Updated: Mar 4, 2021
As I began to reflect on the year that has been 2020, I debated whether to even write a year in review. It was to be my first full year as a travel blogger, and it was going to be epic. Looking back 2020 feels to some degree inconsequential, because so many of my travel plans got derailed. On the other hand, it is a year that has shaped me in ways I can’t fully express in writing.
I began the year by marrying a man I feel I’ve been waiting for my entire life. Proof that if you keep an open heart and and believe in miracles, amazing things can happen when you least expect them. As fate would have it, this involved quitting my 20 year teaching career in order to move to Sicily with my new husband, leaving my (adult) children behind. In awe of the strong, independent women they have become, while at the same time worried that the recipe cards and towel folding strategies I’ve left them with somehow don’t seem like enough.
As a parent, you prepare yourself for the possibility that your children might move away when they grow up, but making the choice to move away yourself is a strange feeling. There were emotional highs and lows, moments of panic, and more than a few times that I felt guilty for “abandoning” them; however, there was never any doubt that fate, or God, or whatever forces there are in the universe, had destined me to be with this man. So we we started planning the move with only one condition; with my oldest daughter set to get married in April, we would at least wait until after her own wedding.
Following my wedding the second week of January, we took a weekend “mini-moon” to Kentucky for some bourbon tasting and a perfect little stay in a tiny house just outside of Frankfort. We visited five distilleries in four days and had the time of our lives. We had so much fun that we made plans to tackle as much of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail as we could in the four months we had left before our scheduled move to Sicily in June. Alas, this was not to happen. Something to look forward to on return trips.
In February, we took advantage of a long weekend with a last minute getaway to Jacksonville, Florida to visit some friends. I’ve been to Florida numerous times in my life, but had never been to St. Augustine. I love any traveling that involves history, and the old town in St. Augustine is full of it! We ate (and drank) our way through the oldest city in the U.S., toured the fort, and even caught the daily canon firing ceremony. We were so glad to have taken advantage of this time when we had it, as it would be our last chance to see our friends before moving out of the country. If you ever find yourself in the Jacksonville area, I highly recommend a visit to St. Augustine, it was super cool!
We made the decision in March to stay home for Spring Break in order to do some pre-packing for our move, because we weren’t sure how much time we would have at home over the next several months with all the bourbon tasting trips we had planned. I can just hear fate laughing maniacally now. Turns out I never went back to school after the break, and spent the last quarter of my teaching career working from home.
And so began what I call the 131 days of lockdown. Limited to movement within a 50 mile radius of home, we had to get creative. Sunday Fundays on the front porch, neighborhood walks, backyard bonfires and outdoor movie nights with “the kids” were my salvation. Did I mention that my two adult daughters had both “temporarily” moved in with us? One had recently graduated from college, and the other was between leases in preparation for her upcoming nuptials. The planned April wedding ended up being postponed twice, but so did our move. Thankfully the dates worked out perfectly and the wedding took place two weeks before we headed off across the pond.
Lockdown also brought with it the need to develop some home bartending skills. Since I couldn’t travel anywhere, I decided to try my hand at making cocktails that made me feel like I was. What started out as a joke turned into a full blown Travel Inspired Cocktails page on my blog, and a series of recipe collections that remind me of some of my favorite travel destinations!