A year which started out with so much promise. I was going to reach 20 countries and go on 20 holidays. But my travel plans didn’t happen, both my photographer and I have made it through the year safely and COVID-19 free which is a big success in my eyes.
Here is a round up of my adventures:
New countries visited: Malaysia
Flights – 4
Trains – 0
Boats – 1
Miles traveled – 14140 miles
5% of the world visited.
January started off great, I visited Tutankhamun and London. Where I tried to sneak into Buckingham Palace but got caught. I even stayed in a themed room at Chessington Zoo. Such an exciting weekend had me excited to see what a great year 2020 was going to turn into.
I made it to Malaysia for the beginning of my Asian adventure; only for my photographer to catch something very similar to COVID-19 on the flight. But my photographer recovered really quickly. Much of KL was viewed from the window of my hotel room on the 15th floor, the best place to watch the crazy big city. A day and a half was all it took for me to realise that Kuala Lumpur is an experience I simply was not prepared for. I experienced some great highs, the food in Opium KL; and also some lows, the poverty in KL is something you simply cannot prepare for.
Out of the city and into the jungle. Words cannot describe the moment I realised Malaysia has sold the ecological beauty for Palm oil. It will haunt me forever, as will the sight of monkeys fighting over a plastic bag. A plastic bag which was to be their breakfast (the full story is here). I’ve always loved seeing animals in the wild, though in Malaysia I realised how selfish the humans are. They will do anything for money or the “perfect” Instagram post. This includes rattling a water bottle to get the monkey to sit on them for a photograph, then to be mad and drop the monkey after realising it isn’t a prop but a highly intelligent being.
Heading south to Melaka brought me to the Malaysia I had been searching for. Complete with colourful cow statues, a beautiful riverside and an ecclectic mix of cultures. I even made it to Chinatown, which you will know I often struggle to find when I am on an adventure. I really enjoyed this part of Malaysia and would have happily stayed for a few days with my new furry friend.
Malaysia taught me a lot. 1. Never to use anything containing Palm Oil because it is killing the rainforest. 2. Be compassionate when creating Instagram posts. 3. the smallest and most hidden cafes are usually the best.
From Melaka I should have continued south to my favourite place in Asia, Singapore. Sadly, COVID-19 was beginning to take over the world in March and I was not allowed into the country. Alas began my mad dash across the world to made it back to the UK.
Though that was after a couple of weeks topping up my sun tan in Dubai. Every cloud has a silver lining and for me it was the balcony in the JA Oceanview Hotel. If it was up to me I would live in Dubai with the view so I could enjoy it everyday. I experienced my first ever bout of jet lag and was a rather grumpy dinosaur for the first couple of days.
But that quickly resolved when my photographer picked out a few rather random but fun ideas. Including climbing a giant photo frame, riding on a boat with no sides and a spontaneous trip to Abu Dhabi.
Back in the UK, my photographer was called to the front line, I was in charge of counting the toilet rolls. My photographer says that the pandemic challenges were great fun. Though the fun I had was slightly different … I learned to bake and even grew some (rather tiny) carrots and chillies. I even accidentally became an influencer for a short period. Receiving some tasty flowers and Thai food was my favourite part!
A lockdown birthday party and announcing the contents of my backpack passed the time until I was finally allowed to go on an adventure. I think it will always be my favourite simply because I realised that where I live isn’t that boring. Plus the forest turns blue for a few weeks of the year (just like me!).
Up to Northumberland and across to the Lake District, I experienced every type of weather the UK has (all in one day). I even managed to get featured on the Forestry Commission England instagram page!
Forests have been my refuge this year, a great place to escape the bad news. Though my photographer has decided to turn the building I live in into a jungle.
I managed to squeeze in two final adventures to jump around in the autumn leaves. Did I mention I have some new red wellies! I’m itching to get out in them again. It snowed on Christmas but I haven’t been able to go out because a certain photographer hasn’t had a day off work yet (sulky dinosaur). Hopefully the snow stays a little bit longer so I can go and build a snowman.
To all of the followers, friends and fellow dinosaurs, hotels, travel companies and tour agencies, thank you for joining in the fun this year, its been a blast, and also for your unwavering support (even when the terrible non-travel related posts began). Thank you 2020 for the challenge I never knew I needed. I have achieved so much this year, I can’t wait for next years antics.
Happy New Year!
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