Leon de Leeuw
Travels through 2020
Not an easy year to travel. Or at least, not when you don't want to dig in and do some research. There has been plenty of travel possibilities, at least from Bulgaria. First of all, within Bulgaria itself. Because it's some of Europe's most diverse. Within a small surface, you have it all. But I did manage to pack in international travel as well. If only a bit later in the year. Normally, even winter has some trips. But 2020 had my first international trip in July. This has enabled me to save significantly and pay off my student loans (nearly, almost there)!
This proved me that I spend a significant amount of time and money on travel. And I'm not about to change that. First things first, with the international travel, I respected absolutely every rule. I was not about to sneak into a country through a third one. It's against my princinples. Laws may be broken, but you better live with the consequences. I would prefer not to, especially when governments take the measures very seriously.
But in my view, we can't let the travel industry crumble apart. It would lead to closing of business, many employees without any income. These employees are typically lower educated and would not get any other prospects. Especially because it's a large industry. Getting these people jobless, with the prospect of a crisis, will lead to health problems, divorce, loss of homes, depression, alcoholism, suicides. And I can say that because I've worked in the industry and I've lived on the edge. Income is too low to keep afloat. And I worked in hospitality in a first world country, can you imagine.
Now I can support myself financially, I choose to support the travel industry. Not as an employee, but as a big spender. Italy was my trip in July. Southern Italy to be precise. Then, I finally got to visit the Netherlands. For my mum's birthday. I couldn't be happier. Eventually, I flew to Switzerland and my brother and father came by car. We spent a grand week touring the mountains and consuming schnitzels and cordon bleus with beers. Awesome. I couldn't get enough and booked another weekend in Switzerland. Toured from Basel to Locarno, Lugano, past Lago Maggiore, Lake Lugano, Lake Como and Lake Garda. Visited Brecia. Milan. Flew back from Bergamo. All that was in a weekend, all with public transport. It was not even hurried. I hope the vlogs are up soon.
To conclude, I'll visit Warsaw in October and London in November. If all goes well. And if the restrictions still allow me to go. I come from this industry and will not let its people delve into despair. And not only that, travel is a significant investment in one's self development. See it as mental exercise and you get to relax at the same time. It is a priority. Especially if you've worked hard for it. Stick to the rules, be safe, but do not lay under the bed. Mental relaxation and sunlight are much needed. I hope the industry will be saved. Although I'm afraid we won't get to see it as it used to be for some time.