What to write for a travel review of 2020? I debated on even writing this year-end review for 2020 travel. So much that it’s the start of January before I feel it is worth my time to reflect. Frustrated and deflated on a year that was like no other. But, after scrolling through my photos on my phone we honestly made the best of a brutal year for travel.
This is the first year I haven’t travelled internationally for over 20 years. It took me a while to go back and try to count how long its been, but I had time in 2020 to reflect! This year was not like our previous international travel years of 2019, 2018 or 2017.
Our original travel plans for 2020 included New Orleans, USA and Victoria, BC booked in advance but everything else was going to be last minute and live for the moment.
January came barrelling in with a big change in our family and trying to figure out what condition Luca had since he was in a lot of pain. It wasn’t until later in the year that we were informed of his CRMO diagnosis. And to be honest, we were too consumed with his health journey to think about travel or even if it would be possible at the start of the year.
So for us, any amount of travel or weekend trips would be a blessing to be able to enjoy our family.
Like most everyone else in the world, we stayed local and close to home but discovered some new places and went back to some of our favourites.
What You'll Find in This Post
Skiing & Snowboarding at Big White Ski Resort, BC
Our saving grace of the winter months has been able to ski and snowboard out at Big White Ski Resort, which is only an hour away from where we lived. Even though the ski hill was shut down in March, and missed the amazing spring skiing, we had some great family days out at the ski hill at the beginning of the year and again in December when they re-opened.
Fresh air, exercise, outside, no electronics and family time was what we needed this year and skiing and snowboarding was the perfect outlet for us. Even if all the fun kid activities at Big White aren’t open due to COVID we are still making the most of it.
We love were we live and are extremely grateful we made the move here!
Camping at Paul’s Lake, BC
A weekend away camping at Paul’s Lake was perfect for us. They have amazing hiking paths and being a smaller campground it’s quiet and peaceful. Perfect s’mores and campfires for us.
We found our quiet and peace here where there was no cell coverage unless you climbed up top to this point!
Fishing at Mabel Lake, BC
At the beginning of the camping season, all the facilities were not ready for us tent folks to spend time at their campgrounds. So, we were flexible and rented a trailer so that we could have a mini-vacation out at Mabel Lake. We were able to rent a small fishing boat and try our hand at figuring out the fishing tactics here. Sofia caught a large Rainbow trout and folks in the campground were clapping at her catch of the day.
We learned to be flexible and make things happen during this trip. Not exactly how we thought we would camp here, but it all worked out in the end.
Exploring Nelson, BC and area
We absolutely loved Nelson and the area that surrounds it. We went paddleboarding, hiking and exploring all the areas close by. We even went on the longest free ferry ride in the world!
Sometimes places don’t need to be well known and get off the beaten path to discover somewhere new.
Checking out Victoria, BC
We had originally planned to go to Victoria in May, but with ferry services being limited to only locals and island folks for COVID we needed to postpone our trip. But we made it happen in September with only a few days left before school started back up.
Camping at Shuswaps, BC
We loved this campsite so much and had such an amazing family weekend here that we didn’t really even leave the campground. But we didn’t care, we wanted to have campfires, ride our bikes, cook outside, play cards on the picnic table and just enjoy the outside.
We’ll be back to this spot again and check out more places close by.
Enjoying our own “Backyard” in the Okanagan
We are lucky to live in Kelowna, British Columbia. But we made that choice after our 1 year trip around the world, and we did that on purpose knowing we wanted to explore this amazing part of Canada! We were fortunate enough to still be able to have family and friends come and visit us during the summer when we weren’t in lockdown or restrictions of how many people per household.
We took day trips to Penticton, Lake Country, Dee Lake, West Kelowna, Coldstream and so many other recreational parks close by. We went to beaches, wineries, adventure parks, playgrounds, bike rides, fishing spots, fruit orchards and long walks at the lakes.
We also were home enough this summer to actually grow a small garden and see it flourish! Plus, I devoured many bottles of wine with this view on our back deck!
Travel Plans for 2021
The short answer is, who knows?!? We had tried to be optimistic and plan a big international trip for the March school break but looks like I will be phoning the airline to cancel those tickets this week.
Our plan was to go to Japan, but with the recent increase of restrictions for Canadian travel, 14-day quarantine and more expected restrictions to come on any kind of international visitors to Japan our plans just got crushed again!
We knew it was a long shot when we booked it, and it helped us stay optimistic for international travel but with a stack of airline credits, we will most likely be trying to explore places that we can drive to until we can try to rebook some guaranteed international flights again.
Our January, February and March plan now includes some long weekends at Big White for skiing and snowboarding vacations. Which we are ecstatic about! We are just crossing our fingers that the ski hill stays open.
We will start planning for more road trips and camping in spring and summer (and hopefully their booking reservations don’t crash again this year). We will keep an open mind and see what happens for 2021 travel.
Overall, we are grateful for every travel experience and place we saw in 2020.