The silver lining to 2020
Hello, 2020. You’ve been a hell of a ride so far. (Semi-)lockdowns, social distancing, failing economies and closed borders have been on top of our mind since February of this year. While it’s been, and still is, a very scary time, there are a few bright spots I find during these distressing months.
Usually, I’m one to jump right into the social rat race: going out with friends, exploring new places, go to parties and festivals… The ‘FOMO-effect’ was always luring. It reached its peak during my London years, but has significantly slowed down since I’ve lived back in the Netherlands. More so even during lockdown. I guess you can call that a silver lining to 2020.
However, curiosity wins. At least for me. Curiosity will forever be my motivation in life. I’m always eager to learn more about the world. This encompasses learning new things, getting to know people from all over the world, and exploring new places. During lockdown, the latter seemed impossible. At first. But something for me changed. Because you know what, it’s okay to keep it small. To keep it local. Micro adventures are on the up – and for good reason.
When we were in a semi-lockdown here in the Netherlands, the micro-adventures started in my own neighborhood. I live in a working-class neighborhood. An area that has not always been making headlines for its safe and sound environment.
But taking lunch break walks here has showed me so much – in a positive way! The amazing street art – part of Blind Walls Gallery – the blossom on the trees in April and the overall liveness in this part of town. It’s here that people actually still greet each other on the street. A phenomenon not to be seen in one of the ‘posher’ parts of the city I live in. These few months have given me so much more appreciation of the smaller things we can explore.
Widen the radius
Once certain restrictions were lifted, it became easier to venture further out. However, ‘further out’ doesn’t equal ‘hopping on a plane to the other end of the world.’ For me, it meant scraping the surface of my city and somewhat of the region around it.
In Breda, I hiked five walks (so-called Ommetjes) on the outer edges of town. Although I was born here and raised in a village only a few KMs away, these walks showed me new and exciting places. 18th Century fortifications hidden in the woods, a protected bird reserve, and a farm that used to be owned by the Royal Family, are just a few examples.
I’ve a very outgoing personality, but at the same time, I’ve always loved taking solo walks. These walks really allow me time to reflect. This might sound weird, but it’s so beneficial to confront yourself sometimes. Welcome the positive thoughts and let the negative thoughts pass. We always tend to rely on others, but it’s ourselves we need to live with 24/7! 🙂
The Ommetjes slowly but surely alternated with nature walks in the region. The Oisterwijkse Bossen & Vennen, National Park de Biesbosch and National Park Loonse en Drunense Duinen are just a few places we’ve hiked and biked in over the last few months. ‘We’ yes! Solo trips also alternated with non-solo-trips later on in the process.
Last month, a camping trip was finally in the cards too. A trip to the sparsely populated province of Drenthe to be exact. The region is predominantly covered by woods and meadows, making it ideal for a socially-distanced visit.
Hello social life!
Cities came more into play too, although less frequent as before. Visits to Rotterdam, Amersfoort and Amsterdam have taken place over the past few months. It was great to see friends again who live there. Traveling on public transport still makes me feel a bit uncomfortable, but the need for the hustle and bustle called!
A great moment it was too when our dance team and the Live with Flow yoga and pilates classes started back up again ‘in person.’ The Zoom and Youtube workout classes I faithfully took each day were okay for the time being, but being around people again made life so much better!
If there’s one thing I’ve learned this year…
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from 2020 it’s that it’s okay to not always be ‘switched on.’ Staying home reading a book all day or taking a solo walk can be worth so much! However, this doesn’t mean that I’ve mastered these skills fully yet. It’s still very much a work in progress!
Over to you. How have you been dealing with the whole 2020-situation? Do you enjoy taking things a bit more slowly, or do you miss being part of the rat race? Let me know in the comments below.