2020 and beyond

Published: March 28th 2021
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COVID-19 is the global chaos and the hottest topic of 2020. I had unknowingly landed on places where the virus has spread globally. I was lucky enough to make it back to Amsterdam a week before the world went mad about toilet paper.

I got pretty sick the day after my arrival. I caught the nastiest cold, which knocked me down completely. My stubborn arse went back to work while still feeling unwell, and of course, that stupidity sent my sorry act back home for two weeks quarantine.

During my recovery, I remember people around me were in an extreme panic because of the virus I possibly have brought from China as there was no vaccine yet. My colleagues and GP were terrified of me, they did not want to be anywhere near me. I rang the GP and had a clash with her assistant as she refused to give me an appointment or a prescription. When the GP finally called me, she did not bother to conduct a COVID test, instead concluded that it was a stomach bug, then she told me to sick it out and swallow paracetamols when needed. While her conclusion is still in question,
I had no other choice but to follow the "expert" instructions.

As the world faces the total lockdown, many people struggle to cope with being home 24/7 so-called the “new normal”, while I on the other hand found 2020 has been a blessing year. It has been an uneasy beginning to be home that much, but my survival instinct kicked in. I quickly learn to accept and adapt myself to the change accordingly.

A constant bumping into neighbours and seeing the same faces each time I am out and about is part of my day to day life. I take that opportunity to get to know them more, expand my network, make new friends with the local dog mamas & papas and explore more of my surroundings.

In my experience, the pandemic serves more ups than downs. I enjoy spending more time with my girl. I consume more greens in my diet. I have more time to improve my weekly runs, which are now faster and more frequent. I train more in the pool to become a stronger swimmer and I practice yoga and meditation which are helping me to stay present.

The most important lesson
I have learnt from this madness is to be less ambitious in life, being less of a type A individual and to live more. Once I learnt to let it go, I find myself having less stress dividing my time between my girl, work, study, hectic social life and future career change. The year 2020 taught me to breathe, reset and let go of all the things that are not serving me, including friendship and relationship circles. It is the chance to shift my focus towards me and my goals. Okay, enough story about the 2020 experience. Now let’s talk about travelling ?.

So, where have I travelled in 2020? NOWHERE much at all. Yes, you are reading that sentence correctly! I had no choice but to postpone my travel plans due to the pandemic.

In the midst of uncertainty and leaving home becoming difficult, we were lucky enough to embark on a road trip to neighbouring countries, such as Belgium, Germany and France. We didn't need to prepare for the trip in advance, except throw some clothes in a bag and leave Amsterdam early to beat traffic.

We felt the need for extra space even during
social distancing and figured that Nissan Qashqai was the perfect candidate for it. This baby is massive. There is a plenty of room for the two of us. We entertain ourselves with good music, sing out loud, roll down the windows and yell out loud “PATATJES” whenever a Dutch plate driving among us. The laughters after yelling at random people at shops or streets in a foreign lingo was probably one of the COVID side effects that we’ve experienced.

We managed to cross the German border without drama, then spend a few days at a small village of German winery where there is more fun. Such a beautiful scenery that comes with delicious German foods and tasty local wines.

So, what activities have we done in that small German village? Well, a lot of wine and food consumption and daily walks to the vineyard! I reckon these are pretty awesome laidback activities. Depend on our moods, some days we were lazy. We hang out by the pool with some local wines and beers in the sun. Aside from that, forest hiking and winery visits are a must. Unfortunately, there were not many activities or places to see. This
is because the nature of the holiday spot is all about relaxation. We didn’t mind but were grateful that we could leave Amsterdam during the madness.

So, what's my take on the local wine? It is not cheap and flavour wise is quite different. Sauvignon Blanc is one of my fave whites, and for me, theirs was rather sweet than dry.

The wine is less aromatic than the average one. The flavour and colour are closer to Riesling, which is sweet and mellow yet refreshing. They also produced sparkling red and white wines. The flavours of these wines were sweet, fruity and easy to drink. A beverage satisfies summer thirst.

On our way back to NL we stopped in a small village in France, which I don't remember the name, and it's totally doesn't matter because the memory counts. I find pastries and wines are better in small French villages. There were plenty of local patisseries to enjoy during my stay, and I made sure to stuff my face off before returning to Amsterdam. One of my best ideas to spend time during a difficult time.

Additional photos below
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31st March 2021

Good having you back
Nice that you’re still able to move around despite the lockdown. Great photos too ???
4th April 2021

I miss travelling. You were so lucky to have made it to all those places before the chaos. Nice pictures
16th May 2021

I enjoy reading your stories :)
17th August 2021

Very fun story to read. I enjoyed it :)

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