I thought about making a new “year end” post every year. Even up until today I thought I had only missed on year of these but it looks like the last one was in 2013. Yikes. It’s funny to start this back up again in a year which looked to be my biggest year of travel yet. Until March 2020 I had seven international trips planned—mostly for work. It’s what I had been working toward since I started traveling for business in 2010. In one week in March all of that fell through. I can’t complain though, I’ve been very lucky and even managed to get out of the country three times in 2020 before the US finally figured out what the rest of the world already knew about COVID-19.
January 2020: London, New York City, Mumbai
By January 3rd I was already on a plane to London. I stayed in Shoreditch for the first time, visited the Mary Quant exhibit at the V&A, the Tate Modern (all special exhibits were sold out!), and finally took a stroll through The Barbican where all of my dreams of a brutalists future world came true. Shoreditch is very inconvenient to the museums, but made it easier to catch up with my boyfriend from my days living in Newcastle in the 90s.
My trips to NYC are often short, sometimes only 24 hours. I made it to The Met’s In Pursuit of Fashion and Frank Lloyd Wright Textiles: The Taliesin Line, 1955–60 exhibits and managed to ruin my brand new dress at work while cutting apart foamcore to make a sign.
Toward the end of January I set off to Mumbai with a fancy year-long business visa and an empty suitcase to bring back fabric. The last time I was in Mumbai I stayed at the YMCA, but this time I figured I could do a little better. I flew in a few days before work started and stayed in Cuffe Parade near Colaba so I could walk around to see sights. This business trip was rescheduled so many times that by the time I had a real ticket I only had a week to book a hotel and plan my time and most of the cute places I found were sold out. Hopefully I will get another chance to come here in the coming years. A highlight was fabric shopping in Mangaldas Market and wandering around alone like I used to in my RTW days.
As embarrassing as it to admit on a travel blog where I am known for riding in the back of a cage for 24 hours through bandit country in Africa, when you travel this much for business you become loyal to certain brands. For me, it’s United and Marriott. Once you get to Platinum and Titanium respectfully you get so many perks that it’s worth it to stick with them. However, all of the Marriott properties in Mumbai were an hour in traffic from the sites so I stayed at perfectly fine local hotel.
February 2020: Mumbai, New York City, Paris
My jobs usually last 3-5 days tops so this two week stint was an interesting change for me. Sadly, it was in a suburb called Navi Mumbai so once I checked into the Marriott up here my world became commuting 30 minutes by car, eating thalis in the vegetarian cafeteria, and learning all the differences and similarities in this work from my Indian colleagues.
I was home for a week before heading back out to New York City for five days. Because I go to NYC so much I have had a membership to MOMA for a few years. Obviously my favorite thing to do anywhere is to go to museums, but with the increase in tourism globally they are getting so crowded to be almost unnavigable—and MOMA is one of the worst.
Two days to unpack/repack and off to Paris. So spoiled. Even so, all of us in Paris kept saying “I’ll see it next time” when we felt too tired to go out. We had another trip planned for the summer and we knew we were going to be back for even longer. I had a 3rd trip besides that planned to Paris in June as well. There is plenty of time! Why rush!? This is also when COVID started getting more real—the first time I heard contingency planning come up in a meeting, and when I started hanging back from getting into elevators full of tourists, and when I moved galleries when a woman kept coughing next to me in the Marche et Demarche exhibit at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs. We all thought COVID wasn’t really going to affect us, but the day after I flew home the Louvre was shut down.
Traveling Through 2020 is continued in Part 2…