2020: the year in review

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)

Argentina

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)

Brazil

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)

Uruguay

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

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?

Egypt

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.

For regular updates on our travels please follow our stories

on Instagram @joeandjosee and Facebook Joe and Josée’s Journey

www.joeandjoseesjourney.com

16 thoughts on “2020: the year in review

  1. Joe its hard to believe its been 5 years since we met you told me about this Adventure in Miami. I have Loved reading and following you guys on your adventure. Can’t imagine how hard it is out there for you. Be Safe, Enjoy, and Keep sending us all the Beautiful Pictures and facts of the World. My Family is doing great and see you next time your in Florida. Your Cousin Paul

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    1. Hi Paul,
      Wow! I am so happy you are following along. Happy New Year to you and the family. We are continuing our Journey currently on the Sinai Peninsula for the next Month then hoping to get another Camper possibly in South Africa if the pandemic calms down otherwise we will look for another country to explore keeping safe always. We continue to meet incredible people and learn more about this awesome world so stay tuned. See you when we come back.
      God Bless!
      Joe

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    1. Salut Monique
      Merci pour ton commentaire c’est gentil. Bonne Année à toi et Bernard, on vous souhaite la santé et plein de bonheur pour 2021 et surtout la fin de ce maudit virus 🦠
      Bisous
      ❤️
      J&J

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  2. Happy New Year from Ottawa with hardly any snow. Blue Sea has more…..keep moving and enjoy everything. It is a pleasure to follow you. So far we and the family are keeping healthy. Don& Denise

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    1. Hi Denise & Don,
      Glad to hear from you and so happy that you are both well. I heard from my family about all the restrictions, it’s especially difficult during the holidays to be apart from your loved ones.
      Let’s hope 2021 brings better times and a return to some sort of normalcy.
      Love ❤️
      J&J

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      1. Hi Yamila,
        Thank you for traveling along with us! So glad you’re enjoying our blog, when I read comments like yours, it motivates me to continue.
        ❤️
        J&J

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  3. Wow what great timing with covid! We drove from California to Argentina over the past 3 years and also had some luck because we decided, just before covid in February, to settle down for the year in a little mountain town in Central Argentina nd enroll our daughter in school here. Obviously the school part didn’t happen, but we’ve been grateful to spend this wacky year surrounded by mountains and rivers, and very few cases of covid. Now we’re hitting the road to try to explore some of Patagonia, but Chile is closed so it won’t be quite the same as we’d hoped – just means we’ll have to return another year in future!
    I have loved seeing your posts of Turkey and now Egypt, so don’t feel bad! We are plotting our next adventure which may likely be biking across Europe. Maybe we will cross paths!!! Keep on loving life and each other!!
    – Mary and John and Lilly

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    1. Hi Monkeys!
      Yes we were extremely lucky with the timing, to go back only seven weeks before our scheduled return date. It’s really nothing compare to so many other travelers, when I think of those who were just starting their journey 😔
      Argentina is such a fantastic country to be “stuck” in for a year, I’m sure it will be an unforgettable experience you will cherish for ever.
      Wow cycling Europe sounds wonderful, we can’t wait to do it in a van in a few years, we’re kind of keeping it for the end! 😂
      It’s a small world, it would be so much fun to meet you guys. We spent a few days with a wonderful couple UK/Australian with their 5 year old daughter named Lily a few weeks ago in Aswan. We really enjoy meeting other travelers, as you know life on the road can get lonely sometimes!
      Happy New year and enjoy Patagonia
      🧡💜💚
      J&J

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  4. Hi guys,

    I have written you on Facebook messenger as well, but thought I would touch base here as well. It seems as though we have alot in common and seem to be on the same travelling track right now!

    We just left Turkey and are now in Egypt. I came across you because I was searching for a facebook page for the Mango Guest House in Aswan. A post you made about having a canine receptionist came up and said that you were at the Mango Guest House. So i clicked on your name and learned that you are now in Dahab.

    We just arrived on the 3rd to Hurghada, and had planned on taking the ferry across to Sharm el-Shiekh from here and then moving on to Dahab, only to find out that it has stopped running due to Covid. So now we are either faced with a 14 hour drive through Suez, or changing plans and heading south to Aswan and Marsa Alam. So that is how we came across the Mango Guest House.

    We are full time travelling artists and we paint murals in exchange for accommodation in most places that we travel. We are hunting down a place that may want our services, and through booking.com I saw the Mango Guest House and noticed that they have some artwork (an may want more) but I couldn’t find an email address or way to get in touch with them directly. Do you have contact info for them?

    Also, I see that you want to Marsa Alam. It looks amazing! Would love to hear more about that if you have the time.

    To learn more about us you can view our website at http://www.artisticvoyages.com. Thanks so much for your time and information. It’s nice to fins some kindred travelling spirits over the airwaves:)

    Kind Regards,
    Jill

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