2020 was certainly a year. The pandemic shut down most of the world back in late February – early March, and nothing has been the same since. In early 2020 I had to indefinitely postpone more than 45 trips, some of which had been in the works for more than a year, I missed out on visiting more than a dozen new countries, 4 new states, and nearly all of my work as a travel writer & photographer evaporated, seemingly overnight. I also had to go the entire year without seeing my loved ones, like most people, which was even harder still. As a person who lives to travel 75-80% of the year, being forced to stay home, forced to miss out on living my life, and forced to give up nearly all of my work as an adventurer this year was a massive struggle for me. I can easily say that 2020 was by far the worst year of my life, but I’m hopeful that things will get better soon.
Thankfully, there were some bright spots, and having nothing to do and nowhere to go freed up plenty of time for me to work on things I’d put on the back burner, and to dive deeper into places I’ve visited in the past to write about them in a new, and exciting way. In the spirit of looking to the future with a sense of hope, positivity, and an insistence that things have to get better soon, for all of us, I’m reflecting on some of the best things that happened in 2020, and sharing some of my most popular and most widely read posts of the year. In creating this post, I realized that even though we couldn’t travel, we didn’t stop dreaming of our next adventure!
While I wouldn’t normally include things I wrote back before 2020 in this guide, I wasn’t able to add much brand new content to my site in 2020, for obvious reasons, so I’m going to make an exception this year and include things that remained popular this year but may have been written in earlier years as well.
Your Favorite Luxury Travel Guides
My travel guides to Edinburgh, Scotland, Kyoto, Japan, and my hometown of Petoskey, Michigan were all very popular this year. Just because we couldn’t travel in 2020 didn’t mean you weren’t planning your next big trip!
Your Favorite Beauty Posts
At your request, I began writing more about my favorite beauty products, particularly products that are easily packed in a carry-on and beauty routines you could do anywhere, not just from home. My most popular beauty post of 2020 was my guide to My Favorite Skincare Tools & How to Use Them. While this post was something I wrote back in 2019, it has remained one of my most popular beauty posts to date!
Your Favorite Fine Dining Posts
Kin Toh restaurant in Tulum, Mexico remained one of the most popular restaurants I’ve ever written, and for good reason – this place is incredible! Woods Restaurant, owned by Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, was another evergreen favorite this year, alongside Charlotte Restaurant & Lounge inside Lotte Hotel Seattle in Seattle, Washington.
Your Favorite Diversions
Along with my luxury travel guides, my diversion posts are always some of your favorite, and that just makes me so happy that you love adventuring as much as I do! This year, you were really interested in visiting the Fairy Pools on the Isle of Skye in Scotland, visiting Gran Cenote in Tulum, enjoying fragrant blossoms during Mackinac Island’s Lilac Festival, and learning how to respectfully find peace and solitude at Japan’s many temples and shrines. Climbing & Hiking Sleeping Bear Dunes was also high on everyone’s priorities this year. Essentially, you’re as obsessed with Japan, Scotland, and Mexico as I am!
Your Favorite Destinations
Your Favorite Style Posts
One of my most popular style posts I’ve ever written is entitled What My Pandora Bracelet Means to Me. When I wrote it, I didn’t really think many people would be into it, but I quickly learned that thousands of you have Pandora bracelets to commemorate your travels, milestones, and even your favorite seasons. I’ve loved learning about how much a little piece of jewelry can mean so many different things to so many people.
My Hopes for 2021
I really hope 2021 is better for all of us. I hope I can reschedule the trips I was supposed to take this year, and see new things, explore new places, and meet new people, which is one of my favorite aspects of what I do. I really missed talking with café owners, hotel managers, and locals to find out why they love their homes, and I hope I’m able to do that again in 2021. Let’s hope that we find relief from this awful pandemic, and that we can be safer, healthier, and happier than ever before this next year! I hope 2021 is your best year yet!