Top 2021 Experiences for 2021

We began 2021 in lockdown. With global variants and media madness, coronavirus is starting to feel ancient and somewhat eternal. We’ve endured the emergence of two major strains, inept governments and the emptiness attached to the loss of our normal lives, especially for the first 5 months of 2021.

We’re extremely privileged to be fully vaccinated here in the UK, and upon reflection 2021 has become a turning point. I felt it was finally the chance to ‘dare to do what you dare to dream’ again. In 2021 alone, the Turkish Lira crashed 2 weeks after returning from a trip. Alex and I flew back from Poland a week before Omnicron forced border closures. It’s the age-old mantra of “there is no better time than now”. Without knowing what is around the corner, these were my top 21 moments for 2021, my greatest hope for 2022 is seeing the back of Coronavirus forever!

1) One year at Enchanting Travels

25th May 2021 marked my 1st anniversary at Enchanting Travels. Thank you to Alice/Charlotte for our marathon girly daily chats and thank you to Steven for our food appreciation talks and Tik-Tok exchanges. You guys make the work day fly by.

2) Volunteering for Teapot Project

From 6th January – 17th May 2021 there were no gyms, no indoor hospitality, no schools (basically 131 days of ‘no fun allowed’), Teapot Project in winter became a slice of normality for me. Packing colourful crates of vegetables with other fellow volunteers made me feel human again.

3) Made a House a Home

22nd September 2021 marked our 1st year in our 1st new home together. We embraced the delightful freedom and space to furnish our pad with as many ‘Facebook Marketplace’ bargains as possible.

4) Adopted Tom from RSPCA Martlesham on 25th February 2021

I can’t put into words the magic, warmth, and adoration I have for this cat, fondly known as ‘Captain Tom/Tommy/Boy/Gonyo’. Thank you for the cuddles, sofa snuggles and for always keeping me company when WFH.

5) Family Get Togethers

My family mean the world to me and the freedom of not being able to see family freely was heart-breaking. Take every chance you can to show you care for your loved ones.

6) Over £700 of Mystery Dine Visits

From succulent steaks to gourmet luxury cinema visits, the freedom of eating out without having to worry about the bill after is ‘food happiness’ at it’s finest.

7) First Sisterly lockdown trip to Cornwall!

Our first post-lockdown trip to Cornwall was 8th May – 15th May 2021. We explored hidden bays, traversed trails and took in the beauty of some of the most incredible coastlines in the UK.

8) Paddle-boarding and Via-Ferrata

Celebrating a 30th Birthday combining adventure, loved ones and travelling! Gripping hard onto the iron rungs of the Via-Ferrata was a stark reminder of just how unfit I’d become in lockdown. Paddle boarding into the sunset of the Fowey Estuary was a surprise experience to remember with Prince, Pinny and Alex.

9) Triple vaccinated in 2021!

At the start of the year, I couldn’t comprehend the roll-out happening so quickly. Thank you to our incredible NHS for one of the best vaccination efforts in the world, it is an utmost privilege to have the chance to be vaccinated in the UK.

10) Leeds Castle on one of the hottest weekends of the year

With a May Bank Holiday fresh out of lockdown, Pam, Alex, Dave and I ventured to explore Leeds Castle, the Maidstone Canals and Winston Churchill’s birthplace for a quintessentially British weekend away.

11)  Kayaking at Combe Martin

We kayaked to a little cove in North Devon often referred to as ‘Little Thailand‘. Together Natty and I explored the ancient, fishing village of Clovelly, hiked the Hartland Heritage Coast and enjoyed afternoon tea in a church courtyard in Dartmoor National Park.

12) Trekked 50 miles of the Gower Coast

Our 50 mile Gower Coast Trekking Trip marked the first point-to-point walking trip where Alex and I booked accommodation rather then carried back-breaking rucksacks! It was an incredible trip and you can read more about the logistics here.

13) Swimming in Brighton

On 24th July 2021, Alex and I visited Pat and Sarah for a sunny weekend in Portslade. We walked past a mobile NHS vaccine unit and managed to nab the last 2 Pfizer jabs, making us fully vaccinated! We celebrated with ice cream and a swim in the sea straight after.

14) Cycled around Rutland Water

For the August bank holiday, Alex and I stayed at Barnsdale Lodge and cycled a 23 mile circular track around one of the largest man-made reservoirs in Europe, covering some 1225 hectares (3100 acres), and around 27,300 million gallons of water.

15) Beverley Knight and Rag’n’Bone Man Live!

On 10th September 2021, Alex, Pam and I ventured to the Cambridge Club Festival to see Beverley Knight and Rag’n’Bone. The energy and vibe of Live Music post-lockdown was a feeling to remember!

16) RIB ride in Anglesey

Alex and I planned a UK Roadtrip from 3rd October to 10th October 2021 taking in the Shropshire Hills and Anglesey. In Anglesey, we had an action-packed 60 minute RIB trip and experienced some of the most magnificent sights along the Menai Strait with Ribride.

17) Where ‘East meets West’ in Istanbul

7th November 2021 was my first trip abroad in 21 months since the pandemic. I travelled with Alice and Istanbul opened my eyes to the beauty and cultural diversity of 2 continents meeting in one city. I crossed the Bospherous Sea by ferry (the journey is known as where ‘East meets West’) and witnessed the waterside panorama of fabulous palaces and majestic mosques with Minarets lining the skies. Read more about our trip on Alice’s Blog here.

18) Hot Air Ballooning in Cappadocia

On 12th November 2021, Alice and I experienced our first ever hot air balloon ride. Gliding over fairytale rock formations felt magical and otherworldly and I can’t describe how in awe I was whilst floating at nearly 1,000ft at sunrise.

19) Christmas Markets of Poland

It was touch-and-go whether we went to Poland or not as I was recovering from laryngitis (the last thing I wanted to do on a plane was cough!). Alex and I had an incredible trip to Poznan and Wroclaw exploring Christmas Markets, Dining in the Dark and being a Spy for the day in Poznan. We flew back in the same week as other European Destinations closed their borders due to Omicron.

20) Our First Christmas in Suffolk!

With a lockdown Christmas in full-swing for 2020, 25th December 2021 marked our first family Christmas in our new home.

21) Al-Bear

Best until last, I love you more then you’ll ever know.

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