Wanderland Workshops are here! Don’t miss our very first, a Travel in 2021 Workshop on Thursday, February 11th 2021, from 5-7PM EST!
Before I start this post, I’d like to take a good, long, hearty and hilarious look back at some of the exciting predictions I made for 2020:
• “I have a pretty good idea of how my year is going to look — a much more detailed view than usual.” Well, that is just straight L.O.L.
• “One thing is for sure — it’s going to be an epic year of adventures, including at least two new countries, one new state, and a bunch of longtime dreams coming true.” HAAAAAAAAAA. (Actually I did go to the new state, and one new country, but the overall sentiment is pretty hysterical.)
Whew. Now that we got that out of our system, let’s look forward. It’s a new year, the US has a new president, and we’ve got brand new vaccines flying through the approval process. There are brighter days ahead. At least that’s what I tell myself, because hope don’t cost a thing.
What’s travel going to look like in 2021 and beyond? It’s the million dollar question. (Which, it just so happens, we are addressing soon!) Right now I am taking the approach of moving forward with making future plans, but trying my best to stay flexible and keep expectations light. For me, having things to look forward to is key to getting through this difficult period in which work, travel, and relationships have been interrupted or put on hold.
At the beginning of the year, I sat down with my calendar bursting with rescheduled conferences, weddings, and events and found that many in the first quarter of the year had once again been cancelled or postponed — no huge surprise given the current state of the world. Still, many later in the year are holding out hope for a return to some semblance of normalcy as the vaccine is more widely distributed and warmer weather makes its way to the Northern Hemisphere once again.
My own 2021, like many of yours I’m sure, it tentatively filled up with events bumped from 2020 into the future. We’re running, we hope, seven Wander Women Retreats; six rescheduled, one fresh. I’m attending — or standing up in — up to five weddings; three rescheduled, two fresh. I’m planning three bachelorette parties. I’m potentially visiting two or more new countries. I’m going to try to stick to my new-state-per-year goal — though I have no idea what it will be. I’m… apartment hunting?! Wow, that got weird. Let’s dive in!
January // Viva Mexico
I spent January in Quintana Roo, where I’ve been based since the end of November 2019 and starting planting the seeds for last summer. After the holidays my friend Steph came from Puerto Vallarta, where she is a teacher, and we bounced between Tulum and Playa del Carmen, where I’d been splitting my time, and took a few days to travel to Valladolid. When she went home to West Coast of Mexico I bopped over to Cozumel to wrap up planning one of our 2022 retreats with a mermaid there. True story.
I’d planned to head to Puerto Escondido at the end of the month, but somehow my days back here in Tulum feel full and I’m still slowly checking off my to-do list for my Riviera Maya retreat coming up in 2022. I’d planned to arrive here and pick one solid home base to settle down and rent an apartment in, but the truth is I haven’t found that perfect spot that has everything — so I have been bouncing around a bit between various apartments in different cities. Still, I’d say of everywhere, Tulum feels the most like home.
February – April // Up In The Air
Well, here’s my big announcement — in February, I’m flying back to New York. I’m not sure if it’s going to end up being a whole new chapter or simple a palate cleanser to my Mexico one, but let’s see where this goes. When I flew to Mexico at the end of November 2019, I truly thought I might be here until May… so making solid predictions just feels futile right now.
Right now, I plan to spend these months in New York City, apartment hunting. It’s hard to say much more than that when so much is in the air and I’m so uncertain as to my next steps, but at least investigating this idea just feels like an itch I need to scratch. I feel called to be in a place that feels like home, to be surrounded by people I love, and to feel grounded, and right now, New York feels like it’s perhaps the — cold — answer. I’ll also be spending some time in Albany, settling some of my mom’s affairs and taking a restorative aerial teacher training a Good Karma Studio. And while it’s a little complicated this year with major restrictions on lift tickets, I’m hoping to sneak in a mid-week ski trip in the Catskills!
Yet part of me is like, ha ha, Alex and winter? I’ll be on the first plane back to Mexico. It shall be interesting.
Generally, I don’t think I’ve had a more unscheduled stretch since… ever? It’s funny how perspective changes quickly, though. I was on the phone with a friend recently and told her yeah, April is really busy for me… because I happen to have two tentative things on two separate days. For the entire month.
