2020 Year in Review

2020 Year in Review

Woah what a year it’s been. As I sit here in my Airbnb in Mexico nearly 2 months into the new year, I can’t help but look back on what 2020 threw our way. Pandemic aside, never did I imagine 32 would be the hardest year of my life. And I think most of us are still navigating all these unforeseen hurdles.

As my job is heavily focused on travel, typically these recaps focus more on where I have visited and the goals I achieve from the year prior. But this year, the universe had a global plan for us all.

2020 threw a lot my way to the point where I thought I was drowning, but they say the universe never gives us more than we can handle. Let me tell you, I didn’t know I could handle so much at once. Let’s hope I’m good for a while now.

But through all the chaos, it also thought me, and I’m sure many of us, to slow down. It also allowed me to catch up on lost time with family and be present for memorable moments like birthdays. Mental health became a huge topic for us this year and a major part of my life in overcoming trauma.

Going into the new year I was already facing a few struggles. I had recently broken it off with my boyfriend of 4 years and no matter who ends it, it’s never easy. Although I was hurting, I was ready to go into the new year as a single woman and make this the best year yet. But right before the end of the year, I took a bad fall.

On December 29th, I slipped on black ice and broke my ankle. It wasn’t until the next day that I actually went to the emergency room and it was confirmed I broke my fibula. If you want to know more about my series of bad events that started last year, start with the end of my 2019 review).

Since I was still in a boot, I ended up celebrating my birthday at home for the first time in 5 years!! Over the past few years, it’s become a tradition that I celebrate my birthday someplace warm.

Let’s get real, my birthday is February 7th, and it’s the dead of winter in Montreal and no one wants to go out. This year was no different. It was a blistering storm so bad that there was a city-wide stay at home alert because the roads were so bad.

Luckily some of my girls still managed to come over and we made the best out of the miserable weather. My best friend hosted it, and we had this epic balloon display and peacock chair for me to sit in and my favourite cookies instead of cake. (I will forever choose cookies over cake, what about you?)

This year, I traveled only 4 times this year, 2 international and 2 Canadian destinations, visiting Cuba, Quebec City & Charlevoix, Banff, and Mexico.

It seems funny writing that because when I first started traveling my goal was to do four trips a year. Four trips a year was what I decided I needed to be content. But since travel became my full-time career, four trips in an entire year sounds so small compared to visiting 17 destinations in 2019. First world problems, I know. But I’m telling myself this year is quality over quantity. And the few trips that I did take were definitely quality.

Cuba was my first trip and to add stress I was not only traveling with a broken ankle but it was my first time traveling after developing a blood clot. And if I’m being honest, I was a mess! I never imagined fearing something that gave me so much pleasure. Now I understand how fear and a panic attack can be so debilitating. I had never experienced a panic attack until this moment.

This is something I will need to live with forever and it still scares me at times, but that fear was one I was determined to overcome.

My IGTV on traveling with a blood clot & overcoming my fear

It’s getting easier I will say, flying to Mexico I was much less panicked than on my prior trips but it does add a little more inconvenience to traveling. I now have to inject myself or take a prescribed blood thinner before every flight over 4 hours, I have to wear compression socks (these are the ones I got), and I can no longer do things I once loved like scuba diving. Unfortunately, it’s too dangerous.

Cuba was incredible! It had been a while since I had been back and once there I loved wandering, or I guess I should say hobbling, the cobblestone streets, listening to live music. If you missed my ankle journey or first travel experience, check out my Cuba highlight.

On March 1st I made my very first property investment. I BOUGHT A CONDO! Follow along @homsyhouse on Instagram! It was a crazy hectic and stressful time but I have to say, it was a really proud moment to be able to do this completely on my own. I bought it with the intention of it being an investment opportunity and planned to travel all year while I rented it out.

But then the pandemic hit and everything changed. My plans to travel all year came to a sudden halt right after Cuba. Although the pandemic turned many of our worlds upside down, it gave me more quality time than I could have ever imagined with my family and friends. I started filming TikToks with my parents. And I started filming makeup tutorials to mix in with my old travel photos.

I started traveling closer to home with little getaways up north just to change up my scenery and feel inspired to create while at home. I also binged way too much Netflix and like everyone else became absolutely obsessed with Outlander! (currently searching for my Jamie Fraser if you know anyone). 😉

In June, I marched in my first protest for BLM (Black Lives Matter) and the experience was incredible. It felt amazing to march for something I believe in and join thousands of Montrealers & millions worldwide in such a powerful movement.

