As for many, 2020 was one of the worst, if not THE worst year of the century. We had to stop a project for which we had worked tirelessly in December and in January, we were stuck for months where we were only supposed to be passing through… I found myself completely disoriented by what was happening in the world and that directly impacted my/our lives.
But 2020 may have been a year more than a mer, but I continued to love, to travel, to marvel.
JANUARY 2020: BALI
Start of the year celebrated in Lovina, Bali. On the beach, fireworks, feet in the water in a small family restaurant where the owners bring us a dubarrow from Durian to celebrate the new year, to our delight (yes, we love the durian, do not judge us :D).
We have been in Bali since early December, we rented an apartment that I showed you in this video:
We are working a lot, mainly on a project that we will finally have to abandon since the world will come to a standstill soon after, especially the world of travel.
It was in January that I drove a scooter on my own for the first time. Not a little proud, knowing that I am not reassured in general since an accident in the Philippines in 2016.
FEBRUARY 2020: BALI, NUSA PENIDA, GILI AIR
We begin the month with the discovery of the Aling-Aling waterfalls, a little wonder hidden in the jungle and where visitors come to refuel with adrenaline with natural slides and jumps of 5, 10 and 15m. I overcome my fears again and jump up to 10m high.
In mid-February, we leave Lovina and leave for Seminyak in southern Bali. We spend 4 nights in an absolutely amazing villa. Private pool, 3 bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchen and outdoor living room, delicious breakfasts cooked every day by adorable Indonesians who teach us more about Bali traditions, including offerings. In short, a luxury stay that we are not used to.
After this break, we go back to backpacker mode on the island of Nusa Penida. An incredible island that was still wild and not very accessible until recently but which is opening up more and more to tourism… for better or for worse. The best because tourism offers new sources of income to the inhabitants. The worst because places are distorted to make them more accessible, waste management becomes a real problem and respect for the environment is clearly not the priority of all tourists.
In any case, we have a crush on this island which has still kept some of its authenticity and wild side (for how long?). Kelingking beach for example (the one with the cliff in the shape of t-rex) has recently built a concrete staircase but only at the very beginning of the descent, after a few steps, it remained wild and very… Sports. That's what we like!
After Nusa Penida, head for the Gilis Islands. Gili Air first, before telling himself that, even if you are there, you might as well visit the 3 islands that make up the Gilis Islands, just to decide which one is our favorite 😀 So then we go to Gili Meno and then Gili T.
I really like the 3 islands for different reasons.
- Gili Meno is super quiet and in his juice, very few tourists, many small hotels, homestays and local restaurants, not much to do in the evening, all close early, but beautiful discoveries underwater, including the underwater museum "The Nest".
- Gili Trawangan (or Gili T) is very touristy, crowded, it has lost its authenticity. People come to party and for magic champis. There are still many places without anyone when you move away from the port.
- Gili Air is a clever mix of the two islands, tourists live with the locals, everyone finds their place and there is a balance that I loved very much. The food is delicious and varied, a small paradise for vegetarians/vegetarians.
MARCH to JULY 2020: EGYPT
We return to Bali in early March to discover the Ubud region this time with especially Campuhan Ridge Walk and the terraced rice fields of Tegallalang.
A month earlier, we had booked our plane tickets to return to Cairo to surprise Emam's family. So we leave just before many countries close their borders, including Indonesia.
We take advantage of being in Cairo to apply for Emam's long stay visa to return to France. The visa centre will close its doors immediately after filing our application, the consulate will not process any visa applications until further notice. This is how we find ourselves stranded in Cairo for 4 months. We feel very lucky to have been able to be in time with Emam's family for this difficult time.
JULY 2020: RETURN TO FRANCE
As soon as the consulate reopened, we were able to get Emam's long-stay visa and return to France. Reunion with the family, purchase and layout of Bouba, our C4 Grand Picasso of 2008 which was supposed to be only a temporary vehicle but we love it so much that we still have it.
AUGUST 2020: FIRST ROADTRIP TEST WITH BOUBA
Once the development was completed, we went on a road trip in the English Channel to test Bouba in van mode. Every first successful experience, we love this way of life, we adapt very quickly to the nomadic life on wheels and we feel ready to carve the road, after a few small adaptations to be more comfortable.
SEPTEMBER 2020: ROAD TRIP DEPARTS
We leave on September 1st for a road trip with Bouba that will serve as a rolling house. We first head to Upper Normandy to retrieve a roof box that frees up a lot of space in the car and makes our lives easier. We then follow the coast before going down and crossing France to reach Lyon, then the Ardèche, the Savoy and the Haute-Savoie.
We cross the Swiss border to discover a country that I finally knew so little and I never tire of the landscapes between mountains and lakes, the lace-up roads, the saturated green of the meadows, the incredibly beautiful and refreshing hikes.
OCTOBER 2020: ITALY AND CORSICA
After Switzerland, it is Italy that we discover by car. Walking along Lake Como, joining the Cinque Terre, a place I had long dreamed of discovering, making a cuckoo at the Tower of Pisa, and it's already over. And yes, we have a ferry to take to Bastia.
My sister and her family moved to Corsica a year earlier and it was the perfect opportunity to visit her. To be able to see my family again and visit the island of Beauty for the very first time, the perfect combo!
We will go around the island with Bouba who is holding up in front of all the stony and muddy roads that we have been able to put him through. A real little 4×4! Corsica never ceases to surprise me, why did I wait so long to come?
NOVEMBER – DECEMBER 2020: AT HOME
We return to my parents' house in Normandy for an important appointment… then containment. But we are not unemployed and are working on a future project that I hope will start to see the light of day in 2021.
MY PLANS FOR 2021
Like everyone else, we will have to adapt to the still unclear global situation. Will the health crisis improve? Will we be able to carry out the projects we have in mind? There is nothing less certain.
What is certain is that we want to have a home where we put our suitcases in more or less long term. We dream of large spaces, large volumes, of being able to create with our hands, but not that… We're moving one step, we're going back two. Reality often catches up with us and says that we are too ambitious, that we are never going to make it. Other days, we are ready to eat the world and make everything come true.
Only the future tell us if we were able to achieve this dream. But anyway, dreams, we have plenty and it is not the will that we lack. If this dream does not come true because, perhaps, the planets were not aligned, then we will draw another 🙂
I wish you all a wonderful year 2021, full of sweetness and benevolence. That you can carry out the projects that are most important to you.