But I’m kind of grateful for it, at the moment at least. I feel like it’s time to get bored, time to work on projects, and time to tie up some threads in my life that have been unraveled since my mom got sick. (Sometimes I’m embarrassed to admit it’s taking me so long.) So far, I’ve been super productive in 2020, and I’d like that to continue. I finally want to make the most of this downtime.
May – June // The Middle East… Maybe?
That said, I am always fighting my inner adventurer. While I have some potential trips I’d love to take on my way to my potential next retreat in May (ah, isn’t plan-making a blast this year?!) I am mainly holding out to see how things unfold in the next few weeks and months. I am beside myself with aching to see my friends in the UK, and put in some Maid of Honor face time with my friend Amy.
I also fantasize about a research trip to Oman for a future retreat, with a stop in Dubai en route. Oh and visiting my best friend Kat in Kenya. The list goes on. My current motto? Whether it happens in 2021 or 2031, I’m having fun daydreaming! Plenty of studies show the act of planning travel can give us the same boost as actually doing it… so why not?
Right now, it’s very unclear if our rescheduled Israel Aerial Arts + Yoga Retreat (still spots available!) and my Israel Adventure + Yoga Retreat (waitlist only) will be happening in late May and early June of 2021, which is definitely an uncomfortable amount of uncertainty — we’ll be making our decision at the end of February, to give our guests time to plan.
While I have my fingers crossed, and Israel’s rapid administration of the vaccine to its own citizens is seriously inspiring, they have not announced clear plans to reopen the country. There is hope! But should they not, we’ll bump the whole shebang — again — back a year, to 2022. I have a deep connection to Israel and miss it enormously. So I hope we see a massive improvement, soon.
The next item on my itinerary, in June, is also a rescheduled one — the wedding in Red Lodge, Montana, that I was meant to attend in 2020. The couple did marry in an incredibly small ceremony on the mountaintop, but put a pin in this date the following year for a safe celebration. Fingers crossed it happens — I’d love to see those folks, and this beautiful place.
And then, the following weekend is blocked off for a bachelorette — one that was originally planned for Tulum, Mexico, but we are currently exploring other options for given international travel restrictions and the profession of the bride. Suddenly, Scottsdale is looking appealing! It’s still six months from now, so we shall see where we end up.
July // Ain’t That America
Here’s where things start to at least feel a bit more certain.
As always, I’m planning to spend the first week of July in Martha’s Vineyard with my family. Once again I’m a bit wistful that my year isn’t allowing me to spend much time there (I really thought 2021 was going to be me and MV’s year!) but I am eternally optimistic for the future. I am hoping I can stick around and host some friends there the following week, too — it’s been a while since I’ve done that, and it’s one of my favorite things.
By the way, we have just three weeks left up for grabs for rentals this year — if you’re interested in checking out our little slice of paradise in Oak Bluffs, send me an email or leave me a comment and I’ll shoot you the details.
Also on the docket? The Sunshine State! I’m thrilled to report that I’ll be celebrating Women’s Dive Day in Key Largo with a boatful of badass ladies for my rescheduled Sustainability Dive + Yoga Retreat. That this is our next “guaranteed” departure of a trip makes it a special one in my heart, as does the fact that I’ll be getting my full coral propagation certification while on it. It will be my big diving course of the year, something I try to complete annually. While the trip is sold out, like all that we are running this year unless otherwise indicated, don’t be shy about hopping on the wait list as this is a weird year and spots do open up.
I’m still sussing out what my pre-or post-retreat “me time” will be, but I have plenty to pick from in South Florida! I really miss so many of my family and friends down there something fierce.
August // The Red and Med Seas
I’ll start the month close to home — at my childhood bestie’s wedding in Saratoga, New York! Getting to be part of the planning for this intimate event was one of my cherished memories of 2020.
And then, I’ll be off. I’m beyond thrilled to be heading back to the Middle East to run not one, not two, but three back to back rescheduled retreats! We’ll kick off with my Yoga + Adventure Retreat in Lebanon, followed by my Yoga + Ancient Adventures Retreat in Mainland Egypt. Both countries are currently open to tourists with negative PCR tests, so we feel extremely confident about our ability to safely run all these trips. Woot woot!
