As 2020 comes to a close, we can’t help but look back at the last 12 months and thank our lucky star, for being able to live our dream life with very little inconvenience, while so many people around the world are dying or are being affected physically, emotionally and financially by this awful pandemic. We sometimes feel irresponsible to post travel pictures when so many are hurting but considering the feedback we’ve received from many of you, we decided to continue sharing our adventures, hoping it inspires you to live out your dreams, what ever they may be, or at the very least, it will bring a little bit of sunshine to your day and a smile to your face.
The year in review:
South Georgia Islands and Antarctica
We started 2020 with a bang, since we had reached the tip of South America after almost five years of driving south, we celebrated this milestone and the new decade by embarking on an expedition to Antarctica and what an experience that was. (December 28, 2019 – January 11, 2020)
After our Antartica expedition, we headed North for the fist time in five years, along the East Coast of Argentina. A long and quite boring drive compare to the west side with the magnificent Patagonia. But we made the best of it stopping in little towns or wild camping overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. (January 11 – 28, 2020)
From Argentina we continued to Southern Brazil where we spent the month of February getting Silver restored in the little town of Canela. It was our second visit to Brazil since we had already explored the Pantanal region, Bonito and Iguazu falls. Our plan was to ship Silver at the end of March in Montevideo and continue our travels, backpacking through Brazil’s Northeast, to finish our South American Grand Tour with a 10 day stay in Rio de Janeiro and fly home on May 5th 2020, exactly 5 years to the day, from when we left Florida to embarked on this amazing journey. Shipping arrangements were made, flights were booked, hostels and Airbnb reserved. Well, let’s just say it didn’t quite work out this way! While Silver was getting his beauty treatment we rented an Airbnb, that’s when we started seeing reports of a new virus called COVID-19, little did we know how devastating it would turn out to be.
Nonetheless we enjoyed our stay in Canela and even had time for a little bit of beach time in Garopaba, Bombinhas, Laguna and Mirim Lake. (January 28 – March 17, 2020)
After barely making it through the Brazil – Uruguay border, we met our shipping partner in the little town of Punta del Diablo where we spent the night, it was getting quite obvious that things were starting to get complicated with the Virus so we decided to continue on towards Montevideo, on the way we stopped at a friend of a friend’s house in Maldonado where we could get good wifi to monitor the situation. Thank you Gloria for welcoming us during these crazy times, it was reassuring to have someone to count on in case we couldn’t make it out of the country.
We communicated with the shipping company in Montevideo and they told us to brig our truck even though we were scheduled to ship only at the end of the month. On March 19, we arrived in Montevideo. The staff at Wave Logistics was very understanding, they stressed to us the importance of getting a flight back to the US as soon as possible because the tension was building and nobody knew what was going to happened next. Within 15 minutes I had our flights booked for that night, we gave them the keys to Silver, grabbed a few things and jumped in a taxi for the airport!!!
Just after midnight on March 20, 2020 we took the last regular flight out of Uruguay to come back to Florida, seven weeks before our scheduled time. In retrospected it was the best decision we made considering what we all know happened next! (March 17-20, 2020)
US Road trip with the grandkids
In June, while Silver, our beloved truck camper, was making the voyage on a cargo ship back to the US, we received a message from a potential buyer. Even before we got Silver out of the container we had a contract! Since Silver’s new owners were located in Colorado and we had promised our three grand children to take them on a trip, we loaded up Silver for a 3 week road trip from Florida to Colorado visiting a few National Parks and camping along the way, despite the pandemic, it turned out to be quite a fun trip. Our grandkids are the best travel companions we can ask for.
We left Silver with his new owners in Boulder Colorado and we flew back to Florida. (June 29 – July 21, 2020)
By the end of August we were really itching to continue our travels, after seeing a friend’s social media pictures in Istanbul, I contacted her and she gave us enough positive information for us to make the decision to fly to Turkey for an indefinite period of time.
Turkey turned out to be a huge surprise, we never though we would love it that much. We stayed one month in Istanbul enjoying the attractions, the incredible food, making new friends and exploring the different neighborhoods. In October we flew to the region of Cappadocia to see the fairytale landscape and try our first Hot Air Balloon ride. Then on to Izmir where we rented a car to explore the ancient city of Ephesus, the thermal waters of Pamukkale, the Bodrum Peninsula and finally the little coastal town of Kas where we spent a month and a half in a beautiful apartment overlooking the mediterranean. (September 8 – December 2, 2020)
Our 90 day Turkish visa was coming to an end, we had to decide if we wanted to extend it or move on. We very strongly considered staying in Turkey but the country was starting to experience it’s second wave of COVID and it was also getting colder.
I’ve been keeping informed through travel websites and facebook group like Travel Off Path about the different travel options and restrictions. We wanted somewhere warm, cheap but we didn’t want to cross the Atlantic, for a while we were thinking about Croatia and Italy but by the time we were ready to book our flights, all Europe was closing due to a second wave of the virus. Another popular option in the Nomadic world was Tanzania but since we want to overland south and east Africa we decided to keep Tanzania for later, the other option also in Africa was Egypt. What a perfect opportunity to visit the great pyramids with no or very little tourists?
We arrived in Cairo on December 2nd and what a chaotic City it turned out to be, we weren’t quite prepared for that but we quickly adapted with the helpful guidance of Egyptians we met. With 25 million people living in greater Cairo I can’t even imagine what it’s like when you add the usual crazy amount of tourists to the mix. Seeing the great pyramids and all the other archeological sites with hardly anyone around was a once in a lifetime opportunity, we’re glad we came. The short visit to the White desert was a wonderful experience but so far the highlight has been, a four night, Dahabiya cruise on the Nile River between Luxor and Aswan.
We spend Christmas on the Red Sea at an all inclusive resort in the town of Marsa Alam thanks to my Hilton Honnors Friend and Family discount (I worked for Hilton in Miami for 13 years). The Red Sea reefs cover an area of more than 1500 km and are some of the most beautiful, colorful and healthy in the world. What makes it quite unique is that a lot of the coral reefs are accessible directly from the beach so no need for expensive boat tours, a true snorkeling and diving paradise.
We are celebrating the New Year in another resort town on the Red Sea called, Sharm El-Sheikh. We’re enjoying the snorkeling and the great weather 26C (79F) during the day and 18C (65F) at night. The once very busy luxurious enclave is almost empty with just a few foreign and Egyptian tourists.
What about 2021?
Short answer: we have no idea!
As of January 2nd we will be renting an apartment for a month in the small laid-back town of Dahab on the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt, but after that we really don’t know. We may decide to go back to the US or continue on … the covid situation around the world and accessibility to the vaccine will determine where we end up!
We wish all of you a VERY HAPPY AND HEALTHY NEW YEAR hopefully filled with ADVENTURES and most of all lots of LOVE.
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