Life has changed… a lot. Time to spill the beans on what the last few months has been like, and what’s next.
It’s strange when I think back to New Year’s Eve 2019. Six months ago, we were sat in a cosy village pub, excitedly looking forward to the year 2020. Macca and I thought 2020 was going to be our year.
2020 – Our Year
The year we’d buy a flat together.
The year we’d get married.
The year we’d launch our first joint venture.
And that was just the start.
A honeymoon, the next phase of our travel blogging careers, perhaps our biggest earning year yet. There was so much excitement and anticipation. Maybe we’d start thinking about the pitter patter of tiny Chlomacs too!
2020 – The Start
2020 started ok. Other than getting a camper van stuck in the mud and having to be towed out (oooops!) life was moving at a good pace. Jobs were coming in, blog traffic was growing, life was feeling exciting and wedding plans were well and truly underway. I’d bought my dress, chosen my bridesmaids and even had a secret Pinterest board on the go!
Then lockdown hit. The jobs evaporated into thin air, our website traffic dipped by 80% and life started to change.
But wait, 2020 was going to be our year, remember?
2020 – The Year Of Getting By
2020 has turned into this weird year of ‘getting by’. Of compromises and prefixing or ending statements with ‘it could be worse’.
I mean, ‘it’s been nice to get to know the area better… it could be worse’.
‘It could be worse, I mean, we’ve loved having so much time to cook new recipes.’
And yes, it could be worse.
Sadly, 2020 was going to be a lot of people’s years. Weddings, house moves, new jobs, new starts and more. Friends have lost loved ones, long before their time was up. Others have lost jobs, and are desperately hunting for new roles. Many are having to make do with jobs that are way beneath them, just to have something to tide them over. Relationships have crumbled as pressures have mounted.
It turns out we’re all facing our own challenges, both mentally and emotionally. I’m someone who loves to be in control. I’m a planner through and through. For me, the challenge has been letting go of knowing what the future looks like… and letting go of 2020 being a special year.
It’s not all doom and gloom though…
2020 – June Update
Just before lockdown in March we started the house hunt. We’re looking to buy a 2-bed flat in west London. On the week that we were due to attend our first viewings, the government announced we shouldn’t travel anywhere unless it was essential. We cancelled the viewings, and put the flat hunt on hold.
Thankfully, in the last few weeks restrictions have lifted to allow viewings to resume. We’ve seen 12 places so far. Nowhere quite right yet, but it’s been nice to have a new focus. Wait, two secs, I just need to refresh Right Move for the 89th time this morning!
We’ve discovered some new patches of London that are absolutely stunning. Last Saturday we walked along the Grand Union Canal in Hanwell, and then discovered a huge viaduct and a park filled with wild flowers. WOW! It’s not quite like travelling, but it’s been fun to venture out into the world again.
As for the process? It’s pretty odd meeting masked-up estate agents outside properties, as we don our colourful face coverings too. Is this a house viewing or a medical examination?
Workwise, it’s been a bizarre few months, and a true test of our self-motivation. Friends have been asking what we’re filling our days with. Most people would assume that travel bloggers who can’t go out, aren’t able to do their jobs.
It turns out we can, but rather than having deadlines and clients to deal with, our daily routine is devised by us. I’ve been busy writing posts I never had time to write when life was busy, updating SEO and key info on old posts and backing up my entire photo library to the cloud. We got ahead on our business accounts and even submitted our tax returns in April, nine months earlier than usual. We’ll be feeling very smug when everyone is panicking as the January 2021 deadline looms!
As with many, I hoped there’d be one thing I’d feel proud of achieving during lockdown. People have been learning new skills, languages and doing DIY. We set to work on our new website the Great British Bucket List. It’s been so rewarding watching it grow. We’ve put in the hours and it’s starting to pay off.
We’ve published 45 posts now, many of which won’t be relevant until people can travel more freely and local businesses reopen. We can’t wait to watch the next stages as traffic increases and we’re able to go on content trips around the UK.
It’s been lovely to working with Macca too. While we travel together a lot, all of our blog content has always been separate. We’ve learned so much over the years, and now we’re working on this new site, we’re constantly teaching each other things.
Since I wrote about planning a wedding in lockdown, a few of you have been asking how things are going. Our wedding is booked for 19th September – exactly 3 months tomorrow. Right now in the UK all weddings are prohibited. It’s likely that small socially-distanced ceremonies will be permitted soon, but it’s unlikely that a wedding on our scale (around 100 people) will be allowed for a while.
We’re in total limbo. It’s been another thing I’ve had to let go of. I read that countries such as New Zealand and Germany are allowing big group events now, and it led me to daydream about our big day going ahead as planned.
But then what kind of wedding would that be? One where we spend the day worrying one of our guests has the virus and is infecting our nearest and dearest? One where we hit the dance floor but can’t dance with any of our guests? One where people spend the day in masks and gloves? It’s not exactly sounding like the big day of our dreams… !
I’ve also been thinking about all the people involved in the wedding industry. It’s a really tough time for small businesses in particular. The little bridal shop where I bought my wedding dress has announced they’ll be closing at the end of September – devastating news. Part of the reason I fell in love with the dress was the lovely service from the passionate ladies working there! Then there’s the seamstress I’ve booked to alter my dress in the summer. She’s swapped sewing dresses and veils for face masks, and has pivoted her business to provide what people need right now.
We’re hoping the next UK government review at the end of June will offer a bit more guidance. For now, though, it’s another thing I’m trying to let go of. What will be will be. When we do get married, whenever that is, I’m sure it’ll be the happiest day of our lives!
So that’s a mini life update from me.
Maybe 2020 will be our year. Not the year we expected, but a special life-changing year that we definitely won’t forget in a hurry.
Thanks for taking the time to read this post and for continuing to follow my adventures on social media. I really appreciate it and I can’t wait to take you on my travels again when the time is right.
For now, stay safe and catch up soon. Cx