2020: A year in review

Happy holidays! As the year finally wraps up, it’s time to look back at all that has happened during the mess that was 2020. I would have liked to write a similar post as I did in 2019, reflecting on my top travel moments of the year, but you all know how our globetrotting dreams were crushed over the past 365 days.

Travelling in the nick of time.

Starting off on a brighter note, I’d like to highlight our initial fantastic start to 2020. In February, following a quiet New Year at home, Mr. Chuckles and I were able to go ahead with our highly anticipated trip back to Southeast Asia — this time to Cambodia and Vietnam. We spent just over two weeks exploring around Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Ho Chi Minh City, Hoi An, and Hanoi. We checked off our longstanding bucket list item of seeing the wondrous Angkor Wat; cruised on the majestic Bai Tu Long Bay; cycled among the karsts of Ninh Binh; and went on lots and lots of food tours.

While we were away, the world was beginning to implode. We returned home in late February, and in mid-March, the World Health Organization finally declared the coronavirus pandemic. We couldn’t have been luckier with our timing, as we had been able to enjoy an uninterrupted trip and got home safely without any hiccups. If it had been only a couple weeks later, we may have ended up stranded abroad like many other unfortunate travellers.

Doctoring during a pandemic.

In March, I returned to work, donning my scrubs and layers of PPE to take care of medical inpatients in my role as a hospitalist physician. The first month or so during the pandemic was a relatively quiet period in the hospital, although filled with anxiety as we anticipated the wave that was to come.

Indeed, our number of Covid cases rose steadily and over the past nine months, I have personally cared for dozens of Covid patients — some of whom have made quick recoveries, and many of whom have suffered critical illness and passed away. I also continue to take care of a significant number of patients who have survived the infection, but are left with severe complications and functional impairments, akin to a medical purgatory. Yet somehow, there are still people out there who feel that Covid is no big deal, or even a hoax altogether. 🤦🏻‍♀️

Cancelled plans and summer in the city.

In May, we were meant to travel to Iceland, Scotland, and England but this plan was obviously derailed. We never ended up making any bookings, which at least relieved us of the stress from coordinating a trip cancellation.

Instead of walking down the black sand beaches of Iceland or exploring the Scottish highlands, we spent our spring and summer at home in Toronto. We occupied several weekend afternoons on the Islands; took walks along the waterfront; cooked many Goodfood meals; and explored some local attractions we had never visited, like Allan Gardens and Casa Loma.

Re-discovering local travel.

In September, we were able to at least partially satiate our travel craving, with a weekend trip to Niagara Falls.

We booked ourselves the nicest hotel room we could find, and took the three hour bus ride from Toronto to the falls. We got to see the waterfalls up close via Journey Behind the Falls and also spent some time checking out a few other nearby attractions within Niagara Parks, including the white-water rapids and butterfly conservatory. Mr. Chuckles and I had not been to the area for over a decade, so it was a nice time revisiting with fresh eyes.

Refreshing my travel blog.

It goes without saying that it’s been tough going for most travel bloggers this year. Lacking in new content, I’ve taken to filling up my own blog with old travel memories.

New blog series started this year include On This Day, where I recap travel experiences on their trip anniversaries; and Best of Toronto, where I highlight all there is to see and do in my home city. I’ve also revamped the website layout and think it’s looking pretty sharp! In addition, connecting I’ve Bean Travelling with social media (especially Twitter) has increased my readership and engagement exponentially. At least this one thing is going well and keeping me busy while I’m homebound.

Saying goodbye to 2020.

Earlier in the year, we had hoped that things would be somewhat settled by the end of November and maybe a short trip not too far away could be possible, but alas, this was not to be. Lockdown measures in our region were reinstated in the fall, and will probably remain in place over the winter holidays. As such, we’ve continued to stay home through the last part of the year. Throughout December, we will be preparing for a quiet Christmas at home. We’ve decorated the tree, checked out winter village in the Distillery District, and Mr. Chuckles has a chicken dinner in the works for the big day — recipe to come!