Normally I make a big effort to take time before or after a retreat for a mini adventure or restorative experience of my own, however with these retreats bookended by weddings, I’ll have to make it snappy. But even if it’s a day or two at a beach club outside Beirut and a few nights on a Cairo houseboat, I’ll do my darnedest to take a hot second to soak it all up.
September // A Southern French Dream
After wrapping my final Middle Eastern Retreat, Wander Women Red Sea, I’ll be flying to the UK to report for Maid of Honor duties for the Banyan reunion — er, wedding celebration — we’ve all been waiting for! My dear friends Amy and Brian will be tying the knot at a castle in France, and I can’t really think of a chicer reason to collect a new passport stamp. The wedding has already been rescheduled once, and I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say I’ve never dreamed more about a trip in my life. I need this reunion like I need oxygen. Get me some air!
We’re still sussing out ideas but it’s looking like a bachelorette weekend in the South of France will precede the wedding, and perhaps a post-nuptial road trip to our friend Shannon and Sam’s place in San Sebastian, Spain will close it out. I’m fairly clueless when it comes to France — so if you have suggestions, please share!
October-December // Stateside Soirees
I’ll return to the US in October for one of my favorite times of the year — fall. In fact, I’m kicking right off with Wander Women Hudson Valley, in my home state of New York. It’s almost sold out already, which fills me with pride and joy. We have just two spots left for DIY camping — bring your own tent or camper, or maybe even rent one (get $50 off your first rental here). They are sure to go quick!
Also on the docket for the month is my girl Shannon’s bachelorette weekend in New Orleans, a city I know and love. According to experts, this is when we could expect the majority of the population to be vaccinated so, there could be lots to celebrate!
Speaking of, November has two of my favorite annual events, my birthday and Thanksgiving. I’m not sure where either will be celebrated, but I certainly wouldn’t mind reviving my old tradition of a birthday blowout with my besties, should an idea and opportunity arise. In between those two, I’ve got at least one epic trip on the itinerary — my sister’s bachelorette weekend in Palm Beach, where I’ve never been before. Bring on the girlfriend getaways!
Other than a possible Caribbean getaway to St. Maartin — my first time! — to celebrate some milestone birthdays with my best friend from childhood’s family, December is a big blank slate.
Why? Because after essentially skipping it in 2020, I intend to celebrate Christmas in a big way — and put all hands on deck for Olivia’s wedding of the century on New Year’s Eve in Philadelphia! I can’t think of better note to end the year on.
. . .
Please, 2021, be kind! Yes, the plans outlined in this post are ambitious. Yes, I could end up spending the whole year once again cancelling and scrambling. Yet I’m so hopeful that I’ll be getting back to work, back in my friends’ arms, and back on the road at some point this year. That said, I’m trying to take the lessons I’ve learned in this time of stillness and not backslide into old habits — ones in which I obsessively filled in every day in the calendar, allowing me little time to soak up life and feel settled and stable. I want to root myself in a home base again, somewhere to nurture and love when I’m not on the road.
I want to remember to give myself some breathing room still, when the world starts slowly unmasking again. So here’s to a fruitful first half of the year, planting seeds for what I hope is a bright and full future in the second half, as our world heals from this difficult time. I’m rooting for us.
What do you have planned — tentatively, of course! — for 2021?
Making plans and having day dreams about such plans feels great doesn’t it
It definitely does it for me! I’d say it’s a pretty huge part of what’s keeping me sane, these days.
Great to hear your travel plans, it’s great to have something to look forward to. I truly hope you get to experience this all.
We still have a non essential travel ban here, so will see how things stand when that lifts. I’m not sure where will be possible to travel to, but I’d actually love to travel round Germany. It had never been on my bucket list tbh, but during lockdown I have brushed off my high school German as a hobby and have unexpectedly got super into it! So I’d love to spend a few weeks there and test out my mangled German on those poor Germans 😀
All the best Alex.
Kat remind me where you are based? I’m actually feeling a little guilty I haven’t used my time in Mexico to get more fluent in Spanish. You’re inspiring me!
I’m in the UK, and all leisure travel is currently banned for the moment.
I’ve enjoyed the German a lot more than unexpected tbh! Learning about the culture has been really cool and have a couple of German language exchange friends now. A little bit of the flavour of travel without actually travelling 😀
I love it! Ah yes, I am chatting with my friends in the UK more than ever right now. I miss them so much, I really hope this is effective so I can come visit this year!