I also launched my first ever group trip!! Unfortunately due to the pandemic, we’ve had to postpone it a year but I am so excited to travel with some of you to my favorite place, Bali, Indonesia in 2022!

There are still some spots left on both trips if you want to join me on one, or both, epic adventures!

UBUD – NUSA PENIDA – CANGGU // MAY 21-29, 2022

UBUD -GILI AIR – JIMBARAN // JUNE 4-12, 2022

On August 1st, my life was flipped upside down. This year I faced a lot of challenges and it forced me to focus on my mental health. If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I haven’t opened up much about my assault but you saw one of the many bruises that were left. It’s been 6 months now and the truth is, I’m not fully healed from what happened. I’m not ready to forgive or forget what happened but I am trying to move forward and keep myself in a positive headspace. But I know I need to focus on myself first before I can share my story with others.

This is one of the reasons I’m writing you from Mexico. This trip was so much more than just a trip for me – it was an essential part of my healing journey. I had to get away. The timing couldn’t have been worse with the stay at home orders but I was reminded by friends, family and my therapist that this was essential travel for me. I had to get out of Montreal as being home was far worse for my mental state.

What happened to me is still difficult to open up about but in sharing openly about my struggles it connected me deeper to my audience on Instagram. I connected so much with women in this community facing a similar battle as mine with their mental health. I was very open about my journey with therapy to which I received so many messages thanking me for normalizing it. So thank you to each and every one of you for reaching out. I value the connection I have with each one of you.

I used this quote in one of my captions when trying to get back to posting after a 2 week hiatus, I found it very powerful.

In September I finally started traveling again, although it was only domestic travel. I was ready to take whatever opportunity to discover and create content. I was honestly excited to discover more of my home country.

I visited Quebec City and Charlevoix on a road trip with friends Mark and Katy. Even though Quebec City is a place I’ve visited numerous times, it was really nice to experience it with friends who were visiting for the first time. I discovered much more of the touristy things than I ever have before.

Then I started traveling a little farther from home, still within Canada. A friend of mine and I decided on a whim to visit Banff. We literally booked our flight the day before we flew out. It was a very spur of the moment girls trip and everything I needed.

We didn’t have a single thing planned down to where we were staying! We literally booked our hotel once landing in Calgary. But the response from you guys seeing the beauty Banff has to offer was truly incredible.

As my mental health journey continued, I did something for myself and finally returned to pole dancing, 3.5 years later. Now if you’re new here, before you freak out, I was not a stripper. I used to teach and compete in Pole Fitness. Getting back to it was so freeing and exactly what I needed at that moment. Sometimes all you need is to flow it out. Don’t believe me? Check me out here!

And to end the year off better than when it started, I decided to make the decision to travel to Mexico. I honestly just wanted to ring in the new year completely opposite from the way it started. Walking the beach and dipping the toes in the water sounded like the best way to escape the snow and avoid another fall on ice.

Landing in Mexico, I embarked on a one month road trip through Campeche, Chiapas, and Oaxaca and ended the year in Puerto Escondido. It was the most incredible trip, and I was able to discover so much more of true Mexico than I have ever experienced before.

So that’s my year in a nutshell. Wow, what a year it’s been. Typically, I finish this off with my goals for this year, but I’ll be honest with you, everything still feels up in the air with the state of the world, so mentioning travel goals doesn’t seem very realistic or fair. I know many of you reading are stuck and home and wishing so badly to travel.

All I can say is my goal is to continue inspire you through safe travel and to share with you my healing journey in the process. That doesn’t always mean it’s good but I try and share the ups and downs with you as best as I can.

I’ll leave you with sharing one of my biggest goals since I was a little kid… to launch my own line! I know I’ve spoken about this before on stories and I’ve gotten tons of messages from many of you supporting this idea. Last year this goal had to take a backseat however, this year I’m ready to play big and make shit happen! I’m curious to know, what would you like to see me design? I already have a few ideas in my head but I love to hear from you!

I’d love to hear from you though! What are some of your goals for this year? I’m feeling a little stumped & I need some inspiration.

I think I feel stuck because as I write this, I don’t even know if I will be in Mexico another week, or month. It seems like the pandemic regulations in Canada change daily. So we will just have to wait and see. Make sure to follow along with my day to day here on Instagram stories!

Lots of love, xx Lisa

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