My 2021 Journey and Life Spherical Up

My 2021 Journey and Life Spherical Up

I didn’t write a spherical up in 2020 as a result of I spent most of it caught in a strict lockdown in Goa, all my work initiatives and journey plans, together with operating my first group tour in Kerala, had been cancelled so I didn’t really feel I had a lot good to say! (I did get to go on an incredible journey to Sri Lanka in February 2020 earlier than the world modified although)

However regardless of the percentages 2021 turned out to be a fantastic 12 months of journey for me so I wished to write down a spherical up publish, firstly for my very own reminiscence, but in addition to offer you a peak behind the scenes of what appears like  a glamourous life on Instagram and to indicate that journey is attainable in these difficult occasions!

Anna Goa India tuk tuk rickshaw

Goa, India

I noticed within the New Yr, as ordinary, watching the fireworks on the seaside close to my dwelling in Goa, India. It was a little bit of a lonely Christmas and New Yr and an odd season for me as many shut buddies who would usually spend the winter season in Goa had been unable to come back as India was not open for vacationers.

However whereas the remainder of the world was again in lockdown, India was reporting herd immunity and most of the people thought Covid was completed in India. Goa was extremely free – having fun with events, workshops and social occasions beneath the sunshine with none restrictions and busy with home vacationers.

Goa beach boats nature 2020
The place there was once noisy seaside shacks is now simply fishing boats and nature

With no worldwide vacationers some companies had closed and the place there was once noisy seaside shacks was as an alternative fishing boats and nature.

A small, intimate neighborhood had fashioned as a lot of the remaining foreigners had been (fortunately) caught in Goa for the reason that nation closed in March 2020, whereas Indian’s who might now earn a living from home started to maneuver to the seashores of Goa. With out my common circle of buddies there was a variety of area for private development and I additionally ended up making a variety of new buddies.

Goa beach india sunset
Sundown in Goa

Simply after New Yr I had a small scooter accident which led to me having to remain dwelling for just a few weeks whereas my foot healed. As I spend a lot time in Goa it kinda felt like a highway accident was inevitable in some unspecified time in the future so I’m simply glad it wasn’t too dangerous, plus it gave me time to remain at dwelling to get a lot of work finished and simply to be nonetheless and alone with myself.

Random highway journeys to ‘actual India.’

As every state in India has completely different entry guidelines I haven’t travelled round India as a lot as I’d have appreciated not too long ago. One of many highlights of the season was a random 2 day group highway journey to Karnataka and Maharashtra.

A gaggle of buddies from our writers membership had been lacking ‘actual India’ so we headed out on scooters alongside the backroads of Goa, up and over Chorla Ghat to Karnataka.

scooter road trip Karnataka border
Crossing the border into Karnataka

We stayed on the cute Purple Hills Nature Resort and went for lunch within the city of Belagavi (often known as Belgaum) earlier than driving on throughout the farm lands of Maharashtra and discovering Tilari Waterfalls. There was no visitors or checks on these again highway borders. It was exhilarating to be so free and exploring once more!

Whereas heading again down the Ghats into Goa, beneath the sunshine of the complete moon, I noticed a sight that may stick with me eternally when a leopard crossed the highway and disappeared into the jungle proper in entrance of me! What a blessing, I nearly couldn’t imagine my eyes!

leopard crossing chorla ghat
Sorry, couldn’t get an image of the leopard crossing however how cool is that this signal!

This highway journey jogged my memory of the sensation of freedom that journey offers me and the joy of exploring and new place, even when it’s not a touristic vacation spot. I like exploring random locations the place I’ve no expectations probably the most! Particularly discovering new locations which are so near dwelling.

tilari waterfalls Maharashtra road trip
At Tilari Waterfall, Maharashtra

The second wave

By April the warmth had intensified and Covid circumstances had been quickly on the rise attributable to a brand new variant. It felt like dejavu – however this time alot worse with no oxygen or hospital beds obtainable. I feared getting caught in one other strict lockdown with no meals or flights out. So I began to make plans to depart however didn’t get there in time earlier than the UK introduced arrivals from India must endure lodge quarantine.

The one flights working to and from India we throughout the air bubble scheme and with most nations banning arrivals from India and UK choices had been very restricted. It was a annoying time with guidelines altering always. I booked flights to Egypt and The Maldives however each had been cancelled as extra borders closed.

flying to mexico 2021 covid travel
An entire row to myself en path to Mexico Metropolis!

Hola Mexico!

Actually the one nation that will let me in at the moment was Mexico! It was someplace I’d all the time wished to go to and sounded much more thrilling than an costly lodge quarantine! I booked a ticket and three days later flew with Air France from Mumbai by way of Paris to Mexico Metropolis.

Two lengthy flights to the alternative facet of the world however it was among the finest flight experiences as a result of I had an entire row of seats to myself and getting into Mexico was simple – No visa, quarantine or check required (I did a check anyway earlier than I left India to make sure I used to be protected)

Anna in Mexico City CDMX sign
I made it! On the Zocalo in Mexico Metropolis

Mexico Metropolis was so alive! It was charming, intoxicating and in contrast to wherever I’d visited earlier than. I liked the historic Spanish structure, the excitement of the trendy metropolis, the hip neighbourhoods, parks, cafes and museums, the traditional pyramids at Teotihuacan and naturally the meals, color, music and enthusiasm for all times that the Mexicans have.

After per week in fascinating Mexico Metropolis it was time to flee town life. As a substitute of the favored and touristic Yucatan Peninsular I headed to the scenic and little developed Oaxaca Coast. First to the surf city of Puerto Escondido after which to Mazunte and Zipolite – Mexico’s solely nudist seaside!

Puerto escondido, oaxaca, mexico
Playa Carrizillio, Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca,

These laidback, hippie, yoga hotspots felt just like the Goa of Mexico and had been arduous to depart. After just a few weeks I prised myself off the seashores to discover the colorful metropolis of Oaxaca earlier than heading again to Mexico Metropolis.

The one downside was I didn’t converse Spanish and hardly anybody spoke English. I picked up fundamental survival Spanish on the highway and the Mexicans are pleasant, useful and tolerant so I managed but when I’d had extra time to plan I’d undoubtedly study some Spanish first! Learn extra of my ideas for Mexico right here.

oaxaca church ladies mexico
On the church in Oaxaca

Additionally See: My Mexico Itinerary and Route and My Suggestions for Touring Mexico 

The draw back of the touring and digital nomad way of life

Whereas I liked Mexico and wished to discover rather more I couldn’t shake this sense that one thing was lacking. There have been loads of travellers to attach with however I nonetheless felt lonely. I used to be lacking a sure somebody and it appeared meaningless to expertise all these lovely locations with out somebody particular.

One of many greatest downsides to the touring and digital nomad way of life is that it’s arduous to kind and keep long run relationships. Positive, you meet many fascinating folks on the highway however they arrive and go. All too quickly it’s a must to say goodbye as folks proceed on their very own journeys. It may be a lonely life.

Anna watching sunset on the beach in Goa
Watching sundown on the seaside in Goa

I met Damien in Goa just a few years in the past. He was staying in a hostel that my good friend was working in so we grew to become a part of the identical friendship group and step by step progressed from being buddies to extra.

We had been separated for 7 months attributable to journey restrictions. As Mexico was not on the UK’s lodge quarantine record, I might now head again to the UK and reconnect with Damien and my household after simply dwelling quarantine.

damien and anna goa beach
Damien and I meet in Goa as buddies just a few years in the past and step by step grew nearer

Regardless that I like to journey as a lot as attainable, I believe it’s actually necessary to go dwelling a minimum of yearly to have a break and meet up with household, buddies and my roots.

Reconnecting with my roots and household within the UK

I used to be nervous to return to the UK however I discovered it actually wasn’t as dangerous because the information made it out to be. For the primary time in ages I truly loved being in my dwelling nation that I had been operating away from for therefore lengthy!

Canterbury street view to cathedral
View of Canterbury Cathedral from Butchery Lane

As a substitute of going to my dwelling in Suffolk, I stayed with Damien in Canterbury and loved exploring the historic Cathedral metropolis, the quaint, oyster mad, seaside city of Whitstable close by and the countryside and castles of Kent. It was nice to have somebody to go exploring with once more.

Anna at Glastonbury Abbey UK
At Glastonbury Abbey

We took a visit to Glastonbury city and found the city had a lot to supply than simply the well-known competition with sacred websites and a excessive avenue of eccentric characters and religious outlets – it felt just like the Goa of the UK!