Wishing you and yours a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Here’s to a better 2021! ♥️

18 responses to “2020: A year in review”

  1. Thank you for your insightful post. You must have been very brave to care for Covid 19 patients.
    Merry Christmas and a far better and healthy New Year


    PS: Am over 60, but heard on the radio today that our age group will not get the shots before summer in Germany. Hopefully this will be going quicker somehow…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for reading! Here in Canada, I don’t think the vaccine will be rolled out to the general population until summer 2021 as well and there are no plans announced yet at the hospital where I work either, so we are in the same boat!

      Wishing you a happy and healthy Christmas & New Year 🙂


  2. Thank you for all you’ve done to care for COVID patients. Have a safe holiday season and here’s to (hopefully) a better 2021!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Diana! Keep safe and wishing you a happy, healthy holiday season 🎊

      Liked by 1 person

  3. How similar were our travel plans for 2020 🙃🙃🙃 We also went to Cambodia in February and cancelled our Iceland trip in summer … but at least we were able to do a road trip in the North of Portugal in September. We all hope that things will get better soon, but here in Europe all seems to go in the wrong direction again… Let’s hope vaccines are rolled out soon (they would start in Belgium before Xmas), but indeed it will take months. I keep my fingers crossed … Have a great Xmas and New Year… and good luck with the future blogs 👍👍👍

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wonder if we will cross paths someday; our travel plans are so similar in destination and timing too! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you as well 🤗

      Liked by 1 person

  4. My thanks to you for being a medical worker in these days of the pandemic. We all appreciate you! Medical workers are the front line for the vaccine in most places, to help keep you safe. Be well and best wishes for the new year.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Ruth. Hope you are keeping safe on your end and have a happy, healthy Christmas and New Year!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. You were very fortunate to still travel internationally just before COVID-19 hit! My cousin had done the same literally weeks before the pandemic was declared, as she came from Canada to the US to visit me for a weekend in early March. I deeply admire your dedication to your job, as you’re the frontline workers for sure; it’s incredible just how much work and sacrifice you’ve put in to help others in times of desperate need (and I do hope you didn’t get COVID through it all). Here’s to hopefully a better year in 2021, with the vaccine being gradually-administered and everything. Stay safe!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I definitely feel very lucky to have managed one international trip before the travel shutdown – I’m going to live off those memories for awhile longer! Hope you’re keeping safe and have a happy holiday season, Rebecca!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Merry Christmas and Happy 2021 to you as well. There was so much talk about the vaccine and then… nothing. As teachers we’re supposed to be in the second tier, but who knows if that’s going to be the case and when that will happen. I’m sorry to learn that you aren’t yet scheduled for your first vaccination dose. I hope it’s coming soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The last update I received is that a vaccination clinic MIGHT be opening up at one of our hospital sites this week, prioritizing people who work in long term care. Teachers should definitely be way up on the list for the vaccine too – there are probably so many cases brewing in schools. Those kids are the perfect germ vectors!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yep, and our governor just changed his orders to allow elementary schools to go back 100% (no social distancing) and my district jumped on that within a few hours of the governor’s announcement. 😳🥵🤬

        Liked by 1 person

      2. No plans to extend the Christmas break? I think that is what they are announcing today in our province.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. That sounds good in theory, but my district would surely tack those extra missed weeks onto the end of the school year.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. merry christmas and all that Jess! And thanks to you for the ‘On this Day’ idea which I ‘borrowed’ on more than one occasion. have a wonderful holiday period!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for the inspiration to ‘borrow’ Photo Friday! The best thing about blogging is sharing ideas, right? Merry Christmas Andy!


  8. […] lieu of my annual Year in Review, I was inspired by Lyssy in the City this year to post my own holiday home tour. Instead of […]


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