As always, sounds amazing and fingers crossed we all get some travel in 2021! Always a great mixture of adventure and friendture (is that a word).
Our incoming flight bans and days of mandatory hotel-bound quarantine have only been increasing (21 days now!), making leaving risky and still not worth a trip BUT here’s to HOPE that it moves in the other direction soon.
For Florida, please do find some time to hang out with your drool worthy model cousin so that we can enjoy the photos!
Omg Tessa you have made me laugh so hard this morning… thank you for that! Some time in Miami is ABSOLUTELY on the list this year one or both times I (hope to be) in Florida! How is the vaccinating going in Hong Kong?
So glad that made you laugh! And even more so that he is on the cards! I think we start getting vaccines later this month. No one has had one yet
Well here’s hoping it’s an efficient rollout and that allows you to regain some freedom of movement, my girl <3 Thinking of you!
Fingers crossed, my dear that we get to travel to our favorite places again. Covid 19 has shut down many businesses and people are losing jobs, mine affected too. Taking it one day at a time right now. Perhaps it is a reminder for us to slow down (I used to antsy a lot due to work demands, but now I feel like I can breathe! Health is wealth)
It’s true, I definitely don’t miss the days of being so frazzled I could barely catch my breath. Well, sometimes I do 😉 I definitely want to take a more relaxed vibe into my travels moving forward!
Holy cow! Alex, what a head spinning read. I might just have to get out a calendar and map to truly soak in all those fabulous plans. It will be an epic year and ????????you will do a perfect job of it—all those cool retreats!! ❤️
Fingers crossed big time we get to run them! I can’t wait to get back to work <3
Ha, wow! I am personally not making travel plans this year for the first time probably ever. All our 2020 weddings / birthdays etc. have been rescheduled again for 2022. Keeping expectations low – all I ask is that I see my family – in wherever I can legally and safely do so!
But always fun to read about YOUR travels Alex. Let me know if you need any rec’s for Palm Beach – my parents live there part-time & I’ve been going since I was a kid. There’s a great bike loop along the Lake Worth path on one side and the ocean on the other with a beautiful Kapok tree on the lake side that always fills me with awe! The Breakers Hotel is absolutely stunning with a gorgeous ocean view pool and there are some great little art galleries and vintage shops about. Come to think of it, Palm Beach was the last place I took a holiday over Xmas 2019! WATCH OUT FOR THE PORTUGUESE MAN O’ WARS – they got me something fierce last time!!
Believe it or not I’ve only had two things rescheduled to 2022, and they were both conferences — the rest is holding steady for 2021, for now! We shall see. We are starting to solidify 2022 retreats but it stresses me out because I think dang, what if some of these weddings and retreats get bumped again… have to leave room for that! It’s a weird time.
And YES PLEASE to ALL the Palm Beach recs! I love having so much time to perfectly plan this trip!
hi alex! i’m a longtime follower, and also enjoy reading your posts. i live in MA, and have been thinking about a summer trip out to MV – so my interest was piqued about your rental. if you have any availability in later august, i would love details! thank you much!
Hey Gwen! I’m going to shoot you an email right now. Would love to have you.
This was such a beautiful and insightful blog post. I particularly related to the comment towards the end about filling up your diary with lots of plans and not giving yourself time to feel settled in life. I think that the pandemic has been a learning curve for lots of us in this regard.
Indeed! I really am trying to absorb these lessons. I hope to find an equilibrium somewhere in the middle!
Wow, such a different position you find yourself in.
But for a brief week and a half in PNG in March of 2020 (as we got home, the country was locked down), the rest of the year, as well as 2021, are a write off as far as international travel goes.
No allowance to leave our borders for simple leisure travel, although, I have to appreciate that Australia vs much of the world has had vastly different pandemic experiences!
Hey Chris! Definitely we are all riding this same wave in our own boats, so to speak 😉 I hope you have some exciting domestic travel to keep your wanderlust sated until the borders open up a bit!
Planning don’t cost a thing but it shape your future travel life which is the most soul soothing idea during these times. I welcome you Alex when you will visit your friend in Kenya may be you can have a little of adventure in my country Tanzania which is the only covid-free country so you can keep up tha good travelling spirit. Jambo from Tanzania.
I’d absolutely love to make it to Tanzania someday! I have a LOT of Africa still to explore 🙂