This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase through an affiliate link, I will earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for your support.
Also, we are living in strange and unsettling times so please make sure to check local guidelines before traveling to this destination, as I haven't updated individual posts with current travel information because this changes so often.
Well I’m sure that I don’t need to tell you that 2020 was not a good year for many things, it definitely wasn’t for travel. Back when I wrote my travel wishlist for 2020 I didn’t have a clue what lay ahead. None of us did.
I definitely feel very lucky that I was able to get some international travel in during the first quarter of the year, although my travels did get cut short.
I didn’t get to fulfil a lot of my travel goals for 2020 but I did still travel a lot – as safely as I could once the pandemic was raging. And there is more to life than just travel anyway – I got off pretty lightly compared to so many others, although it was definitely still a rough year with all the crazy shit that went on.
In 2020 I traveled to six countries and eight US States, finally visiting Sri Lanka and India, eating my way through Hong Kong, exploring much more of my home state of Colorado, returning to my favorite Colorado towns – Telluride and Crested Butte, hiking more than I ever had and getting my hiking fitness back, doing two backpacking trips in New Zealand and Idaho, road tripping in eight western states, completing four housesits, spending four months in New Zealand over two visits, and spending a month roadtripping the South Island of New Zealand.
Before I get into my travel goals for 2021, I thought I would go over my 2020 travel goals to take a look at what I managed to do (before the world fell apart), and what never eventuated.
Review of my Travel Wishlist for 2020
Visit at Least Three New Countries
Yes! I did manage to visit three new to me countries: Sri Lanka, India, and China (Hong Kong). I had planned to also visit Nepal but the border closed because of the pandemic before we got there unfortunately.
Celebrate Holi in India
Yes, and wow was it amazing! You can read about my experience celebrating Holi in Jodhpur here.
Hike the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal
No. As we couldn’t get into Nepal because of the pandemic, I never got to do the Annapurna Circuit and it was the one thing I had been really looking forward to doing in Nepal.
I’m not sure when I will get to do it, but I am going to definitely make it happen at some stage in the next couple of years.
Eat Loads of Dumplings in Hong Kong
Yes. I had just over a week in Hong Kong and I did indeed eat a whole lot of dumplings, and lots of other deliciousness while I was there. I even wrote a post about the good stuff I ate if you want to check it out.
Visit Two New States
No new states in 2020. We mostly stuck to states close to Colorado that we could drive to as we wanted to avoid flying during the pandemic as much as possible.
Visit Two New National Parks
No, although I did visit eight new to me National Monuments including Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, Montezuma Castle National Monument, Tuzigoot National Monument, Florissant National Monument, Capulin Volcano National Monument, Chaco Canyon National Historical Park, Hovenweep National Monument, and Browns Canyon National Monument.
Return to San Francisco
No, I didn’t make it back to San Francisco this year although I nearly did – my flight back to New Zealand was booked from San Francisco and I was going to spend a couple of nights in the city beforehand, but then my flight was changed to depart from LA instead.
Attend Burning Man
Nope, no Burning Man in 2020. Maybe it will happen in 2022 and I’ll go then.
Go Somewhere New in Canada
No again, because of that pesky pandemic and the fact that the Canadian border was closed to non-Canadians. This year once it is safe to do so I will definitely be returning to Canada.
Explore More of Idaho on a Road Trip
Yes! We did end up doing a road trip through Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, and Utah for 3.5 weeks, and it was just fantastic. I loved all the waterfalls, lakes, hiking trails, and hot springs – and I already know I want to return!
Visit New Zealand for at Least a Month
Yes. I actually ended up returning to New Zealand twice in 2020 and spent a little over four months there in total. It was a great place to be and literally the safest place in the world during this pandemic so I felt so, so lucky to be there.
Go to a Pacific Island I Haven’t Been to
No, also because of the pandemic this dream flew out the window.
Get a Ski Season Job in Colorado
No, Toby got a job as a COVID tester instead and I escaped the rising COVID cases in the US for safety and family time in New Zealand.
So now that I have got that out of the way, here is where I am hoping to travel in 2021.
My Travel Wishlist for 2021
I’m hopeful that once the vaccine fully rolls out, things will slowly start to go back to normal – I guess a new normal – and we can start traveling internationally again.
But I don’t expect that to happen till at least the end of summer so I have lots of U.S. travel goals for 2021 that are more likely to happen.
Here’s what I am hoping to accomplish on the travel front in 2021.
Visit New Places in New Zealand
I have technically already accomplished this by visiting Great Barrier Island a week ago – yay! I’m also planning to visit Rotoroa Island – one of Auckland’s Harbour Islands, and a few new places around and north of Auckland.
Do a Great Lakes Road Trip
I have wanted to do a Great Lakes road trip since I first visited the area in 2013 and I think that this will be the year that I make it happen! We will stick to the US side and will probably start in northern Minnesota, visiting all five of the Great Lakes.
It has also been a goal of mine to swim in all the Great Lakes so I plan to swim in Lake Erie, Lake Huron and Lake Superior as I have already swum in Lake Ontario and Lake Michigan.
Visit Four New States
The Great Lakes Road Trip will take me to four new states: Minnesota, Wisconsin, Ohio and Pennsylvania. I would also like to visit nearby North Dakota and Iowa while I am in the area which will then leave me with only two states that I haven’t been to: Delaware and West Virginia.
Visit Two or More New National Parks
I didn’t get to visit any new National Parks last year so I definitely want to make it happen this year! I’m thinking Voyageurs National Park in Minnesota, Isle Royale National Park in Michigan, and Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Ohio.
And if I get back to California this year I want to visit Channel Islands National Park and maybe Lassen Volcano National Park too.
Do at Least Two Backpacking Trips
I have already done one backpacking trip this year – the three day Aotea Track on Great Barrier Island – and I want to do at least one more this summer in the U.S., probably somewhere in the Great Lakes area if not Colorado.
Return to Canada
I missed my annual visit to Canada in 2020 because the border was closed so I definitely want to make a trip happen there this year, once I have had the vaccine and the border is reopened (fingers crossed!)
I definitely want to go to my favorite city in the world, Vancouver, and perhaps visit friends in Kelowna and Field. Going somewhere new in Canada would be awesome too.
Hike a 14’er
As per the last couple of years, I want to hike at least one 14,000 ft peak in Colorado this summer. I have a few in mind including Quandary Peak, Mount Sherman, and The Decalibron.
Enjoy Some Winter Sports in Colorado
As I am returning to Colorado in the middle of February and we will be in Colorado for at least six weeks, I definitely want to try and embrace the winter by snowshoeing for the first time, and maybe skiing and cross-country skiing too.
Travel to Two New Countries
It’s Toby’s choice of where we travel internationally this year, and if the world is opening up again by the end of the year, we will jetting off somewhere.
I know he is interested in Eastern Europe, Colombia and Peru, Central Asia, and returning to India but who knows where he will end up choosing.
I’m hoping I will be able to go to at least a couple of new countries no matter what part of the world we end up visiting.
What are your travel plans for 2021?
Check out my Travel Bucket Lists for the past few years for further inspiration: