I struggled on whether to write this end-of-the-year post, but I thought it was important to reflect on 2020. This past year has been difficult to say the least. There has been so much grief that has come from the pandemic, racial injustice, and political divisiveness. It’s heartbreaking to see how rapidly COVID continues to spread here in my backyard in Southern California and across the world.
This past year, I have experienced the downturn of the travel industry and losing a writing job that I loved and had worked so hard to achieve. I have questioned what does the future of travel mean for travel blogs like mine and how I can pivot to accommodate these changes.
As the pandemic rages on, it is hard to think a month or a year ahead, but I am hopeful with more and more vaccines being distributed, people will be able to travel safely once more. I for one cannot wait to go on a road trip to San Francisco to see my parents and sister or board a plane again to visit family in Turkey.
Through all this hardship, I am aware how incredibly fortunate I am to still have a home and financial means, when a lot of people do not. I am immeasurably lucky to have my health, and that my loved ones are healthy and those who have been sick have recovered without long-term side effects. I know many have lost family and friends to this devastating virus. I am grateful to have my husband by my side, when so many are alone in quarantine.
Keeping my life in perspective is what has gotten me through this year. Staying at home, doing my part is the least I can do, as those who are essential workers continue to work on the front lines, whether in a hospital or a grocery store.
For me, this was a year of deep introspection. It started with the protests that demanded justice for Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and so many others that deserve to be remembered. This was a wake-up call for me, where I realized that as a biracial Asian-American women, I have been sheltered all of my life by the mostly white spaces I have inhabited.
I recognize how much I still need to learn, that this is just the beginning. I have slowly been trying to change the media I consume, the books I read, the lens with which I travel, the business I support and the non-profits I am involved in. I know this is just a small step, but it is an important one.
I have used this time to take advantage of the privilege of slowing down. I learned that it is okay not to be busy every single moment. I improved my mental health. I have struggled with anxiety my entire life and finally saw a therapist this year to learn how to quiet all the noise in my mind. I have also addressed long-term digestive issues by following a strict FODMAP diet and began to heal my ailing gut.
I have learned to look forward to the rush of endorphins from working out from YouTube videos such as The Body Project or Pop Pilates. I am focusing on personal writing projects that make me feel fulfilled solely by the act of writing for myself. I’ve watched so many good shows (Insecure, Unorthodox, Taste The Nation) and read memorable books (City of Girls, The Vanishing Half, My Year of Rest and Relaxation).
I am not sure what 2021 will hold, but I am cautiously optimistic that a better world lies ahead. I am looking forward to continuing to write engaging content for this blog, as well as hopefully expand to regular travel videos on YouTube as well. I am determined to travel to Joshua Tree the moment it is safe to do so, since that was our last trip that we had planned before the pandemic struck and I cannot wait to share it all with you. Until then, stay safe and stay healthy. Thank you for sharing this space with me.