2020: Travels in Review

‘Your story matters’

There is a bit of a debate amongst travel bloggers, the relevance of sharing your yearly travel roundups. It ranges from, ‘only your loyal audience care’, to ‘its just another diary entry with little impact that no one cares about.’ But I love writing them and when I shared my 2019 review of travels I was left with the best feeling that my story mattered and can help others. A black girl who had a similar cultural background to me, emailed me asking for advice as she wanted to travel solo for an extended period as I had done but was wondering how to approach it with her family and wanted tips on this and how to plan it. If I had not shared my travel review she would not have known I had embarked on such a trip. It doesn’t always have to be through listicles or ‘a guide to XYZ’ for important information to be shared. You must tell your story, it will resonate and connect with someone.

So I will forever continue sharing my travel reviews and always in January. WHY? As I have shared before, January is my (birthday) month of reflections where I like to reminisce about the amazing trips I took in the preceding year. There is something about a new year that gives hope and yes, even after a year like 2020 & as I write in Lockdown 3.0 I still remain hopeful. I like to take time in January and not get caught up in the mad rush to have everything aligned and sorted.

I must say in a year like 2020 I surprised even myself with what I managed, including visiting the smallest city in the UK.

UK adventures

Whitsable, Kent

This was my first adventure of 2020 and it was with my Hillsong Daytrippers who I miss dearly. We walked along the Kentish coast in February from Whitsable to Herne Bay.

Bournemouth

One thing this, ahem, pandemic, made me realise is that I have a few friends where I have never visited them in their home city (and vice versa) so I took this opportunity to go and visit my dear friend in Bournemouth, where she casually stated how we can just chill by her beach hut (do you know how difficult and expensive it is to have one of these?) It was a weekend break that I needed and I got to chill, take in the sun and of course have a dip in the sea!

Norwich

I want to visit here again! This was my first visit to this city which is often overlooked and even with the rain I loved my visit here. It was just so adorable and it has such history. One of the locals told us how, within the city walls of medieval Norwich alone there were 57 churches, as families competed with one another by building their own church as a demonstration of wealth and social standing – talk about keeping up with the Joneses. I even got to pay a visit to a vintage market housed within one of the churches (you know I love a market) and came away with some beautiful buys.

Look at that gorgeous stained glass window & all the vintage goodies to explore
St. Gregory’s Church which is now used for selling vintage ware and antiques

Northleach, Cotswolds

This is where we begun our bike ride in the Cotswolds and also discovered this gorgeous house, Glebe House, that I just could not stop admiring. It was situated next to the beautiful Northleach Church of St. Peter & St. Paul.

Farmington & Cold Aston, Cotswolds

Ahhh the sights we passed as we cycled including this amazing field of sunflowers…just gorgeous

Bourton on the Water, Cotswolds

I can see why this town is popular – it is so utterly picturesque and I just loved sitting in the warm autumnal sun watching and dangling my legs over the bridges and laughing as my friend nearly fell in.

One of my favourite days last year and it was in the UK! Goes to show you don’t always have to catch flights to have fun

Stow on the Wold, Cotswolds

The architecture in this town is lush. I wandered, taking in the sights, the oldest inn in the UK and chatting with David Blackmore about his art and inspirations in the pop up art gallery on that day.

Intriguing doors of St. Edward’s Church
Town square

Gloucester marina

Food always tastes good beside a marina. I had a delicious meal overlooking the night time views at the restaurant, Greek on the Docks.

Dale, Pembrokeshire, Wales

This tiny Welsh delight, I shall be sharing more about later but I just loved it for its tranquility. To think we discovered it by fluke.

Just divine

Marloe Sands, Pembrokeshire, Wales

Such a gorgeous beach, where I laughed and played with my friends, it was worth the hike to it!

Have you been to the beach if you have not written in the sand?

Broad Haven Beach, Pembrokeshire, Wales

Another gorgeous beach which had me striking all manner of poses and collecting shells

Solva, Pembrokeshire, Wales

A delightful and colourful village on the Pembrokeshire coast where I tried delicious traditional Welshcakes at MamGu.

St. David’s, Pembrokeshire, Wales

The smallest city in the UK comprising only of 1,600 inhabitants with a stunning cathedral.

Tenby, Pembrokeshire, Wales

I feel like due to the rain I didn’t really get a chance to enjoy this place as I should (just means I might have to go again then). On a sunnier day I am sure I would relish in its beauty.

I don’t usually include in my travel round ups about my London wanders but this deserved a special mention as it was a delicious summer day that had me feeling I was away from everything….

Marylebone, London

I spent what I call a ‘Tayo Day of Wander’, where I have no plan to my day other than where my feet and curiosity takes me. I started off with getting a face massage with FaceGym in St. John’s Wood (the one planned indulgent activity of the day), and then enjoyed the charity shops of the high street, wandered into the beautiful communal park of St. John’s Wood Church Gardens.

So peaceful to wander through this park

From there I wandered and wandered all the way down to Marylebone and delighted in this neighbourhood spending hours in the gorgeous Daunt bookshop, which has books from all over the world and then eating in a yummy small independent eatery (the best find) called Pasta Della Nonna sipping on one of my favourite holiday drinks Aperol Spritz. I truly felt like I was away abroad and yet I was merely enjoying London town without a care. Hoping to do more such wanders this year.

Adventures Abroad

I am so so grateful I got to explore Bulgaria – my one and only trip abroad for 2020 and my first ever ski trip too!

Bankso, Bulgaria

I loved skiing in Bankso – I had so much fun. I went on a group trip with Wind Collective & Mount Noire and it was just fab! The fresh mountain air was marvellous and invigorating. It makes me want to go on more ski trips.

Sofia, Bulgaria

Sofia is an under the radar capital city! Where else can you go on a free food tour, adore stunning churches and delight in Bulgarian cuisine, all with the Vitosha mountain as the backdrop to this city of layers? You can catch more of my time there visually over at Travel Eat Slay’s highlight stories where I did an IG takeover (it is the last story of the highlight).

St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral

I hope you enjoyed my round up as much as I did. I have zero idea if I’ll get to go abroad this year but despite how the situation may look now, my explorer spirit shall not be dampened.

Forever hopeful,

The Five to Nine Traveller

xxx


6 thoughts on “2020: Travels in Review

  1. 2020 was a tough year for all of us but I’m glad you were able to use this time to travel domestically! Hope you’ll embark on even more wonderful trips in 2021!

  2. You’re a true traveller in all senses of the word, Tayo! Love how you found adventure so close to home!!

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