recent months it has moved on to a more organized activity. One that going forward I intend to share more regularly here on the blog.

Asparagus season in Germany: How a whole country is going crazy for a vegetable
Discovering Louisvale Wines in Stellenbosch

I am looking to create (and share) traditional food and beverages from around the world to at least virtually escape to far-away places.

As for inspiration, by and large I will adapt a calendar of local events, seasonal produce and picking out particular foods and beverages from the annual food and drink calendar (did you know there is a national German Butterbrot day, literally meaning bread with butter day?).

That alone could keep me busy all year long.

Learning new skills and improving old ones

Have you learned a new skill during the time spend at home last year?

This year, with travel still limited and therefore mostly working from home, I am determined to further improve on both old and new skills.

The perhaps most ambitious one is to make better food photos. It’s relatively easy to take a lot of stunning photos while travelling. Taking good looking food photos (including all sorts of beverages) is an entirely different thing. Starting with styling, backgrounds, light, and much more.

In addition, finding inspiration to shoot new and interesting photos mostly at home requires a completely new approach.

A new garden project

Last year, when the first lockdowns came into force across Europe, DIY home projects skyrocketed. It seemed everybody suddenly was busy refurbishing or decorating their homes. The lucky ones with their own garden, yard or terrace also might have turned into enthusiastic gardeners.

Though I am not someone with a green thump, I have a little garden project lined up for 2021. More on this once the weather is getting a bit more spring-like.

2021: A year of staycations

I am so looking forward to travel again when the time is right. Yet I keep my expectations low when it comes to 2021. And even if it will be possible later in the year, travelling this year (and maybe beyond) will not look like what we have been used to.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber

Whilst we all are yearning to travel to faraway places anytime soon, if there is something we all have learned last year is that there are many ways to find inspiration close to our homes.

I have always loved weekend trips into the countryside, and I am hoping that by summer it will be possible to plan a few trips to explore some of the small cosy country hotels on my list.

Be OK to keep things slow and take time off

If there is one thing I have learned from last year, then it is not to feel guilty to keep things slow every now and then.

Taking time off, with nothing planned is something I intend to do more, and not just in 2021.

Let’s see what this year will bring. There is good reason to believe it will be a better one than the last… Just remember, the best views come after the hardest climb.

Have you made any plans for 2021 already? What are you eager to experience this year?