We additionally loved the buzzing environment of the hip seaside city of Brighton throughout a heatwave because the UK celebrated ‘Freedom Day’ when all restrictions and masks mandates ended and the nightclubs reopened.

Me and Damien in Brighton UK
Damien and I on Brighton Pier

The UK appeared just like the freest place to be and it was nice to be with my family members once more, having fun with household visits in Suffolk and Wales, seeing my sister’s first dwelling and assembly my buddies new infants. I even attended a weekend music competition with buddies I hadn’t seen for 10 years – an nearly surreal expertise after latest restrictions.

Additionally see: My Information to Canterbury and My Information to Brighton 

An epic Spain and Portugal highway journey

In September we set off on an epic highway journey round Spain and Portugal. I felt like so lengthy since I had been in Europe and it was good to fall in love another time, each with Europe and with Damien discovering our circulation touring collectively.

ferry portsmouth

We took a 24 hr ferry from Portsmouth, UK to Bilbao in Northern Spain and spent a month feeling the liberty of journey and driving 3,500 km throughout Spain and Portugal!

After exploring San Sebastian, Madrid, Granada, Orgiva and Seville in Spain, we drove throughout the bridge from Spain to Portugal with none checks or paperwork required.

Anna in Plaza de Espana, Seville, Spain

As soon as in Portugal we explored the Algarve, Lisbon and Porto. We spent a while with buddies on their farm in central Portugal and found the historic village of Monsanto and even met a relative’s two week outdated child in Braga earlier than heading again to Spain to catch the ferry dwelling.

Anna in Lisbon Portugal
Exploring Lisbon

An sudden spotlight was the gorgeous, alpine like, areas of Austrias and Cantabria in Northern Spain with the elegant, laid again metropolis of Oviedo and the gorgeous harbour city of San Vicente de la Barquera.

I additionally rekindled my love for Andalusia and completely fell in love with the structure and flamboyant model of Seville. What an epic journey!

Learn Extra: Our Epic Spain and Portugal Street Journey – Route, Itinerary and Suggestions

Me and Damien in Seville
Damien and I within the lovely Parque de Maria Luisa in Seville

Feeling dangerous concerning the impact on the surroundings of all this journey I researched Carbon Offsetting. The Gold Normal offsetting program is backed by inexperienced teams together with WWF. Their web site makes it simple to calculate your carbon footprint and select the place your cash goes to assist offset the carbon. I selected to donate to renewable power and cleaner cooking stoves initiatives in India and take steps to cut back my footprint the place I can.

Again to the sunshine – collectively this time

Coming again to the UK from Spain and the climate was already feeling uninteresting and miserable. To keep away from being caught in numerous nations over winter once more we made a fast cease within the UK to kind out visas and paperwork for India and headed again dwelling to Goa in November simply in time for one more season within the sunshine of the place I like probably the most. This time collectively!

Learn Extra: India Reopens for Tourism! – Entry Necessities and Get a Visa.

Celebrating Christmas together on the beach in Goa
Celebrating Christmas collectively on the seaside in Goa

Plans for 2022

We plan to work collectively on the weblog; Damien’s working behind the scenes on a contemporary new look, we will likely be including extra on {couples} journey and making an attempt to not get separated by borders once more!

Solo journey has been an incredible and transformational journey that I extremely advocate everybody tries a minimum of as soon as. However to expertise the wonder and journey on the planet with somebody particular to share it with provides one other dimension to my ardour for all times and journey.

anna goa beach hut palm trees

We hope to discover extra of Goa, hop throughout from India to the Maldives, and to journey extra in Europe, Mexico and Central America.

2022 appears prefer it could be one other 12 months of changeable journey restrictions however Mexico and Central America are at present the perfect guess for problem free journey and such lovely and thrilling locations to discover.

Who is aware of what sort of challenges 2022 will throw at us however no matter occurs a minimum of we are going to face it collectively.

Right here’s to the following chapter and a wonderful 2022!

What was your 2021 like? Did you journey wherever and what are your hopes and goals for 2022?

Additionally see:

My 2019 Roundup

Our Spain and Portugal highway journey

My Mexico Itinerary 


My 2021 Travel and Life Roundup

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